Monday, January 31, 2011

Vault Employment Tracker

PRESENTED BY: Executive Leadership, LLC.
SPECIALIZING IN: CHANGING CAREERS, Career Transformation & Executive Development

Vault Employment Tracker

The BLS' December jobs summary had mixed news for job seekers. While some 103,000 positions were created in December, that was far below the number that economists had predicted--and nowhere near enough to be solely responsible for the drop in the unemployment rate (it came in at 9.4 percent, down from 9.8 percent in November). Sadly, that truth was borne out elsewhere in the numbers: some 450,000 people either became discouraged with the search or left their jobs voluntarily during the month.
Still, as 2011 gets under way, economists of all stripes are expressing optimism about the year ahead. Companies saw record profits in 2010 and are sitting on unprecedented piles of cash. Whether they will choose to grow headcount this year will depend on a number of factors, but there have already been some notable announcements. Toward the tail end of 2010, for example, both Deloitte and KPMG announced that they were each starting efforts to hire 250,000 workers over the next five years. That underlines one key fact about hiring: that companies tend to move in packs. Thus, if one firm decides to grow its headcount, competitors will surely follow. What we're waiting for, then, is a few more firms to take the plunge.
As we await the rebound, we'll keep doing our best to catch the most significant hiring announcements, RIFs and downsizings.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

U.S. Supreme Court Prohibits Retaliating Against Third-Parties in the Workplace


U.S. Supreme Court Prohibits Retaliating Against Third-Parties in the Workplace

By Lionel M. Schooler

INTERACTIONS WITH “RELATED” EMPLOYEES. Employers who employ more than one family member or someone with a close relationship to another co-worker must now exercise caution in its workplace relationships with such employees.

This is because in a decision styled Thompson v. North AmericanStainless L.P., the United States Supreme Court announced onJanuary 24, 2011, an expansion of the “anti-retaliation” component of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This decision imposes new limits on employers’ right to take disciplinary actions against third-party employees who are “related” to co-workers who complain about discriminatory practices in the workplace.

The impact of this decision (as explained below) will be that when one employee makes a charge of discrimination under Title VII against the employer, employers will need to avoid any conduct against an individual who is “related” to that complaining co-worker that could violate Title VII’s anti-retaliation provision.

THE DECISION IN THE THOMPSON CASE. In the Thompson case,Miriam Regalado filed a charge of sex discrimination against her employer. At the time both she and her fiancé, Eric Thompson,worked for the employer. Within three weeks of having been notified by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)that Ms. Regalado had filed such a charge, the employer fired Mr.Thompson.

Mr. Thompson then filed his own charge with the EEOC, claiming that he had been subjected to unlawful “retaliation” by the employer in violation of Title VII’s anti-retaliation provision because of its reaction to the charge of discrimination filed by his fiancée. Although this case arose in another part of the country, our federal appeals court covering cases arising in Texas (the United StatesCourt of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit) had previously held that merely being related to a co-worker who files a charge does not entitle an individual to claim retaliation if he or she then suffers an“adverse employment action.” 

Rather, the Fifth Circuit (like the Court of Appeals ruling upon Mr.Thompson’s claim) had held that to be eligible to file a claim of retaliation, an employee had to show that he or she had actually opposed a discriminatory practice of the employer, not just that he or she was a target of retaliation solely because of being “related” to the person claiming discriminatory practices.

The United States Supreme Court rejected this restrictive approach to Title VII’s anti-retaliation clause, holding that this statute was intended to cover any person “claiming to be aggrieved.” 

The Court indicated that this section of Title VII prohibits any employer action that “well might dissuade a reasonable worker from making or supporting a charge of discrimination,” in other words, any employer action that could dissuade a person like Ms. Regalado in this case from lodging a discrimination complaint for fear of having her fiancé fired.

