WWT Insights Legal Blog

Wilson Wehmeyer Themeli, pllc provides you legal news, updates, and analysis in its blog WWT Insights. Read the latest posts.

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The Supreme Court of the United States

  • Texting in the car, surveillance of a home, and Section 1983 for Miranda
    by Andrew Hamm on October 22, 2021 at 9:29 pm

    This week we highlight cert petitions that ask the Supreme Court to consider, among other things, whether officers who observe a driver using a cellphone have reasonable suspicion to pull the driver over for texting, whether agents’ around-the-clock video surveillance of a home for 18… The post Texting in the car, surveillance of a home, and Section 1983 for <em>Miranda</em> appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

  • Court won’t block Texas abortion ban but fast-tracks cases for argument on Nov. 1
    by Amy Howe on October 22, 2021 at 7:22 pm

    The Supreme Court will hear oral argument on Nov. 1 in a pair of cases challenging the Texas law that bans nearly all abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy. In two orders issued on Friday afternoon, the court granted requests by the Biden administration… The post Court won’t block Texas abortion ban but fast-tracks cases for argument on Nov. 1 appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

  • The morning read for Friday, Oct. 22
    by James Romoser on October 22, 2021 at 1:48 pm

    Each weekday, we select a short list of news articles, commentary, and other noteworthy links related to the Supreme Court. To suggest a piece for us to consider, email us at roundup@scotusblog.com. Here’s the Friday morning read: McConnell lauds Thomas, says Supreme Court should not heed… The post The morning read for Friday, Oct. 22 appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

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US Department of Labor

  • US Department of Labor and Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity sign agreement to share information, conduct joint operations
    on October 23, 2021 at 7:40 pm

    DETROIT – The U.S. Department of Labor’s offices in Detroit and Grand Rapids and the State of Michigan, Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, Wage and Hour Division have signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding to provide opportunities for the agencies to conduct joint investigations and joint outreach as well as share training materials and other information as appropriate. “The U.S. Department of Labor and the Michigan Wage and Hour Division are committed to working together proactively to provide compliance assistance and worker rights information to Michigan’s workers and employers,” said Wage and Hour Regional Administrator Michael Lazzeri in Chicago. “This agreement will help to promote greater engagement and dialogue to protect workers’ rights.” “While independent of one another, these divisions enforce many similar standards sometimes with overlapping jurisdiction,” said Michigan’s Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity Deputy Director Sean Egan in Lansing, Michigan. “We cannot expect working people and employers to fully understand these nuances and by enhancing our working relationship we are better equipped to ensure stronger educational opportunities and more effective enforcement activity.” This is the second Memorandum of Understanding the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour District offices have signed with Michigan government agencies. In January 2020, the offices signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding with the State of Michigan’s Department of Attorney General, Payroll Fraud Enforcement Unit and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, Unemployment Insurance Agency. Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. Learn more about the Michigan Wage and Hour Division.  

  • US Department of Labor recovers $27K for 74 delivery drivers denied mileage reimbursement by Jimmy John’s franchisee in Clemson, Anderson
    on October 23, 2021 at 7:40 pm

    COLUMBIA, SC – Employers who expect their workers to use personal vehicles on behalf of the business must provide mileage reimbursement or they may be in violation of federal law, the operator of two sandwich shops in Clemson and Anderson has learned. U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigators found Clemson Subs LLC and Anderson Subs LLC – operated as Jimmy John’s establishments by their franchise owner – violated Fair Labor Standards Act provisions by failing to reimburse drivers for their mileage expenses. The employer’s failure to pay mileage expenses reduced drivers’ wages below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. The investigation led the division to recover $27,209 in back wages for 74 workers. “Amid the pandemic, food delivery drivers provide vital service to homebound customers and help many restaurants replace revenue lost when indoor dining is limited,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Jamie Benefiel in Columbia, South Carolina. “The operator of these Jimmy John’s locations failed to comply with laws regarding employee use of personal vehicles, a situation now resolved by our investigation. Workers and employers alike are encouraged to contact us with questions about pay practices, mileage reimbursement and tips as a part of wages.” For information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.

