For the last several years, “joint employment” (whatever that now means legally) has been anything but the gift that keeps on giving for employers. First, joint employment became a tool that the previous Administration locked onto in seeking to expand wage and hour liabilities and to open up potential union organizing opportunities and labor relations obligations. After those actions sent tremors through franchise-based businesses and companies that have significant subcontractor relationships, the new Administration took relatively swift action seeking to unwind the previous joint employment expansion. And even where the federal appellate courts have weighed in on the joint employment changes, to this point they have provided little helpful guidance about what joint employment means (and what the derivative legal obligations will become) for the long term.
It’s official. The IRS has finally begun the process of collecting penalties under the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) employer shared responsibility provisions, better known as the employer mandate. The IRS has started mailing out letters to employers that potentially owe an employer shared responsibility payment (ESRP) for the 2015 calendar year. These letters follow the format of the IRS’s recently released template letter, Letter 226-J. The letter outlines the IRS’s preliminary calculation of the ESRP owed by the employer based on information contained in the ACA tax forms filed by the employer and the individual income tax returns filed by employees.
It does not require insightful analysis to conclude that something is broken when it comes to reporting and addressing sexual misconduct in the workplace.
One attempt to fix part of the “brokenness” comes from the Pennsylvania legislature – a bill that would place limits on confidentiality restrictions. (New Jersey is considering something similar and other states, such as California, are assessing possible revisions to reporting and investigative processes).
In recent years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has increasingly focused its enforcement initiatives on prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace. Now, the agency has a concrete victory to show for its efforts. A federal district court in Pittsburgh recently awarded more than $55,000, representing the statutory maximum in compensatory and punitive damages, to the EEOC on behalf of a former employee of Scott Medical Health Center (Scott Medical).
The compliance date for employers to file their 2016 OSHA 300A reports on the new electronic website has been delayed an additional two (2) weeks pursuant to a regulation issued on Wednesday, November 22, 2017, and which is expected to be published on November 24. OSHA explained that the additional two weeks would allow employers further time to become familiar with the electronic submission process and facilitate an orderly filing process. (The most recent date by which all submissions were due was to be December 1).