Informed Employer: February 15, 2017 Informed Employer: February 15, 2017

Informed Employer: February 15, 2017

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EEOC Resolved 97,443 Charges of Employment Discrimination in 2016
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said it resolved 97,443 charges of employment discrimination in fiscal year 2016 and secured more than $482 million for victims of discrimination in private, federal and state and local government workplaces. Charges of employer retaliation, racial bias and discrimination due to disability were the most common charges.
(Source: Insurance Journal, 2017-02-08) Read the full article
Trump Will Keep Protections for LGBT in Workplace
President Donald Trump will continue to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the workplace, the White House said. An executive order signed by then President Barack Obama in 2014, which protects employees "from anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination while working for federal contractors, will remain intact at the direction of President Donald J. Trump."
(Source: Yahoo News, 2017-01-30) Read the full article
Bill Would Make Employers' Student Loan Repayments Tax-Free
​Tax-free employer repayments of student loans would be available for the first time under a bill introduced by Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill. Employers now can offer tax-free tuition reimbursement only, not tax-free student loan repayment.
(Source: SHRMOnline, 2017-02-10) Read the full article
Most Employees Lack Understanding of Health Plan Options
Even as Congress works on a replacement for the Affordable Care Act that may have a greater role for consumer-driven health care options such as health savings accounts, a new survey finds that the majority of employees are clueless about the benefits of HSAs. And they often don't have the knowledge and lack the accountability to make informed decisions about their health insurance coverage, according to data from health care solutions provider Alegeus.
(Source: BenefitNews.com, 2017-02-12) Read the full article
More Companies Helping Workers Deal with Sickness, Death
Companies like Facebook have spent the last few years beefing up their parental-leave policies to attract and retain the most sought-after workers, and now they're looking at new ways to help them balance work and life. Up next in the benefits arms race: helping workers deal with sickness and death.
(Source: Bloomberg, 2017-02-08) Read the full article
More Companies Offering Workers Infertility Benefits Options
A handful of states might finally be giving reproductive health the attention it deserves: A new bill to expand infertility coverage was introduced in the New York state legislature last month and similar efforts are underway in Mississippi, New Jersey and South Carolina. The proposed legislation comes as more companies dangle ever-generous infertility benefits packages as part of a "family-friendly" perks race intended to retain female employees.
(Source: MarketWatch, 2017-02-10) Read the full article
Employers Prefer to Hire Qualified Workers Who Live Closer to Job
Employers know that, all things being equal, it's good to hire quality applicants who live within a convenient distance from the workplace. Candidates living closer might be seen by employers as more likely to be reliable, on-time and happy with the job because of the reasonable commute.
(Source: Inc., 2017-02-09) Read the full article
Survey Finds Politics Taking a Toll on Workplace Productivity
A new survey commissioned by BetterWorks -- a software company that helps workers with setting and tracking goals -- finds that post-election, politics is continuing to take a toll on workplace productivity. The online survey included 500 nationally representative, full-time American workers, and found that 87 percent of them read political social-media posts during the day. Nearly 50 percent reported seeing a political conversation turning into an argument in the workplace.
(Source: The Atlantic, 2017-02-09) Read the full article
 
 
 
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When Two Forms Are Better Than One: Job Applications Should Never Combine Liability Waivers with Background Check Disclosures


Wayne "Skip" Adams

Background checks have become standard precautions for employers in the hiring process. Job applicants' criminal histories and credit records are available for review and consideration by prospective employers who follow proper procedures. Unquestionably, they can and do help employers avoid bad hiring decisions. A federal law, the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), establishes the steps an employer must take to lawfully obtain an applicant's background report. The FCRA governs procurement of "consumer reports" for a myriad of reasons, one of which is "for employment purposes with respect to any consumer." For purposes of this article, we will only be considering those consumer reports obtained by prospective employers to discern information on job applicants, such as their criminal histories and credit records. The law also contains certain safeguards to protect these job applicants from adverse hiring decisions based on erroneous background reports.

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H-1B Cap Season is Here!


Jenifer Brown & Christl Glier

The annual H-1B cap season has begun. USCIS will begin accepting petitions for H-1B temporary workers for Fiscal Year 2018 on April 3, 2017. If approved, H-1B status will become effective no earlier than October 1, 2017. There are only 65,000 new H-1B visas available each fiscal year (with an additional 20,000 reserved for foreign nationals with a U.S. Master's degree or higher). Employers who want to sponsor foreign professionals should initiate H-1B petition processing now.

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