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VA Continues to Make Irrational Selective Service Decisions
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As previously written in this blog, if you are male and have not registered with the Selective Service and are considering a Title 38 position with the US Department of Veterans Affairs — don't bother. Despite its critical shortage of medical professionals, the VA continues to turn away well-qualified medical professionals who did not register with the Selective Service System — even when it is proven by clear and convincing evidence (which is higher than the preponderance of evidence standard the VA purports to apply) that the failure to register was not knowing and willful.

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Obama-Era FLSA Amendment DOA
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The continuing saga of the Obama-era overtime rule now appears to be officially over. This rule, if implemented, would have required employers to pay employees more than $47,000 annually to qualify under one of the Fair Labor Standards Act's white- collar exemptions. As set forth in a previous post below, the rule was in serious limbo after a Texas federal district court judge temporarily prevented its enforcement just before Thanksgiving last year, and now that same judge has struck down the rule permanently.

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Anticipated FLSA Salary Requirements Blocked by Federal Judge
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Late on November 22, a federal district court in Texas enjoined nationwide implementation of the Labor Department's new overtime requirements that have been the subject of several articles posted below. The new regulations were to go into effect on December 1. Judge Amos Mazzant, ruling on a consolidated lawsuit brought by 21 states and a business coalition, concluded that the executive, administrative, or professional employee exemption contained in FLSA Sec. 13(a)(1) does not grant the Department of Labor the authority to utilize a salary-level test or an automatic salary updating mechanism under the rule.

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Side-Stepping the New FLSA Requirements
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In the article below, we informed readers that effective December 1, 2016, sweeping changes will be implemented with regard to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) that will require employers to more than double the minimum weekly salaries of exempt employees in order to maintain the exemption and avoid paying overtime. Under existing regulations, employers have to pay employees a weekly salary of at least $455 to maintain the exemption. Under the new regulations, employers must pay a minimum weekly salary of $913 to maintain the exemption.

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Winds Of Change
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The upcoming Presidential election promises to be an interesting spectacle on many levels. Either candidate could usher in sweeping changes in foreign and domestic policy. While there is much uncertainty about the nature of these changes, one thing is certain — there will be a change in administration and, depending on which candidate assumes office, there could be a complete replacement of the senior leadership at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

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Significant FLSA Changes Looming
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Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), employees are entitled to minimum wage and overtime (i.e. time and one-half of the employee's regular rate of pay) for all hours worked over 40 in any given work week). However, certain categories of employees are considered “exempt” from the FLSA's minimum wage and overtime provisions. In this regard, employees that meet the definition of executive, professional, administrative, outside sales and computer employees are exempted from the FLSA's minimum wage and overtime requirement.

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Montgomery County to Require Paid Sick Leave
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Effective October 1, 2016, Montgomery County will require employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. “Sick and safe” leave under this amendment is earned for all work performed in the county. Employers with five or more employees must provide at least one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked, not to exceed 56 hours of earned paid leave in a calendar year. Employers with fewer than five employees must provide leave at the same rate – one hour for every 30 hours worked – and up to 56 hours of leave per year.

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Court Upholds DOL Requirement for Paid Breaks
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The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay their non-exempt employees for hours worked. The Department of Labor has a implemented a regulation that states: “Rest periods of short duration, running from 5 minutes to about 20 minutes, are common in industry . . . . They must be counted as hours worked.” 29 C.F.R. § 785.18.

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A Common Misconception About Tipped Employees in Maryland
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In my 25 years of practice, I have represented both restaurant owners and employees in a variety of wage and hour matters. One issue that I have seen on a recurring basis concerns the payment of minimum wage to tipped employees, such as wait staff and bartenders. Many restaurant employers appear to believe that receipt of tips by employees somehow relieves them of the responsibility to pay minimum wage. This is simply not true.

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Montgomery County Passes “Ban the Box” Legislation Prohibiting Inquiries About Criminal Convictions Before Conclusion of First Interview
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In a relatively below-the-radar manner, Montgomery County has enacted the “Fair Criminal Record Screening Standards Act” (the “Act”), prohibiting most private employers, as well as the County government itself, from inquiring about criminal arrests or convictions before the conclusion of a first interview. This prohibition applies to both applicants for initial hire and promotions of current active employees. The Act went into effect on January 1, 2015.

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