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Expanded Overtime Pay Rule: Are Lawsuits Coming?

Last week the Department of Labor announced expanded overtime pay for millions of middle-class workers. People who work more than 40 hours a week and earn salaries of up to about $47,000 a year will now benefit from higher pay for their added hours, up from a cap of about $23,000.

The expansion, which goes into effect in December, is meant to assist a beleaguered middle-class, hard hit by the economic downturn of the last decade. But will this end up costing businesses more than they can afford? The move seems sure to spawn added labor lawsuits. Let's consider.

New Overtime Pay Regulations and Your Business

The Labor Department this week announced the expansion of overtime pay for salaried workers. This is expected to affect millions in the middle class. The Obama Administration hopes the measure will improve pay for people working over 40 hours a week on salaries of up to $47,000.

"The middle class is getting clobbered," Vice President Joe Biden said, explaining the rationale for the regulation. But already opposition is gathering on the right. Meanwhile, reports The New York Times, some business leaders predict negative consequences for workers. Let's look at what this might mean to your business.

Yesterday the White House announced new rules expanding overtime pay protections for millions of salaried employees. Starting December 1, salaried employees making $47,476 or less will be entitled to time-and-a-half pay if they work over 40 hours per week.

The new rule is expected to impact some 4.2 million workers and scores of small businesses as well. Here's what small business owners and employers need to know about overtime rules, from the FindLaw archives.

After being told to ensure their drivers were not safety risks, Uber and Lyft have picked up their ridesharing app and fled Austin, Texas. The companies had spent $8-$9 million trying to pass Proposition 1, which would have exempted them from fingerprinting and performing background checks on drivers -- the same regulations under which cab companies operate.

When that lobbying effort failed, the two companies disrupted their way out of town, leaving around 10,000 drivers out of work with less than 48 hours notice. (Good thing those drivers weren't employees, or the mass layoffs may have violated the WARN Act.) So what's next for Uber, Lyft, and the city that tried to hold them accountable for rider safety?

3 Legal Risks When Hiring Unpaid Interns

Internships are considered a critical aspect of professional education, and it can be a big benefit to a business to hire interns. You don't have to pay these workers and they are eager to learn.

But the more benefit an unpaid intern is to a business, the more likely it is that you should be paying this person for the work they do. There have been numerous intern lawsuits stemming from these unpaid arrangements, and because they are not employees, interns come with their own liability issues. Here are three.

Last fall, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) began investigating why there were so few female film and TV directors. Yesterday, the ACLU announced that the scope of the EEOC's inquiry had widened to include Hollywood hiring practices overall.

Melissa Goodman, director of the LGBTQ, Gender and Reproductive Justice Project at the ACLU of Southern California, revealed the EEOC is "launching a wide-ranging and well-resourced investigation into the industry's hiring practices. We are encouraged by the scope of the government's process and are hopeful that the government will be moving to a more targeted phase." So what will they find?

3 Important Legal Tips for Freelancers

If you are working for yourself already, or considering taking up freelance work, you're probably concerned about projects and not the law. But the law is part of all we do, and one of the tough things about being in charge of your own employment is that you do have to consider some important legal requirements. Let's consider these three legal issues for freelancers noted in Flexjobs.

Discrimination in the Workplace: Veteran AP Editor Sues Newswire

The Associated Press is used to making headlines, but not with its own name. But last week a bunch of other news organizations reported that the wire made news with a lawsuit filed against it by a longtime AP staff member alleging race, gender, and age discrimination. Ironically, Sonya Ross, the plaintiff, is a Race and Ethnicity Editor.

Ross has been at the AP for three decades and she is a veteran reporter with impressive credentials. She argues in her suit, however, that since 2008 she has been discriminated against, denied promotions, and worked in a hostile environment. Ross says that the hostility has worsened since she cooperated with federal authorities on an investigation of racial discrimination at the DC bureau.

Considering the legal kerfuffle and PR nightmare over North Carolina's bathroom bill and federal protections against transgender discrimination, many businesses are wondering how to comply with both state and federal law on transgender bathroom access. Lucky for you, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently released a fact sheet on how business owners can provide access in compliance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

So here's what small business owners need to know about Title VII, transgender employees, and appropriate bathroom access:

This week is the SBA's Small Business Week, so we'll be featuring legal advice for small businesses all week long. Today's topic is employment -- the lifeblood of your company that can turn toxic if you're not careful.

Worker protections against discrimination and wrongful termination are expanding, and wage and hour laws aren't getting any less complex. So here are a few tips as your startup or small business in advertising, hiring, and firing (with some demoting or promoting in between):