Proposed GINA rule clears up issue on wellness programs

November 02, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

A new proposed rule from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) settles the question of whether employers are justified in seeking medical information on covered spouses participating in wellness programs.

The proposed rule, published in the October 30 Federal Register, would amend regulations implementing Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). The proposed rule’s summary states that it addresses how an employer may offer inducements for an employee’s covered spouse to provide information about current or past health status as part of a health risk assessment connected to the employer’s wellness program.

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Time for federal contractors to get ready for new pay transparency rule

September 10, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Federal contractors need to be preparing now for the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) new pay transparency rule, a rule going into effect in January that is likely to present challenges to a number of employers, according to an attorney familiar with its provisions.

“This rule appears to me to be part of the overarching intention of the agency to provide for more defined and broader rights for workers,” Jo Ellen Whitney, an attorney with the Davis Brown Law Firm in Des Moines, Iowa, said after publication of the rule was announced September 10. “Any time we add a section to the law that would broaden coverage or create a new category of discrimination or retaliation, we create employer issues. This is not because employers will violate the law, but because it is uncertain how it will be used to support any potential employee claim.”

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Contractors face August 1 deadline for new veteran reporting form

Beginning August 1, federal contractors must use the new VETS-4212 report to provide information to the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) about their affirmative action efforts in employing veterans.

The VETS-4212 report replaces the VETS-100 and VETS-100A forms required by the regulations implementing the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) that became final in September 2014.

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New guidance signals tougher stance on independent contractor classification

July 15, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

A new interpretation of language in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the latest effort in the government’s fight against what it sees as troubling misclassification of employees as independent contractors.

On July 15, David Weil, administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD), released Administrator’s Interpretation 2015-1 to analyze how the FLSA determines whether an individual should be classified as an employee or an independent contractor.

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Employers need to examine policies, laws in light of Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling

June 26, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 2 COMMENTS

The U.S. Supreme Court’s June 26 ruling in favor of same-sex marriage means employers across the country need to take a look at their policies as well as the effect the ruling has on various laws dealing with employment.Pride flag at city hall

The Court’s 5-4 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges struck down prohibitions on gay marriage in states covered by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals—Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. But it has the effect of legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

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Obamacare ruling means little change for employers

June 25, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

In a much-anticipated June 25 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court handed President Barack Obama a victory on his administration’s signature piece of legislation—the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Although the ruling was crucial to the future of the healthcare law, it basically means business as usual for employers.

The Court ruled 6-3 in King v. Burwell that federal tax credits to subsidize healthcare coverage are authorized under the ACA. Opponents of the law argued that it doesn’t authorize subsidies to individuals in states that don’t offer a state-run healthcare exchange. Thirty-four states have not set up exchanges, so individuals in those states turn to a federal government exchange.

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Supreme Court sides with EEOC in religious discrimination case

June 01, 2015 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

A ruling in a closely watched religious discrimination case means employers may be liable for discrimination if they base employment decisions on an applicant’s suspected religious practices even in situations, such as the one in this case, in which the applicant hasn’t directly disclosed a need for a religious accommodation.

On June 1, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., a case involving Samantha Elauf, a young Muslim woman who interviewed for a job in an Abercrombie store in Oklahoma in 2008. During the interview, she wore a head scarf as part of her Muslim faith. At the time, Abercrombie had a “look policy” prohibiting head coverings.

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Supreme Court allows judicial review of EEOC conciliation efforts

April 30, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Supreme Court has handed employers at least a small victory by unanimously ruling that courts are allowed to review the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) conciliation efforts in discrimination cases.

On April 29, the Court imposed moderate standards for the conciliation efforts the EEOC is required to make before it files a lawsuit against an employer accused of unlawful discrimination.

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Get ready for Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage

January 20, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 1 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to take up the issue of same-sex marriage, employers are weighing the impact a ruling will have.

On January 16, the Court announced that it would consider four cases from each of the states in the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals—Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. On November 6, a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit issued a decision that allowed state bans on same-sex marriage to stand. That decision was at odds with rulings from other circuit courts of appeal that had struck down similar bans.

After the 6th Circuit’s decision, many predicted that the split in decisions from different circuits would prompt the Supreme Court to take up the issue even though it declined to hear a same-sex marriage case before its term began in October. Now that it has decided to take up the issue after all, it is expected to hear arguments in April and issue a decision by the end of its term in June.

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Obama takes steps toward requiring paid sick leave

January 15, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

Is it a sensible plan to boost productivity and give workers the help they deserve, or is it an unaffordable, unfair mandate on already overburdened employers? President Barack Obama’s announcement of a push to pass a paid sick leave law is likely to garner both reactions.

Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Obama and chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, launched the effort January 14 with a post on the career-centered social network LinkedIn, a venue chosen because of its high profile with employers.

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