Articles

The articles, white papers and blog posts in this section include those written by our attorneys and articles for which our attorneys were interviewed. This is for informational purposes only. You should not act upon article content without seeking professional legal counsel regarding your particular situation or issue.

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  • Utah Employment Letter
    July 2018

    But simply making the policy accessible isn’t enough. Employees need to actually believe the policy is more than an apathetic or disinterested platitude or some obligatory or boilerplate statement that a lawyer inserted into the handbook. They must feel that the statement reflects a real attitude and that the employer actually aspires to that goal. Otherwise, the policy is unlikely to be followed and almost certainly will have little to no effect on the company culture.

     

    Acts of sexual abuse and harassment that had been allowed to grow and metastasize malignantly in the dark were now being exposed. Victim after victim came forward with stories of abuse and harassment. Their accounts became public, and victims found support and solidarity as part of this growing movement as they empathized with one another. They were encouraged, inspired, and empowered to speak out by the confidence of others already telling their tales of abuse. Banding together, these victims and others supporting the movement publicly and powerfully declared that they will tolerate abuse and harassment no longer. This movement is empowering even more victims to confront their harassers despite the fear of reprisal or embarrassment that accompanies reporting sexual harassment.

     

    This movement has permeated all facets of society, including the workplace. It’s affecting the way the public views and thinks about sexual misconduct. Within the workplace, employees are increasingly opening up about workplace sexual harassment. Bloomberg BNA reports that more than 400 executives and other high-profile employees have been exposed by the growing #MeToo movement since it started to take off. Many employers have embraced the movement and have taken steps to eliminate and prevent further sexual harassment in the workplace.

     

    Unfortunately, that’s not universally the case. Some employers are simply holding their proverbial breath, hoping they won’t be implicated. As this movement puts a spotlight on workplace sexual harassment, they need to begin to take action to eradicate harassment and abuse.

  • Utah Employment Law Letter
    June 2018

    Another session of the Utah Legislature is in the books, and lawmakers have enacted several new laws of which em-ployers should be aware. Most of the new laws went into ef-fect May 8, 2018. In last month’s issue of Utah Employment Law Letter, we reported on the passage of an amendment to the Post-Employment Restrictions Act (i.e., Utah’s law gov-erning noncompete agreements) that affects broadcasters (see “Broadcast the news: no noncompetes for TV and radio tal-ent in Utah” on pg. 1). Below is a summary of some of the other new laws with which you should familiarize yourself.

  • Utah Employment Law Letter
    May 2018

    Do you ever watch a particular news program because of the news anchors or listen to a certain radio program be­cause of the announcer? Viewers and listeners usually tune in to programs based on how entertaining or engaging they find the show, which is frequently a byproduct of how personable and likeable the announcer is. The best radio, television, and cable personalities have a certain on-air identity that viewers and listeners find attractive. In short, they have an engaging media persona with which viewers connect. That persona car­ries with it a certain cachet, and media personalities sometimes even become icons. When they are seen as the veritable “face” of the program, the broadcaster’s loss of their talent could be devastating to the program’s ratings.

    Because their competitors would love to lure away popu­lar news anchors or radio presenters, it’s no wonder that radio, TV, and cable broadcasters love to lock up their on-air talent with noncompetition agreements. But that has been changing across the country—and it’s now starting to change in Utah. As you may recall, it wasn’t that long ago that the Utah Legisla­ture limited new noncompete agreements to one year. In 2018, state lawmakers enacted a new law that will have an impact on when and under what circumstances noncompetes can be used in connection with radio, television, and cable news anchors and reporters and other on-air personalities. In some cases, the use of noncompetes is simply banned. This article discusses the new law and its effect on the broadcasting industry.

  • Utah Employment Law Letter
    May 2018

    As most of you know, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) generally requires employers involved in commerce to pay covered employees overtime for all hours over 40 they work during a workweek. The overtime rate must be at least 1½ times the employee’s regular rate of pay. However, there are certain recognized exemptions to the FLSA’s overtime requirements.

    For decades, those exemptions have been narrowly construed to require the payment of overtime to more employees. The U.S. Supreme Court recently rejected that interpretation in determining whether service advisers at an automobile dealership were exempt from the FLSA. Read on to find out why the Court rejected a decades-old interpretive tool and what the ruling may mean for employers going forward.

  • Utah Employment Law Letter
    March 2018

    Back when English lawyers decided that their mother tongue wasn’t sufficiently pompous, they fastened on to vari­ous Latin maxims. One of those was “Rex non potest peccare.” To all non-Latin speakers, that means “The king can do no wrong.” In other words, you can’t sue the king. The concept, dating back to Merrie Olde England, worked its way to the United States as part of the common law and is alive and well. The purpose of this article is not to analyze whether so-called sovereign immunity is a good idea. Rather, it is to remind pub­lic employers that the doctrine exists and can be a powerful tool in their litigation toolbox.