As always, the new year brings a host of new laws that are the product of our state and federal legislatures. Although many important changes were made to state and federal laws, 2013 saw a reduction of more than 30% in the number of labor and employment bills enacted as compared to 2012. While the total number is lower this year, these new compliance obligations are just as important for employers. This summary provides an overview and chart of new laws that become effective in 2014. As expected, California was again the busiest legislature, but no states were left out of the push to continue to regulate employers.
Articles Discussing General Human Resources Issues.
Thank you to everyone who responded to this year’s Employment and Labor Law Final Exam. We hope the exercise was challenging and informative. Congratulations to our winners, Melissa Nance (Sumter, SC) and Carol Williams (Charlotte, NC). Melissa and Carol will receive a basket full of goodies from the Gourmet Shop in Columbia, SC.
Federal authorities recently commenced an investigation targeting a global financial services firm’s alleged practice of hiring the children of powerful Chinese officials, often through a program that used lower hiring standards for those with elite pedigrees, to help the firm win lucrative business in China.
As the end of 2013 quickly approaches, it is time to put your employment and labor law knowledge to the test with Nexsen Pruet’s third annual final exam. We will send out answers to the exam on December 17th. Be sure to email your responses to email@example.com by December 16th. If you score 100 percent, you will be entered to win a fabulous prize. Winners will be announced when the answer key is released next week.
On November 20, 2013, Fred Tilton, the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Federal Air Surgeon, announced a New Obstructive Sleep Apnea Policy1 (Policy) the FAA will be “releasing shortly.”2 Under the Policy, aviation medical examiners (AMEs) must calculate the Body Mass Index (BMI) – a method for identifying obesity – for every pilot. Pilots with a BMI of 403 or more will have to be evaluated by a physician who is a board-certified sleep specialist, and, if diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, treated before they can be medically certified.4 The FAA’s Policy will issue despite new legislation restricting sleep apnea screening for federally regulated commercial drivers and opposition from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).
Thanks to the developing news regarding the Miami Dolphins, workplace bullying has generated national attention. There has been considerable press of late concerning school bullying and its impact on children but it is now clearer than ever that in some environments, bullying can exist in the workplace and can cause serious damage to professionals and their employers.
This week, six federal financial regulatory agencies revealed their proposed standards for assessing the diversity policies and practices of the institutions they regulate. The goal is to promote transparency and awareness of diversity practices, in accordance with the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act.
As part of the ongoing rulemaking efforts to implement portions of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Wednesday narrowly voted in favor of a proposal that would require public companies to disclose the ratio of their CEO’s compensation to the median compensation of their employees. The proposal does not provide a specific formula for arriving at this pay ratio.
Pursuant to a directive included in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FAA Act), the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a final policy allowing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to apply and enforce certain safety standards for aircraft cabin crewmembers. Under the final policy, OSHA standards on hazardous chemicals, exposure to blood-borne pathogens, and hearing conservation programs, as well as rules on record-keeping, access to employee exposure and medical records, and the agency’s Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) anti-discrimination provision, will now apply to aircraft cabin members.
A number of well-known restaurant chains have been hit with lawsuits over the last few years alleging that their exempt managers or assistant managers were indeed non-exempt and therefore should have been paid overtime. These cases demonstrate that simply calling employees managers and paying them on a salaried basis does not insulate restaurant owners from liability under the overtime provisions of federal and state wage and hour laws.
Help! I just received a Charge of Discrimination from the EEOC. What is it, and what do I do next?
On March 8, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published revised Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 (Rev. 03/08/13)N. According to the USCIS website, “improvements to Form I-9 include new fields, reformatting to reduce errors, and clearer instructions to both employees and employers.” The most noticeable change for employers will likely be the length of the actual Form I-9 that must be completed by the employer and employee, which has increased from one page to two pages.
Brace yourselves, employers: March Madness is upon us. The 2013 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men’s Division I Basketball Championship Tournament will start with play-in games on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, and conclude with the Championship Game on Monday, April 8, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. During the tournament’s three weeks, the United States economy will lose an estimated $1.8 billion in productivity as employees watch early round games, participate in office pools, and discuss the outcomes with co-workers. (Fantasy sports activity in the work place has become an even more widespread issue, as Goldberg Segalla’s Seth L. Laver and Michael P. Luongo explained in an article titled “Fantasy Sports: A Real Game-Changer for Employers.”)
Executive Summary: Hurricane Sandy has swept through the east coast, leaving in its aftermath a path of devastation and destruction. Although there are no immediate estimates of losses from the storm, some have stated that the scope of the damage could be in the billions; New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has called it “incalculable.” See James Barron, After the Devastation, a Daunting Recovery, N.Y. Times, October 31, 2012 at A1. In addition to dealing with the physical damage from the storm, when employers are finally able to resume business they will be faced with a variety of operational concerns as well as employment-related issues. This Alert highlights some of the employment-related issues that employers may face.
As election time draws near, employers must be prepared to deal with numerous workplace issues that can arise from political discussions and campaigning in the workplace. With controversial issues such as race, immigration, family values, national security and the economy on the political forefront, friendly workplace banter can quickly devolve into contentious disputes. Employers need to be aware of their legal rights and obligations in addressing political discussions and activities in the workplace, as well as the practical impact of their actions.