events j oin j obs
New Fee Schedule For Immigration Benefits
December 28, 2016

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is adjusting the fee schedule for immigration filings processed by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS conducted a comprehensive fee review and determined that current fees do not recover the full cost of services provided. The new fee schedule will go into effect on December 23, 2016. Any petition received on or after December 23rd must contain these new fees or USCIS will reject the petition.

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Reminder: Numerous State Minimum Wage Increases Take Effect January 1, 2017
December 21, 2016

Employers should be aware that numerous states across the country have enacted minimum wage increases that will go into effect in January 2017.

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Check Out Our December 2016 Newsletter!
December 06, 2016

Click here to download a PDF of our December 2016 Newsletter and stay up-to-date with NOARK.

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Check Out Our November 2016 Newsletter!
October 31, 2016

Click here to download a PDF of our November 2016 Newsletter and stay up-to-date with NOARK.

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Coming Soon – New E-Verify User Requirement
October 26, 2016

On Aug. 1, E-Verify will begin deactivating user IDs that have not been accessed for 270 days (approximately every 9 months).

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Check Out Our September 2016 Newsletter!
October 07, 2016

Click here to download a PDF of our September 2016 Newsletter and stay up-to-date with NOARK.

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Check Out Our August 2016 Newsletter!
August 08, 2016

Click here to download a PDF of our August 2016 Newsletter and stay up-to-date with NOARK.

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Check Out Our July 2016 Newsletter!
July 11, 2016

Click here to download a PDF of our July 2016 Newsletter and stay up-to-date with NOARK.

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EEOC Sues McDonald's Franchise for Disability Discrimination
July 06, 2016

Bentonville Restaurant Management  Companies Fired Employee Because of His HIV Status, Agency  Charges

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Benefits Law Update
July 05, 2016

IRS Taketh and Giveth: Plan Determination Letter Program Scaled Back, Remedial Amendment Period Extended

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DOL is Enjoined From Enforcing New Persuader Rule
June 28, 2016

On June 27, 2016, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas enjoined the Department of Labor (DOL) from enforcing its new persuader rule (Rule) which was scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2016. National Federation of Independent Business, et al v Perez, et al, Civil Action No. 5:16-cv-00066-C. The injunction enjoined the DOL enforcement of the Rule nationwide.

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NEW OSHA REPORTING RULE
June 28, 2016

By August 10, 2016, employers must amend their injury and illness policies to (a) expressly state that employees have a right to report work-related injuries and illnesses, (b) provide a reasonable procedure for employees to report such workplace injuries and illnesses, (c) not deter or discourage employees from reporting such injuries and illnesses, and (d) assure employees that the employer will not discriminate against nor retaliate against them for making such reports.

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OSHA Takes Hard Stance Against Automatic Post-Injury Drug Testing Policies
June 20, 2016

Under the Occupation Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) new rule to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, many employers risk citation by OSHA for post-injury drug testing policies that were once encouraged by courts and federal agencies, but might now be prohibited.

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2016 Annual VEVRAA Hiring Benchmark is 6.9 Percent
June 15, 2016

OFCCP has published the 2016 Annual Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) Benchmark on its Web site based on data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on March 4, 2016.  The benchmark – 6.9 percent – is effective as of that BLS release date.  

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OSHA launches Whistleblower-Severe Violator pilot program
June 15, 2016

OSHA has launched a pilot enforcement program focused on employers who repeatedly and willfully disregard the rights of whistleblowers. OSHA's Whistleblower-Severe Violator Enforcement Program became effective on May 27, covering employers in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, and those companies under federal enforcement in Iowa.

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OFCCP Announces its Final Rule Updating Sex Discrimination Guidelines
June 14, 2016

 Today, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced a Final Rule that sets forth the requirements that covered contractors must meet under the provisions of Executive Order 11246 that prohibit sex discrimination in employment.

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Check Out Our June 2016 Newsletter!
June 08, 2016

Click here to download a PDF of our June 2016 Newsletter and stay up-to-date with NOARK.

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MEET THE 2016 NOARK BOARD
June 06, 2016

Q: Patti as 2016 NOARK President we would like to know what keeps you up at night?

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7th Circuit Rules Class Arbitration Waivers Are Unenforceable
June 03, 2016

Employment agreements containing arbitration clauses that restrict the rights of employees to initiate class arbitration, and instead confine them to seeking individual relief, have become more popular in the last decade, and with good reason. Using them has benefits for employers and, because arbitration is generally favored in the eyes of the law as a way of resolving disputes, these clauses tend to be upheld more often than not.

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Do Your Employment Agreements Comply with the Defend Trade Secrets Acts of 2016?
May 24, 2016

This week, President Obama signed into law the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016. This new law does not replace current state laws on trade secrets; instead, it merely gives parties a potential new venue to pursue trade secret claims. Remedies include injunctive relief, actual damages, “exemplary damages” in cases in which a trade secret is “willfully and maliciously misappropriated,” attorney’s fees to the prevailing party in certain situations, and even ex parte seizure of “property necessary to prevent the propagation or dissemination of...trade secrets” in very limited circumstances.

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It Still Hurts
May 18, 2016

On May 18, 2016, the Department of Labor ("DOL") issued its long-awaited Final Rule for overtime exemptions, focusing on the "white collar" exemptions (executive, administrative, professional and certain computer employees). The Final Rule comes after the DOL processed 270,000 public comments on its proposed rule about which we wrote you, from late last summer. The Final Rule will take effect December 1, 2016.

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Check Out Our May 2016 Newsletter!
May 12, 2016

Click here to download a PDF of our May 2016 Newsletter and stay up-to-date with NOARK.

