Nicole A. Bernabo

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Thank you Jeff, Pam and our Followers

  I have decided to begin the next phase of my career inhouse practicing labor and employment law.  Therefore, it is time for my last post, albeit a goodbye, as an author of this blog.  You are in good hands as my colleague, Matt Miklave, has graciously agreed to take over the labor and employment … Continue Reading

Employee Separation Agreements: Is Your Company’s Agreement A Target For The EEOC?

When manufacturers determine that it is necessary to let go of an employee there is often an assessment of risk and a decision about whether a severance package should be offered in exchange for a separation agreement that contains a general release and waiver of claims against the company.  Given the recent trend in litigation … Continue Reading

Expansion of the Joint Employer Standard May Challenge Manufacturers

In this installment of the blog’s 360, I am going to spin off the temporary employee discussion and address the joint employer relationship.  Joint employment has certainly been a big Mcissue for McDonald’s these days and one that manufacturers should also keep on their radar.  The National Labor Relations Board recently issued a complaint against … Continue Reading

Expansion Of Manufacturing Reinvestment Account Program Helps Connecticut Manufacturers

Today Governor Malloy signed legislation that expanded Connecticut’s Manufacturing Reinvestment Account (MRA) program, doubling the amount of tax benefits available and expanding the definition.  In 2010, Connecticut was the first state in the nation to begin offering MRA’s which are similar to individual retirement accounts for businesses.  The tax benefit of establishing an MRA includes … Continue Reading

Family Medical Leave Act Webinar: From Vegas Trips to Fake Doctors’ Slips

As virtually every HR professional will tell you, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is one of the most confusing and complicated employment laws to administer. While providing job-protected leave for employees with serious health conditions or other qualifying events, it also presents the opportunity for misuse—or blatant abuse—by employees who want to mask … Continue Reading

What is compensable “work” time for purposes of calculating employee pay?

Actual productive labor is what a manufacturer may think is “work”.  No work, no pay.  However, courts have interpreted federal and state wage and hour laws much more broadly.    In general, a “workday” means the period between the time on any particular day when such employee commences his/her “principal activity” and the time on that day … Continue Reading

Racial Harassment In The Workplace: What Is The Appropriate Response?

By now, almost everyone has heard about the atrocious racist rant by Donald Sterling, the owner (soon to be former owner) of the Los Angeles Clippers.  Sterling’s public reaction to these comments going viral is just as reprehensible. On the other hand, the NBA Commissioner’s response was a timely and appropriate corporate response: The views … Continue Reading

Temporary Workers: Properly Sharing Control Is Key To The Relationship

  Manufacturers are increasingly using temporary employees (“temps”) to supplement the work force.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the temporary workforce has increased exponentially.  Manufacturers  previously used temps as a stopgap for labor, but are now routinely using temps to supplement the workforce.  Our 360 post this week touches on the issues associated … Continue Reading

Unionized or Nonunionized, How Might the NLRB’s Recent Activity Impact Employers?

The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) has increased its focus on employer policies and practices – nonunion and union alike – that could be read to “chill” employees’ rights to engage in protected, concerted activity.  Hot button issues, based on a recent NLRB General Counsel Memo issued last month, include:  whether employees should have a … Continue Reading

Severance Pay, Connecticut Minimum Wage Hike and Employee Background Checks

Some quick hits this week on the employment front for manufacturers: U.S. Supreme Court Rules Severance Pay Is Taxable The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that employers must pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on severance packages given to workers who were laid off involuntarily.  In a unanimous decision, the Court ruled 8-0 that … Continue Reading

How Safe Are Your Trade Secrets?

In today’s competitive marketplace trade secrets are an organization’s most valuable asset.  The only way to ensure protection of a trade secret is to keep the information confidential.  Are you taking adequate measures to protect your company’s assets? Who has access to the company’s most important trade secret information, and how is it currently protected? Is this … Continue Reading

NLRB Proposes Rules To Provide More Employee Information To Unions And To Speed Up The Election Process

On February 4th, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced revisions to certain labor representation rules that would significantly impact both nonunionized and unionized manufacturers.  Although these rules are proposed and not considered final, manufacturing companies should pay close attention as the agency rulemaking process moves forward this year. The revisions that the NLRB is … Continue Reading

