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Informed Employer: Cybersecurity Threats in the Workplace—Is Your HR Team Prepared? Informed Employer: Cybersecurity Threats in the Workplace—Is Your HR Team Prepared?

Informed Employer: Cybersecurity Threats in the Workplace—Is Your HR Team Prepared?

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Supreme Court Tie in Fee Lawsuit Gives Big Victory to Unions
The U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked in one of its highest profile cases, issuing a 4-4 ruling that lets more than 20 states continue to require public-sector workers to help fund the unions that represent them. The case, which involved California teachers, could have affected as many as five million public-sector workers.
(Source: Bloomberg, 2016-03-29) Read the full article
High Court Upholds $5.8M Pay Dispute Judgment Against Tyson Foods
In a setback to business, the Supreme Court upheld a $5.8 million judgment against Tyson Foods in a pay dispute with more than 3,000 workers at a pork-processing plant in Iowa. The court's 6-2 ruling rejected new limits Tyson asked the high court to impose on the ability of workers to band together to challenge pay and workplace issues.
(Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2016-03-22) Read the full article
More Employers Offering Student Loan Repayment Benefits
As more companies grapple with the panic over how to retain elusive millennial employees -- because these noted lazy forever-teens tweet, hop, and jump from career to career -- somebody may have actually come up with a great answer to the problem. Some businesses are beginning to include student-loan payoff as part of a benefits package.
(Source: New York Magazine, 2016-03-25) Read the full article
High Court Headed Toward Split in ACA Contraception Lawsuit
The Supreme Court is headed toward a possible 4-4 split over a legal challenge by Christian nonprofit employers who object to providing female workers insurance covering birth control as required by President Barack Obama's health care law. An evenly split ruling, with the court's four liberals backing the Obama administration against the four conservative justices, would leave in place lower-court rulings rejecting challenges brought by the Christian organizations that oppose providing contraception coverage for religious reasons.
(Source: Reuters, 2016-03-23) Read the full article
DOL Rule Requires Employers to Disclose Consultant Relationships
The Labor Department released the final version of a rule requiring employers to disclose relationships with the consultants they hire to help persuade workers not to form a union or support a union's collective bargaining position. The department said the rule, which will apply to agreements made after July 1, is necessary because workers are frequently in the dark about who is trying to sway them when they exercise their labor rights.
(Source: The New York Times, 2016-03-23) Read the full article
OSHA Reports First Results of Workplace Injury Tracking Program
In the first year of a new reporting requirement, employers notified the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration of more than 10,000 severe work-related injuries. Since January 1, 2015, employers have been required to report any severe work-related injury –- defined as a hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye –- within 24 hours.
(Source:, 2016-03-18) Read the full article
As Seniors Remain in Workforce, Age Bias Suits Could Rise
Older workers continue to make up a significant portion of the U.S. workforce as many Baby Boomers opt to continue working past the traditional retirement age. That could mean a potential increase in age discrimination lawsuits brought under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and comparable state age discrimination laws.
(Source:, 2016-03-15) Read the full article
Firms Upset Over Rules Proposing Expanded Transgender Coverage
Big companies are pushing back against proposed federal rules they say would require their medical plans to cover gender transition and other similar services under the nondiscrimination mandate of President Obama's health care law. Civil rights advocates representing transgender people say the regulation, being finalized by the Health and Human Services Department, would be a major step forward for a marginalized community beginning to gain acceptance as celebrities such as Caitlyn Jenner tell their stories.
(Source: Trib Live, 2016-03-22) Read the full article
Bills Could Entice Firms to Help Workers Pay Off Student Debt
Imagine a world in which the standard benefit package at work includes health insurance, 401(k) contributions, and a few thousand dollars to pay off your student debt. More companies than ever are offering that last perk, and, while it's still a fringe benefit, two bills making their way through Congress could change that by giving companies a tax incentive to help employees repay their student loans.
(Source: Bloomberg, 2016-03-18) Read the full article
Study Finds Half of Workers Would Skip Raises for Health Coverage
If you had to choose between getting a raise or giving it up so you could keep the health coverage you rely on at work, which would you take? Almost half of workers would skip the raise if it meant they could count on their health coverage, a study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute has found.
(Source: Chicago Tribune, 2016-03-25) Read the full article
Webinar Alert: DOL Persuader Rule

The US Department of Labor published its long-awaited (and years in the works) final rule amending the reporting requirements for consultants and employers engaging in persuader activity. Under the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), employers and consultants are required to file certain reports with the government if the employer engages a consultant “to persuade employees about how to exercise their rights to union representation and collective bargaining.” Those reporting requirements have now been expanded, with potential impacts on employers, consultants, and even their legal counsel.

The final rule and accompanying materials cover nearly 450 pages. We will have further information as we continue to evaluate the rule and its impact. Ice Miller will hold a webinar in the near future to discuss the issues - real and potential - raised by the DOL Persuader Rule. Click here to sign up to receive an alert as soon as the webinar is scheduled.


Cybersecurity Threats in the Workplace—Is Your HR Team Prepared?

David Carr & Stephen Reynolds

While many think of data breaches as an Information Technology ("IT") issue, recent studies demonstrate that Human Resource (“HR”) professionals may be the frontline defense in cyberattacks. Additionally, due to the sensitive company data kept within their departments, HR professionals can be prime targets for cyberattacks.

According to a recent survey, an estimated 90% of all data breaches were attributable to human error or misuse—not IT vulnerabilities, yet more than half of all employers do not train new employees on cybersecurity threats. Fostering cybersecurity awareness should be a priority of your HR department. We present three common cybersecurity threats and what HR can do to prevent those threats from becoming a costly data breach.

Read the full article here.


OSHA Issues Final Silica Rule


​OSHA released its much discussed final silica rule. The rule lowers a general industry permissible exposure level for airborne silica from 100 micrograms of respirable silica per cubic meter of air to 50 micrograms. The final rule was written as two standards: one for construction workers and one for general industry. Employers covered by the construction standard have until June 2017 to comply, while employers covered by a general industry standard receive an additional year to comply.  A wide range of industry groups, including contractors, oil and gas entities and brick manufacturers have objected to the rule, and one would expect business groups to explore all options to prevent the rule from becoming a reality. Business groups have challenged the final rule, claiming the mandates are not feasible and the cost of compliance is grossly underestimated.


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