What's New on HR.BLR.com
HR.BLR.com's What's New page is where you will find all of the most recent content added and updated to the site in the last 14 days. See the latest news, updated topic analysis, training sessions, and more.
HR Regulatory Analysis
We are continually updating our state and national regulatory analysis to help you keep up with the changing regulations. See the updated section on the What's New page, below, to find all of the updated topics.
New Documents
  • HR Audio Presentations:
    More and more employers today are realizing the value of wellness programs and employee training to help employees live healthier lives. Use this Wellness and You audio presentation to train your workers on wellness.
  • The bottom line is that all employees need to know the dangers of sexual harassment—they must know how to recognize the various types of sexual harassment, what to do if they are a witness to or a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, and know their role in preventing it from becoming a problem in your organization. Use this Sexual Harassment -- What Employees Need to Know (Spanish) audio presentation to train your workers on sexual harassment.
  • HR Calculators:
    Turnover is an important metric for human resource professionals. Tracking turnover helps provides information that can be used to address issues before key employees leave the organization.
  • HR Guidance:
    With this on-demand webinar, Legal Editor Susan Prince will provide you with an important preparation checklist to help ensure you’re ready for the DOL’s final rule once it goes into effect in December 2016.
  • View the 2016 updated Minimum Wage chart. This chart features all current minimum wage changes, as well as any future changes, states with annual indexed changes, and tipped employee wages.
  • HR Handouts:
    More and more employers today are realizing the value of wellness programs and employee training to help employees live healthier lives. Use this Wellness and You handout to train your workers on wellness.
  • HR News:

    A 2014 rule restricting the sale of fixed indemnity coverage was struck down by a federal appeals court, which ruled that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had exceeded its authority under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

  • The average salary increase in 2015 was 2.7%, according to a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) report.
  • It's common for employers to believe that they will be held responsible only for discriminatory or harassing conduct by one of their supervisors or employees. However, the 7th Circuit recently reaffirmed that an employer can be responsible for discriminatory and harassing behavior by nonemployee—and even nonhuman—offenders.
  • In a recent unpublished decision, the 4th Circuit—which covers Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia—held that several employees who worked for an American company overseas were properly classified as hourly employees despite some confusion about the offer letters describing their compensation.
  • Is there anyone today who isn’t beleaguered emails, reports, and meetings that soak up time you’d rather be spending on strategic imagination, creativity, or high-value work? Best-selling author Lisa Bodell joins us to discuss how to eliminate complexity to make space for change and innovation. Its called simplification, and Bodell says it can drive workplace culture, employee engagement and productivity.
  • raduate students working as assistants are employees under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and can therefore unionize, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled August 23, in a case involving students at Columbia University.
  • Many employers monitor the Consumer Price Index (CPI) closely because wages tend to follow changes in the cost of goods. Rather than, or in some cases in addition to, providing performance-based merit increases, employers may provide cost of living adjustment (COLA) increases. Given many employers use the annual CPI as their COLA, it’s easy to think they are the same, but they're actually not.

  • The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals—which covers Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee—recently established new law regarding construction industry employers' obligations under collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) that no longer apply to their employees.
  • Employers in California are ahead of the national average when it comes to paid family leave policies, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Nationwide, 18% of employers offer that benefit; in California, 35% of employers do, according to state survey results released July 27.

