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With Open Enrollment Season Under Way, What Do Employees Need to Know?

XpertHR • October 20, 2016
October is a great month for many reasons, but unless you’re a serious health care wonk, open enrollment probably isn’t one of them.

6 Ways HR Can Help Domestic Violence Victims

XpertHR • October 20, 2016
Unfortunately, we live in a society in which domestic violence allegations surface all too often. Claims against Hollywood stars such as Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp along with incidents involving professional athletes, including Ray Rice, Greg Hardy and Jose Reyes, have thrust domestic violence even into the spotlight.

2017 Social Security Taxable Wage Base Substantially Increased, Benefit COLA and Related Figures Also Up

XpertHR • October 20, 2016
The Social Security Administration has issued inflation-adjusted figures for 2017, including the Social Security taxable wage base, the earnings tests for retirees who return to work, the quarter of coverage requirement for Social Security benefits, and the cost of living adjustment for Social Security benefits. Employers should update their payroll systems with these new figures for accurate 2017 withholding.

EEOC Announces New Enforcement Priorities

Fisher Phillips • October 20, 2016
Earlier this week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a new series of enforcement priorities on which it will focus over the next five years. By releasing its second-ever Strategic Enforcement Plan, the EEOC provided a clear message to employers regarding the areas that will occupy a considerable amount of attention when it comes to investigations, enforcement actions, and litigation from 2017 to 2021.

Workplace Law Discussed During Final Presidential Debate

Fisher Phillips • October 20, 2016
Workplace law was once again a topic of discussion during last night’s third and final presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. While not covered as extensively as during the first debate on September 26, there were several points during the evening where issues were raised that should be of interest to employers.

USCIS Rolls Out the Blanket L Revised Form I-129S Effective Date

Ogletree Deakins • October 20, 2016
Over the summer, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published an updated edition of Form I-129S, Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition. The new edition is dated “6/2/16.” Blanket L visa applicants with consular appointments have been required to use the new version since August 29, 2016. However, USCIS had been slower to provide an effective date for use of the new form with USCIS change or extension of status filings until just recently.

OSHA Proposes to Apply Its Lockout Standard to Expected Startups

Ogletree Deakins • October 20, 2016
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Lockout Standard (29 C.F.R. 1910.147) applies today only to “unexpected” startups of machinery. For example, the standard does not apply if alarms give employees such clearly audible and timely warning that any startup would be expected (consider the warnings given at airport baggage carousels). The word “unexpected” also means that the standard would not apply if, for example, a machine were so small and its one switch were so located that any employee servicing it would know of any restart attempt.

A New Primer on Voting Leave Requirements: Are You Ready for the Elections?

Ogletree Deakins • October 20, 2016
The U.S. general election is scheduled for Tuesday, November 8, 2016. In this election, voters will determine the next president of the United States, and all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 34 of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate are up for grabs. In addition, 12 states will hold elections for governor, 44 states will hold elections for state legislators, and many other state and local municipality races will determine ballot measures and elect officers such as attorneys general and mayors. Voter participation is as yet uncertain, but given the volatility of the election season to date, voter participation in these elections may be higher than expected. If so, employers may receive more requests for voting leave than they have in prior years. The following overview of state voting leave laws will arm employers with a basic knowledge of voting leave rights and prepare them for a potential onslaught of leave requests.

Blocking the New Overtime Salary Threshold? Hearing on Request for an Injunction Scheduled for November

Ogletree Deakins • October 20, 2016
A hearing has been scheduled for November 16, 2016 in a Texas federal court to decide whether an injunction will be issued to block the substantially increased salary threshold to qualify as exempt under the new overtime rule, which is anticipated to take effect on December 1, 2016.

OSHA Says Workers Do Not Have to Waive Whistleblower Rights

Jackson Lewis P.C. • October 20, 2016
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued new guidance designed to protect the rights of whistleblowers who reach settlements approved by OSHA.

Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Rules ‘Misguided,’ ‘Unlawful’ and Must be Blocked, Says Texas Lawsuit – TRO Hearing Scheduled for October 21

Jackson Lewis P.C. • October 20, 2016
Several large construction and security industry groups have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to block the heavily criticized Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order 13673 and related rules. The court has scheduled a temporary restraining order (TRO) hearing for October 21, 2016, just four days before the Executive Order’s requirements begin to go into effect on October 25.

Mine Safety Regulators Issue Seat Belt Alert

Jackson Lewis P.C. • October 20, 2016
The Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued a safety alert urging miners to buckle their seat belts while operating mobile equipment.

To Accommodate or not to Accommodate: How to Know if Your Employee Actually Requested a Reasonable Accommodation

Franczek Radelet P.C • October 20, 2016
A divided federal appeals court recently reminded employers that an employee’s request for a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) need not be explicit in order to invoke the interactive accommodation process. In Kowitz v. Trinity Health, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals found that, based on the circumstances presented in the case, an employee had made an implied request for a reasonable accommodation.

New California Law Limits Employers’ Ability To Inquire Into Juvenile Criminal History

Jackson Lewis P.C. • October 20, 2016
On September 27, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1843, which prohibits certain inquiries into the criminal past of applicants for employment. The new law now adds a prohibition against asking about, considering as part of the hiring process, or attempting to discover, information relating to any “arrest, detention, processing, diversion, supervision, adjudication, or court disposition” that occurred while the applicant was subject to the “process and jurisdiction” of the juvenile court.

Illinois Employees Hit the Sick Leave Trifecta: Important Changes to Take Effect in 2017

Ogletree Deakins • October 20, 2016
Three recently enacted laws expanding sick leave benefits within the state of Illinois will soon impact employers with operations in Illinois: the Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act (effective in January of 2017); the Chicago Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (effective in July of 2017); and the Cook County Earned Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (effective in July of 2017). Below is a summary of each law.

New Background Check Requirements for California Transportation Network Companies

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • October 20, 2016
Effective January 1, 2017, drivers participating with a Transportation Network Company (TNC) in California will be subject to mandatory criminal background checks, regardless of whether a driver is considered an employee or an independent contractor. California Governor Jerry Brown approved Assembly Bill 1289 on September 28, 2016. The new law adds Section 5445.2 to the Public Utilities Code, which regulates TNCs.
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