Joel O'Malley

Joel O'Malley

Dorsey & Whitney LLP

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Quirky Question #254, Foreign currency fluctuations and expat employees

Question: I am an HR manager working for a US company that sends employees on long term assignment abroad. One of our senior assignees recently rang me to say how worried he is about Greek politics and the potential...more

2/25/2015 - Compensation & Benefits Currency Fluctuation Expatriates Foreign Currency Multinationals Wages

Quirky Question #253, Private arbitrations becoming not-so-private?

Question: I read with interest the answer to Quirky Question #248 about mandatory arbitration. You mentioned one of the benefits of arbitration being that is more private than a dispute in court, which is certainly a...more

2/19/2015 - Arbitration Disclosure Requirements Mandatory Arbitration Clauses

10-K Conundrum: 7th Circuit Holds Corporate Filings Can Lead To Employment Claims

A recent Seventh Circuit decision provides a cautionary tale for employers deciding what level of detail about litigated matters to include in publicly disclosed Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filings. The court...more

1/22/2015 - Corporate Counsel Discrimination Employee Privacy Rights Employer Liability Issues Form 10-K Former Employee Popular Publicly-Traded Companies Regulation S-K Retaliation SEC

Quirky Question #251, Naming Names in SEC Filings?

Question: Our publicly traded company must file a disclosure with the SEC, and we’re trying to determine what information to include regarding recent charges of discrimination that former employees have filed with the...more

1/22/2015 - Disclosure Requirements Discrimination EEOC Employer Liability Issues Enforcement Actions Filing Requirements Form 10-K Regulation S-K Right to Privacy SEC

Quirky Question #250, New York wage notice burdens lifted

Question: I am a New York employer and I have heard about some onerous requirements to furnish wage notices to all employees. Is this law taking effect soon?...more

1/19/2015 - Amended Legislation Annual Notices Employer Liability Issues Wages

Amendments to the New York Wage Theft Prevention Act Lower Burdens but Increase Liability

The New York Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA), passed in 2011, requires, in part, that employers give written notice of wage rates to each newly hired employee within ten days of hire. ...more

1/14/2015 - Amended Legislation Employer Liability Issues Hiring & Firing Reporting Requirements Wage Theft Prevention Act

Quirky Question #249, Rebirth of Pregnancy Discrimination?

Question: I work in Human Resources at a mid-size Minnesota company and am working on an HR resource related to workplace accommodations. I am relatively familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act, but am...more

1/9/2015 - ADA Affordable Care Act EEOC Employer Mandates FMLA Human Resources Professionals PDA Reasonable Accommodation

Quirky Question #248, Is arbitration really better than court?

Question: My company is considering implementing a policy of mandatory arbitration of employment disputes. Putting aside the legal considerations, is this practically a good idea?...more

12/10/2014 - Arbitration Arbitrators Confidentiality Evidence

Quirky Question #247, An Update on Wellness Programs

Question: Our company has been considering implementing financial incentives for employees to participate in biometric screening as part of an employee wellness program. Are there legal issues we should be...more

12/4/2014 - ADA Affordable Care Act Biometric Information EEOC Employer Liability Issues Health Insurance HIPAA Honeywell International Popular Preliminary Injunctions Premiums Safe Harbors Wellness Programs

Quirky Question #246, iKnow where your iPad is

Our California company intends to provide iPads to all of our sales employees, but to make sure we can locate the iPads if they are lost or stolen, we plan to use the iPads’ GPS capabilities to track their locations. As an...more

12/1/2014 - Employer Liability Issues GPS iPad Mobile Privacy Privacy Concerns

Quirky Question #244, An Update on Ebola

In Quirky Question #244, we discussed what employers should do to protect their employees and businesses in light of the potential Ebola threat. Last week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered nearly 700 Minnesota National...more

11/25/2014 - DOD Ebola FMLA Liberia National Guard Safety Precautions USERRA Workplace Safety

Minnesota National Guard to Fight Ebola in Liberia

Last week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered nearly 700 Minnesota National Guard members to deploy to Liberia this spring to help fight the Ebola epidemic. The citizen-soldiers are scheduled to start training in March...more

11/24/2014 - Ebola Foreign Deployment Liberia National Guard

Quirky Question #245, Last chance agreements

We operate a manufacturing plant with a union workforce where new employees begin with a 90-day probationary period during which they are not yet members of the union. I recently hired a guy who refused to work overtime on...more

