Informed Employer: Be Careful What You Wish For, or Be Careful What You Give? Adverse Employment Act Informed Employer: Be Careful What You Wish For, or Be Careful What You Give? Adverse Employment Act

Informed Employer: Be Careful What You Wish For, or Be Careful What You Give? Adverse Employment Actions Can Lurk in Surprising Places

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EEOC Provides Data on Top Categories of Discrimination Charges
While charges of employment discrimination against employers are declining overall, claims alleging retaliation against an employee for involvement in a complaint reached a record high in fiscal year 2014. The following are the top 10 categories of charges filed with the EEOC.
(Source: Insurance Journal, 2015-02-04) Read the full article
Workers, Firms Have Mixed Views of Skilled Immigration Changes
Waits for work-based permanent residence could become easier -- if not any shorter -- under recent Obama administration changes overshadowed by more controversial steps for immigrants without legal status. But employers say the changes don't do enough to meet their demand for more work visas and green cards for college-educated professionals.
(Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2015-02-09) Read the full article
Business Leaders, Lawmakers Meet to Discuss E-Verify
Business leaders testified in Washington D.C. to discuss whether employers should legally be forced to use the federal employment verification system known as E-Verify. By comparing employee information to federal data, E-Verify seeks to prevent employers from hiring illegal immigrants.
(Source: The Daily Caller, 2015-02-04) Read the full article
Chamber Files Brief Challenging NLRB Election Rule Amendments
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and four other business groups asked a federal district court in Washington to grant them summary judgment in a lawsuit challenging the National Labor Relations Board's adoption of rule changes in union representation cases. In a brief filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Chamber called the rule changes arbitrary, inconsistent with the National Labor Relations Act, and menacing to the free speech rights of employers under the NLRA and the First Amendment.
(Source: BNA, 2015-02-06) Read the full article
EEOC Working on Guidance for Workplace Wellness Programs
The top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee said that federal guidance is forthcoming to help employers administer worker wellness programs so that they comply with both ObamaCare and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) raised concerns in a committee hearing that some employers are going too far with their wellness initiatives and are ultimately discriminating against certain workers based on their health status.
(Source: The Hill, 2015-01-29) Read the full article
Workplace Flex Programs Beneficial, But Some Firms Concerned
U.S. companies are seeing benefits from workplace flexibility programs, but potential employee abuse remains a concern for many of them, a new survey of HR and other professionals has found. Those who responded to the poll by, a research and advisory firm, cited employee satisfaction (87 percent), increased productivity (71 percent), and employee retention as the major benefits of work flex programs that allow employees to periodically work from home.
(Source:, 2015-02-03) Read the full article
Research Shows More Companies Dropping Health Care Benefits
The number of private companies that offer health care benefits has fallen in the last decade, according to new research, with the sharpest drop coming just as the U.S. was beginning to feel the recession. Just less than half of private workers said they could purchase health care coverage through their jobs in 2013, compared to 55.7 percent in 2005, a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows.
(Source: The Hill, 2015-01-29) Read the full article
More Firms Using Tracking Services to Find Workers in Emergencies
The recent terrorist attack in Paris put Norm Sheehan, a safety director for an international development company, on high alert. It took more than just cellphone calls to help locate the workers during the emergency. Rather, he relied on an online tracking tool, to identify travelers' plans and their contact information, developed by International SOS, one of a growing number of companies offering such services.
(Source: The New York Times, 2015-01-26) Read the full article
More Employers Providing 'Quiet Rooms' for Religious Purposes
As workplace diversity increases, many leading practice employers are providing a 'quiet room' which can be used for prayer or contemplation. A recent study found that employees who openly discuss religious beliefs have higher levels of job satisfaction.
(Source: HC Online, 2015-01-30) Read the full article
Be Careful What You Wish For, or Be Careful What You Give? Adverse Employment Actions Can Lurk in Surprising Places
Germaine Winnick Willett

"We would often be sorry if our wishes were gratified." The wisdom of Aesop’s adage plays out in life, but what about work? Can your employee ask for something and then claim discrimination when he or she receives it? Can we say “Of course not!” and go about our day? Not so fast, I’m afraid.

In the recent Deleon v. Kalamazoo County Road Commission case, the plaintiff claimed that his employer discriminated against him by transferring him to a position that was beyond his skill level and in which he was exposed to harmful pollutants. In defense of the claim, the employer argued that the plaintiff had voluntarily applied and interviewed for the position with full knowledge of the job, and that placing him in the job therefore could not have been an adverse employment action – that is, some type of mistreatment supporting a discrimination claim under the federal discrimination laws.

Read the full article here.


Reducing workplace injuries

Safety is the best way to reduce your workers’ compensation costs. Here are a few tips to make your workplace a safer environment:

  • Provide training: a comprehensive safety education and training program should be provided to new employees. Safety training should be an ongoing and regular part of your business’ education practices.
  • Make safety a priority: institute consequences for failure to follow safety measures and recognize or reward employees who correctly follow safety procedures.
  • Frequently assess work facilities: conduct regular evaluations of work facilities, machinery, and workstations. Encourage employees to report anything that looks broken or unsafe. Be sure to correct any hazards such as dim lighting, poor air quality/temperature and unsafe machinery.
  • Review your business practices: some common work practices may lead to work injuries. For example, in industries that require strenuous or repetitive work, adding overtime hours may increase overuse injury claims. By hiring additional staff or part time staff you may be able to reduce overuse or over-exertion injuries.
  • Develop a wellness program: employees that are healthy and fit will be more likely to avoid injury. They can also recover more quickly if an accident does occur.

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



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