WHO IS PROTECTED BY THIS DECISION? The Court’s decision interjects a “relationship” test into the anti-retaliation provision ofTitle VII, expanding persons eligible to complain about retaliation beyond those who actually oppose an allegedly discriminatory employment practice or actively aid others in opposing them. Nevertheless, while making clear that the anti-retaliation is not restricted solely to those actively opposing discriminatory employment practices, and is not restricted to “persons related by blood or marriage” to those who do complain about discriminatory employment practices, the Court did not answer a difficult corollary question posed by its ruling: what is the meaning of the concept“related”? Does this cover not only a blood relative but also a girl/boy friend, a close friend, a trusted co-worker?

The Court discussed this question against the backdrop of its landmark 2006 decision in Burlington Northern Railroad v. White, which established that employers can be liable for retaliating against individuals for a broad range of employer conduct, not just firing or demoting them.

Acknowledging the force of the question about a need for a potential limit as to which third-parties are to be protected by the anti-retaliation clause, the Court declined to identify a “fixed class of relationships for which third-party reprisals are unlawful.” It described in broad terms a spectrum of eligibility such that “firing a close family member will almost always meet the standard, while inflicting a milder reprisal on a mere acquaintance will almost never do so,” but declined to generalize beyond that point. It also made clear that judging harm to an “aggrieved” person under this law had to be based upon an “objective” standard, rather than an individual’s“unusual subjective feelings.” 
CONCLUSION. This new decision by the U.S. Supreme Court obligates employers to exercise greater care in reacting (if at all) to claims of discrimination. Employers are best advised to ensure that well-documented legitimate, non-discriminatory or non-retaliatory reasons underlie any significant disciplinary action towards any employee. To the extent possible, employers are also well advised to consider timing issues when dealing with discipline or termination issues for employees who are related to another employee,particularly where there is a family or close personal relationship.
For further assistance, please contact Lionel M. Schooler at713.752.4516 or

Friday, January 28, 2011

Exempt or Non-Exempt for Overtime or Minimum Wage - part "B"


Author: Deskin Law Firm - 800-709-8978

In determining whether you are supposed to get overtime for your work, a determination must be made as to whether you are exempt or non-exempt.
To be EXEMPT means you DO NOT get overtime and to be NON-EXEMPT means that you DO get overtime.

There are several different reasons a job can be exempt from overtime requirements. To be non-exempt and therefore be entitled to overtime, you must not fall into any one of these reasons:

Professional, Executive and Administrative Employees may be exempt; Outside salespeople are exempt if their employment situation satisfies various tests; Computer related occupations are exempt if the job meets several tests; 

Highly compensated employees may be exempt; Some examples of positions that are usually non-exempt and therefore entitled to overtime include:

SecretariesClerks of various kinds who perform routine clerical dutiesBookkeepers,ValetCosmetologists and BarbersBuilding InspectorsCooksCorrectional OfficersProduction Line Workers,First RespondersElectriciansNurses and Registered NursesLongshore Workers, Maintenance WorkersSecurity Guards,Concierge StaffSalaried sales people in retail, wholesale or service establishments (like Radio Shack, Walmart and Target, as examples), Television newscast producers, station directors, assignment reporters and editors whose primary duty relate to the production aspect of a television station's business, Paralegals and legal assistantsPharmacists and Pharmacy TechniciansUnlicensed Engineers or Junior DraftersAutomobile damage appraisers employed by an insurance company.

Once a determination is made that you are non-exempt from overtime, a determination needs to be made as to how much overtime you are due.
Some examples of positions that are usually exempt and therefore not entitled to overtime include:

Certain Amusement Park or Recreational Establishment Employees; Certain Amusement Park or Recreational Establishment Employees for National Parks forests or refuges provided they are paid time and a half after 56-hours in one work week; Certain Camp, Religious, and Nonprofit Educational Conference Centers that operate less than 7 months a year; Fishing or On-Vessel processing of fish; Seamen who a re a member of a maritime crew responsible for maintaining and operating a ship; 

Certain small newspaper employees; Switchboard operators employed by certain small independent telephone companies; Criminal Investigators; Casual domestic babysitters and persons employed to provide companionship to older or infirm people in their home; Live-in employees of private homes performing domestic services; Certain computer systems analysts; Motor carrier employees who drive interstate; 