11/4/2014 - ADA Contract Drafting Corporate Counsel Discrimination EEOC Employer Liability Issues Hiring & Firing Last Chance Agreements Manufacturers Manufacturing Facilities Probationary Period Retaliation Union Membership Unions

Employers: Take Precautions Now to Prepare for the Potential Ebola Threat

As a general business practice, employers should routinely anticipate and prepare for emergencies to ensure minimal interruption to their business. While West Africa is experiencing the largest Ebola epidemic in history,...more

10/29/2014 - Best Management Practices CDC Ebola Employer Liability Issues Employment Policies Workplace Safety

Quirky Question #244, Ebola goes viral

Question: The recent media coverage of Ebola has been overwhelming. As an employer, I want to be prepared and proactive to protect our employees and our business, but I also don’t want to overreact to what is...more

10/28/2014 - Best Management Practices CDC Ebola OSHA Workplace Safety World Health Organization

Quirky Question #237, Badger your employees to sign new non-competes?

Question: We are a Wisconsin employer that has recently lost a number of employees to competing companies in our area. We’re worried our competitors are getting an unfair edge in the market, basically using employees...more

8/7/2014 - Employer Liability Issues Non-Compete Agreements Restrictive Covenants

Quirky Question #236, “I need some time off to give my daughter a mental boost…”

Question: We employ a very elderly lady, Agnes. In fact, she’s a great-grandmother. See has asked to take some time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act. See tells us that her daughter Beatrice is out of the...more

7/28/2014 - Employee Rights Employer Liability Issues FMLA

Quirky Question #235, Payment of Wages – Better Late Than Never Is Half Right

Question: My company was in a tight spot last month with cash flow and we had to delay payroll by a few days. We did end up paying everyone what they were owed. I now have an employee, however, who is claiming the late...more

7/21/2014 - Employee Rights Employer Liability Issues FLSA Wage and Hour Wages

Quirky Question #234, Selling Accrued Vacation

Question: Our company allows employees to sell up to 40 hours of their accrued PTO (accrued vacation) each year. If an employee elects to sell the accrued PTO, we pay it out in a lump sum at the end of the year. Does...more

7/14/2014 - Accrued Benefits IRS PTO Vacation Pay

Quirky Question #233, The Regular Rate: Where Math and Law Collide

Question: We operate a warehouse in Minnesota where the employees work two weeks on / two weeks off. They work 10 hours per day, 7 days per week when they’re on at an hourly rate of $30. The employees also ordinarily...more

7/9/2014 - Bonuses Wage and Hour Wages

Quirky Question #232, We Can Require Our Employee To Work At The Office, Right?

Question: We are a medium-sized Minnesota employer. Our lead accountant recently spoke with our Director of Human Resources and requested to work from home several days a week due to a medical condition. We believe...more

6/27/2014 - ADA Disability EEOC Employer Liability Issues Reasonable Accommodation Telecommuting

Quirky Question #231, Is it Really Employee Appreciation if the Gift Card is Taxable?

Question: Our company awards prizes at holiday parties and, from-time-to-time, at employee appreciation events. The prizes range from company logo t-shirts to $50 gift cards and cameras worth about $125. Do we need...more

6/24/2014 - Gift-Cards Income Taxes W-2

Quirky Question #230, Accommodating Nursing Mothers

Question: We are a large Minnesota employer and we have a non-exempt employee who is asking for breaks to express her breast milk multiple times every day, and each break takes a long time. We let her do so in her...more

6/17/2014 - Affordable Care Act Conflicts of Laws Employer Liability Issues Employment Policies FLSA Non-Exempt Employees Reasonable Accommodation

Quirky Question # 227, New Bells and Whistles in Minnesota Statute

We have an employee who we have been planning to terminate because of performance issues. This employee may have realized this was coming because he recently sent an email to a number of people claiming that our company...more

5/1/2014 - Adverse Employment Action Employment Policies Good Faith Hiring & Firing Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

Quirky Question #228, E-Cigarettes: To Vape or Not to Vape at the Workplace”

Our California company has a no smoking policy but had not thought to include a ban on e-cigarettes, as we had not experienced any problems with them at the workplace until now. A handful of our employees use e-cigarettes...more

5/1/2014 - E-Cigarettes Employer Liability Issues Employment Policies Starbucks Wal-Mart Workplace Safety

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