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Informed Employer: December 7, 2016 Informed Employer: December 7, 2016

Informed Employer: December 7, 2016

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Appeals Court Ruling Takes on LGBT Workplace Discrimination
A rare full-court session of a U.S. appeals court in Chicago heard arguments on whether protections under a 1964 Civil Rights Act should be expanded to cover workplace discrimination against LGBT employees, as hopes dim among some gay rights activists that the question will be resolved in their favor following Republican election victories. Several of the 11 judges at the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals signaled they are ready to enter what would be a historic ruling broadening the scope the 52-year-old landmark law, with the court directing the toughest questions, during the hourlong hearing, at a lawyer who argued only Congress could extend the protections.
(Source: ABC News, 2016-11-30) Read the full article
EEOC Got Over $482.1 Million for Discrimination Victims in 2016
The EEOC obtained more than $482.1 million for victims of alleged discrimination during fiscal year 2016 while reducing its inventory of pending bias charges, the agency announced. The EEOC received 91,503 new private sector discrimination charges during fiscal 2016 but resolved 97,443 charges, cutting its backlog to 73,508 pending charges as of Sept. 30.
(Source: BNA, 2016-11-17) Read the full article
Supreme Court to Hear Christian Hospital Appeal in Pension Case
The Supreme Court will decide whether some of the nation's largest health care providers can rely on their church affiliations to avoid complying with federal laws covering pension benefits for workers. The justices agreed to take up cases involving three nonprofit hospital systems being sued for underfunding their employee pension plans.
(Source: Los Angeles Times, 2016-12-02) Read the full article
IRS Extends Time for Employers to Report ACA Information
The IRS has extended the 2017 due date for employers and coverage providers to furnish information statements to individuals -- but the due date for filing with the IRS has not been extended. Applicable large employers, including those that are self-insured, must send Forms 1095-C to full-time employees by March 2, and must file Forms 1095-C and 1094-C with the IRS by Feb. 28 for paper and March 31 for e-filing.
(Source: Accounting Today, 2016-11-30) Read the full article
More Companies Offering Workers Paid Adoption Leave
About 20 percent of employers now offer paid adoption leave, according to the 2016 Employee Benefits report by the Society for Human Resource Management. More companies are offering employees benefits to lessen the financial and emotional toll the experience of adopting can take.
(Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2016-12-03) Read the full article
GAO Says 401(k) Plans Failing to Reflect New Workforce
Many company 401(k) retirement savings plans could use a swift kick into the 21st century, according to a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office. A number of longtime 401(k) plan designs fail to reflect a new, more mobile workforce, hurting employees' ability to save, according to the report.
(Source: Bloomberg, 2016-11-22) Read the full article
Employers Changing Handbooks to Get Workers More Engaged
Some employers are revamping their employee handbooks with big, bold graphics and a conversational writing style to make the manuals fresh, readable and engaging. Other companies are opting for videos or an online format instead of a printed one.
(Source: SHRMOnline, 2016-11-22) Read the full article
Poll Finds Most Employers Will Offer Holiday Gifts in 2016
A recent online poll conducted by the Oklahoma City-based Express Employment Professionals nationwide staffing firm found only seven percent of employers won't give at least some type of gift this Christmas -- which is an improvement over 23 percent in 2015. Express found 26 percent of 572 responding employers plan to offer cash this holiday season, while 19 percent said they'll give some combination of gifts including gift cards, 16 percent; tangible gifts, 13 percent; and extra days off, seven percent.
(Source: NewsOK, 2016-12-05) Read the full article
Update on Status of DOL Overtime Rule

As we advised in a prior alert, a Texas federal district court entered a preliminary nationwide injunction against the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) updated "white collar" overtime regulations on November 22, 2016. The DOL has since notified the district court that it is appealing the decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. In addition, the DOL has requested "expedited briefing" of the appeal. Even with the expedited briefing schedule proposed by the DOL, however, the briefing will not be complete until early February, after President-Elect Trump is inaugurated. The change in presidential administrations may, therefore, affect how vigorously the DOL pursues the appeal.

We will continue to keep you posted on new developments as we learn whether the new regulations will be implemented, in any form, at some point in the future.



Deck the Halls – But Forget the Mistletoe

Ryan Poor

Lawyers have a reputation for being party-poopers. But this time of year we are especially called on to be Grinches of workplace fun. It could be, perhaps, that our shoes are too tight. Or it could be that our heads aren't screwed on just right. But the most likely reason of all... is definitely not that our hearts are two sizes too small (because everybody knows lawyers don't have hearts). The truth is, we hate fun because we care—we want to see each and every one of our clients and their employees make it safely through the holidays.

So, here are some tips if you're hosting holiday events or just encouraging a little goofing off in the holiday spirit...

Read more here.


Osha's Final Rule on Electronic Filing of Injury and Illness Data


In May 2016, the Department of Labor published its controversial final Rule designed to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses. This Rule requires employers to electronically submit information about work-related injuries and illnesses which, in turn, OSHA will post on a public website. The new Rule, effective January 2017, sets forth three main components. First, it requires employers with more than 250 employees who are already subject to OSHA’s recordkeeping regulations to report electronically the information contained on their 300, 300A, and 301 logs. Second, employers with 20-249 employees that are engaged in industries deemed particularly dangerous, such as manufacturing, construction, trucking, and farming, are required to electronically submit information from their 300A form. Third, State Plan states, such as Indiana, Kentucky, and Michigan, which operate their own safety and health programs, will be required to adopt provisions substantially similar to the Department of Labor’s final Rule.

Read more here.


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