Working Overtime to Keep Up with the New Rules for Overtime

Q:        ALERT:  Is there a new law regarding who must be paid overtime?

A:        Sort of – it is actually not a law, but rather a new regulation promulgated by the Department of Labor (“DOL”) without congressional action.  The new rule amends the existing regulation that sets forth who is entitled to overtime pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).

As an initial matter, all non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pursuant to the FLSA – and this new regulation does not change that fact – it only redefines who is eligible to be classified as “exempt”. The former rule provides that an employee can be exempt if he or she earns twice the minimum wage and passes a “duties test.”  The former FLSA regulation adopted the minimum wage in the state where the employee worked to set the salary minimum needed for the exemption.  Accordingly, in California, in order to be exempt pursuant to the FLSA, an employee generally needed to earn at least $41,600.00 per year ($10 (minimum wage) x 40 (hours per week) x 52 (weeks per year) x 2).

California has its own rules pertaining to who is exempt – but, until the new FLSA regulation it always mirrored the FLSA overtime salary threshold. In other words, prior to the new regulation both California and the FLSA utilized a “double the minimum wage” standard.

On May 18, 2016 the DOL raised the salary threshold amount needed to be considered exempt under the FLSA. The FLSA regulation is no longer based on a “double the minimum wage” standard. Pursuant to the new regulation, the minimum salary to be classified as an exempt employee is now $47,476.00 per year.  The new regulation also establishes a mechanism to automatically increase that amount every three years.  The new rule also redefines the  “highly compensated exemption” that had a reduced duties test if the employee made $100,000.00 per year.  The new regulation increases the salary threshold for the “highly compensated” exemption to those making a minimum of $134,004.00 per year.

The new regulation takes effect on December 1, 2016.

There are some interesting aspects of this new Federal regulation that will need to be watched carefully in California. Based on the new regulation, there may now be a difference between those that qualify as exempt under California law and those that are exempt under federal law.  Specifically, those that make between $42,600 and $47,476 could be treated as non-exempt for the purposes of federal law but exempt for the purposes of California law.  This is important because the FLSA only provides overtime for employees who work over 40 hours in a week while in California, non-exempt employees receive overtime for working over 8 hours in a day OR working over 40 hours in a week.  Additionally, pursuant to the FLSA, there is no entitlement to meal and rest breaks while the California Labor Code makes them a requirement for all non-exempt employees.  As such, unless the California rules are amended, or until California overtime rate increases so that “double minimum wage” exceeds the amount cited in the new FLSA regulation, employers could face a situation in which the salary threshold for daily overtime and meal and rest breaks is different than the threshold for weekly overtime.  That said, it is expected that California, and its current legislative makeup, will quickly adapt to provide the most overtime and employee benefits as possible.  And, even if they don’t, with the rising California minimum wage (set to hit $15 in 2022), it will be a short lived discrepancy.  It would also not be surprising if California takes the position that it must follow the more stringent federal regulation even for the purposes of  California overtime even if California does nothing to amend it own regulation.  As such, caution is needed.

With wage and hour lawsuits on a dramatic rise, there is no doubt that this new regulation will create confusion and will increase the pool of plaintiffs eligible to make wage and hour claims. This likely means overtime for plaintiff’s attorneys.  If you have questions related to this new regulation and its effects on your business, you should call your employment attorney.

This Legal Update / Bulletin is for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. The hypothetical question is posed to illustrate a point and does not contemplate all potential legal considerations This update should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Lettuce Get Back to Work

Q:     I run a custom farming operation where we often need our employees to work over 8 hours in a day during our busy seasons. Most of our employee’s understand that the short window of harvest means a relatively short season of long hours. However, I heard that a bill was introduced in Sacramento with a strong likelihood of passing which would impose much stricter overtime requirements for farm workers.  Tell me it is not sow![1]

A:     You heard correctly. On April 6, the Assembly Labor & Employment Committee passed AB 2757 which seeks to “phase-in” overtime requirements for agricultural workers over the next four years, beginning in 2017. The impacts of this bill are feared to increase labor costs associated with farming and the agricultural industry. First, AB 2757 would require agricultural employers to pay overtime premium pay (at a rate of 1.5 times an employee’s regular rate of pay) to their employees after 8 hours in any work day, and 40 hours in any work week.[2]  Currently, the operative wage order for farm workers only requires daily overtime if the employees works more than 10 hours.  Second, it would require premium pay at the rate of two times the employee’s regular rate of pay for any work after 12 hours in a day. Currently, there is no double time for farm workers.  Furthermore, AB 2757 will repeal the agricultural exemption from the “one days’ rest in seven” requirement in the Labor Code, requiring agricultural employers to provide employees at least one day off each work week even during peak season.