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OSHA'S FINAL RULE TO 'NUDGE' EMPLOYERS TO PREVENT WORKPLACE INJURIES, ILLNESSES
May 11, 2016

OSHA's final rule to 'nudge' employers to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses
New federal requirements take effect August 10, 2016

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New FMLA Poster to post!!!
April 27, 2016

For more info or to get a copy of the new poster:

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Introducing the New BizCon 2016
April 20, 2016

The Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce and Northwest Arkansas Human Resource Association (NOARK) announced this month a new partnership that will benefit businesses both large and small in Northwest Arkansas. The Chamber, its long-time business conference partner World Trade Center Arkansas, and NOARK have come together this year to form the newest business event in the region - NWA BizCon.

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IMMIGRATION LAW UPDATE
April 12, 2016

DHS Releases Published F-1 Visa STEM OPT Regulation

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CROSS, GUNTER, WITHERSPOON & GALCHUS, P.C.
April 01, 2016

Yesterday, Cross, Gunter, Witherspoon & Galchus, P.C., joined by Associated Builders and Contractors of Arkansas and its national organization, the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/Associated Industries of Arkansas, the Arkansas Hospitality Association, the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, and the National Association of Manufacturers, filed suit against the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to prevent enforcement of the new "Persuader Rule" regulations that were issued on March 24, 2016.

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EEOC Now Releasing Position Statements to Charging Parties
March 04, 2016

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") recently announced its adoption of new nationwide procedures that the allow release of respondent position statements and non-confidential attachments to charging parties upon request. Importantly, the procedures retroactively apply to all EEOC requests for position statements made on or after January 1, 2016. Although the EEOC staff may redact confidential information as necessary before releasing the position statement, there is no guarantee the information will be redacted. Therefore, if a position statement includes confidential information, the respondent should take great care to segregate that information in separate attachments and clearly label such as "Confidential". Respondents should also be prepared to justify the need to shield such information as the EEOC states it will not accept unsupported assertions of confidentiality. Finally, if the charging party requests a copy of the position statement, the EEOC affords the charging party with the opportunity to respond within 20 days. Significantly, however, the charging party's response will not be provided to respondent during the investigation. Employers should keep these new procedures in mind when responding to EEOC charges.

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Check Out Our February 2016 Newsletter!
February 09, 2016

Click here to download a PDF of our February 2016 Newsletter and stay up-to-date with NOARK.

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EEOC to Begin Collecting Wage Data from Employers
February 02, 2016

On January 29, 2016, in conjunction with the seventh anniversary of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) proposed sweeping changes to the Employer Information Report (EEO-1) in an effort to target and enforce pay equity discrimination in the workforce. These changes will impact private sector employers and federal contractors that have 100 or more employees.

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DOL to Treat More Entities as Covered by the FMLA via Joint Employment
January 27, 2016

In connection with last week's Administrator's Interpretation 2016-1 regarding Joint Employment (under the Fair Labor Standards Act) the Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) issued a new fact sheet regarding "Joint Employment and Primary and Secondary Employer Responsibilities Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)." This Fact Sheet sets forth the DOL's position that "[e]mployees who are jointly employed by two employers must be counted by both employers in determining employer coverage and employee eligibility under the FMLA, regardless of whether the employee is maintained on one or both of the employers' payrolls."

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Supreme Court Reaffirms Limits on Benefit Plan Subrogation Claims
January 25, 2016

In its latest case examining the scope of employee benefit plan subrogation rights, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a benefit plan cannot enforce its claim for reimbursement of expenses from a participant's settlement proceeds where the participant spends all of the proceeds and, as a result, there is no specific, identifiable fund against which the plan can enforce its claim. The case, Montanile v. Board of Trustees of the National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Trust, generally follows, and reaffirms, the Court's prior decisions in this area. However, the practical effect may force benefit plans to be more aggressive in enforcing subrogation rights before participants have an opportunity to spend settlement funds.

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DOL To Embrace Many New Companies As
January 22, 2016

Despite fun and inviting cartoons atop its news release early Wednesday morning, the Department of Labor ("DOL") Wage and Hour Division ("WHD") is making life neither fun nor inviting for companies who share or lease workers, or use workers from staffing companies.

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Check Out Our January 2016 Newsletter!
January 12, 2016

Click here to download a PDF of our January 2016 Newsletter and stay up-to-date with NOARK.

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NLRB Invalidates Another Employer Conduct Policy
January 12, 2016

On December 24, 2015, in Whole Foods Market, Inc., 363 NLRB No. 87 (2015) (Whole Foods), the National Labor Relations Board (Board) invalidated two Whole Foods Market policies that prohibited employees' use of recording devices in the workplace to record events, conversations, etc., without company authorization. The Board reasoned that such a blanket prohibition requiring management approval to record could prevent employees from engaging together in workplace activities protected by the National Labor Relations Act (Act).

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HRCI INTRODUCES FIRST EARLY HR CAREER CERTIFICATION
January 07, 2016

HR CERTIFICATION INSTITUTE™ INTRODUCES FIRST EARLY HR CAREER CERTIFICATION Credential Designed for New HR Generalists and Individuals Transitioning to HR HRCI Unifies Family of Credentials by Renaming Certifications for HR Pros Practicing Outside of the U.S. ALEXANDRIA, Va. (January 7, 2016) ― HR Certification Institute™ (HRCI™), the premier professional credentialing organization for the human resources profession, is introducing the first early HR career certification, the Associate Professional in Human ResourcesSM (aPHRSM). The aPHR, which demonstrates foundational knowledge of human resource operations as practiced in the United States, is designed for professionals who are embarking on an HR career or transitioning into the HR field.

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