Employee relationships constantly evolving

The legal status of workers in Minnesota and throughout the United States is evolving, and long-standing assumptions may not always apply. Actions by the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board, among others, can change requirements for wages and other important transactions between employers and employees. Failure to comply with these changes may have serious legal and financial implications.

For example, the U.S. Department of Labor issued new guidance governing the classification of workers as independent contractors who may be exempt from certain wage protections. The agency is also seeking input on standards governing payment of employees for the off-schedule and off-premise use of electronic devices. It issued proposed regulations expanding overtime protections for white collar employees under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

Most recently, the National Labor Relations Board issued a decision refining its criteria for determining joint-employer status. It is believed this agency’s opinion may lead to changes for franchises, temporary agencies and other types of business relationships.

To avoid or prevail in litigation with state and federal agencies, businesses should be prepared to operate with these and other changes. As with other labor standards, businesses have to keep documentation, train employees and act consistently.

Failing to understand keep up with evolving laws and regulations may not mitigate or prevent the imposition of financial penalties and other sanctions. Any involvement in a prosecution or business dispute can hamper a business’ ability to compete and remain profitable.

To avoid or minimize these problems, it’s a good idea for Minnesota businesses to consult with business attorneys. Qualified business attorneys can advise companies on how to comply with changes in the law and deal with new challenges and disputes when they arise.

Source: Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, “Small Business Notes, July 2015,” Retrieved Sept. 5, 2015

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