Informed Employer: May 24, 2017 Informed Employer: May 24, 2017

Informed Employer: May 24, 2017

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OSHA Delays New Safety Record-Keeping Requirement
The Trump administration has suspended an Obama-era rule requiring companies to post their worker injury and illness data on a government website, fueling concerns that it is trying to ignore the regulation. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced that it is "not accepting electronic submissions of injury and illness logs at this time" and it intends to propose extending the July 1 deadline for roughly 450,000 companies to comply with the rule.
(Source:, 2017-05-19) Read the full article
Trump Administration Working on Plan to Change SHOP Marketplaces
While the Senate works on a bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, the Trump administration is planning to revamp one of the lesser-known aspects of the law: the health insurance marketplaces for small businesses. The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) marketplaces allow companies or nonprofit organizations with 50 or fewer employees to select and manage various coverage options. However, they have struggled from the beginning with lower-than-expected enrollment figures.
(Source: Fierce Healthcare, 2017-05-15) Read the full article
Employers Now Required to Report Data on Pay Gap for Women, Minorities
Closing the wage gap for women and minorities is a goal that many employers support, but accomplishing it in their workplace is a daunting task that requires sifting through complex HR data. Starting this year, they will be required to dive in and address discrepancies.
(Source: Workforce, 2017-05-15) Read the full article
Forty Companies Create Health Transformation Alliance to Curb Costs
A new, 40-company cooperative, representing perhaps the most aggressive attempt to date to curb health-care costs through concerted action, appears to be off to a solid start. The Health Transformation Alliance (HTA) has negotiated contracts with two pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs), CVS Health and OptumRX, that will provide alliance members with rebates and discounts on drugs, according to Rob Andrews, the group’s CEO.
(Source:, 2017-05-19) Read the full article
Employers Concerned About Mental Health Issues Among Millennials
Those born between 1978 and 1999 are struggling with depression in greater numbers -- more so than other generations in the workforce, according to a 2013 survey by the American Psychological Association. Given that millennials make up the largest segment of the U.S. workforce, employers have reason to be concerned, according to Mike Thompson, mental health advocate and president and CEO of National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions.
(Source: Workforce, 2017-05-16) Read the full article
Noncompete Agreements Proliferating Among Companies Nationwide
The growth of noncompete agreements is part of a broad shift in which companies assert ownership over work experience as well as work. A recent survey by economists including Evan Starr, a management professor at the University of Maryland, showed that about one in five employees was bound by a noncompete clause in 2014.
(Source: The New York Times, 2017-05-13) Read the full article
Just 34 Percent of Surveyed Employees Have Disability Insurance
Many Americans are doing without disability insurance, often because it's not offered by their employer, according to a new survey by OneAmerica and the Harris Poll. OneAmerica, an insurance and financial services company based in Indianapolis, found that only 34 percent of employees surveyed say they have disability insurance.
(Source: BenefitsPro, 2017-05-15) Read the full article
In 2016, 4.2 Percent of Employee Drug Tests Came Back Positive
Employees increasingly are testing positive for marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamines at work, driving the rates of positive drug tests in the United States to the highest level in 12 years. Quest Diagnostics, a leading lab services company based in Madison, N.J., found that 4.2 percent of drug tests came back positive last year, up from four percent the year before and the highest rate since 2004, when it was 4.5 percent.
(Source: Chicago Tribune, 2017-05-16) Read the full article
One in Three Millennials Turned Down Job Over Lack of Health Benefits
For employers looking to attract and retain young talent, listen up: Health insurance plays a major role in who will agree to work for a firm. According to a survey of American employees, one in three millennial workers has turned down a job offer due to insufficient or lackluster health insurance.
(Source: Employee Benefit News, 2017-05-19) Read the full article
Employers Working to Curb Visual Noise Distracting Workers
Visual noise, the activity or movement around the edges of an employee’s field of vision, can erode concentration and disrupt analytical thinking or creativity, research shows. While employers have long tried to quiet disruptive sounds in open workspaces, some are now combating visual noise too.
(Source: The Wall Street Journal, 2017-05-09) Read the full article
Human Resources/Data Security/Internet of Things Webinar

Wednesday, June 21, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. EST

In an ever-changing and expanding world, protecting the privacy and security of your information is increasingly important. Join our attorneys as they discuss how HR data is at-risk, and proactive steps you can take to safeguard your employees’ information. Topics will also include how to minimize the chances of a data breach occurring; the risks associated with new technologies that collect sensitive information, including workplace wearables; the pros and cons of “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) policies; and what you can do if your organization experiences a security incident or breach.

This program is valid for 1 PDC for the SHRM-CPsm or SHRM-SCPsm.

Register here.


LGBT Law Continues to Evolve

Bill Barath

This should not be so difficult. The question is simple—is sexual orientation a protected status under employment discrimination law? Unfortunately, recent judicial and legislative activities have only muddied the waters and left many employers unsure of their obligations.

Like many areas of employment law, the rights of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual) employees and parallel employer obligations continue to evolve. However, the lack of clarity in this area may be getting worse. The first source of potential guidance is federal law, primarily Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Federal law generally provides a baseline of antidiscrimination law, but states and municipalities can enact their own laws further extending federal protections. Recent decisions of two different federal appellate courts illustrate the disagreement on this issue. This means that whether federal law prohibits discrimination based upon sexual orientation is uncertain and can depend upon the state in which an employee works.

Read more here.


School Is Out


As school ends and new graduates enter the workforce, you might be onboarding some workers that are new to the working world. Remember, these workers may lack the experience and judgment of your more seasoned workers. Extra training in risk awareness and safety is essential. The injury rate for workers under age 25 is almost two times higher than that for workers 25 years and older. Keep your less experienced workers safe with an additional emphasis on training. Also, if you are utilizing temporary workers, remember that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) closely scrutinizes the dual employer relationship. The most important action is for host employers to provide temporary workers with safety training equal to that provided to its own employees.


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