Proponents characterized AB 2757 as “clean-up” legislation righting decades of unfair exclusion of farm workers from the right to 8-hour work days and 40-hour work weeks.[3] The Farm Bureau and a broad coalition of employer groups opposed the bill, arguing that the legislation will actually reduce farm workers’ income as affected employers will elect to have employees work 8 hours per day and avoid overtime premium pay, rather than the current practice of paying workers at their regular rate of pay for as many as 10 hours a day for as many as 6 days a week during busy harvest periods when enough work is available to work those hours.[4]

The farming interests argue the current law was meant to account for the variable nature and seasonality of farming.

AB 2757 passed the committee by a 5-2 party-line vote and was referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Here, at Baker Manock & Jensen we will continue to track the bill as well as others that affect Valley businesses.





This Legal Update / Bulletin is for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. The hypothetical question is posed to illustrate a point and does not contemplate all potential legal considerations This update should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.


I am woman, hear me score.

Q:    I read in the paper this morning that the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team has filed a claim with the EEOC against the U.S. Soccer Federation, demanding equal pay. If male sports teams are the ones bringing in all the revenue, can female athletes really support the argument that they deserve the same pay?

A:     It seems very possible. First, it has been reported that the women’s soccer team has actually generated more money than the men’s team, exceeding the men’s revenue by $20 million in 2015.[1] Second, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) is a federal agency that has been progressive in addressing workplace discrimination. The EEOC’s latest interpretations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the Equal Pay Act (“EPA”), indicate a likely victory for the women’s team.

Under the EPA and FLSA, male and female employees must be paid equal wages for substantially equal jobs. Specifically, when a job performed under similar working conditions requires equal skill, effort and responsibility, an employer cannot discriminate between employees on the basis of sex by paying unequal wages.[2]  Similar, but even stricter, rules apply under California’s new Fair Pay Act (“FPA”), where the requirement applies even when the employees work at different sites or have different titles.[3]

The EPA permits wage differentiation where the pay is measured by quality or quantity of production, or under a seniority and merit system, provided sex plays no part in the wage differential.[4] However, as the women’s team brings in more revenue, and has had far more victories than the men’s team, the U.S. Soccer Federation would be hard-pressed to argue that a wage differential based on the difference in “quality” or “skill” between the two teams had nothing to do with sex. As such, it seems unlikely that the EEOC would accept a merit system defense. It appears that the U.S. Soccer Federation anticipates as much, based on a statement it released on March 31, stating that its “efforts to be advocates for women’s soccer are unwavering,” and it is committed to negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement for the women’s team at the end of 2016.

Accordingly, the U.S. Women’s National Team’s recent success may have won them not only a shiny World Cup, but higher paycheck, too.


[2] (29 U.S.C. § 206(d)(1).)

[3] (Cal. Lab. Code § 1197.5.)

[4] See footnote 2.

This Legal Update / Bulletin is for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. The hypothetical question is posed to illustrate a point and does not contemplate all potential legal considerations This update should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Discussing Women’s Hormones in the Workplace is No Djoking Matter

Q:     If Novak Djokovic was your employee could you terminate him after he stated men should be paid more money than women and made comments about women’s hormones?

A:     Maybe.  But, it is an interesting question because it pits two employment law principles against one another – equal employment v. concerted activity.  As you may be aware, the men’s world number one tennis player indicated that men deserved more prize money at tournaments because they draw more fans.  He then went on to say:

As I said, I have tremendous respect for what women in global sport are doing and achieving. It’s knowing what they have to go through with their bodies, and their bodies are much different than men’s bodies. They have to go through a lot of different things that we don’t have to go through. You know, the hormones and different stuff, we don’t need to go into details. Ladies know what I am talking about.

