Kansas Employment Law Blog Photo
KHRC Fields High Number of Harassment Charges
By: Sarah Macke

The Kansas Human Rights Commission (“KHRC”) has released statistics regarding employment complaints filed with the agency in the 2015 fiscal year. There were 729 total complaints filed. Of these, 252, or about 35%, alleged harassment. Not surprisingly, sex-based harassment complaints top the chart of all harassment charges. But disability and race-based harassment charges are not far behind. The KHRC also received complaints of harassment based on age, national origin/ancestry, and religion.  

Over three-fourths of the sex-based harassment charges (77.5%) alleged harassment against females. Of the race-based harassment charges, 82% alleged harassment against black employees, 15% alleged harassment against white employees, and the rest involved other races or multi-racial employees.

Similarly, complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) continue to include a high percentage of harassment complaints. The EEOC has created a task force to study and address harassment in the workplace. 

Employers have a duty to take steps to provide employees with a working environment free from unlawful harassment—which includes not only harassment by supervisors and co-workers, but also harassment by customers, vendors, and other individuals employees may come into contact with as a result of their employment. Vigilant employers should have strong anti-harassment policies with reporting and investigation procedures. Employers should also provide harassment training and must be ready to swiftly address harassment complaints. As the number of claims continues to rise, and the EEOC ramps up the attention paid to harassment, now is a good time to re-train your supervisors and re-examine the adequacy of your anti-harassment policy and      Continue Reading...

Minimum Wage and Overtime Protections for Home Care Workers Effective November 12, 2015
By: Sarah Macke

Earlier this month the Supreme Court denied a request to delay enforcement of a new rule that extends minimum wage and overtime protections to certain home care workers. This means that certain home care workers that were previously exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime requirements as live-in domestic service employees or companionship employees are no longer exempt.  

The new rule revised and narrowed the definition of what constitutes “companionship services,” resulting in fewer employees that fall under this exemption. In addition, third-party employers, such as home care agencies, will not be able to claim either the live-in domestic service or companionship service exemptions to the FLSA—even if the third party is a joint employer with the household using the services. The new rule also requires that certain records be kept regarding domestic service employees.  

The rule is effective—and immediately enforceable—on November 12, 2015. Employers of home care workers should take steps now to ensure they are compliant. 
Home care associations intend to ask the Supreme Court to review whether the new rule is valid. But, as of now, the Court has not agreed to hear the case and even if the Court does hear the case, that will not delay the effective date of the new rule. 

Don Berner Image
Don Berner, the Labor Law, OSHA, & Immigration Law Guy
Boyd Byers Image
Boyd Byers, the General Employment Law Guy
Jason Lacey Image
Jason Lacey, the Employee Benefits Guy
Additional Sources
Subscribe to Kansas Employment Law Letter Image
Subscribe to Kansas Legislative Insights Image