events j oin j obs
NLRB Names McDonald's as 'Joint-Employer' at its Franchisees
December 22, 2014

Move is Win for Unions' Effort to Hold Franchisers Liable for Labor violations by Store Owners

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Notable Neighbors--NOARK Member Sheerah Davis,
December 22, 2014

Sheerah Davis, VP, Mitchell Commications Group, Springdale

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EEOC Sues Employers Over Wellness Programs, Despite Lack of Guidance
December 19, 2014

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed lawsuits in 2014 against three employers, claiming that wellness programs sponsored by the employers violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), primarily because the programs are not "voluntary" and impose penalties for employees who refuse or are unable to participate. However, the merits of these claims are difficult to evaluate because the EEOC has not issued guidance on what constitutes a "voluntary" wellness or health program. In addition, the EEOC's claims may conflict with wellness plan guidance issued by other federal agencies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Affordability Act (HIPAA).

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Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk
December 18, 2014

Holding: The time spent by warehouse workers waiting to undergo and undergoing security screenings is not compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act, as amended by the Portal-to-Portal Act.

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Employees May Use Company Email for Protected Concerted Activity!!!
December 15, 2014

The National Labor Relations Board (Board) held that an employer must "presumptively" permit employees' use of the employer's email for statutorily protected communications on nonworking time, if the employer gives employees access to the employer's email systems. Purple Communications, 361 NLRB No. 126 (2014).

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NLRB Announcing Ambush Elections Rule
December 12, 2014

Today, December 12, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a final rule designed to speed up the union election process. While SHRM is still reviewing the final rule, it appears to be virtually identical to the rule as proposed.

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DOL Announces Final Rule Protecting LGBT Workers from Discrimination
December 04, 2014

The Final Rule implements an Executive Order signed by President Barack Obama on July 21, 2014, making it illegal for federal contractors to discriminate against employees and applicants on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, which protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees from such discrimination. This Executive Order amended Executive Order 11246, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965, to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected categories covering federal contractors.

The implementation of the rule means that covered federal contractors are now required to have Equal Employment Opportunity policies and/or procedures in place to protect employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. In addition to the new protections for federal contractors, federal employees, who are already protected on the basis of sexual orientation, will be protected from gender identity discrimination, which has not been previously protected.     

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myE-Verify Teleconference Invitation
December 02, 2014

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) invites you to participate in a listening session on Tuesday, Dec. 16, from 2–3p.m. (Eastern) to discuss a new website for U.S. workers called myE-Verify.

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E-Verify Record Disposal
November 25, 2014

Time Sensitive Reminder: E-VERIFY RECORD DISPOSAL

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EXECUTIVE ACTION ON IMMIGRATION
November 24, 2014

President Obama recently announced a series of Executive Actions that make several important administrative changes in the immigration process that will impact employers and foreign nationals alike in several important ways. The Executive Actions create a new deferred action program for certain parents of U.S. citizens; expand the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program; increase the work options for spouses of certain visa holders; and seek to expand the visa options for highly-skilled immigrants.  

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IMMIGRATION LAW ALERT
November 24, 2014

 To be clear, on the employment based immigration changes, nothing is different today. All of the proposed changes will require regulations or agency action, which is expected to take several months. Regulations have to be drafted, finalized, sent out to the public for review and comment, and then the comments are compiled and responded to, all before the regulations are effective. The list below is not comprehensive, as much of what is being proposed is still being developed.

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IRS Issues Guidance-Certain
November 11, 2014

 The IRS issued a notice on November 4, 2014 concluding that a health plan that does not provide substantial coverage for inpatient hospitalization and/or physician services will not qualify as a "minimum value" plan under the Affordable Care Act. Therefore, large employers that adopt such plans are subject to penalties under the Affordable Care Act for failure to offer a plan that provides minimum value. The IRS expects to issue additional guidance on this issue next year.

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Breaking News: Employer Prohibited From Reimbursing Individual Plan Premiums Even On An After-Tax Basis
November 07, 2014

 Simultaneously, additional FAQs were issued to clarify that employers may not offer employees with high claims risk a choice between enrollment in its standard group health plan and cash, as well as prohibiting the use of vendor sponsored Section 105 reimbursement plans as a way to assist eligible employees in accessing premium tax credits on the Marketplace.

