Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus

NLRB Gives Employees the Right to Use Work E-Mail for Union Purposes

In a major decision issued last week, a divided National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled in Purple Communications, Inc. that employees with access to their employer’s e-mail systems are presumptively allowed to use those systems during non-work time to engage in statutorily protected communications. In its decision, the Board overruled its 2007 Register-Guard decision, which held that employees have no statutory right to use their employer’s e-mail systems for Section 7 purposes. Read the rest of this entry »

U.S. Supreme Court Finds Post-Shift Security Screenings to be Non-Compensable

The United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled last week that time spent by workers waiting to undergo, and then actually undergoing, post-shift security screenings was non-compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The Court’s decision in Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk provides guidance to employers regarding what activities are “integral and indispensable” to employees’ principal activities and therefore compensable. Read the rest of this entry »

Merry Christmas to Our Friends at the 6th Street Shelter

Each year the Pennsylvania Office sponsors a family at the 6th Street Shelter - these gifts will be delivered on Monday!

Each year the Pennsylvania Office sponsors a family at the 6th Street Shelter – these gifts will be delivered on Monday!

NMM Honored Twice in as Many Weeks

We are proud to named one of the Best Places to Work in Pennsylvania, ranking 10th in the large company category in Pennsylvania for 2014 on December 4. On December 9, our Pennsylvania office was named a winner in the 51-100 employee category in the 2014 Lehigh Valley Business’ Business of the Year awards program. Click here for more!

New Brewery Regulation Will Help Pennsylvania Sales and Selection

Recently, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board voted in favor of a proposed regulation amending their view on the ability of breweries to sell beer for on-premise consumption.  Many Pennsylvania breweries, including the Brewers of Pennsylvania, have been advocating for a change in the interpretation of Sections 440 and 446 of the Liquor Code, and the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board delivered.  Read the rest of this entry »

New OSHA Recordkeeping Rules: Are You Exempt?

As previously detailed on this blog, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced a final rule updating an employer’s duty to report work-related fatality, injury, and illness information to OSHA. This post focuses on another important aspect of the new rule: an updating of industries exempt from keeping injury and illness records. Read the rest of this entry »

Employee Injury? Check out the new OSHA reporting rules.

Last month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a final rule that significantly changes an employer’s duty to report work-related fatality, injury, and illness information to the agency. The new rule also updates the list of employers partially exempt from OSHA record-keeping requirements, a topic that will be addressed in a later post. Read the rest of this entry »

“Unpaid” Interns Can Cost You $6.4 million

Last week, thousands of former interns reached a $6.4 million settlement in their class-action wage and hour lawsuit against NBC Universal filed in federal court. The interns, who worked on shows such as “Saturday Night Live,” alleged that NBC Universal improperly classified them as “non-employee interns” and did not pay them minimum wage or at all for their internships, which involved work that would ordinarily be done by paid employees. These actions, the interns claimed, violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the equivalent state laws of New York, Connecticut, and California. Read the rest of this entry »

Rejection of Arbitration Clause in Nursing Home Admission Agreement

Berks County Judge Jeffrey Sprecher recently ruled against a nursing home’s efforts to require that a negligence claim for personal injuries be litigated through the National Arbitration Forum. The judge found that certain provisions of the admission document were very confusing to an elderly individual without legal training and that the agreement violated public policy in Pennsylvania for requiring nursing home residents to waive a right to a jury trial without any explanation as to what this waiver meant. This was particularly troublesome for the court because the arbitration clause did not adequately note that future negligence claims for personal injury would bar presentation of injury claims to a jury.

The judge did recognize that in commercial contracts between businesses, it is quite proper for the parties to agree to waive all rights to court and jury when the issues are focused on financial issues among businesses but not for future unknown injury claims potentially caused by intentional conduct or gross negligence, where punitive damages may be available for a resident through a jury award.

In many of our firm’s commercial contracts, we favor arbitration for dispute resolution in the right circumstances because the discovery process is very limited, decision making by a neutral arbitrator is relatively swift and the outcome can be controlled by removing a litigant’s right to appeal, hence preventing a litigant from driving the cost of litigation up substantially and delaying a final outcome.

If you have any questions about this post, or a related matter, please contact me at

EEOC Guidance Expands Protections for Pregnant Workers

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recently issued new enforcement guidance on pregnancy discrimination that greatly expands protections for workers. This sweeping document provides the EEOC’s position on numerous issues that directly affect employers, including: Read the rest of this entry »