Kansas News & Analysis

  • Tread cautiously when hiring unpaid interns

    Summer provides an opportune time for students to receive real-life experience in the workplace and for companies to reap the benefits of unpaid interns' enthusiasm (and free labor). Right? Maybe. But employers with unpaid internships must follow the rules provided by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Otherwise, the individual your company has classified as an unpaid intern may actually be an employee who is entitled to wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and protections from discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

  • Supreme Court ruling raises stakes in Title VII claims

    If an employee files a timely Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charge, can she later raise new discrimination allegations after the filing deadline has passed? That's the issue addressed in a new decision from the U.S. Supreme Court. Spoiler alert: The answer is no, unless the employer—or more accurately, its attorney—doesn't notice. To understand the Court's ruling, it's helpful to understand the EEOC's role in discrimination claims.

  • DOL updates opinion on independent contractors for the gig economy

    Under the Trump administration, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has taken a decidedly industry-friendly approach to the independent contractor analysis. If there was any doubt before, that was made clear by its recent issuance of a whopping 10-page opinion letter examining the nature of the relationship between a virtual marketplace company (think Uber) and the "gig" workers they employ (e.g., Uber drivers).

  • EEOC rejects 'boys will be boys' excuse for same-sex harassment on construction site

    Atlas Electrical Construction, Inc., a New Mexico electrical contracting company, has agreed to pay $195,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Let's take a closer look at the case.

  • Agency Action

    NLRB reveals rulemaking plans. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in May announced its rulemaking priorities, which include proceeding with its rulemaking on a standard for joint employment. The Board's agenda also includes plans for rulemaking in the following areas: representation-case procedures; standards for blocking charges, voluntary recognition, and the formation of bargaining relationships in the construction industry; the standard for determining whether students who perform services at private colleges or universities in connection with their studies should be considered employees; and standards for access to an employer's private property.

  • Kansas News In Brief

    Oral agreement honored, upheld. In Ed Dewitte Insurance Agency, Inc. v. Financial Associates Midwest, Inc., 308 Kan. 1065, 427 P.3d 25 (2018), the Kansas Supreme Court held that full performance by one party to an oral agreement was sufficient to remove it from the statute of frauds.

  • Workplace Trends

    Think you've made a hire? Maybe not. A survey from staffing firm Robert Half shows that more than a quarter of workers (28%) have backed out of a job offer after accepting the position. Why would a jobseeker do that? The survey says 44% of those changing their minds backed out after receiving a better offer from another company. For 27%, a counteroffer from their current employer led to the change of heart. In 19% of the cases, the jobseeker reported hearing bad things about the company after receiving the offer. The cities where jobseekers are more likely to renege are San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, Austin, and Miami.

  • Pay data reporting is back (for now)

    After a tortured history, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) pay data collection requirements are back—at least for now. In accordance with some recent federal court rulings, all employers with 100 or more employees must submit summarized pay data for all employees for 2017 and 2018 to the EEOC by September 30, 2019. The government is appealing the court rulings, and there is still a possibility that the pay data reporting will not happen. But pending the appeal and further details regarding the format and process for reporting the information, employers should begin to collect and review 2017 and 2018 pay data and clean up any errors.

  • Investigative failures may be costly

    Most HR professionals know that employers must conduct a "prompt, thorough, and fair investigation" of harassment allegations. Despite that widespread knowledge, some employers continue to pay the consequences for investigative and remedial missteps. For example, in March, the Oregon Legislature settled claims filed by the state labor department on behalf of eight women who alleged that a former senator groped and verbally harassed women in the capitol,including other lawmakers, lobbyists, and student interns who worked in his office.

  • Kansas Supreme Court provides guidance on injuries due to idiopathic causes

    The Kansas Supreme Court has finally defined injuries arising from "idiopathic causes," which are not covered under the Kansas Workers' Compensation Act. Before the recently decided case, if an employee sustained an injury due to an unknown cause at work, the injury likely wouldn't qualify for workers' compensation benefits. The new definition of idiopathic causes expands the list of injuries employers must cover.