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Basic Supervisor Training in NWA-Fall 2014
November 06, 2014

Basic Supervisor Training – developed by the attorneys at Cross, Gunter, Witherspoon & Galchus, P.C. – is designed to help your company avoid legal action resulting from common HR issues, including:

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Prevailing Wage Rates: Best Practices for compliance
November 06, 2014

The Davis-Bacon Act is an 80-year-old wage subsidy law administered and enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that mandates prevailing wages for work performed on federally financed construction projects. Unfortunately, the law often raises more questions than it answers. This seminar, presented by CGWG attorneys Greg Northen, Donna Galchus and Joe Ramsey, will provide the practical guidance you need to avoid penalties and costly litigation.

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Maximum Employee Contribution to Health Flexible Spending Accounts Increasing in 2015
November 05, 2014

Employers that sponsor health flexible spending accounts should consider whether they wish to adopt this higher limit for 2015.  If so, the increased amount should be communicated to employees in open enrollment or other materials.  In addition, the cafeteria plan document may require an amendment.

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Immigration Law Update
October 28, 2014

 An I-94 is a record of arrivals for foreign nationals (not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, also called green card holders) coming into the U.S. on a temporary status. The I-94 is issued by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer upon the arrival of the foreign national into the U.S.

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E-Verify Record Disposal (10/02/14)
October 22, 2014

On January 1, 2015, E-Verify must dispose of transaction records that are over ten years old - those dated on or before December 31, 2004. E-Verify employers have until December 31, 2014, to download case data from the new “Historic Records Report” if they want to retain transaction data that is more than ten years old. For more information and guidance on downloading the Historic Records Report, see the Fact Sheet and Instructions for Downloading.

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Final Regulations Issued on Excepted Benefits
October 22, 2014

 "Excepted benefits" are exempt from various group health plan requirements under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("PPACA") and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, as amended ("HIPAA"). The U.S. Departments of Treasury, Labor and Health and Human Services have issued final regulations which provide guidance about when certain dental, vision and long-term care and Employee Assistance Program ("EAP") benefits are considered excepted benefits. The final regulations do not address issues related to "limited wraparound coverage" which was a source of confusion and criticism under the proposed regulations.

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NEW! myE-Verify Website for Workers and Jobseekers!
October 15, 2014

On October 6th, USCIS announced the launch of myE-Verify, the new website that specializes in information and tools that serve the needs of workers and job seekers. Its features include the capability to create a unique, secure and personal myE-Verify account that gives access to the new Self Lock service. Self Lock lets users protect their identities by locking their social security numbers to prevent unauthorized or fraudulent use within E-Verify. The new website also includes Self Check and multi-media resources for workers and jobseekers to learn about employee rights and employment eligibility verification from their perspective.

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Federal District Court Regects EEOC's Challenge to CVS' Standard Separation Agreement
September 23, 2014

In February 2014, the EEOC filed an action against CVS Pharmacy claiming several standard provisions contained in CVS' separation agreement violated Title VII. CVS' five page single spaced separation agreement contained many standard provisions which the EEOC alleged violate Title VII, including:

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Proposed DOL Secrecy Ban Protecting Discussion of Employee Compensation Issued Wednesday!!!
September 18, 2014

The Department of Labor (DOL), through its office of OFCCP, issued a proposed rule yesterday to amend Executive Order 11246, which prohibits discrimination and other employment practices by federal contractors. The DOL issued the rule in response to an order by President Obama back in April calling for new regulations designed to close the pay gap among men and women, as well as minorities. Generally, the proposed Rule will require that any entity with a federal contract in excess of $10,000 must incorporate a mandatory non-discrimination provision informing employees that the company does not "discriminate against employees and applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their own compensation or the compensation of another employee or applicant." The Rule will require modifying existing contracts that do not already contain such provisions.

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Preparing for Open Enrollment
September 15, 2014

 As employers head into open enrollment, they face a number of administrative responsibilities as well as new challenges under the Affordable Care Act. While there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach, the following guidelines address some of the issues employers should consider this open enrollment season.

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CGWG Recognized for Exemplary Workplace Practices; Firm Receives Prestigious When Work Works Award
September 02, 2014

Cross, Gunter, Witherspoon & Galchus, P.C. (CGWG) has been honored with the 2014 When Work Works Award. The award recognizes companies that incorporate flexibility as an effective workplace strategy to increase business and employee success.

