Category Archives: Human Resources/ Employer Matters

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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

“Accurate” Time Records Must Actually Be Accurate

Sometimes it is important to get back to basics and refresh our understanding of topics that are already well-known to human resources professionals.  In this season of confusion, particularly regarding the on-again/off-again Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) salary test, it is worthwhile to review the timekeeping records that employers are required to maintain with respect … Continue reading this entry

Think Twice Before Making Payroll Advances to Employees

Employer
It can be difficult to turn down an employee who asks for an advance on their earnings. However, there are lots of reasons for companies to think twice before making payroll advances to employees. One big and obvious reason is the administrative burden. Another is the possibility that the advances will be subject to the … Continue reading this entry

The DOL's New Rx for Federal Contractor Employees

We have reported time and time again on the national trend of mandating paid sick leave for workers. As we noted last March, in a 2015 Executive Order, President Obama directed the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to issue regulations requiring federal contractors to provide paid sick leave to their employees. The DOL issued a final rule … Continue reading this entry

SCOTUS Sends Auto Workers Back to Circuit Court for Overtime Regulation “Repairs”

You may not even know the technical name for workers at the local car dealership who diagnose what is wrong with your vehicle and tell you how it can be repaired. They are called auto service advisors, and whether they are entitled to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has been the … Continue reading this entry

Limit Your Pre-Employment Inquiries to Job-Related Questions

Employer
As most employers know, it is unlawful to ask an employment or promotion candidate questions which reflect bias based on race, color, age, gender, religion, or any other protected status. For example, a candidate cannot be asked about their race, age/date of birth, religion, marital status, pregnancy, children, or plans for a family. Hiring decisions … Continue reading this entry

Don’t Let Zika Bug Your Employees

Employer
If you are reading this from one of the 3,141 counties in the continental United States that has not yet been affected by the Zika virus, do not turn away. There is valuable information here for employers, even if you do not have an office in Miami or are not planning a vacation in Puerto … Continue reading this entry

Got Arbitration Agreements With Class Waivers? The Fight May Not Be Over

Since the United States Supreme Court upheld the validity of class action waivers in commercial consumer arbitration agreements several years ago, many employers have found arbitration agreements with class action waivers a valuable tool to protect against the tide of class action litigation. In addition to avoiding the risk of a runaway jury award, these … Continue reading this entry

Fired For My Firearm? I’ll Sue!

As if employers already did not have enough reasons to have to think through termination decisions carefully, here is yet another “trigger” word that should make employers think twice about plans to discipline or fire an employee: guns. Before terminating an employee for bringing one (or more) gun to work, make sure state law does … Continue reading this entry