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Informed Employer: After the Exodus

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High Court Says No Need to Pay Workers for Security Screening Time
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that a temp agency was not required to pay workers at Amazon warehouses for the time they spent waiting to go through a security screening at the end of the day. Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the court, said the screenings were not "integral and indispensable" to the workers' jobs, which involved retrieving products from warehouse shelves and packaging them for delivery to Amazon's customers.
(Source: The New York Times, 2014-12-09) Read the full article
Appeals Court Says Volunteers Can Qualify as Employees
The federal Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently decided that volunteering Catholic nuns were not "employees" entitled to religious discrimination protections (Sister Michael Marie v. American Red Cross). The Court noted that it is possible for a monetarily uncompensated volunteer to legally qualify as an employee.
(Source: The Huffington Post, 2014-12-10) Read the full article
Appeals Court Rules Against DOL Use of H-2B Private Wage Surveys
The Labor Department's use of 2009 guidance allowing private employer surveys to determine prevailing wages under the H-2B program is arbitrary and capricious and must be vacated, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled. Overturning a Pennsylvania district court's determination that the case wasn't ripe for review, the appeals court said just because the DOL is planning to engage in further rulemaking on the issue doesn't mean that it hasn't finalized its 2009 guidance.
(Source: BNA, 2014-12-08) Read the full article
Employers Beginning to Take on Health Care Quality Standards
Employer-provided coverage is the backbone of the U.S. health system, with more than half of Americans getting insurance through work, but most businesses are reluctant to manage medical providers as they might other key suppliers. Boeing and other major employers, including Starbucks and Costco, have aggressively pushed local hospitals and doctors to meet the kinds of rigorous standards they use to build airplanes or brew coffee.
(Source: Los Angeles Times, 2014-12-15) Read the full article
Small Business Owners Turning to ACA as Health Care Option
For two decades Atlanta restaurant owner Jim Dunn offered a group health plan to his managers and helped pay for it, but that ended Dec. 1, after the Affordable Care Act made him an offer he couldn't refuse. The number of other owners who make the same decision will help set the future of small-business health insurance.
(Source: Kaiser Health News, 2014-12-15) Read the full article
Since Creation of OSHA, Workplace Death Rates Declined 81%
Since Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in 1970, the U.S. workplace death rate has dropped 81 percent, saving half a million lives. Economic and technological changes have swept workers out of the most deadly jobs and into safer ones.
(Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, 2014-12-04) Read the full article
Companies Promise to Keep Long-Term Hiring Biases at Bay
Like New Year's resolutions to eat less and exercise more, a pledge signed by 330 companies in January to ensure long-term jobless Americans aren't subject to hiring biases hasn't been easy to keep. Lockheed Martin and Walgreen are among the businesses trying to fulfill the promise by tweaking screening practices so people who've been unemployed the longest have a fair shot at landing a job.
(Source: Bloomberg, 2014-12-04) Read the full article
Researchers Say Companies Can Pay Workers to Be More Innovative
Most companies say they want employees to be more innovative, to the point that it's become a nearly meaningless buzzword, but can you actually pay people to innovate? Yes -- depending on how you pay them, according to a pair of Canadian researchers.
(Source: The Wall Street Journal, 2014-12-04) Read the full article
After the Exodus


Michael Tooley



Not content to be typecast as the Dark Knight, the actor Christian Bale is taking on an even more iconic role (played in a previous generation by Charlton Heston) in a movie just released called Exodus: Gods and Kings. If you have seen the original movie (or, perhaps, read the book on which it is based), you know that the Exodus story is about an inspired leader of old who led his team on a glorious journey, only to discover that he was going to be relieved of command before reaching their ultimate destination. Fortunately, that leader had prepared for this moment by identifying and mentoring a successor from the next generation – his lieutenant Joshua – who was able to lead the team to victory after taking over.

This classic example of succession planning leads to two questions every organization should consider as part of its strategic planning: who are your Joshuas, and what do you need to do to prepare them to succeed you?

Read the full article here.


Alerts on Recent NLRB Activity

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued its final “quickie election rules” last week, in addition to a decision that impacts employer’s policies on the usage of e-mail systems. Read our Alerts on these two important NLRB actions below.

Breaking – NLRB Rules Employer E-mail Systems Fair Game for Union Organizing

NLRB Issues New Election Rules


Ice Miller wishes you a wonderful holiday season!

The next issue of the Informed Employer Briefing will be published on January 14, 2015.



Company gatherings – compensable?

Maybe so. Injuries that occur to employees in non-work activities which promote "good will" may be compensable. You may want to try a two-pronged approach – try to avoid compensability, but in any case avoid injuries. To reduce the likelihood of compensability, have the party off premises and not during work hours, and make sure attendance is strictly voluntary. To reduce accidents, avoid or limit alcoholic beverages, and if you serve alcohol, provide taxis or other forms of transportation to minimize risks.

To learn more, please contact Ann Stewart or any attorney in Ice Miller’s Workers Compensation Group.


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