Certain air or rail carrier employees; Certain agricultural employees, including those employed in livestock auctions; Employees engaged in planting or tending trees, cruising, surveying or felling timber, or in preparing or transporting logs or other forestry products to a mill, processing plant, railroad or other transportation terminal, if there are no more than eight employees in that operation; 

Any employee engaged in the transportation and preparation for transport of fruits or vegetables from the farm to a place of first processing in the same state; Certain employees involved in operation or maintenance of ditches, canals, reservoirs or waterways that are not for profit or are on sharecrop basis for supplying or storing water for agricultural purposes; 

Certain buyers of poultry, eggs, cream or milk in their raw and natural state; An announcer, news editor, or chief engineer of a radio or television station located in a small city or town; Certain salespeople, parts people, service advisers, service writer, or mechanics primarily engaged in selling or servicing automobiles, trucks, trailers, boats, aircraft or farm implements; 

Certain drivers or driver's helper making local deliveries compensated based on trip rates; Any employees engaged in the processing of maple sap into sugar or syrup; Taxicab drivers; Employees in fire protection, law enforcement, and security at a correctional institution for a public agency employing fewer than five employees in those activities, and, Employees of movie theaters.

How Much Overtime Do I Deserve? Part "A"


How Much Overtime Do I Deserve? Part: A 

AUTHOR: Deskin Law Firm - 800-709-8978

Overtime cases arise when employees are not paid properly. There are several rules that apply to paying non-exempt employees properly:

- If you work 4 hours in a day your employer must let you know that you are entitled to a 10-minute rest period that you can waive at your option.
- For every 5 hours you work in a day you must receive an unpaid 30-minute lunch break.
- If you work more than 8 hours a day you must receive time and a half until the 12th hour.
- If you work more than 12 hours a day you must receive double time for each hour over 12 hours.
- If you work more than 40 hours in a week you must be paid time and a half for each hour over 40 hours.
- Under most circumstances, an employer cannot require you to work more than six days out of seven in a row.
- If you work 7 days in a row you must be paid time and a half for the first 8 hours and double time after the first 8 hours.
- Depending on your line of work, you may not be required to work more than 72 hours in a week.
- Your employer may dictate your schedule and hours and may require that work overtime. Additionally, under most circumstances your employer may discipline you, up to and including termination, if you refuse to work scheduled overtime.
If you work overtime that is not authorized you must be paid for it, regardless of whether the employer has authorized it. But your employer can discipline you if you violate the employer's policy of working overtime without the required authorization. However, California's wage and hour laws require that you to be compensated for any hours you are "suffered or permitted to work, whether or not required to do so," meaning work you did that the employer knew or should have known about. So you cannot deliberately prevent the employer from obtaining knowledge of the unauthorized overtime worked, and come back later to claim recovery. Your employer must have the opportunity to obey the law.

IRS Deadline to Notify Employees Who Exercised Certain Stock Options in 2010


Jan. 31 Is IRS Deadline to Notify Employees Who Exercised Certain Stock Options in 2010  

Section 6039 of the Internal Revenue Code requires employers to provide certain information to employees

who exercised incentive stock options (ISOs) or acquired stock under an employee stock purchase plan (ESPP) during 2010. 
The necessary information must be provided to the employees by Jan. 31, 2011, with a corresponding report filed with the Internal Revenue Service no later than Feb. 28, 2011 (March 31, 2011, if filed electronically). 
Affected employers should take action now, if they have not done so already. This advisory provides a brief background on Section 6039 and an analysis of what information should be provided. 
Section 6039 of the Internal Revenue Code has for a number of years required an employer sponsoring an ISO plan or an ESPP to provide certain information to employees who acquired shares under the plans. 

The Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006 amended Section 6039 and changed an employer’s obligations. The IRS wrestled with issuing regulatory guidance and during that transition period allowed employers to satisfy the requirements in a modified fashion. 
Final regulations were issued in 2009 and became fully effective for transactions occurring in 2010. In short, employers who sponsored a stock option plan under which ISOs were issued, or maintained an ESPP, must report transactions that occurred in 2010. 

