OSHA seeks more comments on injury and illness tracking

by Judith E. Kramer

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has extended the comment period for the proposed rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses. Comments will be accepted through October 14.

The proposal, published on November 8, 2013, would amend the agency’s record-keeping regulation to add requirements for the electronic submission of injury and illness information that employers are already required to keep.

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Federal contractor ‘pay transparency’ rule up for comment

September 17, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has published a proposed rule aimed at ensuring that employees of federal contractors are allowed to discuss their compensation. The proposed rule, which was published in the September 17 Federal Register, gives interested parties until December 16 to submit comments.

The rule’s language prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from firing or otherwise discriminating against employees or applicants who discuss, disclose, or inquire about their compensation or another employee’s or applicant’s compensation.

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New Hampshire social media privacy law takes effect September 30

by Jeanine Poole

New Hampshire employers need to be reviewing their policies regarding employee use of social media and electronic equipment now that a new law protecting employee privacy is set to take effect September 30.

The new law prohibits New Hampshire employers from requesting or requiring current or prospective employees to disclose some information related to their personal social media accounts. The law defines “personal account” as “an account, service, or profile on a social networking website that is used by a current or prospective employee primarily for personal communications unrelated to any business purpose of the employer.”

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New Massachusetts law provides leave for domestic violence victims

by Susan Fentin

Employers in Massachusetts with at least 50 employees are now required to allow employees who are victims of domestic violence to take up to 15 days of unpaid leave within a 12-month period to deal with the violence.

The law, which went into effect August 8, also allows leave for covered family members of domestic violence victims. Covered family members include husbands; wives; those in a “substantive” dating or engagement relationship and who live together; persons having a child in common regardless of whether they have ever married or lived together; a parent, stepparent, child, stepchild, sibling, grandparent, or grandchild; and guardians.

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Maryland transgender rights law takes effect October 1

by Kevin C. McCormick

Maryland’s new law prohibiting discrimination against transgender individuals in areas of employment, housing, credit, and public accommodations goes into effect October 1.

The Fairness for All Marylanders Act passed the legislature in March and was signed by Governor Martin O’Malley in May. It adds “gender identity” to Maryland’s existing laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and other characteristics. The law is designed to protect any person who has or is perceived by others to have a gender identity or expression that might be considered different or inconsistent with his assigned sex at birth, regardless of whether he self-identifies as transgender.

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Maryland parental leave law takes effect October 1

by Kevin C. McCormick

Maryland’s new Parental Leave Act (PLA), which grants unpaid parental leave benefits to employees working for some employers too small to be eligible for leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), will take effect October 1.

The PLA requires employers with 15 to 49 employees to provide unpaid parental leave benefits for the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child. Under the new law, eligible employees may take up to six weeks of unpaid parental leave in a 12-month period for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child.

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Delay on immigration reform sparks questions, complaints

September 08, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

President Barack Obama’s announcement that he will delay taking executive action on immigration reform means employers won’t get quick answers on when or if changes to the country’s immigration system will come.

On June 30, Obama promised he would use his executive power to make changes since Congress wasn’t making progress on passing an immigration reform bill. Speaking in the Rose Garden, he said then, “I’m beginning a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress.”

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Latest fast-food protests buoyed by NLRB, Obama stance

September 02, 2014 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

More fast-food protests are planned for September 4, with the latest round including homecare workers and possible civil disobedience.

Fast-food and other low-wage workers have been staging periodic strikes and demonstrations since 2012 in hopes of increasing their hourly wage. In addition to expanding the type of workers represented, planners of the new protests have said they’re ready to face arrests for nonviolent civil disobedience.

This week’s protests also are significant because they’re the first since National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel Richard Griffin issued an announcement on July 29 that the McDonald’s corporation is a joint employer with its franchisees. That means the corporate giant could be held jointly responsible in complaints stemming from employee efforts to unionize and fight for higher wages.

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Drug-free healthcare facility law takes effect in New Hampshire

by Gregory L. Silverman

A New Hampshire law taking effect August 25 requires healthcare employers to take action against substance abuse in their facilities.

The new law requires all hospitals, home healthcare providers, outpatient rehabilitation clinics, ambulatory surgery centers, urgent care centers, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult daycare centers, birthing centers, dialysis centers, and hospice facilities to “adopt a policy establishing procedures for prevention, detection, and resolution of controlled substance abuse, misuse, and diversion.”

The policy must address certain procedures, including: read more…

OFCCP updates guidance on gender identity and transgender discrimination

August 20, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 2 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

On August 19, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced a new directive related to its decision to update its enforcement actions regarding gender identity and transgender discrimination.

On June 30, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced it would update its enforcement protocols and guidance to reflect that the full protection of federal antidiscrimination laws applies to claims of gender identity or transgender status.

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