As most people are aware, there is significant federal and state law that protects against gender discrimination and harassment.  In compliance with these laws, most employers have policies prohibiting statements that indicate one gender is superior to the other or make reference to one’s gender’s anatomy.  As such,  Djokovic’s statements, particularly the reference to bodies and hormones, would likely fly in the face of these policies and laws.

From an employment law perspective, a question arises as to whether Djokovic would be protected to complain that he (and the rest of the men) should receive more money because (in his opinion) they generate more revenue through fan demand.  Statements regarding “working conditions” are protected under California law and “concerted activity” is protected under Federal law.  “Working conditions” and “concerted activity” both have broad definitions that would certainly protect an employee’s ability to have a platform to discuss why he thinks he is entitled to more money.   It is unclear whether the employer could actually make the changes to the pay structure without violating the law, particularly in light of California’s Fair Pay Act.  Accordingly, this controversy is a good reminder to review our previous blog on California’s new Fair Pay Act that went into effect in 2016.[1]

Of course, all of this is somewhat theoretical because Djokovic is not an employee of the ATP (Associated Tennis Professionals).  That said, his comments certainly did not help his own personal brand.  What is weird, however, is that a sport’s star said something controversial[2], and that he later apologized for it.[3]




This Legal Update / Bulletin is for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. The hypothetical question is posed to illustrate a point and does not contemplate all potential legal considerations This update should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Employees search for the pot of gold – how not to get pinched by an employee’s request for information.

Q:        It seems that I do not have the luck of the Irish this St. Patrick’s Day.  I just received a request from a former employee for his entire personnel file and wage statements.  I am concerned that this employee is searching for gold at the end of a rainbow in the form of a lawsuit against my company.  Do I have to provide this employee his personnel file and wage statements?

A:        Unfortunately, yes.  Pursuant to Labor Code section 1198.5, an employee has a right to inspect personnel files, and Labor Code section 226 requires employers to provide copies of the information required to be contained on wage statements.  In 2013, the Legislature expanded and clarified these inspection rights.  The law now provides that copies of wage information can be in the form of computer-generated information.  An employer must provide copies of the personnel file upon request. Additionally, an employee may designate a representative to receive the information.

As the employer, you have 30 calendar days from the date you receive the request to provide copies of the personnel file pursuant to Labor Code section 1198.5.  But, you only have 21 days from the date of the request to provide copies of the wage information pursuant to Labor Code section 226.  There is a $750 penalty for non-compliance to each statute.

It is likely that your employee may be seeking some green by making this request.  Often these requests precede a demand letter or civil lawsuit.  This is particularly true if it comes from a former employee.  Therefore, upon receipt of such a request, in writing or orally, make sure you contact your employment attorney as quick as a leprechaun to properly comply with these laws.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from the BMJ employment law team!

This Legal Update / Bulletin is for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. The hypothetical question is posed to illustrate a point and does not contemplate all potential legal considerations This update should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.



ALERT: A Valley business and a cautionary small business tale

It was recently reported that a local Valley restaurant has been ordered to pay employees $150,000 in back wages and penalties.[1]  This is another cautionary tale of how employment related lawsuits and government enforcement can lead to extensive liability and shudder small businesses in struggling areas.  While the newspaper article seems to suggest that simple steps can be taken to avoid liability for wage and hour violations, this is not always the case.  Even attentive and cautious business owners can get sucked into lawsuits or government enforcement actions.  Indeed, back in 2013 an article in the Huffington Post stated that wage and hour lawsuits had risen 432 percent over the last 20 years![2]

The last three years seem to have shown no signs of slowing down – particularly in California – where wage and hour laws are even more employee friendly than Federal laws.  While some employer errors are obvious and easy to correct going forward, others are not.  The number and technical nature of wage and hour laws make it increasingly difficult for employers to maintain compliance. Perhaps what is even more concerning is that a company does not need to commit an extensive amount of violations to have liability reach six (or even) seven figures.  The large nature of these figures stems from the three year statute of limitations attached to most wage violations.  Furthermore, a violation of one statute usually means that an employer violated other statutes, sometimes for the same exact conduct.  Additionally, penalties are often imposed in addition to back pay.  And, once a violation is discovered, the only way to correct it is to pay the employees for every violation and penalty that took place during the previous three years.

