Category Archives: Human Resources/ Employer Matters

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Another Joint Employment Development, And Still More Uncertainty

Joint
For the last several years, “joint employment” (whatever that now means legally) has been anything but the gift that keeps on giving for employers. First, joint employment became a tool that the previous Administration locked onto in seeking to expand wage and hour liabilities and to open up potential union organizing opportunities and labor relations … Continue reading this entry

Watch Your Mail: IRS Begins Collection of Employer Mandate Penalties

IRS
It’s official. The IRS has finally begun the process of collecting penalties under the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) employer shared responsibility provisions, better known as the employer mandate.  The IRS has started mailing out letters to employers that potentially owe an employer shared responsibility payment (ESRP) for the 2015 calendar year.  These letters follow the … Continue reading this entry

Reconsidering Limits on Confidentiality Provisions Where Sexual Misconduct is Involved

Confidentiality
It does not require insightful analysis to conclude that something is broken when it comes to reporting and addressing sexual misconduct in the workplace. One attempt to fix part of the “brokenness” comes from the Pennsylvania legislature – a bill that would place limits on confidentiality restrictions. (New Jersey is considering something similar and other … Continue reading this entry

The Use of Staffing Agencies Is About To Get More Expensive (and Risky) in Illinois

Staffing
As we have reported in the past, utilizing temporary staffing agencies to fill gaps in labor needs can be an efficient and economically beneficial way for companies to meet business demands.  This is particularly true in today’s “gig economy,” where short-term staffing needs are high but small or mid-size companies do not have the resources … Continue reading this entry

Sales Commission Agreements Can Limit Potential Liability

Sales
A manufacturing company’s sales employee successfully convinces a new customer to purchase a commercial cooler. Under the employee’s sales commission plan, she receives a commission of 2% of the price of the cooler and any repair parts purchased.  The employee also receives a 2% commission on the annual service plan the customer purchases to maintain … Continue reading this entry

Time to Think About Holiday Bonuses

holiday
Halloween has passed and we are now squarely approaching the holiday season. While this time of year brings many good things, it can also bring unwanted headaches for employers wanting to spread some “holiday cheer,” especially those who forget how bonuses may affect payment of overtime. So, while we recently discussed bonuses in general, now … Continue reading this entry

California Federal Court Strikes Down FCRA Claim

EEOC
Earlier this month, in a case pending in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Home Depot avoided a class action suit under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The lawsuit accused the company of improperly obtaining personal information about job applicants by relying on background check authorization forms that did not … Continue reading this entry

Straight Talk About Incentive Compensation

Compensation
Many employers offer compensation packages that include a mix of both base compensation (guaranteed wages or salary) and  incentive compensation (at-risk variable compensation). While base pay tends to be relatively straightforward, incentive compensation presents unique challenges and planning opportunities.… Continue reading this entry

Using Biometric Timekeeping? Be Aware of Potential Compliance Risks

Biometric
Human resources professionals could certainly be excused for feeling frustrated with the fact that every technological advance improving business operations comes with new legal landmines to manage. For example, increased connectivity has greatly enhanced productivity opportunities.  But at the same time, it has created new challenges with data management and integrity, off-the-clock work risks, and … Continue reading this entry

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