  • Six state and local governments were recently awarded a combined $1.1 million to study the development and implementation of paid leave programs, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced.
  • The Appellate Division, 3rd Department, recently upheld the vast power of an employer to exact recompense from a former employee who stole from it. Under the "faithless servant" doctrine, the law imposes a fiduciary duty on employees to be faithful and honest during their employment.
  • Timing is everything, the saying goes, and for firms trying to hire it could make the difference between securing the candidate and losing out. For almost six in 10 workers (57%) in a Robert Half survey, the most frustrating part of the job search is the long wait after an interview to hear if they got the job.
  • A new state-by-state analysis shows that few states have expanded upon the Family and Medical Leave Act's (FMLA’s) unpaid leave protections or adopted other policies to help expecting and new parents who are employed. The analysis, "Expecting Better: A State-by-State Analysis of Laws That Help Expecting and New Parents," is the most comprehensive analysis to date of state laws and regulations governing paid leave and other workplace rights for expecting and new parents in the United States.
  • The U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals—which covers Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota—recently affirmed a lower court's denial of an employer's motion to compel arbitration because the employer waited 8 months after the start of the lawsuit and engaged extensively in the litigation without any mention of arbitration before it ever raised its right to arbitrate under the arbitration agreement.
  • An employer and its staffing company will pay $1.1 million in back wages and another $1.1 million in damages to resolve U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) findings that they intentionally misclassified workers as independent contractors.
  • By Jane Meacham

    The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on July 11 issued a notice of proposed revisions and other guidance outlining several changes to Form 5500 aimed at keeping annual reporting by employee benefit plans in line with technical, legal, and regulatory changes.

  • What types of challenges are employers facing when it comes to engaging Millennial and Generation Z new hires in the onboarding process? These younger generations of new hires have grown up in a digital world, and that is presenting new challenges for employers in terms of engaging new hires in the onboarding process and retaining them for the long term, says Doug Stephen, senior vice president of CGS’s Learning Group.
  • A workplace survey by a British employment law consultancy found that the vast majority of workers were too scared to start an office romance for fear of going against harassment policies and losing their job.
  • Under established Kentucky election-of-remedies rules, an employee seeking to recover for workplace discrimination must pick a path—pursue the claim through the administrative system or file suit in court. While acknowledging it was creating a "procedural mess," the Kentucky Supreme Court recently reversed that long-standing rule, holding that 1996 changes to the Kentucky Civil Rights Act (KCRA) mean the rule no longer holds true. Employees may pursue a claim twice—through both the administrative system and the courts.
  • Advocate Health Care Network (Advocate) has agreed to pay $5.55 million to settle with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), multiple potential Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) violations involving electronic protected health information (ePHI). This is the largest HIPAA settlement to date against a single entity.
  • Under the Rhode Island Employment Security Act, employees who quit their jobs are not eligible to receive unemployment benefits unless they can show they resigned for "good cause." Courts interpreting the statute have ruled that "good cause" usually requires that an employee quit employment that is unsuitable in some way.
  • When you hear of workplace injuries, what industries and occupations come to mind? Most would assume anything construction related, as well as public service (i.e. police and firefighters). However, a new report from Paychex is offering some startling revelations into workplace injuries.

  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit—which covers Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia—recently held that a group of exotic dancers are employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), not independent contractors. The recent decision by the 4th Circuit sends a clear message to club owners that exotic dancers must be treated like employees and are entitled to the protections of the FLSA.
  • When an employee works overtime, an employer can’t ignore those hours. Even if an employee fails to report the hours, an employer may be liable for back pay and damages if it “should have known” the employee was working overtime, a recent case illustrates.

  • A new survey, released by Robert Half, reveals generational differences in how much people understand about their roles.
  • This article series will cover managing medical certifications under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). In the last section we covered the how to request a medical certification, here we'll go over authentication, clarification, and second opinions surrounding medical certification. The FMLA regulations offer procedures for authenticating and clarifying medical certifications.
  • By Damian Myers, Proskauer Rose LLP

    Recent guidance issued jointly by three federal agencies opens the window to plan administrators providing more information on the health insurance marketplace options under healthcare reform in their COBRA election notices. This article explains the benefits to providing such enhanced disclosures to COBRA qualified beneficiaries. But it also cautions plan administrators to be careful not to mislead individuals about their choices in selecting health coverage.

