Informed Employer: Doctor's Orders--The First Place to Look in Deciding Whether a Disabled Worker Ne Informed Employer: Doctor's Orders--The First Place to Look in Deciding Whether a Disabled Worker Ne

Informed Employer: Doctor's Orders--The First Place to Look in Deciding Whether a Disabled Worker Needs Reasonable Accommodations

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Democrats Introduce Bill to Limit Use of Forced Arbitration
Two leading Senate Democrats introduced a bill that would strictly limit the use of arbitration, a process used to resolve legal disputes that is often stacked against consumers. The bill, introduced by Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, and co-sponsored by Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, would prevent civil rights cases, employment disputes and other crucial lawsuits from being forced into arbitration, where judges and juries have been replaced by arbitrators who commonly consider the companies their clients.
(Source: The New York Times, 2016-02-04) Read the full article
IRS Wrongly Assessed Over 12,000 Employers on Unemployment Tax
The Internal Revenue Service incorrectly assessed more than 12,000 employers more federal unemployment taxes than they owed because of a programming error and because the agency used an incorrect tax rate to calculate the amount of tax owed, a watchdog found. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) said in a report publicly that the IRS needs better processes to accurately administer its federal unemployment tax program.
(Source: The Hill, 2016-02-08) Read the full article
EEOC Proposes New Retaliation Enforcement Guidelines
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in 2014, retaliation claims made up 48.4 percent of all discrimination charges filed under federal civil rights statutes. In recognition of the growth in the number of these claims, and the fact that the EEOC has not updated its guidance on retaliation since 1998, it released a proposed enforcement guidance on retaliation.
(Source:, 2016-02-03) Read the full article
Workers Want Help from Employers with Benefits Education
With the rise of consumer-directed health plans, it's no secret that employees are taking on a bigger share of their own health care costs. And with this increased financial responsibility comes a greater need for employers to educate their workers about how to shop for health care.
(Source:, 2016-02-11) Read the full article
Few Employers Say Merit Programs Good at Boosting Performance
A surprisingly large number of North American employers say their merit programs aren't an effective way of driving and rewarding employee performance, according to a new survey. The consulting firm Willis Towers Watson reported that only 20 percent of North American companies find merit pay to be effective at driving higher levels of individual performance at their organization and only 32 percent said their merit pay program is effective at differentiating pay based on individual performance.
(Source:, 2016-02-05) Read the full article
Recruits Steer Clear of Companies Not Concerned with Environment
Is the water contaminated? Is the air toxic? If the answer is yes, corporate executives are saying "no thanks."
(Source:, 2016-02-14) Read the full article
Some Firms Trying Out Unlimited Vacation Days as Next Big Benefit
While some companies are clawing back days off -- usually in a conversion to Paid Time Off (PTO) bundles -- an entirely different trend is taking hold at pioneering companies: unlimited vacation days. Netflix, Groupon and Kickstarter are among the tech-savvy companies spearheading this movement.
(Source:, 2016-02-08) Read the full article
Injured Nursing Home Workers More Likely to Lose Their Jobs
Although worker protections are supposed to prevent it, a new U.S. study of nursing home workers finds that within six months of an injury, workers are more likely to lose their jobs. Compared to colleagues reporting no injuries, workers who were hurt were more than twice as likely to be fired in the next six months.
(Source: Reuters, 2016-02-05) Read the full article
Number of Americans Quitting Their Jobs Reached Nine-Year High
The number of December job openings jumped 4.9 percent to 5.6 million, the most since July, the Labor Department said. And quits increased 6.9 percent to nearly 3.1 million, the highest in more than nine years.
(Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2016-02-09) Read the full article
Doctor's Orders--The First Place to Look in Deciding Whether a Disabled Worker Needs Reasonable Accommodations

Wayne O.
Wayne O. "Skip" Adams

Question: When is an employer not required to give accommodations to a disabled worker?

Answer: When the employee doesn't need them to perform the essential functions of his job.

That's what the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago held in a recent decision, Hooper v. Proctor Health Care Inc.

"Duh," one may scoff, "isn't that obvious?" Perhaps it should be, but it's an important point employers sometimes overlook when dealing with employees with physical or mental handicaps.

Read the full article here.


What to Keep and Not Keep in Employee Personnel Files

Employee personnel files should contain information relating to an employee’s qualifications for employment, promotion, transfer, additional compensation, and disciplinary actions.  The following types of documents should be included:

  • Job description
  • Job application and/or resume
  • Offer of employment
  • Receipt or signed acknowledgement of employee handbook
  • Performance evaluations
  • Forms providing next of kin and emergency contacts
  • Records of attendance and/or completion of training programs
  • Disciplinary records
  • Documents relating to promotions, transfers, layoffs or termination

Read the full article here.



Last month, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia extended its deadline for the existing STEM OPT program until May 10, 2016.  The date of the new deadline is significant, as it not only provides the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) more time to publish and implement a final rule, but it also gives certain foreign students an additional opportunity to pursue H-1B status under the annual quota.

Read the full article here.


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