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OSHA Issues Resource on Best Practices in Anti-Retaliation Programs

XpertHR • January 19, 2017
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a resource to assist employers in creating workplaces in which workers feel comfortable voicing concerns without fear of retaliation. The newly released Recommended Practices for Anti-Retaliation Programs resource is advisory only, and does not interpret or create any legal obligations for public or private employers.

Failure to Notify Individuals and Media About HIPAA Breach Within 60 Days Proves Costly

XpertHR • January 19, 2017
An Illinois-based health care employer has agreed to pay the federal government $475,000 to settle claims that it failed to provide notification about a breach of protected health information (PHI) within 60 days of discovering the breach, as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires.

OSHA Penalties Go Up…Yes, Again

Jackson Lewis P.C. • January 19, 2017
In August 2016 we reported on the substantial increases to OSHA fines for violations of safety and health regulations as part of the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015. (Sec. 701 of Public Law 114-74). This law allowed OSHA a one-time “catch-up” adjustment for civil penalties followed by annual increases in penalties based on the Consumer Price Index. The “annual inflation adjustment” is required to be published in the Federal Register no later than January 15th each year. On January 18, OSHA published the 2017 annual inflation adjustment for OSHA penalties.

Trump’s Cabinet Picks Begin Senate Confirmation Process

Jackson Lewis P.C. • January 19, 2017
With the approach of Inauguration Day, the Senate confirmation process for President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet picks is in full swing. Televised or streamed hearings are taking place involving Trump’s choices to lead the U.S. Department of Labor, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, and the Justice Department.

A New Kind of Employee Badge – Monitoring, Analytics and More

Jackson Lewis P.C. • January 19, 2017
It is not uncommon for employers to assign badges to their employees to grant access to certain locations on the employer’s property and parking garages. Many employees have them, use them, lose them and think little of them.

Time to Start Using New Form I-9

Jones Walker • January 19, 2017
Now that you’ve mastered the I-9 form, it’s time to learn how to use the new one. On November 14, 2016, USCIS released a new Form I-9 (copy attached). Employers are permitted to use the previous version of the form only until the end of this week. By January 22, 2017, this Sunday, you must use the new Form I-9, which is a "smart" form because it can be filled out online and includes drop-down menus, hover text with instructions, and error messages. Employers have the option of printing the form to be filled in by hand, completing all sections on one computer, completing the sections on different computers, or using any combination of these options. The smart form, however, does not meet the requirements for an electronic form under the regulations. Thus, any forms completed online must be printed and signed by the employee and employer representative. It can then be scanned for electronic storage. If you currently work with a third party for electronic completion and/or storage of your I-9s, they may have addressed electronic signature requirements.

Supreme Court to Decide Whether Class Waivers Violate the NLRA

Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP • January 19, 2017
On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court granted review in three cases presenting the issue of whether class action waiver provisions in employment arbitration agreements violate the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). This debate started a few years ago when the NLRB began issuing decisions holding that class action waivers violate the NLRA and that inclusion of such a provision in an employment arbitration agreement constitutes an unfair labor practice.

FLSA Civil Penalties To Increase Again (Updated 01 18 17)

Fisher Phillips • January 19, 2017
For the second time in less than a year, the U.S. Department of Labor will soon publish increases in the civil money penalties it can impose for certain violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and/or related regulations.

New York Governor Signs Executive Orders To Address Wage Gap

Fisher Phillips • January 19, 2017
On January 9, 2017, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued two executive orders aimed at addressing the perceived gender, race, and ethnicity-based wage gaps. Noting that the state government must lead by example and ensure equal pay for all New Yorkers, the two executive orders – which Governor Cuomo signed as part of his 2017 State of the State address – prevent state entities from asking job applicants about their compensation history and require state contractors to disclose data on the gender, race, ethnicity, job title, and salary of their employees.

Connecticut Supreme Court: Punitive Damages Are Not Recoverable Under State Employment Discrimination Statute

Ogletree Deakins • January 19, 2017
The Connecticut Supreme Court rang in the new year with a ruling long awaited by employers, settling the lingering question as to whether punitive damages are recoverable for claims under the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA), the state’s employment discrimination statute. In Tomick v. United Parcel Service, Inc., et al. (December 30, 2016), the Connecticut Supreme Court found that the CFEPA does not authorize an award of punitive damages. The decision is important in that it clarifies the scope of damages that may be recovered by an employee who is successful in bringing employment discrimination claims.

New York State and Seattle Lead Discussion on Portable Benefits

Fisher Phillips • January 19, 2017
In an effort to head off litigation by workers claiming they have been misclassified as contractors, companies using a largely on-demand workforce have been working with the New York State Assembly to develop a system of portable benefits to provide occasional workers with some level of benefits that would be available to them despite not being attached to a particular employer.
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