Category Archives: Human Resources/ Employer Matters

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Temporary Workers—An OSHA Perspective

OSHA
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has previously stated that temporary workers are at an “increased risk of work-related injury and illness.” Among other reasons, OSHA has expressed concerns that temporary workers are sometimes not included in employers’ usual safety training and assessments. Because of that stated vulnerability, OSHA often focuses on temporary worker … Continue reading this entry

Deferred Compensation Plans and FICA Taxes: A Valentine’s Day Match or Disaster?

Taxes
While February is usually the month for valentines and candy conversation hearts, I hope you will use this month to give a little love and attention to one of the often overlooked “other” taxes applied to payments from nonqualified deferred compensation plans (NQDC Plans)—FICA taxes! Companies commonly fail to implement the unique FICA tax rules … Continue reading this entry

DHS Issues Final Rule Changing H-1B Cap Selection Process

DHS
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a new rule on January 31, 2019 that makes significant changes to the way in which DHS will administer the annual H-1B allocation (the H-1B cap). Starting in April 2019, DHS will change the order in which the agency allocates the available slots under the H-1B cap. In … Continue reading this entry

Biometric Privacy: Illinois Supreme Court Decision Allows Claims to Proceed Without Showing of Actual Harm

Biometric
On January 25, 2019, the Illinois Supreme Court handed down a key ruling that will make it significantly easier for consumers and workers to sue and recover damages for mere non-compliance with the requirements of the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act, 740 ILCS 14/1 et seq. (BIPA or Act). In its highly anticipated decision in … Continue reading this entry

Supreme Court Gives Teeth to Delegation Clauses in Arbitration Provisions

Supreme
Taking the time to include a well-crafted arbitration agreement in your employment contracts sometimes feels like a moot point, but a recent unanimous U.S. Supreme Court opinion in Henry Schein, Inc. v. Archer & White Sales, Inc. should inspire some confidence in the enforcement of arbitration. The story is a familiar one—an employee who signed … Continue reading this entry

OSHA Penalty Increases Take Effect; Annual Summary Posting and Reporting Deadlines Are Near

OSHA
On January 23, 2019, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) increased the maximum civil penalties that employers can receive for health and safety violations by 2.5 percent to account for inflation.… Continue reading this entry

What the NLRB Can Teach You About Documenting Employee Misconduct

NLRB
Innocent mistakes are an unfortunate reality in our fast-paced, technology-driven society. But an employer does not have to tolerate an employee doubling down on his mistake by deceiving his employer and actively impeding an investigation into that mistake. That’s the main lesson from a recent Alabama federal district court opinion in which the judge held … Continue reading this entry

Under Developing IRS Guidance (Not Final), an Employer Would Be Able to Fully Satisfy ACA’s Employer Mandate Without Maintaining Group Health Plan

ACA
Takeaway Message: A recent IRS notice provides a future path for employers to avoid ACA employer mandate penalties by reimbursing employees for a portion of the cost of individual insurance coverage through an employer-sponsored health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). While the notice is not binding and at this stage is essentially a discussion of relevant issues, it … Continue reading this entry

Michigan Brings Legalized Recreational Marijuana to the Midwest

OSHA
Last month, Michigan became the 10th state, and the first in the Midwest, to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. The new statue, which became effective on December 6, 2018, is known as the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act (“the Act”). Part of the Act’s stated intent is to decriminalize the personal possession … Continue reading this entry

New Year, Old Test? NLRB’s Continuing Efforts to Roll Back Obama-Era Joint Employment Standard Hit Another Roadblock

NLRB
If the NLRB were a TV drama (imagine the ratings!), the most recent Christmastime decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals would have been a season-ending cliffhanger. It leaves the future of joint employment in doubt and is yet another reminder that employers must remain vigilant around joint employment issues.… Continue reading this entry

Negotiating a Labor Contract: Finding the Style that Suits You

Contract
Day one of labor negotiations for a new labor contract. The prior three years had been uneventful, very few grievances, a good business climate, and the two negotiating committees chatted amicably as they waited for their representatives to start the meeting. The company lead negotiator spoke first, welcoming everyone, pledging to work in good faith … Continue reading this entry

Strict Updates to Massachusetts’ `Ban the Box’ Law

Box
In 2010, Massachusetts was one of the first jurisdictions to adopt a “Ban the Box” law, which prohibits employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal record on an employment application. The purpose of these laws is to help applicants with criminal records overcome certain barriers in obtaining employment.… Continue reading this entry

Michigan’s New Minimum Wage and Sick Leave Laws

Michigan
On December 13, 2018, Michigan’s governor signed into law two bills affecting employers in Michigan: a minimum wage law and a paid sick leave law. Versions of the laws were originally adopted in September 2018, when the Michigan legislature took advantage of a state process allowing it to adopt proposals that would otherwise be on … Continue reading this entry

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

OSHA
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