Photo of Karin Johnson

In October, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC” and collectively the “Antitrust Agencies”) jointly issued new guidance for Human Resource professionals regarding agreements between competitors related to hiring and compensation of employees (the “Guidance”).  The Guidance explains the Antitrust Agencies’ position with regard to wage-fixing[1] and no-poaching[2] agreements between competitors in the employment marketplace.[3]  It also highlights the agencies’ intent to shift toward criminal prosecution of companies and individuals who enter into these types of agreements when they are not ancillary to a legitimate business collaboration, such as a joint venture or a merger or acquisition.
Continue Reading New Guidance for HR Professionals Regarding Wage-Fixing and No-Poaching Agreements Highlights New Focus on Criminal Prosecutions and Raises New Concerns for Employer

The District of Columbia recently joined twelve other states[1] that have enacted laws requiring employers to accommodate certain limitations associated with pregnancy.  The Protecting Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (the “Act” or “PPWFA”) of 2014 was passed on October 23, 2014 and is under Congressional review.  It is currently expected to become effective on March 3, 2015.
Continue Reading Get Ready! DC’s Protecting Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Currently Expected To Take Effect On March 3, 2015

In a case of first impression, the Pennsylvania Superior Court (one of Pennsylvania’s two state appellate courts) recently issued a ruling in Socko v. Mid-Atlantic Systems of CPA, Inc. (“Socko”), 1223 MDA 2013 (May 13, 2014), clarifying that compliance with Pennsylvania’s Uniform Written Obligations Act (“UWOA”) cannot cure a deficiency in the adequacy of the consideration necessary for an enforceable covenant not to compete.
Continue Reading Pennsylvania Appellate Court Finds Uniform Written Obligations Act Inapplicable to Covenants Not to Compete

On April 8, 2014, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum that will require federal contractors and subcontractors to provide to the U.S. Department of Labor compensation data based on their employees’ sex and race.  The President also signed that day an Executive Order preventing federal contractors from retaliating and discriminating against employees who discuss their compensation with their co-workers.  The President stated that when employees are prohibited from discussing their compensation with fellow employees, “compensation discrimination is much more difficult to discover and remediate, and more likely to persist.”
Continue Reading Equal Pay Issues Addressed by President Obama on “National Equal Pay Day,” When He Signed An Executive Order and Presidential Memorandum Affecting Federal Contractors

In an 8-0 decision[1] issued March 25, 2014 in United States v. Quality Stores, Inc., the Supreme Court held that severance payments made to employees who are involuntarily terminated are taxable wages for the purposes of withholding Federal Insurance Contributions Act (“FICA”) taxes, i.e., Social Security and Medicare.  This decision resolves a circuit split created when the Sixth Circuit ruled in 2012 that these kinds of severance payments did not constitute “wages” under FICA[2] while the Third, Eighth and Federal Circuits had all previously held that at least some severance payments were “wages” subject to FICA taxes.[3]

In the wake of this decision, employers should, under most circumstances, treat severance payments made to involuntarily terminated employees as taxable wages subject to FICA taxes. There are exceptions to the general rule, however, and it is important for employers to seek competent legal counsel to assist in determining the tax status of a specific severance program.


Continue Reading US v. Quality Stores, Inc.: Supreme Court Finds Severance Payments Taxable Wages Under FICA

In a recent decision out of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Judge Amy Jackson held that the Davis-Bacon Act (“Davis-Bacon”) did not apply to a privately-funded development of privately-maintained buildings to be occupied by private citizens and businesses.  Judge Jackson’s decision overturned the original decision of the Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Administrative Review Board (“ARB”), which found that Davis-Bacon applied to the project because it served the interests of the general public.
Continue Reading Davis-Bacon CityCenterDC Case

The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), the Employee Benefits Security Administration (“EBSA”) and the Department of Labor (“DOL”) have recently provided new guidance with respect to how lawfully married same-sex spouses will be treated under federal tax laws, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).


Continue Reading IRS, DOL and EBSA Issue Post-DOMA Guidance Regarding Treatment of Same-Sex Spouses