Through Rain, Sleet, or Snow: The USPS Delivers a Helpful Example of Well-Executed Employment-Related Internal Investigations

Internal Investigations

Remember when the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) conjured up images of disgruntled employees engaging in workplace violence? Those days of incidents, often sparked by employee discontent over unresolved labor grievances and employment-related complaints, are apparently over.  The USPS has learned from the violent incidents of the 1980s and is now considered a go-to source for federal agencies seeking timely and well-executed internal investigations.

I was surprised to learn from Federal News Radio that the USPS now handles roughly 60 percent of all federal Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaints through inter-agency agreements.  How has it gone from a back log of 4,000 EEO cases to a trusted source for handling internal complaints?  Simply put, the USPS has applied tried and true best practices for conducting internal investigations.

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Employment Authorization Issues Arising From Corporate Restructuring

Authorization

American business experienced a near record number of mergers and acquisitions in 2016, and this trend is likely to continue in 2017. Such corporate transactions raise a number of legal issues, including employment issues.  During its due diligence review, the buyer considers whether the seller’s workforce is covered by collective bargaining agreements, what benefits are offered, what policies are in place, and related matters.  The buyer, however, often fails to consider the immigration issues that may arise as a result of an acquisition, merger, or other corporate restructuring.  The Form I-9 compliance is always a key concern in such corporate transactions, but there also are other significant immigration law concerns. For example, the transaction may cause some of the seller’s employees to lose the ability to work in the United States because their employer is changing.  Many temporary immigration classifications are specific to the employer, the worksite, and the job.  A sudden change in the identity of the employer or material changes in the job may lead to the loss of employment authorization.  Another consideration is whether the buyer is purchasing the stock of the target company (becoming the new owner through the purchase) or buying only the assets of the seller.  An asset purchase is more likely to trigger a loss of employment authorization among the foreign nationals following the corporate restructuring.

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Is Obamacare Lite Really Less Calories? What Employers Need to Know

Obamacare

As predicted, Congress is taking action to repeal and/or alter major sections of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). To get the process started, various committees in the United States House of Representatives (House) are in the midst of revising draft reconciliation bills – collectively known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Continue reading this entry

Could Wellness Programs Be Making Your Company “Sick?” The Potential Perils of Collecting Biometric Data About Employees

Biometric data

Wearable devices that track and record personal biometric data are hardly new to the technology scene. In addition to the now-commonplace electronic pedometers and heart rate monitors, there are portable and wearable devices that, quite literally, do everything – from administering medical tests, like electrocardiograms, to analyzing the quality of one’s sleep based on user input. Never before, however, have employers had such ready access to this personal information about employees. It is this access – and the employer’s use of the gathered data – that can pose a legal trap for the unwary employer. Continue reading this entry

How Will the EEOC Change Under the Trump Administration?

EEOC Developments

Employers, human resource professionals, and employment attorneys all have the same burning question on their minds – what is the Trump administration’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), with newly appointed Acting Chair Victoria A. Lipnic, going to do?

An important part of this conversation is understanding the ways in which the EEOC is able to wield its agency power. In other words, some EEOC actions and regulations are directly attributable to the agency itself, while other EEOC actions find support in our existing laws and their judicial interpretation.

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