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California Supreme Court Gives Employers a Major Break

Seyfarth Shaw (04/12/12) Brandon R. McKelvey; Dana
Peterson; Jeffrey A. Berman

The California Supreme Court has ruled in Brinker Restaurant
Corp. v. Superior Court
that companies are not obligated to
ensure their employees take legally mandated lunch breaks.
Companies must give their nonexempt workers 30-minute meal
breaks, but do not need to ensure their workers actually stop
working during the breaks. Companies must give a meal break no
later than the end of the fifth hour of work and a second break
no later than the end of the 10th hour of work.

Labor-Market Worries Rise With Jobless Claims

Wall Street Journal (04/13/12) Conor Dougherty

Last week’s rise in new claims for unemployment
benefits—in combination with other weak reports on hiring,
automobile sales, and small-business sentiment—has
observers concerned that the labor market may be softening. The
various reports suggest that strong job growth data reported
earlier in the year were partially due to an unusually warm
winter, which can boost employment for construction and other
seasonal work. More troubling is that the data indicating strong
early-year job growth followed by weaker spring growth is similar
to a pattern seen in 2011.

Last Chance to Register Online for the 2012 ASA Staffing Law Conference

Today is the last day to register online for the ASA
Staffing Law Conference
April 17–18 in Washington, DC.
After today, you can only register on-site at the Westin
Washington, DC, City Center Hotel.

You can’t afford to miss this opportunity to learn how to
protect yourself and your business.

The conference features Charlie Cook, the
pre-eminent authority on U.S. elections and political trends;
senior-level representatives from the U.S. Department of Labor,
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and U.S. Department
of Justice; a special session to discuss the effects of federal
health care reform; and more.

To register, visit

USCIS Seeks Comments on Proposed Revisions to Form I-9

American Staffing Association (04/13/12) Anne Duffy

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is seeking public
comments on proposed revisions to its Form I-9, which employers
must use to verify an employee’s identity and to establish
that the employee is eligible to work in the U.S.

According to USCIS, the intent behind the changes is to include
“expanded Form I-9 instructions and a revised layout; new,
optional data fields to collect the employee’s e-mail address
and telephone number; and new data fields to collect the foreign
passport number and country of issuance.”

Because of ambiguity with respect to several proposed language
changes, ASA will submit comments to confirm that staffing firms
can continue to complete the Form I-9 at the time a candidate
consents to be included in the staffing firm’s roster of
temporary employees, irrespective of the time the individual
actually begins work.

Public comments are due May 29. To review the USCIS request for
comments regarding the proposed revisions to the Form I-9, see
the March 27 issue of the
Federal Register

Oregon; Washington, DC, Ban Discrimination Against the Unemployed

American Staffing Association (04/13/12) Anne Duffy

The city of Washington, DC, and the state of Oregon recently
enacted laws that prohibit employers and employment agencies from
discriminating against job applicants based on their status as
unemployed. New Jersey had previously enacted such a law, and
similar legislation is pending in Arizona, Illinois, Nebraska,
New York, and Michigan.

The DC Unemployed Discrimination Act of 2012, set to take effect
next week, will prohibit employers and employment agencies from
discriminating against job applicants based on their status as
unemployed and will be the first law to ban the consideration of
an applicant’s unemployment status in adverse hiring

The Oregon law took effect March 27. It prohibits employers and
employment agencies from publishing job advertisements that
include language indicating that unemployed individuals should
not apply for the job or that they will not be considered for the

Top Ten Compensable Time Issues for Non-Exempt Employees

JDSupra (04/12/2012)

Employers must ensure that nonexempt employees under the Fair
Labor Standards Act are properly compensated for all hours
worked, including overtime. They also must be compensated for
time they spend waiting for an assignment, because they are not
free to leave. Time spent at seminars, lectures, and training
programs is compensable if their attendance is required, whether
during or after normal work hours. Nonexempt employees also must
be compensated for off-the-clock time if they begin working
before the regular workday commences, even if the time is not
recorded on the time sheet, and work brought home and e-mails
answered before or after the regular workday are compensable as
well. To avoid violations of overtime requirements, employers
should ensure that nonexempt employees do not perform work
outside their regular work schedule without prior approval.

Failed Drug Tests Limit Employers’ Options

Fond du Lac Reporter (04/13/12)

Wisconsin companies are eager to hire skilled employees, but too
many candidates are failing drug tests. The drug test failure
rate at some companies is as high as 50%.

Mark Immekus, chief sales officer of QPS Employment Group, says
manufacturers are seeking applicants who are less likely to pose
safety risks on the job due to substance-related impairments.
“We don’t see (testing) going away because manufacturers
are under pressure, from a safety standpoint,” he says. He
also notes that, from QPS’ point of view, a dearth of
applicants with technical skills poses a greater challenge for
companies than failed drug tests.

Rock Bottom Unemployment for Some Jobs

Worcester Business Journal (04/12/12) Livia Gershon

Although the national unemployment rate remains higher than 8%,
Robert Half International says unemployment rates are much lower
for some professional jobs, which is indicative of a
“specialist economy.” The staffing firm says the
unemployment rate was 1.9% for lawyers, 2.8% for human resource
managers, and less than 4% for software developers and financial
analysts during the first quarter.

Manufacturers Report Difficulty Hiring

Today’s Energy Solutions (04/12)

The Society for Human Resource Management reports that more than
two-thirds of the manufacturers that were hiring late in 2011
reported difficulty finding skilled workers for specific
openings. SHRM’s Ongoing Impact of the Recession Poll, which
surveyed 360 randomly selected human resource professionals from
the manufacturing industry in late August and early September
2011, found that 75% of respondents from the manufacturing
industry were hiring last fall, an increase from 51% in 2010.

However, 68% of those hiring reported difficulty recruiting for
specific job openings. The positions most difficult to fill in
the manufacturing industry were positions such as technicians and
programmers (89%); engineers (88%); skilled trades (electricians
and carpenters) (83%); and managers and executives (80%). When
recruiting for jobs that required new and different skills, more
organizations were having difficulty finding qualified
individuals in 2011 (72%) compared with 2010 (43%).