National Employment Law Trends

January 15, 2012 - by: admin 0 COMMENTS

Last year is ended on a high note, at least in terms of one economic indicator: the nation’s unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent in December. Despite that good news, many states are still experiencing record unemployment; this rampant unemployment was the number one issue addressed by state legislatures this past year. Here is a brief look some key issues state legislatures tackled in 2011:

  • In an effort to modernize and update their programs, as well to pull down available federal funds, several states overhauled their unemployment compensation laws.
  • Maine and Pennsylvania added work-sharing laws.
  • New Jersey, Illinois, Michigan, and New York passed laws prohibiting employers from discriminating against the unemployed when hiring. A proposed federal law is also pending in both the House and Senate. read more…

Categories: Just the Facts

Boomers Mean Business

December 11, 2011 - by: admin 1 COMMENTS

By Marcia Akers

Baby Boomers are now entering their retirement years while some members of “The Greatest Generation” remain in the workforce. Gen Xers and Yers are looking for advancement and rewarding entry-level positions. This first-ever phenomenon of having four generations in the workplace at the same time is creating challenges for employers, including how to create a safe and pleasant environment while capitalizing on the unique resources, experiences, and talents that each group has to offer.

These intergenerational workplace issues have been studied by Chris Weiser, who leads an employee group at Sodexo. “It’s not like Gen-Xers and Gen-Yers need to be like their Baby Boomer boss . . . or Baby Boomers have to learn to text 140 words a minute,” Weiser says. “It’s about understanding that everyone has some style differences.” A high-functioning, age-diverse workforce can be a primary contributor to a company’s current stability and future growth.

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Review Applicants’ Criminal History Cautiously

December 11, 2011 - by: admin 0 COMMENTS

By Kara E. Shea

Employers are understandably hesitant to hire an applicant with a criminal history. There are good reasons to exercise caution ― employers face considerable exposure for workplace violence committed by employees.

The U.S. Department of Labor‘s Occupational Safety and Health Administration regularly cites employers that have failed to enact adequate safeguards against workplace violence. Employers also may be sued in private lawsuits based on negligent hiring or retention of employees who commit workplace violence.

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Supreme Court Denies Wal-Mart Class-Action

December 11, 2011 - by: admin 0 COMMENTS

By Megan E. Snyder

The U.S. Supreme Court recently handed down a decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, a landmark case involving 1.5 million female current and former Wal-Mart employees who attempted to challenge the retail giant’s employment practices. Essentially, the women complained that local stores have too much discretion in making decisions about compensation and promotions, resulting in numerous discriminatory employment decisions. The case redefines (and narrows) a key requirement to certification of class-action suits ― that is, commonality among the members of the proposed class. The Court’s decision offers some relief to employers facing class-action wage and hour litigation suits.

General Class-Action Requirements

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Categories: Legal News

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Iraq War Veterans Coming Home

December 11, 2011 - by: admin 0 COMMENTS

On October 21, 2011, President Barack Obama announced “After nearly 9 years, America’s war in Iraq will be over.” At the time, America had already withdrawn nearly 100,000 troops from Iraq, leaving nearly 40,000 “non-combat” troops to come home by the December 31 deadline set in 2008. Referencing plans for troop withdrawal in Afghanistan as well, Obama declared that “the tide of war is receding” and that the number of troops deployed “will continue to go down.” As we welcome our veterans home, here are some facts about that population from the U.S. Census Bureau:

  • In 2010, there were 21.8 million military veterans in the United States.

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Categories: Just the Facts

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Employer Guidance for ADA Design Standards

November 13, 2011 - by: admin 0 COMMENTS

By Jeffrey S. Beck

As the weather changes, many employers turn their attention to facility maintenance. If you’re one of those employers, you should consider the implications of the Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA) building design standards for any significant projects you undertake, whether it’s a new coat of paint, remodeling, or thorough winterizing. Recently, the U.S. Department of Justice adopted revised “Standards for Accessible Design” (the “2010 standards”) as well as modifications to the ADA’s general nondiscrimination requirements. Much of the discussion of the recent amendments to the ADA has focused on the changes to its general nondiscrimination requirements. However, you should also be aware of the 2010 standards to avoid liability.

What’s the Big Deal?

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Categories: Feature

EEOC Taking Close Look at Hiring Decisions

November 13, 2011 - by: admin 1 COMMENTS

Someone applies for a job and doesn’t get it. End of story? Not necessarily. More than 6,300 unsuccessful job applicants have complained to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) so far this fiscal year, claiming illegal discrimination kept them out of a job.

Bass Pro, Weight Watchers in EEOC’s Sights

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Categories: Agency Insight

Ninth Circuit Continues Benefits for Same-Sex Partners of State Employees

November 13, 2011 - by: admin 0 COMMENTS

By Dinita L. James

In the case of Collins v. Brewer, a federal judge from Alaska, deciding a case from Arizona, barred the state’s attempt to do away with benefits for same-sex domestic partners of state employees. Earlier this year, there was an argument on the case before a three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (Arizona’s federal appellate court), to which Governor Jan Brewer and the state had appealed.

On September 6, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the lower court was right, with Judge Mary M. Schroeder, who formerly served on the Arizona Court of Appeals, writing the opinion for a unanimous court. Thus, state employees with same-sex domestic partners will keep their benefits for the time being at least. State employees lost coverage for their opposite-sex domestic partners in January 2011.

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Categories: Legal News

American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month

November 13, 2011 - by: admin 0 COMMENTS

American Indians and Alaska Natives is one of the six major race categories. Each November, the United States celebrates American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. Here are some facts from the U.S. Census Bureau on the group:

  • As of the 2010 Census, the population of American Indians and Alaska Natives in the United States was 5.2 million, making up 1.7 percent of the total population. Of this total, 2.9 million were American Indian and Alaska Native only, and 2.3 million were American Indian and Alaska Native in combination with one or more other races.

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Categories: Just the Facts

OFCCP Leader Highlights Mission Protecting Workers, Promoting Diversity, and Enforcing the Law

October 16, 2011 - by: admin 1 COMMENTS

Patricia Shiu, director of the U.S. Department of Labor‘s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), delivered the keynote speech at the annual meeting of federal contractors and OFCCP representatives for the National Industry Liaison Group on July 27 in New Orleans. The key portions of Shiu’s speech, in which she provided important updates on the OFCCP, are below. The OFCCP is responsible for the enforcement of federal contractors’ affirmative action and nondiscrimination obligations.

Welcome to the 29th annual Industry Liaison Group Conference. I know how important it is for all of us to get together like this, and I want to thank each and every one of you for spending your time here this week. . . .

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Categories: Agency Insight / Feature

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