Informed Employer: June 21, 2017 Informed Employer: June 21, 2017

Informed Employer: June 21, 2017

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Trump Backs Employers in High Court Worker Arbitration Case
The Trump administration sided with employers in a Supreme Court case over the rights of workers to bring class action lawsuits against companies, court documents showed. Reversing a position staked out earlier by the Obama administration, which backed employees, the administration said in a court filing it would no longer defend the position of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that employment agreements requiring workers to waive their rights to bring class action claims are invalid.
(Source: Reuters, 2017-06-16) Read the full article
States Use 'Contraceptive Equity' Laws to Thwart Federal Rollback
With the future of the Affordable Care Act -- former President Barack Obama's signature health care legislation -- in doubt and the Trump administration planning to roll back the act's mandate that employers cover contraceptives, the battle over birth control is shifting to the states. Currently, 28 states have some type of "contraceptive equity" law, aimed at making birth control cheaper and more accessible.
(Source: The New York Times, 2017-06-09) Read the full article
Employers Face Challenges as Drug Laws Change, Use Rises
An index maintained by Quest Diagnostics, one of the nation's largest workforce testing labs with 10 million samples annually, shows that positive results among workers last year hit a 12-year high, encompassing a spectrum of illicit drugs, including heroin, marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamines. "This says to employers: Don't get complacent," said Barry Sample, senior director of science and technology for Quest.
(Source: The Baltimore Sun, 2017-06-05) Read the full article
PBM Teams with Employers to Prevent Opioid Addiction
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 90 Americans are dying due to opioid overdoses every day. But Express Scripts -- the nation's largest pharmacy benefits manager -- has teamed up with 600 employers and health plans to launch a program aimed at patients that are newly prescribed opioids. According to Express Scripts, two million Americans are addicted to prescribed narcotics, more than 1,000 people are treated each day in emergency rooms for opioid misuse and only three percent of opioids are prescribed by pain specialists.
(Source: Fox Business, 2017-06-07) Read the full article
DOL Rescinds 'Joint-Employer' Guidance Put in Place by Obama
The U.S. Labor Department said it was rescinding the Obama administration's standard for determining when companies are "joint employers" of contract and franchise workers, in the agency's first major shift in labor policy under President Donald Trump. The department, in a statement, said it had withdrawn a 2016 interpretation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that expanded the circumstances under which a business could be held liable for wage-law violations by staffing agencies, contractors, and franchisees.
(Source: Reuters, 2017-06-07) Read the full article
N.Y.C. to Stop Employers From Asking About Salary Histories
Thanks to a new law in New York City, signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio and set to go into effect in early November, Wall Street -- and most other private employers in the city -- will no longer be able to ask prospective employees about their salary history and other compensation. Nor will employers be able to search public records to discover a candidate's payment history.
(Source: The New York Times, 2017-06-13) Read the full article
Trump Signs Executive Order to Expand Apprenticeships
President Donald Trump signed an executive order that will cut back the federal government's role in creating and monitoring apprenticeship programs, a move that the White House says will help fill vacant jobs. The executive order will move the role of developing government-funded apprenticeship programs from the Labor Department to third-party private entities -- including trade groups, labor unions and businesses.
(Source: Politico, 2017-06-15) Read the full article
Advocates Tell EEOC Age Bias Still Prominent in Workforce
Age-related discrimination in the workplace still exists 50 years after the enactment of legislation designed to prevent it, aging experts and advocates told the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The agency receives about 20,000 age discrimination complaints each year, said Victoria Lipnic, acting EEOC chair.
(Source: The Portland Press Herald, 2017-06-14) Read the full article
Employers Hope Apps Might Help Workers Report Harassment Claims
Organizations are hoping that victims of workplace misconduct might find apps more natural than hotlines and less intimidating than reporting in person -- and as a result be more likely to come forward. A meta-analysis of studies from 2008 found that less than a third of people who said they had been harassed at work ever reported it at all, and only two percent to 13 percent filed a formal complaint with HR or an outside entity.
(Source: Bloomberg, 2017-06-13) Read the full article
Report Finds Employer Medical Costs Starting to Slow
PwC's Health Research Institute's annual report, "Behind the Numbers," analyzes medical cost trends -- the projected percentage increase in the cost to treat patients from one year to the next -- in the employer insurance market. Analysts project the industry will see a 6.5 percent growth rate in 2018, half a percentage point higher than in 2017.
(Source: Fierce Healthcare, 2017-06-13) Read the full article
 
 
 
Headlines
The 2016 Overtime Rules: Did They Ever Really Go Away?


Paul Bittner

Employers remember 2016 for more than just a presidential election. It was also the year the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued new overtime rules that would affect millions of American workers in all industries. The DOL’s new rules, which were to be effective December 1, 2016, increased the minimum salary required for the white-collar exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The DOL’s new rules set the minimum weekly salary at $913 ($47,476 annually). Under the old DOL rules, the minimum salary was only $455 per week ($23,660 annually). Employers carefully planned for this significant change. This included not only reclassifying jobs that were exempt from overtime to non-exempt and eligible for overtime, but also restructuring job duties, consolidating positions, changing business models, and even in some cases, increasing salaries to meet the new threshold.
 
All of this planning came to a halt on November 22, 2016, a little over a week before the DOL’s new rules were to become effective. In State of Nevada v. U.S. Dept. of Labor, Judge Amos Mazzant of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued a nationwide preliminary injunction that prohibited the DOL from implementing and enforcing the new overtime rules. This decision surprised experts on both sides of the issue, and as a result, many employers did not move forward with planned changes or reversed changes that had already been implemented. One of these employers was Chipotle Mexican Grill. Chipotle has now found itself on the wrong end of a lawsuit filed by employees affected by the reversal.

Read more here.

 

Avoid Heat-Related Injuries


Jennifer McDaniel

Employees who spend most of their working hours outdoors or in extreme heat are at increased risk for heat-related injuries including heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The most common signs of heat exhaustion include:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Fainting
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which can result in permanent brain damage or death. If you have employees who work outside, you may need to make some adjustments and monitor your employees for heat-related injuries. Employers can help prevent heat exhaustion/stroke by calling work off or shortening shifts on extremely hot and humid days, providing extra breaks in air conditioned areas, equipping machinery with air conditioning and providing water and shade in the work area. Employees suffering from heat exhaustion should get out of the heat immediately, drink plenty of non-caffeinated fluids, remove any restrictive clothing and, if possible, take a cool shower.

 

 
 
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