EEOC calling for changes to ADA regulations related to wellness programs

April 16, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking addressing how employer wellness programs can be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The EEOC announced the proposed rule on April 16, and it is to be published in the Federal Register on April 20. Members of the public have until June 19 to submit comments. In addition to the notice (available before official publication in the public inspection portion of the Federal Register), the EEOC has published a fact sheet for small businesses and a question-and-answer document.

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Fast-food strikes, NLRB policies take center stage

April 15, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 1 COMMENTS

A day after the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) controversial “quickie election” rule took effect, low-wage workers across the country took to the streets in an effort to boost their pay and join unions.

The Fight for $15 campaign, supported by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), set April 15 as the date for the latest round of strikes that began in 2012. The protests include fast-food, homecare, airport, and other low-wage workers, including adjunct professors. Organizers reported that strikes were set for more than 230 cities and college campuses.

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New Tennessee law allows workers to sue if fired for having guns in cars

April 09, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 1 COMMENTS

Tennessee employees have a new option for suing their employer now that Governor Bill Haslam has signed a bill enabling workers to sue if they are fired for storing guns in cars parked in their employer’s parking lot.

A 2013 law gave employees with handgun carry permits the right to store firearms and/or ammunition in vehicles in company parking lots even if the employer objects. The law passed despite opposition from the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and employers wanting to enforce no-weapons policies in their workplaces.

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NLRB proceeds with ‘quickie election’ rule implementation

April 07, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

As the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) controversial “quickie election” rule moves a step closer to implementation, employers are being warned to be ready.

On April 6, NLRB General Counsel Richard F. Griffin Jr. issued a 36-page guidance memo that outlines how new unionization efforts will be processed from the time a union petitions to represent an employer’s workers through certification of the union as a bargaining agent.

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McDonald’s joins Wal-Mart in boosting wages

April 02, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The wage and benefit increases McDonald’s announced on April 1 put the fast-food giant on the same path retailer Wal-Mart took in February when it announced an increase in its starting wage.

McDonald’s announced that beginning July 1, it will raise starting pay at company-owned restaurants to $1 over the locally mandated minimum wage. Full- and part-time workers at company-owned restaurants who have at least one year of service also will begin accruing paid time off. And workers at both company-owned and franchised restaurants will see expanded educational opportunities.

The company says the wage and time-off benefits will affect more than 90,000 workers at about 10 percent of McDonald’s restaurants nationwide.

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New OFCCP rule on sexual orientation, gender identity takes effect April 8

March 30, 2015 - by: Tony Kessler 0 COMMENTS

by Emily L. Bristol

A new rule that adds “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the list of prohibited bases of discrimination under Executive Order 11246 goes into effect on April 8.

The rule, from the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), will apply to federal contractors that hold covered contracts entered into or modified on or after April 8.

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Texas judge puts FMLA rule’s new definition of spouse on hold

March 27, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

For the time being, employers in states that don’t recognize same-sex marriage don’t have to comply with a new rule changing the definition of spouse under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The rule was to take effect on March 27, but a federal district judge in Texas issued a temporary injunction on March 26 in response to a challenge from the attorneys general in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Nebraska.

District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled that the states making the challenge showed a likelihood that they would prevail and that they would be irreparably harmed if the rule were allowed to take effect. If the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) rule is allowed to take effect, it will require employers covered by the FMLA to allow eligible employees to take leave under the Act to care for same-sex spouses.

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Supreme Court clarifies employer obligations related to pregnant workers

March 25, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 2 COMMENTS

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Young v. United Parcel Service means employers need to think twice before treating pregnant employees under job restrictions differently than they treat nonpregnant employees who are similarly unable to perform their jobs temporarily.

In a 6-3 ruling handed down March 25, the Court reached for middle ground between interpretations of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) offered by both parties as well as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). By sending the case back to the lower court, the justices revived the employee’s claim that her treatment violated the PDA.

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Utah passes historic legislation against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination

by Ryan B. Frazier

On March 12, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed into law newly enacted legislation aimed at preventing employment and housing discrimination against gays, lesbians, and transgender individuals. The monumental legislation amends the state’s antidiscrimination law to prohibit employers statewide from making employment decisions based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Under the law, a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity cannot be the basis for refusing to hire, refusing to promote, demoting, or terminating him or her. Utah law already banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age, religion, pregnancy, national origin, and disability.

The new law also provides safeguards for religious freedoms. The law exempts religious leaders and organizations such as churches and religious schools and their affiliates from the application of the new provisions. It also exempts the Boy Scouts of America or any of its subsidiaries or councils.

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Supreme Court decision gives agencies more leeway on rule interpretations

March 09, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling handing the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) a victory on how it can issue interpretations of its rules has major implications for employers, according to Judith E. Kramer, an attorney with Fortney & Scott, LLC, in Washington, D.C., and an editor of Federal Employment Law Insider.

The Court’s March 9 decision in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association means the DOL’s most recent interpretation that mortgage loan officers are eligible for overtime is valid. “The long-term impact of the Court’s decision, however, is much more significant for employers and, more broadly, for any person or entity subject to regulation by federal administrative agencies,” Kramer said.

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