Informed Employer: APRIL FOOL! NLRB INVALIDATES ANOTHER HANDBOOK POLICY Informed Employer: APRIL FOOL! NLRB INVALIDATES ANOTHER HANDBOOK POLICY

Informed Employer: APRIL FOOL! NLRB INVALIDATES ANOTHER HANDBOOK POLICY

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Obama to Sign Two New Executive Orders on Equal Pay for Women
President Barack Obama will sign two new executive orders on equal pay for women, Politico reports. The executive actions coincide with "Equal Pay Day" -- the date that symbolizes how far into 2014 women must work to earn the same amount of money men earned last year. Both executive orders mirror provisions of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which Congress has twice failed to pass.
(Source: The Huffington Post, 2014-04-06) Read the full article
Study Finds 5 States Represent Riskiest Places for Employee Suits
Four states -- California, Illinois, Alabama and Mississippi -- along with the District of Columbia, are the top five riskiest places in the country for employee lawsuits. Businesses in these states and jurisdictions face a substantially higher risk of being sued by their employees compared to the national average, according to study of employment practices litigation data by specialist insurer Hiscox.
(Source: Insurance Journal, 2014-04-01) Read the full article
Judge Suggests LGBT Job Discrimination May Already be Illegal
In much of the United States, gay people can legally be fired simply for being gay -- and Congress seems unlikely to change that anytime soon. But anti-discrimination advocates need not lose hope quite yet: In a groundbreaking ruling, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly boldly suggested that LGBT job discrimination may already be illegal under existing federal statutes.
(Source: Slate, 2014-04-03) Read the full article
Technology Industry Pushes for Legislation to Boost H-1B Visas
The technology industry's push for legislation providing more visas for high-tech foreign workers is prompting concern that the influential technology lobby may be stepping back from the broader effort to pass comprehensive legislation. As the broader legislation has faltered, some fear that smaller, less controversial pieces of the issue -- such as visas for high-tech or agriculture workers -- will clear Congress, undermining the push for other, tougher aspects -- such as a path to citizenship for the 11 million people in the country illegally.
(Source: The Wall Street Journal, 2014-04-03) Read the full article
Employees Continue Taking on More of Health Cost Burden
Employers continued to shift the cost of health benefits to employees last year, according to a report by Zywave, a Wauwatosa company that develops software for insurance brokers.
(Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2014-04-03) Read the full article
New York City Quietly Institutes Paid Sick Leave Law
New York City quietly became the largest in the nation to ensure that a vast majority of workers wouldn't lose their jobs or a portion of their paychecks if they or their close relatives got sick. As a result of the new law, about 1.2 million workers will have paid sick leave for the first time, according to Nancy Rankin, vice president for policy research at the Community Service Society of New York, a group that works on behalf of low-income New Yorkers.
(Source: The New York Times, 2014-04-06) Read the full article
Study Finds 1 in 10 Small Business Workers Using Alcohol, Drugs
One in 10 small businesses had employees show up for work last year while under the influence of at least one controlled substance. Small-business owners reported that alcohol, marijuana and prescription painkillers were the most common substances employees used, according to a study by Employers Holdings Inc.
(Source: Insurance Journal, 2014-03-28) Read the full article
Study Claims Loud Noises at Work Can Lead to Injuries
Extremely loud noise on the job, as well as hearing loss from noise exposure, may cause workers to miss danger warnings, a Canadian study suggests. They found that workers regularly exposed to noise levels of 100 decibels -- about the volume standing next to a lawnmower -- had more than doubled risk of being hospitalized for a workplace injury.
(Source: Reuters, 2014-04-02) Read the full article
More Companies Doing Away with Retiree Health Benefits
Once a mainstay of blue-collar and government jobs, retiree health benefits are steadily disappearing. Companies long offered them as a way of retaining workers, but now companies are shedding these plans and the expectations they entailed.
(Source: McClatchy, 2014-04-02) Read the full article
Some Big Companies Paying CEOs to Find Their Replacements
No one likes giving up the power, privileges and perks of the corner office, so some boards have begun paying chief executives extra to replace themselves. Spurred in part by investors' anxiety over rocky corner-office transitions, big businesses such as EMC, Avnet and Terex are rewarding leaders for preparing to pass the baton.
(Source: The Wall Street Journal, 2014-04-01) Read the full article
 
 
 
Headlines
APRIL FOOL! NLRB INVALIDATES ANOTHER HANDBOOK POLICY

 

Michael Boldt

On April Fools' Day 2014, the Board issued a decision finding the following handbook policies unlawful:

…We will not make negative comments about our fellow team members and we will take every opportunity to speak well of each other…We will represent [the Company] in the community in a positive and professional manner in every opportunity…We will not engage in or listen to negativity or gossip. We will recognize that listening without acting to stop it is the same as participating.

Continuing a line of decisions stretching back several years, but issuing with increasing frequency lately, the Board found that those statements are unlawful as written because employees may "reasonably" believe the policies prohibit the employees from engaging in activity protected by the NLRA, such as criticism of the employer or its policies, supervisors, managers or employees. The decision is Hills and Dales General Hospital, 360 NLRB No. 70.

Read full article here.

 

 

MODIFIED DUTY OFF-SITE (MDOS) COST SAVINGS SOLUTION FOR WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

MDOS is a return to work program that allows employers to place injured workers in an off-site position when their temporary physical restrictions preclude the return to their former positions of employment. Specifically, MDOS involves the placement of employees with temporary restrictions at a local non-profit organization. In turn, the injured worker executes job duties and responsibilities within their physical restrictions while continuing their rehabilitation and medical treatments necessary to transition back to their former positions of employment.

Overall, MDOS has produced results including decreased length of time off work, overall costs savings with respect to lost time compensation and costs avoidance as to future medical treatments. Along these lines, studies show the likelihood of an injured worker returning to work decreases to the point of 50 percent after six months off work and continuing to drop to 25 percent after one year off work. As such, companies confronted with the challenges of a workers’ compensation claim where the injured worker has restrictions that preclude their ability to return to work can now look for other return to work options in the form of MDOS.

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

 

 
 
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