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Northwest Arkansas Labor & Employment Luncheon Announcement
September 02, 2014

On Tuesday, September 23, Wright, Lindsey & Jennings LLP will host its second Northwest Arkansas Labor & Employment Seminar for 2014 - "Three Top Employment Issues Facing Employers Today: Background Checks Liability, Social Media Landmines and the Affordable Care Act."  We'll discuss these three topics, offering our thoughts on how a variety of government agencies (including the FTC, the EEOC, the NLRB and the DOL) view background checks, employer and employee use of social media, and employee healthcare issues under the ACA.

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NLRB "LIkes" Facebook: Clicking "LIke" is Considered Protected, Concerted Activity
August 29, 2014

On August 22, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or the Board) issued a much-anticipated ruling with respect to social media in the workplace. In a case involving the termination of two employees for their participation in a Facebook discussion about claims that employees unexpectedly owed additional State income taxes because of the employer's withholding mistakes, the Board ruled that clicking the "Like" button on Facebook was protected, concerted activity shielded by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA or the Act). Specifically, although the Board recognized that a "like" may be ambiguous, it takes the position that such conduct expresses agreement with the subject of the target posting and therefore can be considered protected, concerted activity. The "like" does not, however, reach subsequent comments unless each comment is individually "liked" as well.

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Sixth Circuit Finds Employer Violated ADA by Requiring Employee to Undergo Psychological Counseling
August 27, 2014

The plaintiff, Emily Kroll, worked as an EMT for the White Lake Ambulance Authority (WLAA). Although her supervisors initially considered her to be a good employee, her workplace behavior became problematic following an affair with a married co-worker. WLAA became concerned over Kroll's emotional well-being after she was observed by employees crying in the parking lot, called her Office Manager in tears after finishing a shift, and it was reported she failed to administer oxygen to a patient because she was arguing with a female co-worker during an ambulance run. Another co-worker also reported that Kroll had screamed at a male acquaintance on a cell phone while driving an ambulance loaded with a patient.

The WLAA Director, Brian Binns, advised Kroll that she could continue her employment with WLAA only if she agreed to undergo psychological counseling. Binns admitted at trial that he decided to compel counseling because Kroll's "life was a mess and he thought he could help her." He also explained that he was concerned about Kroll's personal life and sexual relationships. Kroll testified that Binns told her she "needed counseling because of [her] immoral personal behavior." WLAA did not consult with a psychologist or mental health professional before deciding to force Kroll to attend counseling. Kroll refused counseling because she could not afford to pay for it and never returned to work.

Kroll sued WLAA claiming she was constructively discharged because the requirement that she attend counseling violated the ADA. The ADA states: "A covered entity shall not require a medical examination and shall not make inquiries of an employee as to whether such employee is an individual with a disability or as to the nature or severity of the disability, unless such examination or inquiry is shown to be job-related and consistent with business necessity."

In August 2010, a U.S. District Court dismissed Kroll's lawsuit holding that the psychological counseling at issue did not constitute a medical examination. The District Court also found that Kroll posed a "direct threat" to her own safety and others because of the potential danger of her unsafe driving. 

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Concerted Protective Activity
August 21, 2014

In Hollis Press Inc., 343 NLRB 301 (2004), the National Labor Relations Board held that an employee who filed a sexual harassment complaint with a state agency was not engaged in protected concerted activity when she solicited co-workers to be witnesses. In Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, Inc., 361 NLRB No. 12 (2014), the National Labor Relations Board reversed the holding in Hollis Press. The Board majority held that "an employee seeking the assistance or support of his or her coworkers in raising a sexual harassment complaint is acting for the purpose of mutual aid or protection. This decision applies equally to cases where. . . an employee seeks to raise that complaint directly to the employer, or . . . to an outside entity." Id. at 7.

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NLRB Rules McDonald's is Co-Employer with Franchisees under NLRA
August 20, 2014

The NLRB's Office of the General Counsel has issued an important statement authorizing complaints for unlawful labor practices against McDonald's, USA, LLC and their franchisees. In it, the General Counsel may have taken a new approach in how the NLRB will handle employee charges against franchisors and franchisees, by treating the franchisor and the franchisee as joint employers.

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Fair Pay and Safe Workplace Executive Order
August 05, 2014

 On July 31, 2014, President Barack Obama signed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplace Executive Order which will require prospective federal contractors report violations of 14 Federal laws and as yet unspecified state laws when bidding on service and supply contracts.