For ISO exercises that occurred in 2010, an employer should report using new IRS Form 3921, which includes the following information: 
- The name, address, and employer tax ID number of the company transferring the stock 
- The name, address, and employer tax ID number of the company whose stock is subject to the option (if different from the entity designated above) 
- The name, address, and Social Security or tax ID number of the person receiving the shares upon exercise 
- The date the option was granted 
- The exercise price per share 
- The date the option was exercised 
- The fair market value of a share on the date the option was exercised 
- The number of shares transferred on exercise of the option 

With respect to reporting on the transfer of shares under an ESPP, the employer should report using new IRS Form 3922. That form requires information that is almost identical to the information required in connection with the exercise of ISOs. 
In providing the necessary information to applicable ISO plan or ESPP participants, an employer can use either the related Form 3921 or 3922, or a comparable substitute statement (see Section M of IRS publication, “General Instructions for Certain Informational Returns”) 

Action steps 
Because over the last few years the IRS has alternatively suspended, modified, or delayed the requirement to report under Section 6039, some employers may be confused about the requirements, or perhaps wrongly assumed the requirement would be delayed again. 
That is not the case. Companies that sponsor ESPPs or stock option plans that offer ISOs should check with the plan administrator to confirm that the necessary disclosure information is being sent in a timely manner to applicable plan participants and the required information will be filed with the IRS. 

This advisory is a publication of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP. Our purpose in publishing this advisory is to inform our clients and friends of recent legal developments. It is not intended, nor should it be used, as a substitute for specific legal advice as legal counsel may only be given in response to inquiries regarding particular situations. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Top Nine Transferable Skills


Top Nine Transferable Skills
By: Donna Dunning on October 23rd, 2010 at 5:30 am
In an uncertain job market, skills are your best security. No matter how bleak the economy, work still needs to get done and there is always someone looking for a person who can do the work well. Start thinking about what you do well by assessing your transferable skills.
Have the ability to describe your skills
You don’t want to boast, but to realize your personal brand you’ll need to describe your skills. In recent blogs I explored how assessing and considering your interests and values helps define and refine your personal brand. Today it’s time to think about your skills.
Transferable skills are generic and are necessary for almost any kind of work. The good thing about transferable skills is obvious from the name; you can transfer them across diverse work opportunities. Here is my list of 9 highly transferable skills. You will need to use them all, but some will likely catch your interest and align, more than others, with your personal brand.
Think about the role each skill plays in your career path by asking these three questions. Are you good at the skill? Do you enjoy using it? Do you want to develop it?
The front nine
Managing change: Change is a constant part of our daily lives. Everyone needs to spot trends and respond to new information. In a more proactive way, it is best to anticipate change and seize opportunities. Perhaps you are a change agent, one of the innovators who create change, or maybe you are skilled at moving through change or facilitating the implementation of changes. Is change your area of expertise?
Communicating: No man (or woman) is an island and to succeed you must hear what others have to say and express your own thoughts and feelings clearly and diplomatically. If communication is key to your personal brand you may offer a multitude of services including writing, speaking, training, negotiating, persuading, coaching, or counseling.
Leading: Eventually you will need to direct, inspire, give instruction to, be accountable for, or otherwise take a leadership role with others. If leadership is an important part of your skill set, make sure your personal brand emphasizes this.
Learning: Learning is a life-long venture. Perhaps you are skilled at finding information, conducting research, integrating ideas, or collecting data. Those skilled at learning will keep up-to-date on current trends and technology. They won’t get left behind. Do you see learning or processing information as a key part of your brand?
Working with numbers and data: At some point we all need to either collect, analyze, calculate, or work with numbers and data. For some people this is a necessary evil, but for others the devil is not in the details. If you are a numbers or data whiz, consider if this is important to your personal brand.
Problem solving: Appreciative minded people would rather call this capitalizing on opportunities, but either way you look at it there are always problems to solve or situations that can be improved. If you are good at problem solving consider making this skill part of your brand. Opportunities abound for people who can solve problems and make improvements.
Achieving results: Everyone must achieve results to succeed at work. Some people are especially adept at expediting processes to accomplish goals. If you work with high efficiency and effectiveness, this may be an important skill to emphasize in your brand.
Working on a team: You need to work with others. Some people prefer to be independent and find the team aspects of work difficult or unrewarding. Others have a knack for harnessing human resources to build consensus, cooperation, and collaboration to produce results. They are often astute at finding ways to build relationships with just about anybody. If taking a team approach is your strong point, think of how you express this in your personal brand.
Thinking: You need to know when to use your various thinking skills at work. The best approach to a situation might require practical, creative, global, logical, or humanistic thinking. Some people find it stimulating to think through and consider situations from various perspectives and mindsets. Usually our thinking is honed to enhance another skill. For example, you may use a humanistic approach to improve communication or teamwork or a logical approach to solve a problem.
Assessing and developing your transferable skills will help ensure your success. Identify the combination of skills that are key to your brand. Improve your less adept skills and continue to master the ones you enjoy. It’s not boastful to diplomatically let others know about your skills and emphasize them in your personal brand.
Donna Dunning, PhD, is a psychologist, certified teacher, member of the MBTI ® International Training Faculty, and director of Dunning Consulting Inc. She is the author of more than a dozen publications, including her two newest books, 10 Career Essentials and What’s Your Type of Career? 2nd edition. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011



