Labor and Insights September 2019 eNewsletter
Labor and Insights September 2019 eNewsletter
September 2019

Taking Safety Seriously Saves Lives in the Workplace

The facts don't lie.

When a worker was killed after a crane fell, crushing the man, an OSHA inspection showed that the accident could easily have been avoided by extending outriggers designed to keep the crane from tipping. It was a simple step that would have only taken a few moments to put in place and would have saved that man’s life.

In total, OSHA found 13 serious violations during that inspection, levying $70,000 in fines on the company. But for that employee, no amount of fines will bring his life back. On that day, he left home that morning, having no idea he would never come home again. A tragedy that never should’ve happened.
Your Employees Aren't Afraid of Robots

It’s easy to think employees’ biggest worry is getting replaced by a robot.

I am not a robot and this article wasn’t generated by a sophisticated algorithm. But given the pace of technology, it could have been. AI scientists are developing technology to clone the personalities of employees so that automated help desks can have more authentic customer conversations.

Not only is AI enabling self-driving cars, automated warehouses and new healthcare delivery, it's going to have better jokes, too.

It’s easy to see why employees are concerned. One recent report estimated AI will displace 20 million manufacturing jobs worldwide, while another says over a million bank workers could lose their jobs. In the U.S., one report estimated 88 million jobs will face medium or high exposure to automation in the coming decade.

Gig Workers: A Boon Or A Legal Bane For Businesses?

The gig economy complicates the question of classification.

The gig economy is the future of the workforce, right? Or is it an old concept with a modern twist? After all, using workers on a “freelance” or “independent contractor” basis is not a new idea. Whether old or new, there are legal traps that businesses should be aware of and precautions they can take to minimize their liability.

What is the gig economy?

At its core, the gig relationship has three main elements:

What Exactly Does "Exempt" Mean?

Exempt and non-exempt: these terms are not very self-explanatory and people often get them confused.

The USDOL is still in the process of updating the definition of what it means to be exempt by raising the salary level to $679 per week (equivalent to $35,308 per year). Above this salary level, eligibility for overtime varies based on job duties. This proposed level is due to take effect in January 2020.

But, as of today, the Fair Labor Standards Act tells us we have two types of employees, non-exempt and exempt. Unfortunately, these terms are not very explanatory and people often get them confused. Let me see if I can explain.