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Additional $1M in funding to help Arkansas with winter storm recovery efforts awarded by US Labor Department
July 24, 2014

"Today's summer temperatures make the severe storms of the winter season hard to remember," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "But the work to recover from those severe storms continues and the federal funds we're awarding today will assist the state with completing this work."

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U.S. Department of Labor Announces Increased FMLA Enforcement Efforts
July 22, 2014

 In an unexpected announcement, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Branch Chief Helen Applewhaite says the DOL will be increasing its enforcement of the FMLA by having more on-site visits by its investigators.

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OBAMA Signs Executive Order Protecting LGBT Workers!!!
July 21, 2014

Today, July 21, 2014, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order making it illegal for federal contractors to discriminate against employees and applicants on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, which will protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees from such discrimination. Currently, there is no federal law in place that provides protection from employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. President Obama's Order amends Executive Order 11246, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965, to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected categories covering federal contractors.

This announcement means that any recipient of federal contracts will be required to have Equal Employment Opportunity policies and/or procedures in place to protect employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In addition to the new protections for federal contractors, federal employees, who are already protected on the basis of sexual orientation, will be protected from gender identity discrimination, which has not been previously protected.

Employers should review all current company policies and procedures, which will likely require an update to employee handbooks, application materials and discrimination policies to ensure compliance with revised Executive Order 11246. If you have any questions regarding this recent announcement, contact an attorney with our Firm.

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Hobby Lobby stunner: Supreme Court issues long-awaited ruling in birth-control dispute
June 30, 2014

Read more about the Hobby Lobby case here.

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Supreme Court Rules A Public Employee's Testimony During Trial is Protected by the First Amendment
June 30, 2014

In Lane v. Franks, 13-483 (2014), the United States Supreme Court unanimously held that a public employee's testimony during a criminal proceeding was protected speech under the First Amendment.

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SHRM BREAKING NEWS!!!
June 18, 2014

After more than 1,100 responses from our members, I am happy to announce that we have a name for the new SHRM certification.

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A Hidden Workplace Epidemic: Prescription Painkillers' Impact
May 22, 2014

Register today for a FREE webinar on how prescription painkiller use may be impacting your company.

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How to Be a Human Resource Strategic Business Partner
May 02, 2014

Position yourself as a strategic business partner in your organization by increasing your business acumen.  Focusing on the knowledge, skills and abilities C-suite executives require in true business partners, this class will identify the financial tools you will need to succeed in the role of strategic advisor to the management team.  You also will be introduced to data analysis concepts that will enable you to present information to management in meaningful ways.

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Record Retention: To Keep or Not to Keep--That is the (Strategic) Question
May 02, 2014

All companies face it:  What to keep and what to throw away?  When to throw away?  How to keep electronic records?  This session is designed to answer those questions and provide guidelines for the scheduling of document destruction, the identification of documents that are no longer significant, general correspondence that does not influence policy or key business decisions or legal opinions.  Referenced used include:  American Records Management Association, the Society for Human Resource Management, the state of Arkansas and the US Department of Labor.  An effective records management system can provide a level of protection for business leaders, HR professionals and shareholders.

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Why Social Responsibility @Work/Why Now?
May 02, 2014

A recent Forbes survey in which the following was reported: 32% of employees would seriously consider leaving their job if their company gave no/little money to charity; 65% would seriously consider leaving their job if their company harmed the environment; 83% would seriously consider leaving their job if their employer used child labor in sweatshop factories. Human resources professionals and business leaders are finding that more and more employees are expecting their employers to demonstrate commitment to socially responsible causes and initiatives. What was once extraordinary is now becoming the currency of business.

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Getting Started with a Social Responsibility Plan @Work
May 02, 2014

A recent Forbes survey in which the following was reported: 32% of employees would seriously consider leaving their job if their company gave no/little money to charity; 65% would seriously consider leaving their job if their company harmed the environment; 83% would seriously consider leaving their job if their employer used child labor in sweatshop factories. Human resources professionals and business leaders are finding that more and more employees are expecting their employers to demonstrate commitment to socially responsible causes and initiatives. What was once extraordinary is now becoming the currency of business.

