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Informed Employer: March 1, 2017 Informed Employer: March 1, 2017

Informed Employer: March 1, 2017

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High Court to Consider Scope of EEOC Probes into Bias Charges
The scope of EEOC investigations into discrimination charges against companies will have its day before the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court's decision is relevant to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and potentially for other federal agencies -- including the National Labor Relations Board -- that investigate employers, unions and employment agencies and may seek to enforce their own subpoenas in federal court.
(Source: BNA, 2017-02-21) Read the full article
White House Outlines Two Key Principles for H-1B Reform
A top White House adviser outlined two key principles underlying the administration's approach to H-1B reform. It wants a system requiring employers to first consider U.S. workers for a job before hiring visa-holding workers, and it intends to distribute H-1B visas under a "merit-based" system.
(Source: Computerworld, 2017-02-13) Read the full article
Sanctuary Restaurant Movement Aims to Help Undocumented Workers
The Trump administration's crackdown on immigration has rattled the restaurant industry and the millions of foreign-born workers it relies on. To help protect these workers, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (also known as ROC United), a national advocacy group for restaurant workers, has teamed up with restaurant owners across the U.S. to form the sanctuary restaurant movement.
(Source:, 2017-02-20) Read the full article
Gig Economy Has Cities, States Reconsidering Workers' Benefits
As more and more Americans hold nontraditional jobs that don’t have benefits attached -- think freelance graphic designers or Uber drivers -- cities and states are exploring ways to ensure those workers still have access to workers' compensation, unemployment insurance, and other support such as help paying for health insurance. Think tanks and some tech and labor leaders have called for truly "portable" accounts that travel with the worker no matter how he or she earns money.
(Source: Insurance Journal, 2017-02-23) Read the full article
Waning 'Right-to-Work' Laws Could Boost Union Membership Decline
Last year, the total share of U.S. workers who belong to a union fell to 10.7 percent, a record low, and that number could go a lot lower in the next few years. Following decades of declining membership, unions face an existential crisis as right-to-work laws, being pushed at state and federal levels, would ban their ability to collect mandatory fees from the workers they represent, a key source of revenue for organized labor.
(Source: Bloomberg, 2017-02-16) Read the full article
New Tech, Including Wearables, Impacting Workers' Comp Programs
New technologies are improving workers' compensation programs in everything from communications and training to health care delivery and claims, according to experts. Wearable technology is also having an impact.
(Source: Insurance Journal, 2017-02-22) Read the full article
More Firms Looking at Well-Being of Workers Instead of Wellness
Employers are looking to move beyond wellness programs that focus solely on obesity, diabetes and exercise to a holistic well-being approach that focuses on emotional and fiscal health. The overall well-being of employees -- from student debt relief programs for millennials to work-life balance -- is spurring employers to look for new vendors that offer more than traditional wellness programs.
(Source: EBN, 2017-02-23) Read the full article
Millennials, Especially Women, Adding Mental Health Days at Work
A growing body of research suggests that young workers are increasingly adding mental health days to their personal days, and young women are particularly at risk. Millennials report higher rates of depression than any other generation and are now the biggest sector of the workforce, creating new challenges in work culture and mental health treatment.
(Source: MarketWatch, 2017-02-14) Read the full article
Companies Finding Employees with 'Soft Skills' Hard to Come By
Intangible skills -- such as being a good communicator and team player -- are becoming just as sought after by employers as the technical skills to do a job, but companies say candidates with these "soft skills" can be hard to find. In a LinkedIn survey last year, hiring managers said it was difficult to attract people with the right soft skills for 59 percent of their open jobs.
(Source: Newsday, 2017-02-26) Read the full article
Survey Finds More Employees Do At Least Some of Work Remotely
More American employees are working remotely, and they're doing so for longer periods of time, according to a Gallup survey. Last year, 43 percent of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely, according to the survey of more than 15,000 adults, representing a four percentage point increase since 2012, a shift that meets the demands of many job seekers.
(Source: The New York Times, 2017-02-15) Read the full article
Health Law Developments for 2017

Please join Ice Miller for the webinar “Health Law Developments for 2017” on March 15 from 12-1:30 p.m. EST, led by Ice Miller lawyers Jenifer Brown, Margaret Emmert, Sherry Fabina-Abney, David Nie, Christopher Sears, Myra Selby, Kris Dawley and Kevin Woodhouse. The webinar will both look back at 2016 and look ahead at changes coming to health care policy. Topics will include the potential repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, MACRA developments, peer review, immigration updates and more.

Register here.

You can also view upcoming Labor and Employment webinars here.



Time to Reexamine Your Thinking about Workplace Harassment

Germaine Winnick-Willett

Sexual harassment lawsuits made headlines in 2016. The high-profile claims likely attracted the attention of employees everywhere and may have heightened public awareness of the issue. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently issued a proposed Enforcement Guidance on Unlawful Harassment. The EEOC will take comments from the public regarding the content of the proposed Enforcement Guidance until March 21, 2017, after which it may make revisions and will issue a final version replacing the prior Guidance on the topic.

Read more here.


Random OSHA Inspections – Be Prepared


OSHA will continue relying upon studies indicating benefits to employers that received a random occupational safety & health inspection, and to the employees of those entities. Specifically, OSHA has interpreted the studies as reflecting benefits of approximately a 10% reduction in annual injuries, while the employers benefited from a significant reduction in the cost of injuries. Equally telling, the studies failed to reflect any negative impact on wages, employment, or a company’s survival following any such random inspection. The primary study matched businesses that received random OSHA inspections with similar businesses that did not. Put simply, companies should be prepared for on-site inspections, as it is readily apparent that OSHA will continue to employ all available resources to seek compliance through its enforcement authority.


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