From time-to-time Whelan Corrente attorneys make presentations at seminars or speak at events on a variety of topics and to a variety of legal, educational and business groups.
2017 Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar Debrief
On April 6, 2017 – before a lively and engaged crowd – we hosted our annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar for clients and employers.
Tim Cavazza’s session focused on the latest trends at the National Labor Relations Board, including a detailed rundown of what constitutes a lawful and unlawful labor practice. Did you know the NLRB ruled it was unlawful to terminate an employee for stepping toward a company representative, shaking a finger, using profane language, and saying “I can say anything I want. I can swear if I want. I can do anything I want,” during collective bargaining? But, as Tim explained, the NLRB’s decisions are likely to change with the new administration.
Meghan Siket walked through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s requirements for the Employer Information Report EEO-1, otherwise known as the EEO-1 report. Meghan explained the ins and outs of the revised EEO-1 report’s summary pay data and hours worked categories. The new requirements are designed to prevent discriminatory practices, and it remains to be seen if they will remain in place with the new administration. Meghan also explained paid sick leave rules for federal contractors, and the proposed sick leave legislation pending before the Rhode Island General Assembly.
Bob Flanders and Tim Baldwin looked back at the past year at the Rhode Island Supreme Court. They noted that, in general, most of the Court’s decisions were favorable to employers, and highlighted the Court’s rulings that stressed the importance of disclosing relevant documents and information during pre-trial discovery. Did you know the Court ruled this year that commissions should usually be paid to an employee at the time the company accepts the order from the customer, but this rule can be modified by a written agreement between the company and employee?
Matt Parker, a seasoned veteran of helping clients address employment discrimination claims and workplace complaints, gave a roadmap for preventing sexual harassment. He emphasized best practices for sexual harassment training, responding to complaints, and went step-by-step through employer do’s and don’ts.
Joe Cooper brought it home with a look at the current status of legal marijuana law and employment law nationally and in Rhode Island. Joe noted the incongruity of the federal treatment of marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance, while Rhode Island has legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes. Joe explained the nuanced dynamics that employers face with anti-discrimination laws, drug testing, and offered tips for best practices.
2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Miranda v. Arizona, which recognized a criminal suspect’s right to be advised of his or her Constitutional right against self-incrimination and right to counsel. As part of the 2016 Law Day observation, the Rhode Island Bar Association organized a series of classroom presentations around the state, pairing Rhode Island lawyers with members of the judiciary and law enforcement representatives. Robert Clark Corrente spoke to a lively audience of students at North Providence High School, along with Superior Court Judge Richard Licht, about the lessons learned over the past 50 years of providing Miranda warnings to criminal suspects in police custody, and state and federal sentencing issues.
On April 15, 2016 Sara Rapport presented at and participated in the annual Rhode Island Labor and Employment Law Conference, which convened at the W. Alton Jones Campus of the University of Rhode Island under the leadership of Mark Grossman and other faculty at the Charles T. Schmidt, Jr. Labor Research Center. Ms. Rapport reviewed recently issued and pending cases before the United States Supreme Court. Among the highlights, she discussed the controversial Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, in which teachers sought to overturn a long-standing law requiring non-members to pay an “agency fee” to their unions, but which an equally divided Supreme Court affirmed after the loss of Justice Scalia. Ms. Rapport also addressed the impact that last year’s historic and groundbreaking decision, Obergefell v. Hodges had on employment law. The decision upheld same-sex marriage under the United States Constitution.
For Sara’s contact information, click here.
On April 14, 2016 – before a full house – we hosted our annual Employment & Labor Law seminar for clients and employers.
Joe Whelan’s session focused on the new Department of Labor “Persuader” rule, NLRB updates, what constitutes a proper bargaining unit, the impacts of quickie elections and the latest statistics from the EEOC. Did you know that in 2015 44.5% of all EEOC claims filed were retaliation claims and that only 1.1% of all claims were for equal pay?
Meghan Siket explained the proposed FLSA overtime regulations and how the proposed changes would impact employers. Meghan also went into detail about reclassification options and reminded audience members to conduct internal reviews of employee classification and compensation systems. Don’t miss Meghan’s June 22 seminar, on Mastering Employee Leave Management and Compliance [approved for 6.25 recertification credit hours through the HR Certification Institute]. Register by phone 800-727-5257 or by email email@example.com.
Tim Cavazza walked us through the ins and outs of the 2015 Rhode Island Identity Theft Protection Act, with an eye toward the sweeping changes taking effect on July 2, 2016. Whether you come from state or municipal government or private sector business, these changes will likely affect you. In addition to making the Act applicable to “municipal agencies”, the legislation also changes the definition of “personal information” to include certain “health insurance information”, “medical information”, and email addresses. It also expands a covered entity’s obligations to protect such personal information from unauthorized disclosure and to promptly notify all Rhode Island residents affected by an actual or threatened security breach.
Sara Rapport, our go-to attorney for all things education, spoke largely about FERPA and HIPPA compliance. For instance, she talked about exceptions to the prohibition on disclosure without consent, and the impact of Title IX on FERPA disclosures in post-secondary institutions. Sara also discussed applicable state law in place to protect student health records.
Matt Parker emphasized how important it is for employers to understand pregnancy accommodations and parental leave and the ways in which the two concepts overlap. He discussed in detail FMLA leaves, the ADA, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the RI Parental & Family Medical Leave Act, the RI Fair Employment Practices Act, MA Parental Leave, RI Temporary Caregiver Insurance, and MA Earned Sick Time.
Our guest speaker, Dennis Aiken, a retired FBI agent [34 years] now in private practice [10 years], along with our partner and former U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island Robert Corrente, closed the seminar with an entertaining yet sobering session about conducting internal investigations. Not reacting at all, acting unfairly, or not properly investigating a variety of claims of employee wrongdoing can be extremely costly and can ruin your company’s [or your] reputation. But do you have the expertise, the tools, the time to manage an investigation?
To reach a Whelan Corrente attorney directly, click on the Attorney Profiles page.