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Same-Sex Marriage and Employment: What you Need to Know Now...
May 02, 2014

This program, provided by Jess Sweere and Greg Northen, explores how recent rulings regarding same-sex marriage potentially impact the following HR-specific issues:

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Telecommuting is Recognized as an ADA Reasonable Accommodation
April 30, 2014

Whereas ten years ago working from home was an exception afforded employees only under special circumstances, working from home today is the norm for millions of Americans. In fact, many Americans work from home at least one day per week. Many companies even set up employees with home offices in order to minimize the need for office space. The feasibility of working from home has placed the issue of telecommuting as a reasonable accommodation center stage.

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How to Be a Human Resource Strategic Business Partner: an Overview of Strategic HR Leadership
April 23, 2014

This class is designed to help position you as a strategic business partner in organizations by increasing your business acumen. Focusing on the knowledge, skills and abilities C-suite executives require in true business partners, this class will identify financial tools you will need to succeed in the role of strategic advisor to the management team. Additionally, you will be introduced to data analysis concepts that will enable you to present information to management in meaningful ways.

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Sixth Circuit Rejects EEOC's Challenge to Kaplan Higher Education Corp.'s Use of Credit Checks During Hiring
April 15, 2014

In EEOC V. Kaplan Higher Education Corp., 13-2408 (2014), the Sixth Circuit rejected the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) claim that Kaplan's use of credit reports discriminated against applicants because the credit reports had an adverse impact on African American applicants.

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2015 H-1B Cap Has Been Reached
April 07, 2014

On April 7, 2014 the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that between April 1, 2014 and April 7, 2014, the agency received more than enough applications for new H-1B visas for the 2015 fiscal year. Applications exceeded the quota, for both the regular 65,000 limit (also called a "cap") and the additional 20,000 quota for persons who have an advanced degree (more than a bachelor degree) from a US university. Because more applications than the quota permits were received for both Bachelor's and Master's cap cases in the first five business days of April, USCIS will use a lottery system to randomly select the number of petitions required to reach the numerical limit. USCIS will reject petitions that are subject to the cap and are not selected.

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Counting Employees under Health Care Reform--Part 2
April 01, 2014

Counting employees under health care reform is not as easy as 1-2-3. The rules are quite complicated, and if not done correctly can have serious repercussions for your business. The final employer-shared responsibility ("play or pay") regulations have been issued and beginning in 2015, larger employers will need to either offer health coverage that meets the requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) or pay penalties. Although the requirement is not effective until 2015, employers need to be gathering data and making decisions now.

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Legislative and Regulatory Update
April 01, 2014

Want to know what is happening in Washington, D.C., as it relates to the now four-year-old Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)? While parts of the law have been implemented, major additional requirements are scheduled to take effect over the next several years. Significant regulations on the employer-shared responsibility and reporting requirements were issued earlier this year. Meanwhile, a number of bills have been introduced in Congress to modify, or even repeal, this law.

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Obama Directs Initiative to Change Regulations on White-Collar Exemptions Under FLSA
April 01, 2014

President Obama recently signed a memorandum instructing the Department of Labor (DOL) to revise the regulations governing "white-collar exemptions" under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which exempt certain employees from overtime requirements. The Administration's stated goal is to make more workers eligible for overtime and minimum wage by overhauling the existing regulations. However, others believe the President's initiative is motivated by his endeavors to increase the minimum wage by expanding the number of workers who are entitled to receive minimum wage and overtime pay.

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NLRB Says Collegr Football Players are
March 31, 2014

In an unprecedented decision issued on Wednesday, the Regional Director for Region 13 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) determined that college scholarship football players at Northwestern University are considered employees under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and can unionize for collective bargaining purposes. The Regional Director applied the common law definition of an employee to determine if these student athletes were covered under the NLRA. Under that doctrine, a person who performs services for another under contract of hire in return for payment while being subject to the other's control or right of control is considered an employee. The Regional Director found that grant-in-aid scholarship football players perform services for the benefit of the school under a contract. They are also subject to the control of the school in the performance of their duties as football players. Consequently, they are "employees" and, thus, eligible for coverage of under the NLRA.

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Supreme Court Rules Severance Payments Are Taxable
March 27, 2014

Supreme Court Rules Severance Payments Are Taxable

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U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Announces New Religious Garb and Grooming in the Workplace Publications
March 11, 2014

On March 6, 2014, the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued two technical assistance publications about employers' responsibilities with respect to religious dress and grooming in the workplace under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. According to the new publications, employers covered under Title VII must permit employees to follow religiously mandated dress and grooming practices unless it would pose an undue hardship on the business.

