Informed Employer: Harry Potter’s Visit to the Theater of the Absurd: The NLRB Strikes Again Informed Employer: Harry Potter’s Visit to the Theater of the Absurd: The NLRB Strikes Again

Informed Employer: Harry Potter’s Visit to the Theater of the Absurd: The NLRB Strikes Again

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Workplace Violence Remains Steady, Firms Urged to Watch Behaviors
Although incidents are rare, the consistent pattern of workplace violence each year means employers must prepare for the worst, experts say. They also must train employees to watch for signs of aberrant behavior by other workers.
(Source: Indianapolis Star, 2016-04-15) Read the full article
CBO Says ACA Will Cause More Employers to Stop Health Coverage
For all the talk of the Affordable Care Act's effect on the health insurance marketplace, employer-provided benefits remain the backbone of the American health insurance system, according to a new report by the Congressional Budget Office, but the ACA will eventually start to siphon coverage away from employer-provided plans. The number of people covered by employer-provided insurance is expected to fall from the current 155 million to 152 million in 2019 and stay at that level through 2026, the CBO reported to Congress in March.
(Source: Business Management Daily, 2016-04-25) Read the full article
Opioid Abusers Cost Employers Almost Twice as Much as Non-Users
Nearly one out of every three (32 percent) opioid prescriptions, which are subsidized by America's employers, is being abused, according to a report by a health care data and technology company. Opioid abusers cost employers nearly twice as much ($19,450) in medical expenses on average annually as non-abusers ($10,853), according to the analysis.
(Source: Insurance Journal, 2016-04-21) Read the full article
More Companies Offering Employees Free Surgeries to Save Money
A growing number of large companies nationwide are offering employees an eye-catching benefit: Certain major surgeries at prestigious hospitals are free. How do these firms do it? With a way of paying that's gaining steam across the health care industry, and that Medicare is now adopting for hip and knee replacements in 67 metropolitan areas, including New York, Miami and Denver.
(Source: NPR, 2016-04-20) Read the full article
More Companies Rush to Offer Perks in Effort to Retain Employees
Perks have proliferated at startups, media organizations, and tech companies, where the employers are hoping a more comfortable environment will motivate employees and lead to Google-size profits. Some research has linked company culture to profits, which, in turn, has led to a keeping-up-with-the-Googles phenomenon in which certain perks become almost mandatory.
(Source: Bloomberg, 2016-04-21) Read the full article
Some Question Tech Companies Paying Employees with Stock
With tech earnings season kicking off, investors are paying more attention to stock-based compensation at many tech companies. Paying employees with stock is largely unquestioned when times are good, since the move theoretically aligns the interests of the workers with company performance, but public tech companies have had a rockier time in the stock market this year.
(Source: The New York Times, 2016-04-17) Read the full article
Study Claims Employers Paying for Workers' Education See 129% ROI
A new study says company-provided tuition assistance creates a big return for those companies, not just the employees upgrading their education. In an analysis of the tuition reimbursement program at the health insurance company Cigna, a Lumina Foundation study said the insurer realized a 129 percent return on its investment in tuition reimbursement, in the form of personnel cost savings.
(Source: Marketplace, 2016-04-25) Read the full article
88% of Surveyed Employees Report Being Satisfied with Their Jobs
More U.S. workers are satisfied with their jobs than at any time since 2005, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) announced recently. In the annual Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Survey conducted in late 2015, SHRM found that 88 percent of employees said they were satisfied overall with their jobs (37 percent reported being very satisfied, and 51 percent somewhat satisfied).
(Source: HR Morning, 2016-04-20) Read the full article
Regulations Could Put Pay Restrictions on Wall Street Executives
Regulators released long-awaited rules that aim to restrict how big financial institutions can pay their top executives. The new limits on banker bonuses would make the highest-paid employees at the biggest banks wait at least four years to receive parts of their annual pay.
(Source: The New York Times, 2016-04-21) Read the full article
Harry Potter’s Visit to the Theater of the Absurd: The NLRB Strikes Again

Michael Blickman

In December 2015, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a report entitled Theater of the Absurd: The NLRB Takes on the Employee Handbook. The report focused on a number of decisions issued by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in which the NLRB found that employers violated the National Labor Relations Act by adopting work rules that most employers would consider common and innocuous.

For example, the NLRB found that employers violated federal law by adopting handbook policies requiring employees to act courteously, rules to protect sensitive confidential and proprietary information, and even at-will employment policies. In those decisions, the NLRB relied on its interpretation of Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act. That section of the law protects an employee’s right to engage in “concerted activity” for “mutual aid or protection.” The NLRB has stated that a rule is unlawful under the National Labor Relations Act if an employee would “reasonably” think that the rule would prohibit him or her from engaging in concerted protected activity.

Read more here.


CFPB Enters the Data Security Enforcement Arena

Albert Lin & Eric McKeown

A new regulator has joined the list of entities – including the FTC, the SEC, and State Attorneys General – that have brought enforcement proceedings against companies with respect to their data-security practices. In March 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) announced that it had settled an enforcement action with an Iowa-based digital-payments processing company, Dwolla, Inc. (the “Company”), related to allegedly deceptive statements regarding the Company’s data-security practices. Established pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, the CFPB has regulatory authority related to the provision of certain consumer financial products and services. The CFPB’s first foray into this area signals to providers of consumer financial products and services that regulatory scrutiny of their data security practices may be increasing.

Read more here.


Helping Your Employees to Quit Smoking May Reduce Your Workers’ Compensation Costs

Jennifer McDaniel

Smoking can increase the risk and severity of musculoskeletal injuries and occupational illness. Businesses pay an average of $2,189 in workers’ compensation costs for smokers, compared with $176 for nonsmokers[1]. You can help your employees quit smoking by offering information through a health care provider, individual counseling and incentive programs, such as a reimbursement for smoking cessation programs.


[1] Musich S, Napier D, Edington D. The association of health risks with workers' compensation costs. JOEM. 2001;43(6):534-541.


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