A common strategy for Plaintiff’s and former employees is to indicate that they worked off the clock.  This is extremely problematic because even companies that keep very good records are left defending a lawsuit that is “employer said versus employee said.”  While ultimately there may need to be legislative changes to ensure that well meaning employers are not put out of business by wage and hour lawsuits, there are some suggestions that employers are encouraged to take.  These suggestions are not fail safe and will not mean an employer cannot still be sued or brought into a government enforcement action for an alleged violation, but they do put the employer in the best defensive posture when one occurs.

  • Make sure your exempt employees are truly exempt:  Simply paying your employee a salary does not mean they are necessarily exempt from overtime and meal breaks.  In order to be exempt, employees must meet both the salary test and the duties test.  Because the salary test is based on a multiple of minimum wage, employers must continually review their exempt employees salaries to ensure compliance.  Currently, in addition to meeting the duties test, an employee must be paid at least $41,600 per year to be an exempt employee.
  • Ensure employees are encouraged to take meal periods/rest breaks:  Often the allegation in a wage and hour case is that employees did not receive their meal and rest period.  Generally Employees are entitled to a meal period every 5 hours and a rest break for every 4 hours worked (or major fraction thereof).  Make sure an employee’s workload does not prevent them from taking their meal and rest breaks.  If an employee misses a meal period, simply pay the one hour pay penalty in the next pay period.
  • Make it easy for an employee to correct their time:  If there is an error on the time clock (or an employee forgot to clock in), make sure there is an mechanism where an employee can easily make sure their pay accurately reflects the time they actually worked.
  • Pay all compensable time:  This concept is getting trickier all of the time.  The increase in use of technology and mobile devices makes it difficult to ensure no work is conducted after the employee leaves the workplace.  To that end, employees should be informed that they are not to conduct work when they are not clocked in and that if they do conduct work after hours, they make sure and record it the next day.  Employers should be very careful about giving non-exempt employees mobile devices or after hours access to the computer system.
  • Be wary of classifying somebody as an independent contractor: Simply calling an individual an independent contractor does not mean that they are one.  Indeed, an individual performing work is presumed to be an employee.  In order for an individual to be properly classified as an independent contractor he or she must meet an extensive test.
  • Keep accurate time records:  Time records and wage statements will be an employer’s main line of defense in a wage and hour action.  Do not automatically deduct meal periods, and be wary of hand written timesheets that always reflect nice round hours.
  • Have policies which accurately reflect the law and have employees acknowledge the same: An employer’s next best defense, other than keeping accurate pay records, is to have strong policies that inform the employees of their rights.  It is more difficult for an employee to claim that the employer prevented an employee from taking a meal and rest break when the employers policies say the exact opposite.
  • Get an employment law attorney involved early:  Obviously prophylactic measures are better than a defense.  It is better not to have a violation than to defend against a lawsuit.  An attorney or HR professional can help set up your business to prevent violations from occurring in the first place.  But, if an employee does make a claim, an attorney’s early involvement can save an employer a significant amount of funds through early resolution.



In light of the Zika virus scare, can I require an employee traveling to the summer Olympics in Brazil to get medical clearance before returning to work?

Q:     I have an employee that is planning to visit Brazil for the summer Olympics.  As a huge sports fan, I am very excited for my employee… U-S-A- … U-S-A!  But, as a bone fide germ-a-phobe and an employer that feels responsible for his employees’ wellbeing, I am scared of the Zika virus, which has been largely reported in the host nation.

Can I require an employee traveling to the Olympics to get medical clearance before returning to work?  Or, would such a request violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”)?  Are there any other options?

A:     The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) provides specific guidance regarding permissible actions that an employer may take during a pandemic.  While the guidance is not binding legal authority, it sets forth established ADA principles that are relevant to these types of questions.  The guidance notes that an employer is permitted under the ADA to require an employee who has been away from the workplace during a pandemic to provide a doctor’s note certifying fitness to work.   It is unclear whether this is limited to employees who have been out sick, or if it also includes those who have been traveling.

