Informed Employer: New Supreme Court Class Action Waiver Decision Informed Employer: New Supreme Court Class Action Waiver Decision

Informed Employer: New Supreme Court Class Action Waiver Decision

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States Seek to Curb Employers from Asking for Facebook Passwords
In 2012, six states passed legislation preventing employers, schools or both from demanding access or passwords to social media accounts, according to information compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. In 2013, seven more states joined their ranks, while lawmakers in 25 states without laws in place considered similar legislation.
(Source: USA Today, 2014-01-10) Read the full article
More Big Employers Tackle "Unconscious Bias" in Workplace
As they struggle to diversify their workforces, big businesses are teaching staffers to recognize that "unconscious bias" -- or an implicit preference for certain groups -- often influences important workplace decisions. As many as 20 percent of large U.S. employers with diversity programs now provide unconscious-bias training, up from two percent five years ago, and that figure could hit 50 percent in five years, says Margaret Regan, head of FutureWork Institute, a global diversity consultancy.
(Source: The Wall Street Journal, 2014-01-09) Read the full article
Franchisor Sues DOL for Classifying Volunteers as Employees
Rhea Lana Riner, the Arkansas franchisor who has tangled publicly with regulators over her use of volunteers to help run her children's consignment business, has turned the tables on the government, suing the U.S. Department of Labor, alleging that the department harmed her business and acted arbitrarily last year when it classified her volunteers as employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Rhea Lana’s suit comes as other so-called “sharing economy” companies test the limits of state and federal laws.
(Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, 2014-01-08) Read the full article
Supreme Court Case Could Highlight Battle Over NLRB
When the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in a case involving soda bottler Noel Canning Corp., presidential appointment power will be the main dispute, but the case will also put on display one of Washington's most politically polarizing agencies -- the National Labor Relations Board. Created nearly 80 years ago to supervise union elections and protect workers' rights to organize, the NLRB is a battleground for pro-labor Democrats and pro-management Republicans.
(Source: Reuters, 2014-01-12) Read the full article
Low-Wage Workers Complain Lack of Hours Causing Problems
Low wages have become the raging issue of the day, sparking protests and discussions nationwide. But dig a little deeper, and workers say another problem is gnawing at their paychecks: not getting enough hours at work.
(Source: CNNMoney.com, 2014-01-13) Read the full article
Small Firms Consider Switching Chronically Ill to New Exchanges
Can an employer pay chronically ill workers to leave the company health plan and get insurance somewhere else? That's a question some business owners are asking now that no one can be turned away from individual health plans under Obamacare.
(Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, 2014-01-07) Read the full article
Study Finds Workplace Wellness Programs Don't Provide Savings
Though workplace wellness programs are lowering costs for employees with chronic conditions, encouraging workers to adopt a healthy lifestyle "may not reduce health costs or lead to lower net savings," researchers at RAND Corp. say. Wellness programs are encouraged by more and more insurance companies, employers and certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act.
(Source: Forbes.com, 2014-01-06) Read the full article
Older Workers Not Found to be Taking Jobs Away from Young
It's an assertion that has been accepted as fact by droves of the unemployed: Older people remaining on the job later in life are stealing jobs from young people. One problem, many economists say: It isn't supported by a wisp of fact.
(Source: USA Today, 2014-01-04) Read the full article
Zappos to Eliminate Corporate Hierarchy, Job Titles
Zappos is reorganizing itself according to a new system called "holacracy." The idea is to structure the company around the work that needs to be done rather than the people who do it.
(Source: Wired News, 2014-01-07) Read the full article
Wearable Technology Could Reshape Workplace
Like the PC, mobile phone and tablet, wearable technology is poised to change how organizations collect, access and use information. Wearable technologies are beginning to enter the mainstream, and technology enthusiasts are buzzing about how they can be used to enhance our personal and work environments.
(Source: Giga OM, 2014-01-05) Read the full article
 
 
 
Headlines
New Supreme Court Class Action Waiver Decision

 

Jim Davidson David Campbell

 

Class action litigation has long been fertile ground for the plaintiffs’ bar. This is especially true in employment discrimination and wage and hour litigation. Of course, plaintiffs’ attorneys are well aware of the high costs and risks faced by class action defendants and frequently develop strategies focused on driving up costs. Defense costs are often compounded by the likelihood of paying twice, which occurs when the applicable legal principles empower plaintiffs’ counsel with the ability to recover their fees and costs.

There are tools which help shift the burden a bit. One is to require employees, vendors and other entities to sign arbitration agreements. These agreements require that the signatories arbitrate all disputes and waive their right to participate in potential class actions.

Read full article here.

 

OSHA MODIFIES ITS ENFORCEMENT PRIORITIES FOR 2014

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has refocused its inspection priorities in which fewer employers will be inspected for safety violations. By reducing the inspection numbers, OSHA Compliance Officers will undertake investigations that are more comprehensive in order to achieve the greatest impact on workplace safety and health. Historically, OSHA has operated under the assumption that the more inspections the better. However, given budgetary constraints, OSHA has readjusted its priorities as it shoulders the burden to conduct more inspections with fewer available resources. Some of the enforcement planning includes an increase in health inspections at facilities where emerging chemical and health issues arise. OSHA will also seek to focus more on inspections of plants and establishments where employees are vulnerable to workplace violence. In sum, OSHA will attempt to do more with less. Thus, Compliance Officers will focus on conducting less time intense inspections, such as multi-employer construction sites, as opposed to, more time consuming inspections addressing ergonomics and/or process safety.

To learn more, please contact an attorney in Ice Miller’s Workers Compensation Group.

 

 
 
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