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Employment Law Forum Will Educate, Minimize Exposure

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The 3-in.-by-4-in. ad on the sports page of a New York newspaper carried a nightmarish message for all employers, especially the labor-intensive retail industry.

“Does Your Employer Violate Tip Sharing or Overtime Laws?” Underneath that blaring headline, the law firm appealing to workers claimed “favorable results for our clients in the following matters: overtime violations; illegal tip sharing for tipped employees; unpaid wages; minimum-wage violations; and salaried employees misclassified by employers as exempt from overtime.”

Those are bread-and-butter complaints. Bread and butter, that is, for lawyers who, with the freedom to aggressively advertise their services, are zoning in on retail foodservice firms. No matter what locale you operate in, advertisements similar to the one cited above are printed daily in newspapers and read aloud over the radio. They’re revenue fodder for most television stations. Since the law firms take on many of these cases on a contingency basis, a worker has little risk in undertaking a legal action.

The issue confronting the industry and its member companies is not whether they in fact are guilty of individual acts of egregious and illegal behavior. Rather, in this litigious age, companies must expect and prepare to be sued on any and all of those complaints plus other hot button areas such as age, sex and racial discrimination and failure to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) access rules.

Chain Store Age can’t help defend you. But we can help you prepare to minimize your exposure.

In partnership with Fisher & Phillips LLP, a leading national law firm with a significant practice representing employers, particularly retailers, Chain Store Age will host a two-day Employment Law for Retailers Forum. The conference will be Nov. 8-9 at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. The forum is a must-attend conference for senior-level human-resources executives and in-house counsels at retail companies.

A keynote presentation will feature Paul DeCamp, Wage & Hour Division director, U.S. Department of Labor.

Kathy Hughes of Supervalu, Rhonda Taylor of Dollar General and Dan Lee of Caribou Coffee will comprise a Fair Labor Standards Act panel that will discuss wage-hour issues, with an emphasis on the reasons behind the growing number of wage-hour lawsuits and how to prevent them.

Among the topics—“misclassification” of employees, the contentious debate surrounding employee claims that they are due overtime and are not exempt under the definitions of the law.

A panel of experts from Winn-Dixie and Equifax will delve into the intricacies of employee background checks. Winn-Dixie’s Robert Devine will relate his company’s policies, currently being overhauled.

An ADA panel discussion will review access issues including the types of legal actions taken against stores and how they are dealing with access.

For the full program and other information on the conference, visit www.chainstoreage.com/employmentlaw .— Murray Forseter (mforseter@chainstoreage.com)  

© 2014