Note, that the ADA only allows employers to request medical information or order a medical examination when an employer has a reasonable belief (based on objective evidence) that an employee poses a “direct threat” because of a medical condition. That “threat” must be job-related, and the requested medical information must be consistent with a business necessity.[1] Because the Zika virus is not transmitted from person-to-person in casual contact, the ADA standard may not be satisfied in many job settings.[2]  That could change if the employee works in an agricultural seating where certain types of mosquitos are present.

That said, the EEOC guidance also notes, “[i]f the CDC or state or local public health officials recommend that people who visit specified locations remain at home for several days until it is clear they do not have pandemic influenza symptoms, an employer may ask whether employees are returning from these locations, even if the travel was personal.”  As such, the employer should check with the CDC and determine if it is recommending that employees stay home after returning from Brazil.  So far, public health agencies have imposed no quarantine on people returning from areas in which the Zika virus has been found.

Like any agency-provided guidance, it does not address all situations.  For example, the EEOC guidance assumes that there is a “pandemic.”  What if the illness is not considered a “pandemic” but just a dangerous situation?  These types of questions can be novel and should be vetted with your employment attorney.  However, reviewing materials like the EEOC’s Guidance on Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the EEOC’s Guidance on Disability-Related Inquiries and Medical Examination of Employees Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), is a good place to start.

In addition to Zika, you may also be concerned if the employee goes swimming![3]




Three Super Bowl inspired questions for your halftime discussions.

This is a Super BMJ Employment Answer – Three Super Bowl inspired questions for your halftime discussions.

Q.     After the Super Bowl, can the Broncos fire Peyton Manning for being too old?  Isn’t age discrimination illegal?

A.     Generally, an individual is not in a protected class for age until they are over 40 years old.  Peyton Manning turns 40 on March 24th.  At that point, the Broncos (according to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967) could not take into account Peyton’s age when making an employment decision.  It would seem the Broncos could not choose a younger quarterback just because he is younger – it would have to be based on other performance factors. (29 U.S.C. §§ 621-634.)  Luckily for the Broncos, Peyton has not reached his golden years just yet, and short arming throws and the inability to throw spirals is not a protected class.  As such, they could probably move on…  It would be interesting, however, if he has a great Super Bowl, and he outperforms his back up in the Fall.  Then what?  Mr. Elway/Broncos, my number is on the blog site.

Q.     Is the expansion of the Rooney rule (a requirement to interview a minority candidate before hiring coaches and executives) to include a requirement to interview women, legal?  Should it be extended for LBGT individuals?  What about players and certain positions on field?

A.     It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a job applicant for being a member of protected class. (42 U.S.C. § 2000 et seq.)  It is also illegal to base hiring decisions on stereotypes and assumptions about a person’s race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.  The interesting component of the Rooney rule (and its proposed expansion) is that it does not purport to exclude any protected class, but to simply ensure that certain protected classes are always part of the interview pool.[1]  As such, it is likely lawful.  That said, when race or other protected classes are involved it is always tricky.  One could argue that, by specifically including one particular protected class (aka women), this could potentially be to the patent exclusion of other protected classes (aka discrimination).  An interesting case could be made if an organization decided to only interview three people and somebody was excluded from the interview process because they didn’t belong to the protected class that the NFL is trying to promote through this new rule.

On the field, physical size, skill and strength generally determine who gets what position.  This would seem to make it difficult to always include older Americans or women for many positions on the football field. However, it could be argued, that certain stereotypes have persisted in the NFL (even though some of them have been regularly broken as of late) such as a Caucasian quarterbacks/kickers or African American wide receivers.  So far, there are no lawsuits that I am aware of, but if somebody felt they weren’t given a chance because of race or gender despite having the requisite skill set for a certain position, a lawsuit is certainly plausible.

Q.     Cam Newton inferred that some people don’t like him because of his race, what is the NFL’s requirement to protect its players from third party harassment such as from fans or sports talk radio?

A.     Employers are generally responsible for ensuring a harassment-free workplace for employees, regardless if the alleged harasser is a co-worker, manager, independent contractor, customer… or fan.  In this case, Newton has remarked that being a black quarterback “may scare a lot of people.”[2]  If those people are fans, and they shout epithets, what could the NFL do?  Or, if radio show hosts pick on him for being African American.  For starters, they are required to take reasonable remedial measures.  It would be easy to eject the offending fans from the stadium and to issue social media responses asserting that they do not tolerate such behavior.  They could also pull endorsements of radio shows/stations.



