Employers should review policies on same-sex couples in wake of Supreme Court decision

October 07, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

With the U.S. Supreme Court deciding not to take up a case to settle the same-sex marriage issue on the national level, employers need to understand how the Court’s decision affects their policies.

As it opened its new term on October 6, the Supreme Court declined to review one of seven cases from five states up for consideration. The Court’s decision means that rulings from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th, 7th, and 10th Circuits will stand. The rulings struck down state prohibitions on same-sex marriage.

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Final rule on minimum wage for contractors released

October 02, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

Federal contractors can now take a look at the rules they will have to follow when an Executive Order that requires a $10.10 per hour minimum wage for workers on federal service and construction contracts takes effect.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced the final rule on October 1. The rule implements Executive Order 13568, which was announced by President Barack Obama in February. The DOL’s announcement said the Executive Order will affect nearly 200,000 workers.

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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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Executive Order creates new compliance requirements for federal contractors

August 01, 2014 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

On July 31, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order “to promote economy and efficiency in procurement by contracting with responsible sources who comply with labor laws.” The order will apply to new government contracts worth more than $500,000, and according to a White House fact sheet, it will be “implemented on new contracts in stages, on a prioritized basis, beginning in 2016.”

The Executive Order requires contractors to report if they have violated any of 14 labor laws in the past three years. Employers also must provide updates regarding violations every six months and possibly face remedial action.

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Federal appeals courts issue conflicting decisions on ACA subsidies

July 22, 2014 - by: Jessica Webb-Ayer 0 COMMENTS

A few weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) contraceptive mandate, federal courts are looking at a different aspect of the law—exchange subsidies. On July 22, there was a flurry of activity on the issue, with two federal appeals courts issuing conflicting rulings.

States had the option to design and operate exchanges (also known as marketplaces) that best met their unique needs while complying with the ACA’s statutory and regulatory standards. All states had to make a choice regarding what kind of exchange they wanted. States could: read more…

New guidance on pregnancy discrimination released

July 15, 2014 - by: HR Hero 1 COMMENTS

For the first time since 1983, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued enforcement guidance on pregnancy discrimination. The new guidance incorporates significant developments in the law during the past 30 years, including how the 2008 amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may apply to employees with pregnancy-related disabilities.

The EEOC issued Enforcement Guidance: Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues on July 14. Besides the guidance, the agency released questions and answers about the guidance and a fact sheet for small businesses.

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Proposed rule would extend FMLA protection to employees in same-sex marriages

June 20, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 1 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

On June 20, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a proposed rule that would allow employees to take Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave to care for a same-sex spouse even if the couple lives in a state that doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages.

The proposed rule is another result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor. The Court struck down the provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that interpreted “marriage” and “spouse” to be limited to opposite-sex marriages for the purposes of federal law.

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Obama plans Executive Order against sexual orientation bias by contractors

June 17, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 1 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

Continuing his use of Executive Orders in what’s being called a “year of action,” President Barack Obama plans to sign an order to prohibit federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, according to news reports.

On June 16, news reports quoted a White House official as saying that Obama plans to sign the Executive Order, but the official didn’t say when the president will take the action. The order would make it unlawful for employers that have federal contracts to discriminate in employment decisions based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

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Agency proposes clearinghouse for commercial driver drug tests

by Charles S. Plumb

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has proposed a new rule that would create a database of commercial drivers’ drug test histories, making it easier for employers to find a job candidate’s past drug test results. The comment period is open until April 21.

Under the current rules, employers that hire commercial drivers may not know whether an applicant has a history of positive drug or alcohol tests because employers can rely only on information about earlier test results that individuals applying for driving jobs supply.

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