Christine Hradsky No Comments

Supreme Court Spotlights Employee Status: Exempt or Not?

Employee Status

A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling may have made it easier for employers to have confidence that they’re properly classifying workers as exempt or nonexempt — but as always, the devil is in the details.

Thousands of cases are appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court every year, but usually fewer than 100 get a full-blown hearing and ruling. One case that made it through in the current court term is Encino Motorcars v. Navarro. On the surface, this case looks at whether car dealer service advisors are exempt or nonexempt. But the larger issue affecting jobs of all kinds involves just how narrowly the relevant law — the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) — can be interpreted when determining between exempt status and nonexempt.

The case was brought by service advisors at a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Los Angeles. They worked from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. five days a week, which is well over 40 hours, and sought overtime pay for the difference. Read more

Christine Hradsky No Comments

Supreme Court Sides with Employers on Arbitration Agreements


The U.S. Supreme Court has thrown its support behind the use of mandatory arbitration on an individual basis as a means of resolving employee disputes over labor practices.

The Supreme Court often agrees to rule on questions upon which individual appeals courts have reached different conclusions, to create a uniform national legal standard.

And that’s what the court did with a 5-4 decision in a case called Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis. The basic question was whether the Federal Arbitration Act has greater authority over arbitration agreements between employers and employees than the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

The court consolidated three similar cases in its ruling. In each case, employees had entered into agreements with their employers to resolve any labor disputes that might arise by arbitration, instead of taking the employers to court.  Read more

Christine Hradsky No Comments

6 Cool Ways to Save Taxes during the Hot Summer Months

Save Taxes

The tax rules underwent a major overhaul last winter. Here are some ideas for individuals and small business owners to consider in the summer months.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) may have put a crimp in some of your summer plans by eliminating or scaling back certain tax breaks. But individuals and small business owners still have plenty of opportunities to save taxes. Here are six ideas to consider this summer. Read more

Christine Hradsky No Comments

Should Your 401(k) Plan Adopt An Auto-Enrollment Feature?

401(k) Enrollment

Many employers have 401(k) plans with a low participant percentage. Current tax rules make it easy for organization to automatically enroll employees, helping them save for retirement.

Current tax law gives employers encouragement to start automatically enrolling employees for tax-saving 401(k) elective deferral contributions (also called salary reduction contributions). The Pension Protection Act of 2006 removed perceived state-law restrictions and made other changes.

The end result of these changes: Companies adopting auto-enrollment features will have more employees participating. Larger allowable salary reduction contributions can likely be made for higher-paid employees, because lower-paid workers will be contributing more.

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