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Informed Employer: October 10, 2018 Informed Employer: October 10, 2018

Informed Employer: October 10, 2018

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EEOC Sexual Harassment Suits Increased With #MeToo
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said that the number of sexual harassment complaints workers filed with the agency over the past year rose for the first time in nearly a decade, attributing the increase to the #MeToo movement. The commission said the number of complaints, known as charges, filed in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 rose more than 12 percent over the previous year, when it received about 6,700.
(Source: The New York Times, 2018-10-04) Read the full article
Survey Finds Executives Changing Behavior After #MeToo Movement
A third of the more than 1,000 executives surveyed said they've adjusted their behaviors at work to avoid what could be perceived as sexual harassment. But changes may have gone too far in some instances, with men over-correcting and leaving women out of business discussions or mentoring opportunities.
(Source: The Seattle Times, 2018-10-05) Read the full article
More Courts Ruling Against Employers' Marijuana Discrimination
A federal judge last month ruled that a nursing home, which had cited federal laws against pot use, violated an anti-discrimination provision of Connecticut's medical marijuana law. It was the latest in a series of clashes between U.S. and state laws around the country that came out in favor of medical marijuana users trying to keep or obtain jobs with drug-testing employers.
(Source: Chicago Sun-Times, 2018-10-04) Read the full article
States Work to Offer Private Sector Employees Retirement Plans
In the past few years, 10 states -- Maryland, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Washington state, Vermont and Massachusetts, in addition to Oregon, California and Illinois -- have agreed to create a retirement program designed for the private sector, and nearly all other states are considering implementing one. The state plans are Roth individual retirement accounts (Roth IRAs), but employees are able to automatically invest in them through payroll deductions, as they do with 401(k) plans.
(Source: MarketWatch, 2018-10-05) Read the full article
32 Percent of Workers' Total Compensation Coming from Benefits
American workers are receiving a growing share of compensation in the form of benefits rather than wages. The average worker received 32 percent of total compensation in benefits including bonuses, paid leave and company contributions to insurance and retirement plans in the second quarter of 2018, up from 27 percent in 2000, federal data show.
(Source: The New York Times, 2018-09-25) Read the full article
Employers Reining In Use of High-Deductible Health Plans
With workers harder to find and Obamacare's tax on generous coverage postponed, employers are hitting pause on a feature of job-based medical insurance much hated by employees: the high-deductible health plan. Companies have slowed enrollment in such coverage and, in some cases, reinstated more traditional plans as a strong job market gives workers bargaining power over pay and benefits, according to research from three organizations.
(Source: Kaiser Health News, 2018-10-03) Read the full article
Most Employees Using HSAs as Spending Accounts, Survey Finds
Employees by and large are using their HSAs as spending accounts rather than as tax-free long-term savings accounts and many still do not understand how to take advantage of these plans, according to a new survey from Willis Towers Watson. Almost two in three workers (65 percent) are tapping their HSAs to pay for immediate healthcare expenses with only a modest eight percent saving the money for the future.
(Source: Employee Benefit Adviser, 2018-10-04) Read the full article
Employers Who Offer Paid Family, Medical Leave Get Tax Credits
Employers who offer paid family and medical leave to their workers earning up to $72,000 a year can receive tax credits under the new tax law, the government has affirmed. The Treasury Department issued guidelines for the tax credit, which is available to employers for leave paid this year and next.
(Source: The Seattle Times, 2018-09-24) Read the full article
Corporations Offer Community College Programs to Grow Workforce
Google is taking its influence directly to the classroom with an information technology program that offers an eight-month long online certificate program aimed at supplying in demand IT workers for a growing industry. Google isn't the only major corporation taking the initiative on training its future workforce.
(Source:, 2018-10-02) Read the full article
Women Still Have to Take on More Menial Tasks at Work Than Men
Women are more likely than men to do "non-promotable tasks," or tasks that are beneficial to the organization but that do not result in career advancement, a study from Hive, a project management platform used by companies like Starbucks, Uber and WeWork found. Women are assigned 55 percent of work in the office and do 10 percent more work than men.
(Source: MarketWatch, 2018-10-08) Read the full article
So You Think You Aren’t the Employer, Huh?

Germaine Winnick Willett

Businesses today must be innovative, creative, and nimble. Competition is fierce in our fast-paced and technology-driven world, which naturally causes companies to look for ways to cut costs and thereby increase profits. It comes as no surprise, then, that many businesses relegate certain tasks to independent contractors. It’s a no-brainer, right? You can get the same service for less money and avoid the administrative burdens that come with employing an employee. So where do some companies go wrong?
A recent case serves as a good reminder about the potential risks. As the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit stated in Frey v. Hotel Coleman, it has long been the law that an employee can have more than one employer. Think about that for a moment. The laws and ordinances that prohibit employment discrimination protect an “employee” against discrimination by his or her “employer.” As the Frey case demonstrates, the entity that pays the employee’s wages is very likely the employer, but another entity that actually controls the employee’s work can be the employer, too. That means the employee who alleges he or she has been discriminated against or harassed in some illegal manner at work can pursue the claim against both entities in a charge and, later, a lawsuit.

Read more here.


Communicating Safety with Employees

Ann Stewart

One of the best ways to reduce worker's compensation costs is to develop a safety program, which helps you avoid work injuries. It is useful to remind employees about safety as often as possible. Here are some simple ways to communicate the importance of safety:

Safety Violations.
Post safety rules and provide training to your employees in proper use of safety devices. Have the employees sign off when you provide training. Additionally, it is vital that you enforce the safety rules consistently. If you have to go to hearing, make sure the supervisor has a list of employees who have been written up or otherwise disciplined for failure to abide by the safety rules.

Read more here.


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