  • A recent case illustrates that inappropriate remarks by supervisors can be a one-way ticket to a jury trial, even for an employee who wasn’t performing well enough to satisfy her employer’s legitimate expectations.
  • Imagine you have a worker who is nearing retirement. His son agrees to learn the position in anticipation of taking over when his father retires. You don't pay the worker's son, even though he performs some work for you. Is the worker's son your employee?
  • According to a new PayScale report, half of employees do not know their CEO’s compensation, but a substantial majority of those who do believe that it is appropriate. More than half of respondents who feel that their CEO is overcompensated report that it negatively affects their view of the company.
  • A recent ruling by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals—which covers Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee—has found that an employee who cannot explain discrepancies between her Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodation request and her Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) application cannot bring a disability discrimination claim against her employer.

  • According to a new study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), the proportion of small employers offering health coverage to their workers has declined, but not so with larger employers.

  • Apple, Inc., allegedly convinced an employer to terminate an employee in retaliation for his resistance to Apple's allegedly illegal anticompetitive conduct. Can an at-will employee be terminated because of Apple's interference?
  • Paying an employee a salary does not render him or her exempt from overtime pay, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently reminded employers.
  • In light of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) final overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), a formal compensation administration program is an important management tool for ensuring that employees are satisfied, that both internal and external equity are maintained, and that control is maintained over compensation costs and the allocation of overtime hours.

  • The dates when group health plans should begin using the most recently revised summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) template were clarified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in a July 8 Q&A document.

  • Recently, the Iowa Supreme Court found that an employee was entitled to collect unemployment benefits after she was fired for absenteeism when she was incarcerated. Here is a closer look at the court's reasoning in this case.
  • By Mary B. Andersen, CEBS, ERPA, QPA, of ERISAdiagnostics, INC.

    The latest IRS guidance on taxation of participants’ benefits distributed during phased retirement begs the question—whatever happened to phased retirement? It garnered a lot of publicity a few years ago but hasn’t seemed to have caught on.

  • While gluten-free eating has become something of a dietary fad, for sufferers of celiac disease it’s no casual choice. What does this mean for you as an employer? Well, for starters, your employees who suffer from celiac disease may be feeling excluded—and even professionally limited—in ways you neither intend nor realize.

  • Technology can be both a blessing and a curse. We are blessed with the ability to be "on" at all hours, but it's because of this, that more people are stressing themselves out. It’s become the norm for many U.S. employees to respond to work e-mails after business hours. While that may seem like an increase in productivity, in reality, it’s having harmful effects on workers' wellness.
  • By Celine Vignal, cofounder of Zenytime

    Over the last decade, employee health has been a major focus for HR professionals, with initiatives like nurse hotlines, weight loss programs, and on-site vaccinations becoming the norm. While wellness benefits have been on the rise, the types of benefits have clearly shifted to become more inclusive and less rigid. It’s important to keep adapting and give your employees what they want and need. However, to do this you have to know where to start.

  • By Jane Meacham

    While acknowledging that maintaining traditional defined benefit (DB) pensions has become either too expensive or too burdensome, several Fortune 500 company retirement plan sponsors would like to replicate for their defined contribution (DC) plans some of the efficiencies from their DB plans, according to a new survey report from BNY Mellon.

  • A recent decision from the Idaho Supreme Court provides a hard lesson for Idaho employers facing a wage claim filed by a current or former employee under the Idaho Wage Claim Act (IWCA). In particular, the decision provides an example of the harsh penalties that can be imposed if your company fails to pay wages within the strict time frames set forth in the Act.
  • A record number of private-sector employees—64%—now have access to paid sick leave, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
  • New research from One Medical shows nearly half of Americans think their employer isn’t investing enough in their health and wellness.
  • Training about sexual harassment can help educate supervisors and managers about what is—and is not—acceptable behavior at work. A recent court case provides an example of how a supervisor’s comments and actions prompted an employee to file suit after being fired.
  • Maximum penalties for violating many employment and benefits laws were increased, some of them substantially, by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in a departmentwide rule published July 1.