Pursuant to the publication, employers must provide reasonable accommodation to an employee when the employer is put on notice that a religious accommodation is necessary for a sincere religious belief. It would not be considered a reasonable accommodation to have the employee cover or hide the religious article if that would violate the employees' religious beliefs. However, when an exception to the dress code is made for a religious accommodation, the employer may still refuse to allow secular exceptions sought by other employees. Additionally, if a religious accommodation creates an undue hardship on business operations, the employer is not required to provide any accommodation.

An undue hardship is defined as "more than de minimis" burden on the operation of the employer's business. For instance, if a religious accommodation would impose more than ordinary administrative costs, it would pose an undue hardship. This is a lower standard than the undue hardship defense to disability accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, neither co-worker disgruntlement nor customer preference is sufficient to establish an undue hardship.

Employers are advised to make case-by-case determinations of any requested religious accommodations and to train managers appropriately in order to properly adhere to all Title VII requirements.

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NLRB Strikes Again...
March 06, 2014

Recently, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has stricken a number of employer handbook policies, including employers' confidentially policies. On February 6, 2014, the NLRB continued this trend by determining that MCPc, Inc., a technology product and service company, violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by maintaining an "overly broad" confidentially policy and by discharging an engineer for his protected concerted activity.

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Changes Proposed for VETS-100A Form and OFCCP Publishes New FAQ's on VEVRAA and Section 503
March 06, 2014

It's been a busy week at the Department of Labor. DOL-VETS published a Notice for Proposed Rulemaking (NPR) identifying changes they'd like to make to the VETS-100A form.

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EEOC Sues to Limit Protections in Severance Agreements
March 06, 2014

EEOC Sues to Limit Protections in Severance Agreements

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Workplace Bullying Legislation Repeatedly Defeated!!!
March 04, 2014

Public awareness of workplace bullying has never been higher, thanks to high-profile cases such as the one involving Miami Dolphins teammates Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin. Yet none of the more than two dozen states that have taken up the issue has actually passed any legislation to tackle the problem.

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OFCCP--Posted New Resources on Web site
February 24, 2014

OFCCP, on February 21, 2014, posted new information and resources on its Web site to assist federal contractors with outreach and recruitment targeting individuals with disabilities, employing and retaining individuals with disabilities, promoting self-disclosure as a person with a disability, assistive technologies that help change corporate culture, and reasonable accommodation. Several of the new items are listed below.

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Consumer-Driven Health Care: An Update on the Rules-Recorded Webinar
February 21, 2014

Consumer-Driven Health Care: An Update on the Rules

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CVS Slammed by EEOC over Severance Deals
February 20, 2014

CVS slammed by EEOC over severance deals

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Minumum Wage Hike Could Cost 500,000 Jobs!!!
February 20, 2014

President Obama's call to raise the federal minimum wage could help lift 900,000 workers out of poverty, but at a cost of as many as 500,000 jobs, according to an analysis released by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), says USA Today.

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H-1B Visa Filing Season is Here!
February 17, 2014

On April 1, 2014, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will begin accepting applications for H-1B petition filings for Fiscal Year 2015. Due to the annual limit on the number of H-1B Visas that can be issued each fiscal year to employers subject to the cap, employers should be prepared to file their H-1B petitions promptly on April 1, 2014, which means contacting an immigration attorney prior to March 10, 2014, to allow for preparation time.

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Can an Employee Insist That the Employer Pay for FMLA Medical Certification?
February 12, 2014

Let's put our heads together on this one. You see, it appears as though far too many employees have bought into the notion that their employer is always responsible for the cost of obtaining medical certification to support an FMLA-related absence. Case in point: just last week, a client called me for help after one of her employees simply refused to return medical certification because she didn't want to foot the $50 bill quoted by her physician for completing the certification form. She firmly believed her employer should pick up the tab.

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NLRB Reissues Proposal for
February 12, 2014

On February 5, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reissued its proposal to radically shorten the time frame between when a union files a representation petition and an election takes place. In essence, this proposed rule will allow labor unions to "ambush" employers with union elections with little notice. Currently, the average time between a petition being filed and the election being held is 38 days. The NLRB's proposal (the "Ambush Rule") may shorten that time frame to as little as 10 days, which gives employers very little time to prepare itself for a union's petitioned election.

