U.S. House of Rep. Follows NJ to Protect Against Discrimination Against the Unemployed

In May of this year I wrote a blog about N.J.S.A. 34:8B-1 et seq.  –  a new New Jersey law  prohibiting  employers from discriminating against the unemployed in print and internet job advertisements.   Now, the U.S House of Representatives has proposed a similar law – the   “Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011” (HR 2501(1) – the “Act”) which protects the unemployed from “discrimination” shown by potential employers. Under the Act, employers with 15 or more employees (including staffing firms) are prohibited from “discriminating” against job applicants due to their employment status.  Discriminatory acts include refusing to consider an applicant due to his/her unemployed status, impeding access to information available to the unemployed regarding jobs, and placing ads that state that the unemployed “need not apply.”  Unlike the related NJ law, the Act (i) provides for a private right of action, (ii) delineates a very broad range of remedies (including the payment of attorney fees) and (iii) includes a whistleblower protection provision. While the New Jersey act was bad enough in that it is just one more seemingly meaningless governmental … Continue reading

DOL Goes High Tech. to Track FLSA Violations

In March 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) requested a $13.3 million increase in its budget, the bulk of which is slated towards increased enforcement and regulation of wage and hour laws (namely FLSA).  The DOL has sought 107 additional full-time personnel to advance its crusade against wage and hour violations and, according to the DOL, is planning to conduct an additional 3,250 investigations in 2012. As part of its increased enforcement plan, the DOL recently launched a timesheet application for smartphones to empower employees to independently track the hours they work and determine the wages they are owed.  Via the application, employees can track regular work hours, break time and any overtime hours for one or more employers.  It also permits users to add comments related to their work hours; view a summary of work hours in a daily, weekly and monthly format; and email the summary of work hours and gross pay as an attachment.  According to the DOL, “[t]his information could prove invaluable during a Wage and Hour Division investigation when an employer has failed to … Continue reading

Nonprofits Losing Tax Status

In 2006 Congress passed the Pension Protection Act (“PPA”), mandating that most tax-exempt organizations file an annual information return with the IRS.  The PPA imposed upon small organizations a filing requirement for the first time in 2007.  More importantly, the PPA automatically revokes an entity’s tax-exempt status if it fails to file required returns for three consecutive years. Recently, the IRS announced that approximately 275,000 organizations had automatically lost their tax-exempt status under the PPA because they failed to file the required annual reports for three consecutive years.  While the IRS believes a vast majority of these organizations are defunct, a large portion is likely active organizations that just failed to file their annual returns, or were unaware of the requirement.  A list of the organizations that have lost their tax exempt status may be found on the IRS’s website (www.IRS.gov).   Being on the list should have no impact on donors who previously made deductible contributions to the auto-revoked organizations.  However, going forward organizations that are on the auto-revocation list that do not receive reinstatement are no longer eligible to … Continue reading