Michele Spillman attorney portrait

UPDATE: U.S. Dept. of Labor withdraws independent contractor rule

The U.S. Dept. Labor is withdrawing its new rule regarding classification of workers as independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards (FLSA) on May 6. According to DOL, the rule was “inconsistent with the FLSA’s text and purpose, and would have a confusing and disruptive effect on workers and businesses alike due to its departure from longstanding precedent.”

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United States Department of Labor launches Essential Workers, Essential Protections initiative

By Phoebe B. Mitchell In another demonstration of its pro-worker agenda, President Biden’s Administration has launched a new webpage: Essential Protections During the COVID-19 Pandemic[1]. The webpage, created by the United States Department of Labor (DOL)’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), is aimed at furthering the WHD’s goal of “protecting and enhancing the welfare of […]

Phillips Murrah attorney Jessica Cory

Gifting in 2021 is a case of ‘Use it or lose it’

By Jessica N. Cory This article appeared as a Guest Column in The Oklahoman on April 27, 2021. The federal government currently imposes a 40% tax on most lifetime gifts and transfers at death, with a few exceptions. For example, taxpayers can make “annual exclusion gifts,” or transfers of $15,000 per person per year, to […]

attorney Eric Davis

Virtual meetings increase public access

By C. Eric Davis This article appeared as a Guest Column in The Journal Record on April 21, 2021. As schools and businesses increasingly met virtually over the past year, so too did Oklahoma’s governmental bodies, including boards of education, city councils, and state commissions. Today, largely as a result of the pandemic, online governmental […]

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Employer tax considerations for remote work

By Jessica N. Cory Over the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a number of changes for employers, from navigating the PPP loan process to implementing new sick and family leave policies.  One major change has been a massive experiment in telecommuting, with the number of American workers working at least part-time from home […]

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Department of Labor announces return of liquidated damages for wage and hour claims

By: Janet Hendrick and Phoebe Mitchell On April 9, 2021, in Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) No. 2021-2, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced it would return to its former policy of seeking liquidated damages from employers in pre-litigation investigations and settlements of wage and hour claims. This revived policy simultaneously […]

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USDOL seeks to overturn two proposed FLSA rules: Independent Contractor Rule and Joint Employer Rule

By Byrona J. Maule and Phoebe B. Mitchell In January, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding the classification of independent contractors. Now, just months into President Biden’s term, his administration seeks to overturn both this proposed rule and the DOL’s final rule regarding joint employers. Independent Contractor […]

Phillips Murrah litigation attorney Hillary Clifton discusses holiday legal hazards.

Understanding tribal legal systems increasingly important

By Hilary Hudson Clifton This article appeared as a Guest Column in The Journal Record on March 11, 2021. The Cherokee Nation Supreme Court recently ruled that the words “by blood” must be removed from the tribe’s constitution – a decision intended to afford full citizenship rights to descendants of individuals formerly enslaved by members […]

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Kanye Family Law Lessons – Digging for Gold in Oklahoma

By Robert K. Campbell Music has permeated our society since the beginning of time. Artists have touched on all topics, such as politics, religion, social matters, etc. In 2005, Kanye West had a number-one hit song with “Gold Digger.” Urban Dictionary defines the term “gold digger” as “someone who only likes people because of how […]

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OSHA issues updated guidance on workplace COVID-19 prevention programs

By Lauren Symcox Voth The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) published updated COVID-19 guidance for businesses on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. The guidance, Protecting Workers:  Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace, (“Guidance”) outlines obligations for employers to comply with OSHA’s General Duty Clause during the pandemic and draws […]

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LLCs often struggle to qualify for diversity jurisdiction

By Justin G. Bates This article appeared as a Guest Column in The Journal Record on Jan. 27, 2021. LLCs have quickly become the dominant legal entity of the 21st century for various reasons. Like any business entity, LLCs frequently find themselves involved in litigation. When a dispute reaches its boiling point, many businesses prefer […]

Laurel L. Baker featured in Texas Lawyer

Limitations of the Texas Citizens Participation Act

The Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA), commonly referred to as the Texas Anti-SLAPP statute, provides litigants a valuable tool: an early opportunity to move to dismiss a lawsuit that infringes on their First Amendment rights, and if successful, an award of attorney fees.

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Employee or independent contractor? DOL finalizes new rule

By Michele C. Spillman The United States Department of Labor announced a new final rule on January 6, 2021 regarding classification of workers as independent contractors under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  “Streamlining and clarifying the test to identify independent contractors will reduce worker misclassification, reduce litigation, increase efficiency, and increase job satisfaction […]

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Sign of the Times: Department of Labor publishes guidance on electronic postings and telemedicine visits in light of pandemic changes

By Janet A. Hendrick Recognizing ongoing changes the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the way we work and receive medical treatment, the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor issued employer guidance on December 29, 2020 on two issues:  electronic posting of required employment law notices and when a televisit with […]

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Employment Law Update: EEOC Issues Guidance Regarding COVID-19 Vaccine in the Workplace

By Phoebe B. Mitchell On December 16, 2020, the EEOC published its highly anticipated guidance regarding the COVID-19 vaccine in the workplace. The guidance addresses employment law issues related to the vaccine under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act […]