  • Federal investigation of employee injury finds Temple, Texas furniture manufacturer repeatedly exposed workers to amputation hazards
    on October 23, 2021 at 7:40 pm

    TEMPLE, TX – While the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has given a Temple furniture design and manufacturing company several opportunities to stop exposing its workers to amputation hazards, an investigation into a recent serious injury found little has changed. Responding to a complaint, the OSHA investigation on April 20, 2021, found an employee suffered a broken finger when their hand was caught in a machine. The employee’s injury occurred while feeding raw materials into a process line that glues furniture parts. Inspectors determined that the company removed guarding and failed to follow hazardous energy control procedures to prevent sudden machine start-up or movement during maintenance and servicing. Following the inspection, OSHA cited the company for three repeat violations related to energy control and two serious violations for failing to follow lockout/tagout procedures and provide machine guarding to protect workers from the moving parts. MooreCo Inc. faces $249,657 in proposed fines. OSHA cited the company for similar violations in 2015 and 2018. “Lockout/tagout and machine guarding violations are two of the most frequently cited hazards and if not addressed, the consequences can be serious or fatal worker injuries,” said OSHA Area Director Casey Perkins in Austin, Texas. “The threat of being caught in an unforgiving machine is a constant danger in a manufacturing setting. Aside from the terrible physical toll paid by injured workers, these preventable incidents can be life-altering events that leave workers unable to support themselves and their families.” Founded in 1985 and rebranded as MooreCo Inc. in 2007, the company designs and manufactures furniture for commercial use in offices, schools and other locations, as well as custom project design. Its clients include the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, NASA, Amazon and Apple. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s workers by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. Learn more about OSHA.

  • US Department of Labor finds Midwest trailer sales company failed to ensure workers followed measures to prevent COVID-19 spread
    on October 23, 2021 at 7:40 pm

    CALEDONIA, WI – Responding to a complaint alleging coronavirus hazards, federal workplace safety and health inspectors found a Caledonia company failed to protect workers from the virus’ dangers.   The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspected the facility on May 18 and found that a 49-year-old dispatcher died from the virus on April 27 and that 11 out of 38 employees of Amston Supply Inc. tested positive for COVID-19 from April 12 to May 18. The dispatcher worked for the company approximately a month when he died. OSHA determined the company, operating as Amston Trailer Sales, allowed workers to congregate closely and without face coverings in offices, the parts and services department, maintenance areas, and kitchen – despite their own company policy requiring employees to screen, wear masks, and maintain social distancing when possible to prevent coronavirus infection. OSHA cited Amston for a serious general duty clause violation and proposed $9,557 in penalties. “Failure to protect workers from the hazards related to coronavirus infection can have serious consequences,” said OSHA Area Director Christine Zortman in Milwaukee. “Simply having a policy is not enough – employers are obligated to make sure preventive measures are actually being followed in order to protect their employees.” Learn more about OSHA and the agency’s resources on coronavirus protection. Founded in 1979, Amston Trailer Sales began as an equipment leasing company and is now one of the Midwest’s largest trailer dealers. Operating in Caledonia and in Lebanon, Indiana, the company specializes in trailer sales, leasing, parts and service. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.  

  • OSHA launches initiative to protect Midwest workers from occupational exposure to hazardous substances, other health hazards
    on October 23, 2021 at 7:40 pm

    KANSAS CITY, MO ‒ Occupational exposure to hazardous substances, such as asbestos, formaldehyde and cadmium, can lead to cancer and other long-term serious health diagnoses years after exposure, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. To reduce employee exposure to health hazards and encourage companies to make workplace safety and health a priority, the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s regional office in Kansas City has established a Regional Emphasis Program targeting OSHA’s Top 50 High-Hazard Health Industries.  “Workers should not have to risk their health for a paycheck,” said OSHA Acting Regional Administrator Billie Kizer in Kansas City. “OSHA’s goal is to increase awareness of the dangers of such exposures and ensure employers are implementing required safety and health procedures to prevent potential lifelong illness.” OSHA will focus its health inspections on employers with documented employee exposure through previous agency inspections and at companies in similar industries. The agency determined that relying solely on injury and illness data is inadequate in identifying exposure to these workplace hazards because the onset of symptoms can occur years after exposure. The emphasis program will assist in developing an inspection targeting system to identify those worksites with health hazards. The Regional Emphasis Program’s initial phase will include informational mailings to employers, professional associations, local safety councils, apprenticeship programs, local hospitals and occupational health clinics, and OSHA presentations to industry organizations and stakeholders. OSHA will also encourage employers to use the agency’s free consultation services to help them implement noise safety strategies and ensure compliance with OSHA standards. OSHA offers several compliance assistance resources on preventative measures, including respiratory protection, personal protective equipment, occupational noise exposure, and hazard exposure and risk management. OSHA encourages employers to take steps to identify, reduce and eliminate hazards related to exposure to hazardous substances during the REP’s initial phase. Following its three-month outreach that began on Oct. 1, the REP empowers OSHA to schedule and inspect select manufacturing industries in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. Learn more about OSHA.