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Informed Employer: Are You in Compliance with Your Affirmative Action Obligations? Informed Employer: Are You in Compliance with Your Affirmative Action Obligations?

Informed Employer: Are You in Compliance with Your Affirmative Action Obligations?

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High Court Weighs New Limits on Collective Disputes
The Supreme Court agreed to weigh new limits on the ability of workers to band together to dispute pay and workplace issues. The justices said they will review a $5.8 million class-action judgment against Tyson Foods over the pay for more than 3,000 workers at its Storm Lake, Iowa, pork processing plant.
(Source: PBS, 2015-06-08) Read the full article
Small Firms Concerned Over Cost of Long-Term Disability Insurance
While small employers may understand the benefits of long-term disability insurance to their workforce, many have misconceptions about its cost and may underestimate the desire employees have for this coverage. Employers, whether they offer the benefit or not, understand the value of LTD for employees, and those that offer it also believe it serves the interests of their company, finds new research from the Consumer Federation of America and Unum.
(Source:, 2015-06-09) Read the full article
Shareholders Pressure Companies to Raise Golden Parachute Bar
Amid growing pressure from shareholders, it's taking more to trigger a golden parachute payment to an executive, a new Towers Watson report has found. According to the consulting firm, some 95 percent of the 340 Fortune 500 companies that offer severance upon a change in control now also require a corresponding involuntary termination of employment before they make a golden parachute payment.
(Source:, 2015-06-10) Read the full article
ESOPs Provide Options for Business Owners and Employees
About 7,000 companies with employee stock ownership plans exist in the United States, according to the National Center for Employee Ownership. Douglas Kruse, an economist at Rutgers University’s School of Management and Labor Relations with a focus in employee ownership, said such companies tend to have a stronger connection with employees and remain more stable through recessions.
(Source: The New York Times, 2015-06-11) Read the full article
More Businesses Hiring Contract Workers as it Becomes New Normal Smaller Firms Could Be Well-Prepared to Self-Fund Health Benefits
Contract work is becoming the new normal. Four trends are converging to make contracting more attractive for both employers and workers, and reshaping how businesses and employees look at the traditional full-time model.
(Source: Tech Crunch, 2015-06-14) Read the full article
Smaller Firms Could Be Well-Prepared to Self-Fund Health Benefits
The percentage of U.S. workers covered by health plans that are at least partially self-funded by their employers has been rising gradually for many years, reaching 61 percent in 2014, compared with 44 percent back in 1999, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Based on anecdotal evidence and current events and trends, the pace of that growth may pick up in the near future, some corporate benefits observers say, but there's a caveat: Because the vast majority of large companies are already self-funded, new growth has to come from further down the size spectrum.
(Source:, 2015-06-12) Read the full article
More Employers Moving to Get Workers into Target-Date Funds
In an era in which employers automatically enroll new employees in 401(k) plans, it's not surprising that target-date funds, which typically serve as the default investment option, have soared in popularity. Now, some employers are going to even greater lengths to get retirement-plan participants into target-date funds -- which are diversified, all-in-one mutual funds that reduce stock holdings and increase bond and cash positions as employees age and come closer to retirement.
(Source: The Wall Street Journal, 2015-06-04) Read the full article
Senator Wants Inquiry into H-1B Visa Program for Disney Employees
Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, a Democrat, called for the Department of Homeland Security to investigate a temporary visa program for highly skilled immigrants after a report in The New York Times that technology employees at Walt Disney World in Orlando and other companies lost their jobs to immigrants and had to train their replacements. In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Mr. Nelson asked him to examine "potential misuses" of a visa program known as H-1B.
(Source: The New York Times, 2015-06-04) Read the full article
OSHA Extends Program to Protect Nurses from Getting Injured
Federal regulators want to finally quell the health care industry's epidemic of nurses getting hurt on the job by investigating, auditing and -- if necessary -- fining hospitals and residential care facilities for workplace safety problems, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration told its 10 regional divisions. OSHA is extending its National Emphasis Program on Nursing and Residential Care Facilities because the health care industry still has more reported workplace injuries than any other general industry, OSHA enforcement director Thomas Galassi wrote in a memo to state and regional staff.
(Source: Healthcare Finance News, 2015-06-11) Read the full article
Are You in Compliance with Your Affirmative Action Obligations?

Tami Earnhart

Depending on the nature of your business (and your vacation plans), the summer may be a time when you are able to take a breather from many of the activities that are often concentrated at the end and beginning of the year. If you are in the enviable position to take a step back to review your general compliance efforts, do not forget an affirmative action compliance check-up. Many companies overlook affirmative action, either because they do not know it applies to them or because they believe it is something for which they create a plan once a year and then put on a shelf. Before you are surprised by either the federal government or one of your customers asking to conduct an audit or to certify your compliance, revisit your need to engage in affirmative action and, if you do, whether you are in compliance with the myriad of statutes, executive orders and regulations that apply. Particularly with the recent changes and additional regulation in the area of affirmative action—including proposed regulations that may require you to report certain "violations" of employment-related laws when bidding or working on certain government contracts or subcontracts—there has never been a better time to make sure your affirmative action house is in order.

To read more, click here.


FMLA Forms Updated

If you are using the certification and notice forms published by the Department of Labor (DOL), it is time for an update! At the end of March, the DOL published new forms that are effective through 2018. The most significant change to the medical-related certification forms is the addition of references to and instruction under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). Note that the GINA instructions on the DOL's certification forms are not as detailed as the "safe harbor" language currently being used by many employers. The "new" Notice of Eligibility & Rights and Responsibilities also contains a few more details than the old form and some of the terminology in the Military Caregiver Leave certifications has been updated. The Designation Notice and the certification of a Qualifying Exigency have not changed beyond updating the effective date to 2018.

The new forms can be found on the DOL's website. Remember that employers are not required to use the forms issued by the DOL—you may find that your tailored forms are administratively easier for you and/or are better understood by your employees or the medical providers. As long as you are not asking more than what is permitted by the DOL forms and the accompanying regulations, you can continue to use your tailored forms.

For more information, contact Tami Earnhart or any member of Ice Miller's Labor, Employment and Immigration practice group.


Chambers lists Employment Law Alliance with Band 1 Distinction

Ice Miller is the Indiana member of the Employment Law Alliance (ELA)—the world's largest network of labor and employment lawyers. Chambers, a guide to global legal services and law firms, lists the ELA in its Global 2015 directory as among "The Elite" and in Band 1, the highest distinction offered, for Employment and Labor - Global-wide (Legal Networks).

Read what Chambers had to say about ELA and more here.


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