2Boston Consulting Group2%1,713
3Wegmans Food Markets6%39,255
7Camden Property Trust0%1,719
8Nugget Market-2%1,240
9Recreational Equipment (REI)-1%9,380
10DreamWorks Animation SKG10%1,994
11Edward Jones2%35,987
13Alston & Bird-12%1,611
14Robert W. Baird5%2,406
15Mercedes-Benz USA-3%1,657
16JM Family Enterprises-2%3,688
18Stew Leonard's-7%1,991
19The Methodist Hospital System2%11,298
21Container Store-3%3,338
22DPR Construction-7%1,073
23Goldman Sachs7%13,154
24Whole Foods Market3%52,915
25Umpqua Bank18%2,154
26Plante & Moran-4%1,478
27CHG Healthcare Services-5%1,124
28Bingham McCutchen7%1,607
29Quicken Loans4%3,179
30NuStar Energy4%1,419
31W. L. Gore & Associates1%5,770
32Chesapeake Energy10%8,529
36Southern Ohio Medical Center18%2,276
37Scripps Health5%11,847
38PCL Construction-4%1,323
39American Fidelity Assurance-1%1,495
40Balfour Beatty Construction37%2,079
41Devon Energy-10%3,508
42Baptist Health South Florida5%12,249
43Shared Technologies-3%1,192
46Johnson Financial Group-4%1,259
47Novo Nordisk-1%3,340
48Build-A-Bear Workshop-7%4,250
49American Express-3%26,329
50Baker Donelson1%1,127
53Four Seasons HotelsN.A.11,729
54Atlantic Health5%7,418
55Perkins Coie2%1,726
56Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company11%1,269
58General Mills1%16,803
60Children's Healthcare of Atlanta-1%6,521
61Mayo Clinic-1%41,068
64FactSet Research Systems3%1,355
65Adobe Systems18%4,788
66EOG Resources5%1,811
67Publix Super Markets-1%141,217
70S.C. Johnson & Son-1%3,310
71Marriott International-4%106,280
75Arkansas Children's Hospital2%3,776
77Ernst & Young-7%23,102
79National Instruments-1%2,545
80St. Jude Children's Research Hospital-1%3,557
82Teach For America10%1,236
83Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants6%6,735
84Bright Horizons Family Solutions-4%13,737
85Booz Allen Hamilton9%23,294
87Men's Wearhouse-1%14,548
88Meridian Health-8%8,004
89Brocade Communications Systems8%3,112
90CH2M Hill-12%13,486
91The Everett Clinic4%1,633
92Rackspace Hosting14%2,405
93J. M. Smucker-4%4,157
97Darden Restaurants21%167,537
100W. W. Grainger-3%13,699