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Informed Employer: November 7, 2018 Informed Employer: November 7, 2018

Informed Employer: November 7, 2018

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High Court to Rule on Cases Involving Employees' Right to Sue
It has gotten harder for American workers to bring lawsuits against their employers in recent years, and it could get harder still. The Supreme Court will rule on a number of cases this term over whether workers can bring disputes against their employers in a court of law or if they will have to submit to arbitration behind closed doors.
(Source: CNBC, 2018-10-29) Read the full article
DOJ Says Civil Rights Act Does Not Protect Transgender from Bias
The Department of Justice filed a brief in a case concerning Aimee Stephens, a transgender woman who was fired from a Detroit funeral home after she informed her employer that she was beginning her gender transition. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Stephens and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in March of this year, ruling that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects transgender workers and that an employer's religious beliefs cannot be used to justify discrimination.
(Source:, 2018-10-25) Read the full article
Trump to Allow Companies to Give Employees Money for HRAs
The Trump administration is expanding employers' ability to give workers cash to buy heath care coverage elsewhere, including on the Obamacare exchanges, senior officials announced. The proposed regulation is aimed at broadening the use of health reimbursement arrangements, which are not very well-known.
(Source:, 2018-10-22) Read the full article
EEOC Warns Nursing Homes Not to Ask About Employee Baby Plans
The federal agency in charge of addressing employment discrimination has sternly warned nursing home operators: Don't ask about the next baby of an employee, especially if that person is up for promotion. That’s according to a lawsuit filed in late September against the Glenridge on Palmer Ranch, an upscale retirement community in Sarasota, FL, that offers skilled nursing and other services.
(Source: McKnight's, 2018-11-02) Read the full article
New Rules Allow Small Businesses to Form Association Health Plans
As small business owners shop for 2019 health insurance, some will for the first time have the chance to join forces and buy cheaper insurance -- depending on which state they're in. New rules allow sole proprietors and other business owners without employees to form what are known as association health plans, or AHPs.
(Source: Insurance Journal, 2018-10-29) Read the full article
DOL Proposes Expanding Access to Employer Retirement Plans
The U.S. Labor Department introduced a proposal to expand access to employer-provided retirement plans to facilitate the formation of association retirement plans or multiple employer plans. Under this structure, multiple small businesses can join together to make retirement plans available to their employees.
(Source: Financial Regulation News, 2018-10-25) Read the full article
IRS Increases 401(k) Maximum Contribution to $6,000 in 2019
The Treasury Department has announced inflation-adjusted figures for retirement account savings for 2019, and there are a lot of changes that will help savers stuff these accounts. After six years stuck at $5,500, the amount you can contribute to an Individual Retirement Account is being bumped up to $6,000 for 2019.
(Source:, 2018-11-01) Read the full article
Flu Cost Employers $21 Billion in Lost Productivity Last Season
The flu cost U.S. employers over $21 billion in lost productivity this past flu season, according to an estimate from Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. While it’s not clear yet how bad this season will be, employers are encouraged to take precautionary measures to help reduce the chances of the flu spreading in the workplace.
(Source: Newsday, 2018-10-21) Read the full article
Political Discussions Proving Challenging in Workplace
The divisive nature of U.S. politics is reflected in the workplace, according to a study by Randstad U.S. The data showed that while almost half of respondents enjoy talking politics with colleagues because it helps them understand other viewpoints, 53 percent admit they limit social interactions with co-workers who have differing political beliefs.
(Source:, 2018-10-24) Read the full article
Number of Employers Giving Workers Time Off to Vote Hits Record
According to a survey from Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), in 2018, 44 percent of U.S. employers offer their workers paid time off to vote -- and that's an all-time high. In 2017, 42 percent of employers offered paid time off to vote as a benefit.
(Source: CNBC, 2018-10-31) Read the full article
Workplace Courage in the #MeToo Age

Mike Tooley

The question “am I my brother's keeper?” is the classic example in western tradition of someone attempting to deflect personal responsibility for bad behavior. Applying that ancient question to the challenges of today: what obligations do observers of bad workplace behavior have to take action instead of remaining mere bystanders?

This question has been on the forefront of my mind as a result of a couple of high-profile harassment investigations conducted in the past few years. The first investigation preceded the #MeToo Age and arose out of the unlikely setting of the National Football League when a Miami Dolphins football player named Jonathan Martin accused a pack of other players of tormenting him through bullying and hazing in the locker room. Although punishments were ultimately meted out against the primary offenders for what the NFL deemed a “pattern of harassment,” the sad reality is that Martin was forced to seek psychiatric treatment following the bullying and never played for the Dolphins again after reporting it.

Read more here.


New Proposed Rule on Public Benefits for Foreign Nationals Seeking Immigration Benefits

Jenifer Brown, Christl Glier and Kristin Kelley

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the use of public benefits as a potential ground for inadmissibility for foreign nationals seeking certain immigration benefits. In its release, DHS confirms “(s)elf-sufficiency has long been a basic principle of United States immigration law…” and adds, “public charge has not been defined in statute or regulations, and there has been insufficient guidance on how to determine if an alien … is likely at any time to become a public charge.”[1] (emphasis added) DHS’ proposed rule attempts to adopt several new standards to be used when determining whether an applicant for immigration benefits is likely at any time in the future to become a public charge, and is therefore inadmissible.

Read more here.


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