Legislators introduce bill to address BOLI's new interpretation of manufacturing overtime rule

By Stacey Mark
March 7, 2017

We recently reported on BOLI 's new guidance overturning its long-standing interpretation of ORS 652.020, Oregon's overtime rule applicable to manufacturing establishments.   The Oregon Legislature has now weighed in on this issue.

Under ORS 652.020, nonexempt employees working in mills, factories, and manufacturing establishments must be paid overtime for hours worked in excess of 10 in any day and hours worked in excess of 40 per week.  BOLI's prior interpretation of that rule required employers to calculate overtime hours worked on both a daily and weekly basis and pay the greater of the two.  Under the new guidance, employers are required to pay both daily and weekly overtime.  

The revised BOLI guidance has raised many questions.  Not only has BOLI done an about-face, the timing of the new guidance is puzzling as the interpretation of the manufacturing overtime rule is the subject of a pending class action filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court, which is likely to resolve the issue.  

In an attempt to address the uncertainty created by the new guidance in the manufacturing sector, the Oregon Legislature introduced a bill last Thursday to put the issue to rest.  Under SB 984, manufacturers would only be required to pay the greater of the daily or weekly overtime.

Ater Wynne's employment group is available to answer questions regarding the application of the manufacturing overtime rule and other wage and hour concerns.

 

Litigators beware: two acts designed to curb litigation abuse

By Daniel Lis
February 10, 2017

On January 30, 2017, the House Judiciary Committee received two bills that could have a significant impact on litigators and their clients. One bill seeks to impose mandatory penalties on lawyers, law firms, and parties who file frivolous lawsuits. The other bill seeks to prevent fraudulent joinder of parties and prevent plaintiffs from adding defendants solely for the purpose of destroying federal jurisdiction, only to drop those defendants later.

The Lawsuit Abuse and Reduction Act, H.R. 720, would amend FRCP 11 to require judges to sanction attorneys, law firms, or parties who file frivolous pleadings.  The mandatory sanction under the new rule would require parties to pay costs and attorneys’ fees. The rule would also give the court broad discretion to impose a variety of other sanctions, including striking pleadings, dismissing the lawsuit, and requiring that a party pay a penalty to the court. Further, the amendment would eliminate a party’s ability to avoid sanctions by voluntarily withdrawing claims within 21 days.  The House Judiciary Committee already voted 17-6 in favor of H.R. 720. If it is passed, it will likely cause a substantial decrease in lawyers asserting frivolous claims, as they will have to consider the possibility of mandatory sanctions.

The Innocent Party Protection Act, H.R. 725, seeks to prevent small businesses from being subject to fraudulent joinder. The bill seeks to protect these small businesses by allowing judges more discretion to see through an attorneys’ motives for naming a party and dismiss a party that was fraudulently joined in a lawsuit.  The House Judiciary Committee already voted 17-4 in favor of H.R. 725.  If it is passed, it may help protect small businesses from the hardship caused by paying attorneys’ fees in a lawsuit in which the business should have never been involved in the first place. 

Executive Order Impacts H-1B Visa Petitions

By Andrea Bartoloni
February 8, 2017

President Trump signed an Executive Order on January 27th banning entry into the United States by people from seven Muslim-majority countries.  Other Executive Orders, including one affecting temporary visas, have been drafted by the new administration. In light of that information, it is even more important to get an early start on applications. 

Unless changes are announced, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service ("USCIS") will begin accepting new H-1B petitions starting April 1, 2017, for employment commencing on October 1, 2017.

In past years, only 85,000 H-1B visas were available annually, and historically there has been very high demand for these visas. Businesses considering employment of foreign workers in need of an H-1B visa,should file their H-1B petitions no later than April 1, 2017 to avoid a potential shortage.