Category Archives: Human Resources/ Employer Matters

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The Time to Comply is Now: The New “I-9 Sheriff” is in Town!

I-9
As we have previously informed our readers, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued yet another update to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services’ (USCIS) Employment Eligibility Verification Form (commonly referred to as Form I-9).… Continue reading this entry

Monopoly Money or the Real Deal? Exploring the Possibility of Paying Employees in Bitcoin

Bitcoin
Bitcoin, the most popular form of digital or crypto-currency, is gaining traction as an investment vehicle and a way to pay for goods and services. More than 100,000 merchants worldwide now accept Bitcoin, allowing consumers to book a hotel stay, take a taxi, or buy a car.  The buzz around crypto-currency continues to grow as … Continue reading this entry

California Supreme Court Confirms that PAGA Plaintiffs Are Entitled to Broad Discovery of Other Employees’ Contact Information

Contract
California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) allows aggrieved employees to recover civil penalties on behalf of themselves, other employees, and the State of California for Labor Code violations. On July 13, 2017, the California Supreme Court issued its anticipated ruling on the scope of discovery in PAGA cases.  In a blow to employers, the Court … Continue reading this entry

DHS Issues New Version of Form I-9 - Effective on September 18, 2017

I-9
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued yet another update to the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. This new version becomes mandatory for use with new hires and reverifications as of September 18, 2017.  This is the thirteenth revision of Form I-9 in the thirty years since the form was first required. The good … Continue reading this entry

Pension Plan Sponsors – When “De-Risking”, Select Annuity Providers With Care

Pension
Employer-sponsored retirement plans come in many varieties. For example, under 401(k) and other defined contribution plans, employees and, often, employers may make specific contributions to an employee’s plan account throughout the individual’s employment.  Accordingly, the amount of the employee’s benefit at retirement will vary, based on those contributions and their investment performance.… Continue reading this entry

Be Careful When Firing an Employee Who Is Out On Workers’ Compensation

Fired
Handling workers’ compensation claims can present a number of challenges, such as determining whether an injury is work-related and evaluating back-to-work accommodation requests. Another challenge arises when you consider terminating an employee who has filed a workers’ compensation claim.  For example, most states’ workers’ compensation laws impose penalties, either fines, jail time, or both, for … Continue reading this entry

Happy Halloween! NYC's Salary Inquiry Ban To Become Effective on October 31

NYC
Boo! It appears that fright-fest preparations for New York City employers will come early this year now that Mayor de Blasio has signed a New York City law that prohibits employers from inquiring into or relying on a job applicant’s compensation history to determine compensation in the hiring process. The new law is scheduled to … Continue reading this entry

Privacy Training Requirements for Federal Contractors

Privacy
Under a final rule issued by the Department of Defense (DOD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), effective January 19, 2017, federal government contractors must now comply with new privacy training requirements regarding protection of personally identifiable information (PII). The new rule adds Subpart 24.3 (Privacy Training) to the Federal … Continue reading this entry

Making Employees Watch the Clock Can be Good for Employers

Employer
A few months ago, we reminded our readers about the need to maintain accurate time records for non-exempt employees. This consideration is especially important for those employers who are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), meaning that most readers of this article should take note.   An appeal currently pending in the Seventh Circuit … Continue reading this entry

How to Avoid Costly Beneficiary Designation Litigation – Helpful Hints for All Benefit Plans

Employer
When administering an employee benefits plan, it is critically important to provide clear and specific instructions as to how a participant can designate a beneficiary. A recent federal district court opinion in Florida demonstrates the potential pitfalls that plan administrators may face with respect to disputes over beneficiary status and provides guidance as to how administrators … Continue reading this entry

California Employers Further Restricted From Using Criminal History

Employer
California continues its lead in restricting use of criminal records with the Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) recently finalizing new regulations that further limit a California employer’s ability to use criminal history when making employment decisions. The regulations, borrowing heavily from the EEOC’s 2012 Guidance, will be effective July 1, 2017.… Continue reading this entry

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 … Continue reading this entry

It Pays to Pay Attention to Impact When Considering Layoffs

Discrimination
Unfortunately, many employers from time to time face the need to restructure or downsize their workforce. While the business climate or customer needs are often the driving force in a restructuring or layoff, there are a number of other factors that employers must consider when planning for the actual implementation of such a change. As … Continue reading this entry

HIPAA for HR - Some Good News for Employers

Employer
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law that was enacted to ensure protection of individuals’ protected health information (PHI). The Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information (Privacy Rule) issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services established detailed national standards for the protection of … Continue reading this entry

“But Our Vendor Handles Everything — How Can We Still Have Fiduciary Liability?”

Employer
As the rules governing retirement and health plans grow more complex, employers often need professional help in order to keep up with the day-to-day management of the employee benefit plans they sponsor. From third-party administrators and financial advisers hired to manage the operations and investments of 401(k) plans to administrative service organizations and pharmacy benefit … Continue reading this entry

You May Have a Failure to Communicate — State Notice Requirements Are Plentiful

Employer
Your company probably makes written offers of employment. After all, it makes good sense — it confirms basics about the job, such as the position being offered and pay rate.  For the applicant, it makes clear the terms of the offer and any conditions, such as passing background screening. But, an offer letter may also … Continue reading this entry

What to Do When OSHA is at Your Door

Employer
You arrive at work bright and early, only to find that someone beat you there — OSHA is waiting to perform an inspection. Now what? Many employers think they have little say in what happens next. Actually, employers have many choices to make, starting as soon as OSHA arrives. The first thing step is simply … Continue reading this entry

Uncle Sam Wants You! (to Provide Employee Compensation Data)

harassment
A new lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) demonstrates how dogged the government can be in trying to obtain and review employers’ compensation data. The lawsuit, filed against Google with the DOL’s Office of Administrative Law Judges, alleges that Google failed to comply with its obligations to provide compensation data to the … Continue reading this entry

Massachusetts Has Legalized Marijuana — Should Your Workplace Policies Go Up in Smoke?

On November 8, 2016, voters in Massachusetts (along with their counterparts in Maine, California, and Nevada) voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. This means that recreational marijuana use is now legal in eight states (California, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington already have passed similar measures).… Continue reading this entry

2016: They Say all Politics is Local: Now Employment Law is Too

Paid Family Leave
The end of 2016 is a good time to review and consider a subtle shift in employment law which appears to be gaining momentum. The shift, which may be imperceptible at first, could prove to have lasting impact on employers, especially those who operate in multiple cities and states, and can easily be described as … Continue reading this entry

A Possible New Year’s Hangover for Multistate Employers With California Employees

Non-competes
Multistate employers with headquarters located outside California may wake up to a rude surprise on January 1, 2017, as a result of a new California Labor Code law affecting their employment agreements with California employees. California Labor Code Section 925 applies to employment contracts with employees who live and work primarily in California, prohibiting such … Continue reading this entry

Cover Letters: The Key to Simplifying ERISA Plan Document Requests

Employer
Sponsors of qualified retirement plans and group health plans may receive tens, if not hundreds, of plan document requests every year. Responding to these requests in accordance with the rules set forth under the Employee Income Retirement Security Act (ERISA) can be fairly straight-forward, especially if the plan sponsor maintains updated copies of all requested … Continue reading this entry