Category Archives: Human Resources/ Employer Matters

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More Employers Were “ICED” in Fiscal Year 2018

2018
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) recently released statistics on its worksite enforcement activities for the federal fiscal year ending on September 30, 2018. It should surprise no one that worksite enforcement designed to crack down on the employment of undocumented aliens has skyrocketed.… Continue reading this entry

Proposed Hardship Withdrawal Regulations Provide Useful Guidance

While not exactly a Thanksgiving “miracle,” many retirement plan sponsors were no doubt thankful for the IRS’ recent issuance of proposed regulations (the “Proposed Regs”) addressing changes to the Code §401(k) and 403(b) plan hardship withdrawal rules enacted as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (the “Act”). The Proposed Regs answer several questions … Continue reading this entry

Watch out for Social Security “No-Match” Letters

security
The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently announced that, by spring 2019, it will begin notifying each employer (and third-party payroll company) that has submitted at least one Form W-2 that contains name and Social Security Number (SSN) combinations that do not match the agency’s records.  These Employer Correction Notices have been commonly known as “no-match” … Continue reading this entry

It Is Not Too Late to Consider Updating Your Employee Handbook for 2019

handbook
Employee handbooks are an often neglected and underappreciated company document. Preparing, maintaining, and updating a handbook that reflects the policies of your company and your operations takes time and expertise. A well-written employee handbook can be an effective document to ensure compliance with applicable laws as they evolve and as new laws go into effect. … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Has a “Naughty” List – And Nearly One-Third of Large Employers Are on It. Are You?

OSHA
OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) issued its electronic injury reporting rule in May, 2016.  When issued, OSHA had intended all employers (over time) to submit their injury and illness records (OSHA Form 300 log of work-related injuries and illnesses), OSHA Form 301 (injury and illness incident report), and OSHA 300A (annual summary of … Continue reading this entry

The Latest and Greatest Updates About Non-Compete and Non-Solicitation Agreements in California

non-compete
Employers everywhere should be familiar with California’s strict rules against the enforcement of non-compete agreements and non-solicitation agreements between employers and employees. Practically speaking, the rule has always been that non-compete agreements are not enforceable. Similarly, non-solicitation agreements regarding the solicitation of customers are not enforceable, but non-solicitation agreements regarding the solicitation of other employees … Continue reading this entry

An Accommodation Request? But We Were Just Talking!

Accomodation
In a conversation about his tardy attendance, an employee tells his manager he is having difficulty arriving to work because his sleep apnea interferes with his rest and prevents him from waking up on time. He adds that he is being evaluated for drugs that could potentially help him. Is this a request for an … Continue reading this entry

Court Strikes Down Austin’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

Paid
Earlier this year, the city of Austin became the first Texas city to join the growing number of localities throughout the nation passing legislation requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees.  However, this past Friday, November 16, 2018, the Austin-based 3rd Court of Appeals issued an opinion that will prevent the local … Continue reading this entry

Proposed Regulations Would Permit Employers to Reimburse an Employee’s Premium Costs for a Health Insurance Policy Purchased in the Individual Market

regulations
Takeaway Message: Except in limited circumstances, current regulatory guidance prohibits an employer from maintaining a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) that reimburses the cost of premiums for individual health insurance policies purchased by employees in the individual market. Proposed regulations (found here) aim to eliminate this prohibition, if certain conditions are met.… Continue reading this entry

New Lactation Room Laws In New York City

lactation
The New York City Council just passed two bills that will require employers to provide lactation rooms to breastfeeding employees, as well as develop a lactation policy and processes for employees to request accommodations for nursing. The first bill, Int. No. 879-A, amends the administrative code of the City of New York to require employers … Continue reading this entry

The New Frontier: Navigating the Massachusetts Non-Compete Law One Month In

law
It has been just over a month since Massachusetts’ comprehensive noncompetition reform law took effect. We explained the key provisions of the law last summer. Since then, what have we learned and what questions remain?  The New Review Period The new law requires that applicants be given any covenant not to compete for review by … Continue reading this entry

Sexual Harassment Training in the #MeToo Era

#MeToo
Over the last few months, we have been bombarded constantly with various people across society discussing sexual harassment and the #MeToo movement. Recent news events have led to spirited and sometimes disruptive discussions within the work environment as people take sides in the ongoing political and societal debate.  However, the current environment also provides human … Continue reading this entry

