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Informed Employer: January 16, 2019 Informed Employer: January 16, 2019

Informed Employer: January 16, 2019

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House Rules Package Includes Ban on LGBTQ Hiring Discrimination
Three major changes differentiate this year's House rules package: a ban on members serving on corporate boards, a requirement that members take ethics training every year and a ban on employment discrimination against LGBTQ staffers and jobseekers. The rules package was pushed by Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., one of eight openly LGBTQ lawmakers in the House.
(Source:, 2019-01-07) Read the full article
Tech Employees Launch Campaign to End Forced Arbitration
A group of Google employees is taking to Instagram and Twitter to pressure tech companies to change their practices related to workplace harassment in the tech industry. The campaign aims to highlight the problems with companies using forced arbitration agreements, a common clause buried in employment contracts that strips workers of their right to take their employers to court over issues in the workplace.
(Source: Recode, 2019-01-14) Read the full article
Judge Grants States' Request to Block Birth Control Mandate
A judge in California partially blocked a set of Trump administration rules that allows employers to opt out of providing health insurance that covers women's birth control from taking effect. The rules allow businesses or nonprofits to obtain exemptions to an Obamacare requirement for contraceptive coverage on moral or religious grounds.
(Source: Reuters, 2019-01-13) Read the full article
Paychex Identifies 10 Regulatory Issues Employers Face in 2019
Sexual harassment prevention is the top regulatory issue that employers should be aware of in 2019, according to Paychex. The company listed the current, most impactful laws and regulations and the anticipated changes that employers should consider as they plan for the year ahead.
(Source: Staffing Industry Analysts, 2019-01-08) Read the full article
Drug Use in Workforce Increased by Double-Digits Over Two Years
While many companies are dealing with drug use in the workplace, the increase over the past two years is steep. Between 2015 and 2017, drug used increased by double-digits, as reported recently by Quest Diagnostics. The company reviewed data from more than ten million urine drug test results in five U.S. industry sectors.
(Source: EHS Today, 2019-01-04) Read the full article
Firms Providing Wellness Programs Retain Workers, Even If Unused
Employees are loyal to companies with expansive wellness programs -- even if they never actually take advantage of them. Companies providing access to more than seven employee health and wellness programs are nearly twice as likely to retain current employees, according to a survey by health services company Optum.
(Source: Employee Benefit News, 2019-01-14) Read the full article
Employers Recognizing Palliative Care Strategy as Cost Effective
In September, Catalyst for Payment Reform, a nonprofit organization that works on behalf of large employers, and the Center to Advance Palliative Care released a guide to help employers develop a palliative care strategy and educate them on what it is and how it can help patients and caregivers. These cost savings are catching the eye of employers, who recognize that while just a small fraction of employees have serious illnesses, most of their health care dollars are going toward their treatment, according to Allison Silvers, vice president of payment and policy at the Center to Advance Palliative Care.
(Source: Workforce, 2019-01-11) Read the full article
More Employers Offering Pet Insurance as Perk for Younger Workers
More startups, which are trying to hire in-demand talent in a hurry, are adding pet insurance to an ever-growing menu of perks that includes catered lunches, unlimited vacation, discounts on gym memberships, commuting costs and legal and identity-theft insurance. Pet insurance is another example of how employers are pushing the envelope on perks in a full-employment economy.
(Source: Crain's Chicago Business, 2019-01-11) Read the full article
Flu Season Could Cost Businesses $17B in Lost Productivity
Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimates that this year's flu season will cost U.S. businesses some $17 billion in lost productivity. Challenger estimates that 20 million U.S. workers could take four eight-hour days away from work this year as a result of the flu.
(Source: 24/7WallSt, 2019-01-10) Read the full article
Ohio Employers: Medical Marijuana Is Here

Paul Bittner
Paul Bittner

Physicians in Ohio are now permitted to “recommend” medical marijuana for 21 different medical conditions. Physicians can only “recommend” medical marijuana, as it is not a prescription drug. As a matter of fact, under federal law, marijuana is still considered a Schedule I controlled substance. Just as a refresher, a Schedule I controlled substance is one that has “no currently accepted medical use” and “a high potential for abuse.” Not only is marijuana on this list, but it’s there with drugs of abuse, such as heroin, LSD and ecstasy.

This week, a dispensary in the small village of Wintersville, near Steubenville, will make history by selling, barring any last minute delays, the first medical marijuana recommended by physicians in Ohio. More than 3,000 Ohio residents already have medical marijuana cards, which demonstrate a physician has recommended it for treatment of a medical condition. Medical marijuana can’t be legally smoked in Ohio. However, it can be vaped, which seems to be a popular trend for nicotine nowadays. It can also be sold as an edible, tincture, pill and some other preparations.

What is an employer to do when an employee shows up at work with some gummi bears or a brownie? What happens when an employee tests positive for THC on a pre-employment drug test and offers a copy of the “recommendation” from his or her physician? Does the employer have to provide a reasonable accommodation?

Read more here.


How is U.S. Immigration Impacted by the Government Shutdown?

Jenifer Brown Christl Glier Areeba Ghouri
Jenifer Brown, Christl Glier and Areeba Ghouri

The December 21, 2018 federal government shutdown is now the longest in American history. The partial shutdown is the result of a decades-long disagreement around border wall funding along our southern border. The exact impact of the shutdown on each of the immigration-related agencies is varied and continues to evolve based on the source of funding. Ironically, with the partial government shutdown, immigration backlogs have dramatically increased across the immigration court system. For employers, the most immediate and greatest impact of the shutdown is on the federal E-Verify system, which is intended to help stifle illegal immigration by giving employers greater access to electronic records related to the identity and employment eligibility of their employees.

Read more here.


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