  • What happens when an employee is out on job-protected leave and you realize that everything keeps moving along just fine without her? Or that her duties shouldn't really take 40 hours per week? While federal employment laws generally require that employees be reinstated at the end of a medical leave, employers may have options under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in such situations.

  • This article series will cover managing medical certifications under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). In the last section we covered the basics of medical certification, here we'll go over the steps involved in requesting certification.
  • By Rebecca Barnes-Hogg, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

    For a small business trying to recruit high quality candidates, it can seem like David battling Goliath. The good news is that your small business can hire top candidates without spending thousands of dollars on employer branding, recruiters, or advertising. Here are three things you can do that don’t require a huge investment of time or money to leverage your David status in a Goliath world.

  • New U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) are, as expected, silent on the law’s coverage of public employers. Clarification on that issue, according to several federal appellate courts, would have had implications for employers hoping to have lawsuits dismissed or seeking to limit available damages.

  • Every HR manager is experiencing dramatic changes in workplace culture that are driven by Millennials. But one area that seems unchanged is reward and recognition programs. Today’s guests want to change that. Taylor Smith and Kevin Yip are cofounders of Blueboard, a new recognition/retention program designed to help companies recruit and retain Millennial employees that traditional recognition programs don’t resonate with.
  • By Gwen Cofield

    When an employee is terminated from employment and loses group health plan coverage (subject to The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)), plan administrators should ensure that all qualified beneficiaries are sent COBRA election notices in a timely fashion.

  • Hope and belief are the bedrock of every Cubs fan’s baseball dreams. And while hope and belief might be enough to get people through the inevitable August slump, they aren’t necessarily enough to establish a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Here’s what a recent decision from the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals—which covers Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin—has to say about hope, belief, and the ADA.
  • While courts have held that various employer actions may constitute retaliation under federal employment laws, coworker “discourtesies” do not rise to that level under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a federal judge ruled recently.

  • The 32nd National Healthcare Trend Survey from Xerox HR Services reveals that while increases in healthcare costs are slowing, they continue to outpace inflation by a wide margin.
  • HR PowerPoints:
    More and more employers today are realizing the value of wellness programs and employee training to help employees live healthier lives. Use this Wellness and You PowerPoint presentation to train your workers on wellness.
  • The bottom line is that all employees need to know the dangers of sexual harassment—they must know how to recognize the various types of sexual harassment, what to do if they are a witness to or a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, and know their role in preventing it from becoming a problem in your organization. Use this Sexual Harassment -- What Employees Need to Know (Spanish) PowerPoint presentation to train your workers on sexual harassment.
  • HR Quizzes:
    More and more employers today are realizing the value of wellness programs and employee training to help employees live healthier lives. Use this Wellness and You quiz to train your workers on wellness.
  • More and more employers today are realizing the value of wellness programs and employee training to help employees live healthier lives. Use this Wellness and You quiz to train your workers on wellness.
  • HR Speaker's Notes:
    More and more employers today are realizing the value of wellness programs and employee training to help employees live healthier lives. Use these Wellness and You speaker's notes to train your workers on wellness.
  • The bottom line is that all employees need to know the dangers of sexual harassment—they must know how to recognize the various types of sexual harassment, what to do if they are a witness to or a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, and know their role in preventing it from becoming a problem in your organization. Use these Sexual Harassment -- What Employees Need to Know (Spanish) speaker's notes to train your workers on sexual harassment.
  • HR Training Exercises:
    More and more employers today are realizing the value of wellness programs and employee training to help employees live healthier lives. Use this Wellness and You exercise to train your workers on wellness.
  • More and more employers today are realizing the value of wellness programs and employee training to help employees live healthier lives. Use this Wellness and You exercise to train your workers on wellness.
Updated Documents
Questions & Answers
 HR Strange But True
CT-WEB01
Copyright � 2016 Business & Legal Resources. All rights reserved. 800-727-5257
This document was published on http://HR.BLR.com
Document URL: http://hr.blr.com/whatsnew.aspx