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PPACA private plan enrollment hits 3 million
January 24, 2014

About 800,000 people signed up for private health plans through Obamacare in January, pushing total enrollment to 3 million as negative perceptions about the program give way to more practical needs.

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NRLB Posting Rule Laid to Rest
January 24, 2014

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) posting rule has been laid to rest.

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Top 5 compensation lessons from 2013
January 24, 2014

Last year was a year of ups, downs, and shutdowns. The Affordable Care Act is still looming over us, the impact unclear. Some but not all companies are pulling free of the recession. Employees have continued moving around more and more since the official end of the recession. Yet amidst the turmoil, there are some key lessons. Essentially, in an uncertain time, compensation plans and strategies need to be flexible. In this article I’ll talk about the top 5 ways we can infuse flexibility into our programs.

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The Eight Myths of Mediation
January 24, 2014

The Employers’ Counsel Network includes the attorneys from each state who write BLR’s state employment law newsletters. Marcus is one of the EEOC mediators based in the Boston office of the EEOC.

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Forbes Tabs Bentonville Company Among America's Most Promising
January 24, 2014

A Bentonville company has been included in a Top 25 list of America’s Most Promising Companies for 2014.

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Target to drop health insurance for part-time workers
January 24, 2014

(Bloomberg) -- Target Corp. said it will end health insurance for part-time employees, joining Trader Joe’s Co., Home Depot Inc. and other retailers that have scaled back benefits in response to changes from Obamacare.

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Cargill To Pay $2.2 Million After Discrimination Claims In Springdale
January 24, 2014

Cargill Meat Solutions will pay out $2.2 million to applicants who were wrongfully rejected from job considerations at various facilities, including the plant in Springdale, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

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How Does the ACA Affect our W-2 Forms? Q&A
January 21, 2014

W-2 forms must be provided to your employees by January 31, and this is the second year health insurance should be reported on them. Make sure you know what the ACA requires employers to report and find out if your organization is exempt from the requirement.

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Yahoo COO's dismissal prompts excessive pay questions
January 21, 2014

It took just a few hours, if that, for the questioning to begin after Yahoo Inc. fired its COO, Henrique de Castro.

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New Laws for HR to Heed!!!
January 21, 2014

As HR managers begin the new year by updating their policy manuals, the Society for Human Resource Management has thoughtfully provided a list of new state laws that took effect on Jan. 1.

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EEOC collects record $372M in workplace discrimination cases
January 21, 2014

Despite much moaning about discrimination against aging workers — particularly during the recent recession — stats from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission suggest that two old standbys still receive the lion’s share of attention from the enforcement agency.

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Closing gender wage gap would add billions to economy
January 21, 2014

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, named after Lilly Ledbetter, was aimed at closing the gender wage gap.

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Does An Employer Own Its Employees' Linkedin Profiles?
January 19, 2014

On March 12, 2013, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ("the Court"), determined in Eagle v. Morgan, that, absent a policy to the contrary, an employee's LinkedIn account is not the property of the employer. The decision means that employers, in general, should not have an ownership expectation in their employee's LinkedIn accounts, and an employer's attempt to lock the employee out of his account after termination may lead to legal ramifications. Furthermore, while the issue was not before the Court, the Court noted that, even if a policy is in place, it may not be legally enforceable due to LinkedIn's User Agreement, which states that, even if an employee uses a LinkedIn account on behalf of a company, the employee is nevertheless individually bound by the User Agreement.

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Top 10 OSHA trends to watch in 2014
January 19, 2014

Given the political climate these days in Washington, DC, we decided not to post a list of top OSHA predictions for 2014. But, we are much more confident about sharing our “watch list” concerning OSHA for the upcoming year.

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State Update: Taxation on Same-Sex Spouses
January 19, 2014

In the wake of Revenue Ruling 2013-17 issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), a number of states have released guidance regarding state income taxation issues in relation to same-sex spouses.

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Acoustical trauma – a particular risk for call center workers
January 19, 2014

Acoustic trauma, also known as acoustic shock, can occur when a person is subjected to an extremely loud noise or series of loud noises such as gun shots, explosions or shouting at very close proximity.

