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Be My Valentine (After Disclosing It To HR First)
By: Brian L. Lerner, Kim Vaughan Lerner LLP

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, flowers, chocolate, amore, and relationship contracts are in the air.  Alright, maybe not the last one, but it definitely raises the issue of workplace romances. 

CareerBuilder just released the results of a survey Harris Poll conducted for CareerBuilder about office romances.  The results revealed that forty-one percent of workers have dated a co-worker.  This is up from thirty-seven percent last year.  And according to CareerBuilder, office romances are occurring at their highest levels since 2007. 

What is nice to see is that that CareerBuilder found that thirty percent of these office romances have led to marriage.  What however may be of interest to those reading this is who is dating who.  When those were asked who in the office they dated, twenty percent said they dated someone in a higher position.  Fifteen percent responded that they dated their boss.  As if these two figures did not give HR folks heart palpatations, the survey found that nineteen percent of office romances involved at least one person who was married at the time. 

So, what should HR do?  Run away!  Okay, maybe not.  The fact is that we spend more time at work than at home.  It is natural that a romantic relationship will start.  Outlawing relationships probably is unrealistic.  In fact, the CareerBuilder survey found nearly forty percent of those involved in workplace relationships kept the relationship a secret. 

Given that people will do what they want to do, it may be better to have a policy that does not totally ban relationships but rather requires the disclosure of these relationships.  Disclosure will allow the company to take the steps necessary to avoid perceptions of favoritism (when the co-workers are in the relationship) and retribution (when the co-workers end the relationship).  

The survey results demonstrate that a company should be proactive in addressing what is a very real situation in the workplace.

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone.

New Minimum Wage and Wage Poster / Status of DOL Overtime Rule Changes
By: Brian L. Lerner, Kim Vaughan Lerner LLP

Friday, January 20, 2017

It is that most wonderful time of the year.  It is that time when the new minimum wage rate change goes into effect. 

Actions You need to take:
You should by now be sure to fix those payroll systems to reflect Florida’s new       minimum wage of $8.10/hour (or $5.08/hour if you apply a tip credit). 
You also need to make sure to tear down that old poster and put up the new state poster (along with the federal poster). 

There is no need to pay for the state poster.  The State of Florida gives it to you for free.  To get your free copy in English, Spanish, or Creole, click here:

 And if you were curious as to the status of the overtime rule changes that got put on hold in December, here is an updateThe U.S. Department of Labor did appeal the decision.  The appellate court agreed to hear the matter on an expedited basis.  Rather than taking several months to submit the written arguments, the process will be shortened to just a few weeks.  But the final written arguments are not required to be submitted until after January 20.  That date is important.  That is the date that President-Elect Donald Trump takes office.  The President-Elect’s transition team repeatedly has emphasized a lot of action will be taken on those first few days in office.  Many are guessing that the President-Elect, as part of his mission to repeal, revoke, or roll back many of President Obama’s initiatives, will request that the DOL stand down on its appeal.  This could mean the end of the appeal and the end of the proposed rules.  While that may mean, there will be no doubling of the salary requirement in order for employees to be exempt (not entitled to overtime), that does not mean the overall issue will go away.  Recall that one of President-Elect Trump’s campaign pledges was to raise the minimum wage.  While that may not likely result in a jump to $15/hour or more, we could see a move that makes the federal minimum wage higher than Florida’s current rate.


November 2016 Legal Update

New I-9 Form

USCIS Releases New Form I-9

By Glenn Rissman, Esq., Stearns Weaver Miller


The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published the latest version of Form I-9 on November 14. Employers must start using the new Form I-9 by January 22, 2017.  Until January 22, employers can continue to use the version of the Form I-9 dated 03/08/2013 N.

According to the USCIS, the new Form I-9 includes the following: Section 1 asks for “other last names used” rather than “other names used.”

  • The addition of prompts to ensure information is entered correctly.
  •  The ability to enter multiple preparers and translator.
  •  A dedicated area for including additional information rather than having to add it in the margins.
  •  A supplemental page for the preparer/translator.

The USCIS has also separated the instructions from the form and includes specific instructions for completing each field. The USCIS claims that the revised Form I-9 is easier to complete on a computer because it includes drop-down lists and calendars for filling in dates, on-screen instructions for each field, easy access to the full instructions, and an option to clear the form and start over. When the employer prints the completed form, a quick response (QR) code is automatically generated, which can be read by most QR readers.


You can find the fillable version of the new Form I-9 at the USCIS website.


This article by Mr. Rissman  originally appeared on Stearns Weaver Miller’s Labor & Employment Law Blog, BeLaborThePoint, on November 15, 2016.  Mr. Rissman is a colleague of Kara S. Nickel, Esq., HRABC’s Legislative Affairs Director.




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