FINAL OVERTIME RULE’S APPLICATION IN PUERTO RICO STAYED AS RESULT OF PROMESA
As we had anticipated in our May issue of NRH Legal Update, the application of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Final Overtime rule in Puerto Rico has been stayed. Under the Final Rule, which was to take effect in Puerto Rico on December 1, 2016, the salary basis for exempt employees was to double from $23,660 to $47,276, annually, thus creating a significant burden for employers in the Island.
However, on June 30, 2016, President Obama signed the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) into law. As a result thereof, the Final Rule will be on hold and its application in Puerto Rico will be contingent on a report to be prepared by the Comptroller General within two years and a subsequent certification by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor to Congress that applying the Final Rule to Puerto Rico would not have a negative impact on the economy of Puerto Rico.
These are welcomed news by local employers already burdened by the existing economic crisis in the Island.
NAVAS RODRIGUEZ & HERNANDEZ OBTAINS SIGNIFICANT DEFENSE JUDGMENTS IN EMPLOYMENT AND INSURANCE DEFENSE CASES
During the month of June, the Firm obtained three significant victories by our Employment Law and Insurance Defense practices.
First, Carmen-Lucía Rodríguez and Néstor Navas teamed up in obtaining a defense judgment by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in the case of Gisela Vélez-Ramírez v. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, et als. In said Judgment, following an oral argument before the First Circuit during their visit to San Juan, the Appellate Court affirmed a prior Judgment by the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico dismissing a complaint of disability discrimination and retaliation against a local correctional health institution, via summary judgment. The Opinion and Order of the First Circuit Court of Appeals can be found at 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 11729 and http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-1st-circuit/1740232.html.
Secondly, Gerardo (Jerry) Hernández and Néstor Navas teamed up in obtaining a defense award in a wrongful termination case before the American Arbitration Association. In the case, a former Store Manager claimed to have been wrongfully discharged and demanded over $160,000 in compensation, plus attorney’s fees. Under the defense award issued by the arbitrator, the employer was deemed to have terminated the employee with just cause and the petition was denied in its entirety. The defense award comes close to a year after another successful defense award in an arbitration involving a claim of wrongful discharge and age discrimination.
Finally, Néstor Navas obtained a defense judgment following trial in a premises liability case involving the Municipality of Guaynabo. In the case, Plaintiff claimed over $75,000 in damages following a slip and fall incident. It is important to note, however, that not only did the Court find no liability whatsoever on the Municipality, but also, deemed the lawsuit frivolous and ordered Plaintiff’s counsel to pay all the costs and reasonable attorney’s fees incurred by the Municipality in their defense.
PAYROLL STATEMENT DUE TO STATE INSURANCE FUND ON JULY 20, 2016
Lastly, a friendly reminder that all Puerto Rico employers must submit to the State Insurance Fund their payroll statement for purposes of securing their worker’s compensation coverage in the Island by July 20, 2016. Please note that this is a key requirement for maintaining the employers’ immunity against lawsuits as an insured employer. Feel free to contact us should you need any assistance on this regard.