Monday Morning Minute
In This Issue
Wage and Hour Quiz
NLRB to Reconsider "Coarse Language" Standard for Employee Loss of Workplace Protections
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                  September 9, 2019


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Wage and hour compliance should always be at the forefront of every HR Department's agenda. One small mistake can easily be compounded into significant, often uninsured, liability via a collective action. To test your knowledge in this important area we developed a short quiz on some often-overlooked issues.

1. When a non-exempt hourly employee is required to travel for business it is legally necessary to pay the employee for any time spent on airplanes or trains.

2. When a non-exempt hourly employee is required to travel around a city as part of their duties during the workday, it is important that they be paid as soon as they leave their home regardless of whether or not they stop at the office to pick up supplies and tools.

3. All time spent in training prior to starting a job must be compensated as hour worked.

4. Piece rate bonuses or incentives based on quantity of goods produced need not be figured into computation of overtime so long as these vary from week to week.

5. Federal wage and hour law requires that hours credited and paid for legal holidays be counted in determining whether a non-exempt employee has worked 40 hours in a pay period for purposes of overtime.

6. If an individual owns two businesses and employs some of the same people in both businesses, the hours need not be aggregated for computing overtime if the businesses are separately incorporated.

7. Time spent commuting to and from work is generally not counted as "hours worked."
8. An employer can pay an employee on an hourly basis and still qualify that employee a professional exempt from overtime.
9. It is not necessary to provide unpaid breaks or lunch periods to employees in Wisconsin so long as you are consistent in this policy.
10. It is not necessary to provide unpaid breaks or lunch periods to employees in Illinois so long as you are consistent in this policy.

Check next week's Monday Morning Minute for the answers and a bit of commentary on each question Have a great week!

On September 5, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board requested briefing on whether the Board should reconsider its standards for losing workplace protections under the National Labor Relations Act ("Act") for profane outbursts and offensive statements made while engaged in workplace labor disputes.  In its notice, the Board invites the public to provide input on whether to adhere to, modify, or overrule the standard applied in previous cases in which profane outbursts and offensive statements of a racial or sexual nature were judged not to lose the protection of the Act. 

The notice seeks comments relating to the following cases: Plaza Auto Center, 360 NLRB 972 (2014), Pier Sixty, LLC, 362 NLRB 505 (2015), and Cooper Tire, 363 NLRB No. 194 (2016).  The Board's treatment of such language (as well as sexually offensive language) has been criticized as both morally unacceptable and inconsistent with other workplace laws by Federal judges as well as some within the Board, and members of the public. 
In the invitation for briefing, Chairman John F. Ring stated: "The Board's request for briefing on this important topic reflects its long-standing practice of seeking input from interested parties when the Board believes it can benefit from such briefing. We look forward to considering the views of all interested parties." Chairman John F. Ring was joined by Members Marvin E. Kaplan and William J. Emanuel in inviting the filing of briefs. Member Lauren McFerran dissented.
Amicus briefs not to exceed 25 pages in length shall be filed with the Board in Washington, D.C. on or before November 4, 2019. The parties are permitted to file responsive briefs not to exceed 15 pages in length on or before November 19, 2019.  Contact the Spognardi Baiocchi law firm if you would like an amicus brief filed on behalf of your organization.

SPOGNARDI BAIOCCHI llp is a law firm dedicated to partnering with companies of all sizes to address the full spectrum of legal concerns for its business.  Our commitment is to find common sense solutions that fit each clients' unique situation to labor, employment, human resources and general business needs. 

With over 50 combined years of experience among its 2 founding partners in these areas, we can assist businesses in developing custom solutions to today's tough issues.  And as litigators, who combined have over thousands of trials  "under their belts" before state and federal courts as well as administrative agencies (such as the NLRB) you will find no better advocate and partner. 


For more information on the firm, please go to our website at or Lisa at