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ten most recent federal employment law articles Ten Most Recent Federal Articles

Can I Get A Witness (Or At Least A Witness Statement)? NLRB Rules Witness Statements Are Now Fair Game

Fisher & Phillips LLP • August 03, 2015
For over 35 years, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) held that witness statements obtained by unionized employers during pre-arbitration investigations were exempt from disclosure to the union. However, on June 26, 2015, the NLRB reversed its own long-standing precedent and ruled that such witness statements must be provided to a union bargaining agent before an arbitration hearing. Employers no longer enjoy this blanket exemption and therefore should adjust their practices accordingly.

IRS Revises Employee Plans Determination Letter Program

XpertHR • August 03, 2015
Due to budget cuts and the need to more efficiently direct its limited resources, the IRS has announced important changes to its Employee Plans Determination Letter program for qualified retirement plans. The announcement also provides a transition rule with respect to the remedial amendment period for certain plans currently on the five-year cycle, and requests comments on specific issues relating to the implementation of the changes to the determination letter program.

Beware Offering "Examples" In Comments To USDOL

Fisher & Phillips LLP • August 03, 2015
Comments on the U.S. Labor Department's proposed changes in regulations defining the federal Fair Labor Standards Act's Section 13(a)(1) exemptions are, for the moment, still due on Friday, September 4, 2015.

Be Careful What You Say: Allegations Of Worker Misconduct Might Be Defamation

Fisher & Phillips LLP • August 03, 2015
Healthcare institutions have a moral and legal obligation to promote patient safety as an essential component of patient care. Supervisors and managers must be supportive of their staffs while remaining vigilant about the enforcement of appropriate standards of care. Staff members who fail to meet those standards are subject to discipline, up to and including termination, and may also be reported to the appropriate licensing board or agency. Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong.

One-Time Anomaly Or Potential Turning Of The Tides? A Review Of The Supreme Court's 2014-2015 Term

Fisher & Phillips LLP • August 03, 2015
In a marked departure from the overwhelming success employers experienced before the Supreme Court in recent years, the less successful recently wrapped 2014-2015 term could be an indication that the judicial tides may be shifting against management. Of the six major decisions falling within the realm of labor and employment law, employers can only count two as outright wins; both came in smaller cases which will have relatively limited impacts.

USCIS Final Guidance on When to File a New or Amended H-1B After a Change in Job Location

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • August 03, 2015
On July 21, 2015, USCIS issued final guidance on when to file a new or amended H-1B petition after the Matter of Simeio Solutions, LLC decision.1 (Click here to review our discussion of the Simeio decision). This USCIS final guidance -- which is intended to assist employers with complying with the Simeio decision -- provides the following directives:

Refusal to Cooperate With OSHA Leads to Federal Criminal Contempt

Goldberg Segalla LLP • August 03, 2015
For what is believed to be the first time in OSHA history, a company recently was found in criminal contempt for refusal to comply with a warrant obtained by OSHA inspectors to conduct an inspection. A Missouri foundry, its owner, and three representatives of an independent safety-consulting company were found in criminal contempt by a federal judge for refusing access to the site by OSHA inspectors. The U.S. District Court in Kansas City ordered Martin Foundry Co., Inc., owner Darrell Stone, and representatives of Compliance Professionals, Inc. to jointly pay $10,778 to reimburse departmental costs. In addition, Martin Foundry and Darrell Stone were fined $1,000 for their failure to cooperate. Each of the three consultants were fined $2,000 for willfully impeding OSHA’s investigation and refused to comply with the warrant.

OSHA Issues New Interpretations of its Process Safety Management Standard

Jackson Lewis P.C. • August 03, 2015
OSHA has recently issued several memoranda updating guidance on its Process Safety Management (“PSM”) standard. On June 5, 2015, OSHA issued a memorandum to Regional Administrators explaining how inspectors should enforce recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices (“RAGAGEP”) requirements. Among other things, OSHA explained that when an employer’s internal standards are more stringent than the relevant published RAGAGEP and the employer fails to follow its own more stringent internal requirements, OSHA may cite the employer under the relevant section of the PSM standard. A copy of the June 5, 2015 memorandum can be found online.

OSHA Proposes New Rules to “Clarify” Recordkeeping Obligations

Ogletree Deakins • August 03, 2015
On July 29, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published in the Federal Register a proposed rule to “clarify” employers’ recordkeeping obligations under 29 C.F.R. Part 1904. Comments are due by September 28.

Making Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Effective

XpertHR • August 03, 2015
Sexual harassment training has become a rite of passage for new supervisors in certain states. For example, for California employers, supervisors must attend training every two years. Various other states have sexual harassment prevention requirements for private and public employers.