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Proposed amendments to injury and illness recordkeeping rule spark heated debate
January 19, 2014

On January 9 – 10, 2014, OSHA held a public meeting at the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. to give stakeholders the opportunity to provide oral remarks on the proposed rule aimed at amending its recordkeeping regulations with requirements for the electronic submission of injury and illness information. According to OSHA, the proposed requirements are not drastically different from the current requirements under the OSHA Data Initiative (ODI) where data is collected on injuries and illnesses from approximately 80,000 employers with 20+ employees and used to target enforcement and compliance assistance activities. However, representatives from businesses and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce beg to differ. The debate over the proposed requirements drew comments from representatives in business, labor, and safety councils and associations, and it was clear — according to our J. J. Keller representative who attended the meeting — that there is a balance of support for and against the proposed rulemaking.

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National Labor Relations Board: Wal-Mart Violated Labor Rules
January 19, 2014

WASHINGTON — Federal officials have filed a formal complaint charging that Wal-Mart violated the rights of protesting and striking workers last year.

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Latest Developments in Employment Law and Affirmative Action Compliance
January 19, 2014

 Cross, Gunter, Witherspoon & Galchus, P.C., in conjunction with Lighthouse Compliance Solutions, will host a joint seminar to update our clients about the latest developments in employment law, affirmative action compliance, hiring trends and much more. 

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Supreme Court Upholds Availability of Premium Tax Credit in States That Have a Federal Exchange
January 19, 2014

The Supreme Court issued its opinion today upholding the availability of premium tax credits for individuals who purchase health insurance through a federal Exchange, King v. Burwell, No. 14-114 (U.S. June 25, 2015). The opinion maintains the status quo - it does not change anything under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("ACA"), and individuals and employers should proceed with ACA compliance.

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Failing to Track All FMLA'4 Hazards
January 05, 2014

It is generally in your best interest to capture all absences that are Family and Medical Leave (FMLA)-related, says consultant Kristi McKinzey, PHR. She offers four common hazards employers face when they don’t track all absences.

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University of Arkansas-- Global Campus
January 05, 2014

You can participate in the University of Arkansas Global Campus SHRM Learning System(r) for PHR(r)/SPHR(r) Certification Preparation Course in multiple ways.

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Employment Law Beyond the Basics seminar
January 05, 2014

 It is essential to understand the emerging developments in employment law. With the EEOC cracking down on employee classification and the NLRB redefining Section 7 rights, employment law problems can arise unexpectedly and the results can be costly. This seminar will help you understand the emerging critical developments and updates to provide the best management to your employees and best counsel to your clients. Our speakers provide expertise and insight to complex issues, ready to share their years of experience at both the state and federal level with you. Attend this seminar to expand your knowledge and enhance your abilities "beyond the basics."

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Thirteen States Raise Pay For Minimum-Wage Workers
January 05, 2014

The minimum wage rose in 13 states as 2013 drew to a close. As many as 11 states and Washington, D.C., are expected to consider increases in 2014, and approval is likely in more than half of the 11, according to the National Employment Law Project, says USA Today.

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Inside: Reduced schedule and intermittent FMLA leaves
January 05, 2014

A look at what reduced schedule or intermittent FMLA leave is and, more importantly, what it is not

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Top ten Facility Safety stories of 2013
January 05, 2014

West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion is biggest story on ISHN.com

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Arkansas Retaliation Claims Ruled to Have Three-Year Statute of Limitation
January 05, 2014

The Supreme Court of Arkansas recently ruled that employment-related retaliation claims may be filed in Arkansas within three (3) years of the alleged retaliatory conduct taking place. In Smith v. ConAgra Foods, Inc., the Supreme Court answered this question proposed by an Arkansas Federal District Court Judge in an ongoing employment discrimination and retaliation lawsuit. The question was certified to the State's highest court because Arkansas's retaliation statute does not set forth a specific time period in which a claim must be filed to be timely.

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Avalanche of New Laws in 2014
January 05, 2014

An estimated 40,000 new state laws, regulations and resolutions were approved by state legislatures in 2013, and many of which take effect January 1, says USA Today.

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Gay marriage rulings trigger big changes to HR
January 05, 2014

The Supreme Court’s decision to declare unconstitutional key provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act is expected to mean a major overhaul of federal rules affecting employee benefits administration and payroll operations.

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California grants law license to undocumented immigrant
January 05, 2014

Although Sergio Garcia has lived in the U.S. for most of his life, his struggle to become a licensed lawyer has been a long one.

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