This Legal Update / Bulletin is for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. The hypothetical question is posed to illustrate a point and does not contemplate all potential legal considerations This update should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.


Can employees like the Uber-attacking doctor be fired?

Q:     Recently, a Florida doctor made headlines when a video went viral of her boozy tantrum attacking her Uber driver on a night out.[1]  The doctor has profusely apologized for her conduct and blames a broken heart for the incident.  Unfortunately, her medical training provided no cure for this type of cardiac injury – other than apparently a self prescription for ample amounts of vodka.  Should her career still be on life support even though her conduct occurred outside of the workplace?

A:     Probably, yes.  Simply because an employee’s conduct is off-duty does not mean that it is protected.  Formerly, there was an argument that Labor Code sections 96(k) and 98.6 created a statutory authority for an employee to file a claim if they were terminated for lawful off-duty conduct.  However, the case of Grinzi v. San Diego Hospice Corp (2004) 120 Cal.App.4th 72 held that the Labor Code does not establish a public policy against terminations not otherwise protected by the Labor Code.

That being said, there are still concerns.  Primarily, an employer must make assurances that it treat all employees the same.  If the employer treats one group (e.g. woman, heterosexuals, etc.) different there could be a violation of Title VII or the FEHA.  An employer also cannot terminate an employee based on conduct that is otherwise protected by the Labor Code such as political speech or expressions of sexual orientation.  Here, it would seem a stretch to suggest that her actions were in anyway protected.  Currently, a broken heart is still not recognized as an ADA disability.


Stand-up and clap, or stay seated and scowl: The State of Being an Employer

Q:        Wednesday night, President Obama gave his last State of the Union Address.  Did he provide any insight into potential new laws that will affect employers?

A:        The State of the Union is always great political theatre.  I particularly enjoy when one side of the chamber stands and claps while the other side sits and shakes their heads.  This got me thinking, what if the chamber was full of just employers instead of politicians?  Would, or should, those employers have stood up and clapped or stayed seated and shook their heads?

The stand-up and clap moments – the President stated that he “believe[s] a thriving private sector is the lifeblood of our economy, . . .[and he] think[s] there are outdated regulations that need to be changed, and there’s red tape that needs to be cut.” Well said,…..Hooray!  But, like every great infomercial (er….State of Union Address)….there is more.

The sit and shake heads moments –the President then seemed to suggest more red tape would be added.  To that end, he wanted to “give everyone a fair shot at opportunity and security in this new economy.”  This sounds great, but the “new economy” generally is a euphemism for what is commonly referred to as the “sharing economy.”  As you may be aware, Uber has been the poster company for the “new/sharing economy” and is currently under attack for its designation of drivers as independent contractors instead of “employees.”  As such, the President’s reference to a “fair shot and security” is likely a reference at continuing to limit the ability to classify individuals as independent contractors thereby ensuring more individuals fall under the rubric of labor laws, including overtime.  This would seem to make sense, because it would be consistent with his past administration initiatives.

Additionally, the President noted the “attacks on collective bargaining” cannot go unanswered without hurting working families.  This is seemingly in reference to both strengthening the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and a potential disproval of a current Supreme Court case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association et al., in which oral arguments were heard on Monday regarding compulsory union dues.  Generally, strengthening “collective bargaining” is not interpreted as pro-employer (i.e. locally – the Gerawen Farming case).

Another sit and shake your head moment came when the President made reference and commitment to such legislative aims as paid leave and raising the minimum wage.  In this regard, perhaps the President is simply jealous of California.  As you are aware, California recently enacted a new law in 2015 that gives all employees up to 3 days or 24 hours of paid sick leave and minimum wage just went up from $9.00 to $10.00 on January 1, 2016.

Finally, as we have learned, President Obama is not afraid to use his executive order power to further his agenda. So, it would not a be a surprise to see additional actions, like his proposal to increase the salary minimum for exempt employees to $50,440.00.

As we have seen in the past decade, we predict 2016 will have no shortage of employment laws to make employers sit, shake their heads, and in some instances, want to curl up in the fetal position and cry. Nonetheless, as our economy improves we hope 2016 is your best employment year yet, and you have many reasons to stand-up and clap.