Check Your COBRA Notices in Order to Avoid Potential Lawsuits

COBRA
Have you thought about your COBRA notices recently? Of course not, because COBRA notices don’t warrant your valuable time. They are just another one of those pesky notices that the law requires you to send. If that was your reaction, you may want to rethink it.… Continue reading this entry

Antitrust Scrutiny of No-Poaching Agreements Continues to Pick Up Steam

poaching
To most people, “poaching” is a bad thing, connoting a mix of elephant hunting and mediocre eggs. But in labor and employment—where “poaching” means recruiting away another employer’s talent—antitrust regulators, legislators, and class action attorneys have increasingly made clear that companies should engage in poaching, or else they will face potentially serious consequences under the … Continue reading this entry

Incentive Compensation That is Never Subject to Income Tax – Too Good to Be True?

Incentive
Clients frequently ask if they can provide incentive compensation to their employees and executives in a manner that gives them flexibility and drives performance, but receives coveted capital gains treatment. This usually sounds too good to be true. In most cases, you can defer or sometimes minimize income tax for employees (retirement plans, deferred compensation … Continue reading this entry

Add One to the List: New York Prepares to Expand Paid Family Leave

York
New York employers should prepare to make changes to their family leave policies. During an August 29, 2018, debate, Gov. Andrew Cuomo indicated that he may soon sign into law a bill passed by the State Legislature on June 20, 2018, that adds bereavement leave to the list of qualified reasons to take job-protected, paid … Continue reading this entry

Parental Leave Benefits are Under Scrutiny – Be Sure Yours Don’t Discriminate!

Benefits
As the pool of talented employees tightens, more and more employers are offering perks and benefits to lure the best and the brightest into their ranks. Offering generous benefits for working parents is one of the particularly hot trends at the moment, with paid time off chief among them. Companies offer a range of paid … Continue reading this entry

Labor Board Moves to Clear the Confusion on Joint Employment

Independent
On Friday, September 14, 2018, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the latest attempt to address the “joint employer” standard under the National Labor Relations Act. The proposed rule states that a separate entity will be considered a joint employer “only if the two employers share or codetermine … Continue reading this entry

Non-Qualified Retirement Plans & Divorce: You May be Able to Honor DROs, But Should You?

Honor
You probably already know that employers are required to honor qualified domestic relations orders (commonly referred to as “QDROs”) regarding the division of qualified retirement plan benefits (such as 401(k) balances) when an employee gets divorced. However, many employers mistakenly assume that they must also honor domestic relations orders (“DROs”) related to nonqualified retirement plans … Continue reading this entry

Potential #MeToo-Motivated Laws Address More Than Just Sexual Harassment

#MeToo
The #MeToo movement has spawned several bills, many of which are aimed at prohibiting private arbitration of sexual harassment claims or outlawing confidentiality provisions in settlement agreements addressing sexual harassment claims.… Continue reading this entry

You Might Be a Federal Government Contractor — Better Check Now

federal
If your company: sells goods or services to the federal government; or sells goods or services to companies that use those goods or services in the products they sell to the federal government, you need to read this article. If you have human resource management responsibility, and you do not know to whom your company … Continue reading this entry

Employee Need Not Give Severance Back Before Moving Forward

Severance
An employee signs a separation agreement and receives severance pay. The employee then has second thoughts, alleges she was coerced into signing the agreement, and wants to pursue her discrimination claims in court. Must the employee give back the severance before suing? On August 13, 2018, in McClellan v. Midwest Machining, the Sixth U.S. Circuit … Continue reading this entry

A New Way to Use Your 401(k) Plan to Attract and Retain Recent Graduates

401(k)
According to a recent report, the average student loan debt for a Class of 2016 graduate is $37,172. As recent graduates enter the work force, they often choose not to contribute to their employers’ 401(k) plans and lose out on corresponding employer match because they prefer to focus on paying off their student loans or … Continue reading this entry

First Preference, Employment-Based Priority Workers’ U.S. Immigrant Visas at a Processing Standstill

Immigrant
As of July 18, 2018, the Visa Control and Reporting Division of the U.S. Department of State (DOS) advised that due to heavy worldwide demand it was retrogressing the processing of immigrant visas for certain “priority workers.” First preference priority workers, commonly referred to as “EB-1” (employment-based first preference) workers, consist of: persons of extraordinary … Continue reading this entry