Monthly Archives: October 2016

Florida’s Minimum Wage Will Increase On January 1, 2017

On January 1, 2017, Florida’s minimum wage will increase from $8.05 an hour to $8.10 an hour.  Even though many employers are currently focused on getting ready for the December 1, 2016, increase in the minimum salary requirement for most white collar exemptions, they should not overlook the increase in the minimum wage to be paid to their non-exempt workers. Failing to pay non-exempt employees Florida’s statutory minimum wage can result claims against employers pursuant to section 24, Article X of the State Constitution and section 448.110, Florida Statutes. The tip credit that can be taken by Florida employers with tipped employees will remain the same, but the direct wage paid to tipped employees will increase from $5.03 to $5.08.

In addition, to raising the minimum wage, Florida employers are required to post a minimum wage notice in a conspicuous and accessible location. You can download the 2017 Florida Minimum Wage Notice from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s website. This notice requirement is in addition to the requirement that employers post regarding the federal minimum wage. There are commercially available Florida specific “all in one posters” that satisfy both the federal and state notice requirements. The 2017 “all in one” posters should be available in the near future.

Jennifer Fowler-Hermes
jfowler-hermes@williamsparker.com
941-552-2558

Is “Locker Room Talk” in the Workplace Sexual Harassment?

The discourse that has followed a political candidate’s recently released 2005 statements regarding women has brought renewed interest in the impact of “locker room talk” in the workplace, as well as when such talk violates the law. Sexual harassment occurs when a work-related benefit is conditioned on the granting of a sexual favor, when an employee or co-worker is subjected to unwanted sexual advances, where hostile conduct is based on the victim’s gender, and when there is offensive, sexually charged workplace behavior. Although sexual banter and ribbing of co-workers can be a basis for a sexual harassment claim, there is only a viable claim of harassment if the conduct at issue is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the terms and conditions of employment. Thus, one offensive comment, alone, will generally not support a claim for harassment.  Regardless, one comment can result in a claim being made against the employer. Further, when one off color comment is made in the workplace and it is not dealt with swiftly and appropriately, the employer is often viewed as being complacent. It is best for employers to create a work environment that maintains respect and prohibits conduct that may one day be used as evidence of harassment.

One of the best ways to maintain a respectful workplace is to educate managers and employees about what constitutes harassment, how to report conduct believed to be harassment, and to provide training on promoting respect and civility in the workplace. The September 1, 2016, blog post discussed the EEOC’s Report on its Special Task Force Study of Harassment in the Workplace and what types of training are most effective.

Jennifer Fowler-Hermes
jfowler-hermes@williamsparker.com
941-552-2558

 

Starting in 2017 Federal Contractors Will Be Required to Provide Employees Paid Sick Leave

Last week the Department of Labor issued a final rule requiring federal contractors entering into contracts on or after January 1, 2017, to provide up to 56 hours of paid sick leave to employees.  This rule does not require those employers that already offer equivalent or more generous paid time off plans than that required by the rule to increase the benefits offered to employees. The new rule applies to those contracts that are covered by the Service Contract Act or the Davis-Bacon Act, concessions contract, and service contracts in connection with or federal property or lands. Covered employers will need to post the “Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors” poster, which can be downloaded from https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/wh1090.pdf.

More information about those contracts that will be impacted, what employees are covered, employee eligibility, carry-over rights, and coordination with existing collective bargaining agreements can be found at https://www.dol.gov/whd/govcontracts/eo13706/.

Jennifer Fowler-Hermes
jfowler-hermes@williamsparker.com
941-552-2558