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Workforce Topics


Printer’s $300k Fine from DOL for Use of Temp Employment Agency Raises Questions!  Annual PIA Human Resources Conference on May 4 & 5 Provides Answers!

A recent Printing Impressions article detailing problems occurring with a business practice commonly used in the printing industry, use of a temporary employment agency, and resultant violations of federal minimum wage, overtime, and record-keeping provisions, should raise a red flag with any company using temps to even out the ebb and flow of production needs. If it doesn’t, the resultant fine in this case, over $300,000, might get your attention.

According to the Department of Labor, the Philadelphia area printer utilized the agency to secure a number of workers as machine operators and general workers. Unfortunately, the temp employees were paid less than minimum wage, were not paid overtime over 40 hours, and the company did not maintain appropriate work hour documentation.

Utilization of temporary employment agencies and Professional Employer Organizations (PEO or leased employees) is often a “slippery slope.” Often times, temp agencies and PEO’s sell the idea that utilization of their services absolves the customer company of liability for compliance with state and federal labor laws. Nothing could be further from the truth! Generally, utilizing these services creates a “co-employer” situation where the customer company and temp agency or PEO share liability for compliance with OSHA, wage and hour regulations, Equal Opportunity, etc. Compounding the problem are the issues of whether or not the temp agency or PEO is complying with the law and how to gain information and maintain control over what can be a significant exposure to liability.

This topic will be a major focus during the upcoming Printing Industries Alliance Human Resources Conference being held on May 4 & 5, 2017 at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown in Syracuse, NY. In a presentation entitled, “HR Problems Lurking in the Shadows,” conference presenters and labor attorneys Nicholas J. Fiorenza and Michael L. Dodd, Ferrara Fiorenza PC, will focus on this topic, and others, where companies can inadvertently get into trouble on routine matters including use of temps and PEOs, no-fault attendance programs, uniform payments, travel pay, and more.

In preparing for the conference, attorney Mike Dodd commented on the above referenced $300k DOL fine by saying, “I would not be surprised to hear that the company gets audited and fined by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service and the Internal Revenue Service. In all likelihood, the temp agency was probably not getting I-9’s or properly withholding federal taxes either.”

Companies wishing to learn more or register for the 2017 HR Conference can visit the Printing Industries Alliance website at or download a conference flyer here.

Questions? Contact Tim Freeman, President, Printing Industries Alliance at 716-691-3211 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tim Freeman, President
Printing Industries Alliance


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Learn What You Can Do to Protect Yourself at the 2016 HR Conference

Last Thursday, the highest federal court for New York held that individuals who control an employee’s rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) can be held personally liable for any violation of those rights.  See Graziadio v. Culinary Institute of America, 2016 WL 1055742 (2d Cir., March 17, 2016). In other words, HR managers and others who administer the FMLA for their employer can now be sued personally if an employee believes that he/she has been denied FMLA-protected leave -- or otherwise discriminated against for taking such leave.  Click here to download the alert prepared by PIA Association Counsel, Ferrara Fiorenza PC.

The Court found that the HR manager in this case “controlled” employee Cathleen Graziano’s rights under the FMLA because she: 1) reviewed Graziano’s FMLA paperwork; 2) determined its adequacy; 3) controlled Graziano’s ability to return to work and under what conditions; 4) controlled communications with Graziano regarding her leave; and 5) ultimately, had significant input into the decision to terminate her employment. 

Given that most HR managers have the same kind of authority, this decision means that they will be potential plaintiffs in future FMLA lawsuits. The impact of this decision cannot be overstated.  Simply stated, HR managers, who are already under a great deal of pressure to simply understand and comply with the extremely complex FMLA, will now have the added pressure of personal liability hanging over their heads.  Beyond the obvious direct impact on current HR managers, this decision may actually discourage others from joining the profession or even accepting FMLA responsibilities in the future.

In light of this, the 2016 PIA Human Resources/Employment Law Conference will be providing company owners, top managers, human resources staff and others with information and practical tips they will need to protect themselves.  In addition to addressing this new FMLA case and its ramifications, attendees will have the opportunity to hear from — and ask questions of — an actual Dept. of Labor Investigator who enforces the FMLA. 

The Conference will be held on April 21 and 22, 2016 at Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York. This event has been approved for 10 (HR (General)) recertification credit hours for HR professionals through the HR Certification Institute.  Click here to download the conference flyer.

Please join us on April 21 and 22, 2016 at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino and learn what you can do to protect yourself.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., President
Printing Industries Alliance
(800) 777-4742






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