Continued EEOC Scrutiny Over Inflexible Leave Policies

Based on recent 2014 reports, the EEOC is continuing its trend of pursuing lawsuits against large employers who have allegedly violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to provide employees with reasonable accommodations in the form of leave.  The common thread in most of the cases is the employer’s unwillingness to be flexible.  For example, the EEOC … Continue Reading

Looking forward to 2014 for Manufacturers – Part II

My labor and employment watchlist for 2014 includes compliance with wage and hour issues and projected FLSA rulemaking, practices and policies involving LGBT individuals, and new OFCCP regulations involving the employment of veterans and individuals with disabilities. PAYROLL PRACTICES AND WAGE AND HOUR EXPOSURE Wage and hour issues are still on the watch list for … Continue Reading

Year-End Legal Reminders For Manufacturers/Distributors

As we approach the end of 2013, here is a list of legal reminders that we often think about with respect to our manufacturing/distributing clients: Pam (OSHA/Environmental): Resiliency – This will be one of the new watch words in 2014.  It means being prepared for the unexpected, like unusual weather events.  Is your business prepared?  … Continue Reading

New Online OSHA Complaint Filing Process Now Active For Whistleblowers

OSHA recently announced its new online complaint filing process for whistleblowers making it easier to file complaints against manufacturers on a 24-hour basis.  OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program enforces the whistleblower provisions of more than twenty whistleblower statutes protecting employees who report violations of various workplace safety, airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health … Continue Reading

New Proposed Recordkeeping Regs from OSHA, and a Friendly Reminder on the ADA

Two short posts today – new proposed regs, and a reminder Pam: OSHA is proposing significant changes to the recordkeeping associated with injuries and illnesses.  OSHA is proposing a rule that will require electronic reporting on a much more frequent basis.  First, OSHA is proposing that workplaces more than 250 employees who are already required … Continue Reading

Impact of NLRB General Counsel Richard Griffin’s Appointment

The U.S. Senate recently appointed Richard Griffin to be the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel.  The significance of this appointment should not be overlooked.  The general counsel is the person responsible for investigating and deciding which labor laws to prosecute.  Griffin will therefore have primary authority in establishing the Board’s agenda.  With Griffin’s pro-union … Continue Reading

Contingency Plans During the Federal Government Shutdown

The unfortunate news of last week – the federal government shutdown – continues and the operating status of the government remains unpredictable.  Contingency plans for all federal government agencies are available here .  This post summarizes the current plans of some key labor and employment agencies, and the federal courts, during the government closure.  United States Citizen and … Continue Reading

IRS Issues Guidance Recognizing Same-Sex Marriages

The impact of United States v. Windsor, No. 12-307 (U.S. June 26, 2013), a case we reported on in an earlier post is far reaching and left many unanswered questions about same-sex spousal benefits.  The IRS recently responded to some of these questions by issuing Revenue Ruling 2013-17 and addressed how this change would affect the numerous special protections … Continue Reading

New Rules from US Labor Department on Employing Veterans and People with Disabilities Will Impact Manufacturers

On August 27th, the U.S. Department of Labor announced two final rules to improve hiring and employment of veterans and for people with disabilities. One rule updates requirements under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA); the other updates those under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  These laws require … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Roundup – Part II

The Manufacturing Law Blog provides timely commentary on issues of importance to manufacturers and distributors.  Contributors from the law firm of Robinson & Cole LLP are corporate compliance and litigation attorney, Jeff White; environmental, health and safety attorney, Pam Elkow;  and labor and employment attorney, Nicole Bernabo. As Part II of our U.S. Supreme Court roundup, this … Continue Reading

Employer Reporting Mandate For Affordable Health Care Delayed

The Manufacturing Law Blog provides timely commentary on issues of importance to manufacturers and distributors.  Contributors from the law firm of Robinson & Cole LLP are corporate compliance and litigation attorney, Jeff White; environmental, health and safety attorney, Pam Elkow;  and labor and employment attorney, Nicole Bernabo. As a result of the overwhelming feedback from stakeholders, the … Continue Reading

The U.S. Supreme Court Roundup – Part I – The Definition Of “Supervisor” Is Clarified For Purposes Of Title VII Liability

The Manufacturing Law Blog provides timely commentary on issues of importance to manufacturers and distributors.  Contributors from the law firm of Robinson & Cole LLP are corporate compliance and litigation attorney, Jeff White; environmental, health and safety attorney, Pam Elkow;  and labor and employment attorney, Nicole Bernabo. Our U.S. Supreme Court roundup posts will discuss select employment cases decided this term that … Continue Reading