Informed Employer: The Board's New Math: Browning-Ferris And How 2=1 Informed Employer: The Board's New Math: Browning-Ferris And How 2=1

Informed Employer: The Board's New Math: Browning-Ferris And How 2=1

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Court Rules ACA Contraceptive Mandate Burdens Religious Employers
Opponents of a compromise arrangement for providing birth-control coverage to workers at religiously affiliated employers won their first major federal appeals court victory, increasing the chance the contentious issue could find its way back to the Supreme Court. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis said the Obama administration didn't go far enough to accommodate employers with religious objections when creating an alternative system to cover contraception for their workers.
(Source: The Wall Street Journal, 2015-09-17) Read the full article
More Men Taking Legal Action Over Paid Sick Leave for Fatherhood
For decades, women who believed their employers had punished them with lower wages and missed promotions after they became mothers have been filing gender discrimination complaints and bringing lawsuits. Now, as men shoulder more responsibilities at home, they are increasingly taking legal action against employers that they say refuse to accommodate their roles as fathers.
(Source: The New York Times, 2015-09-15) Read the full article
Survey Finds Health Benefit Costs Expected to Increase in 2016
Employers expect another year of health benefit cost increases in 2016, but consumer-directed plans may be helping some companies moderate the increases, according to a Mercer survey. The consulting firm said its survey of more than 1,200 employers showed that the health benefit cost per employee will rise by 4.2 percent on average in 2016 after companies make changes such as raising deductibles or switching carriers.
(Source:, 2015-09-17) Read the full article
Even with Looming 'Cadillac Tax,' Employers Opening Onsite Clinics
Nearly one in three large employers have opened onsite clinics at their companies to increase access to basic primary care services despite the looming "Cadillac tax" on rich benefit plans that is triggering potential cutbacks in other health benefits. But a new analysis from benefits consultancy Mercer shows worksite clinics aren't on the chopping block and are offered at 29 percent of employers with 5,000 or more workers.
(Source:, 2015-09-10) Read the full article
Firms Won't Be Fully Funding Worker Bonuses in 2015, for Fifth Year
For the fifth straight year, U.S. employers won't be fully funding their annual employee bonuses in 2015 -- meaning they expect their annual bonus pools to be below their target levels. They are doing so "even though most of them are having difficulty attracting and retaining top talent," Towers Watson says in a new survey.
(Source:, 2015-09-18) Read the full article
Small Businesses Finding More Options for Less Expensive 401(k)s
Only 14 percent of employers with fewer than 100 employees offer a 401(k) plan, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office. But several technology-driven providers have started offering 401(k) plans in recent years, with a focus on reducing costs and the complex administrative burdens for small employers.
(Source: The New York Times, 2015-09-11) Read the full article
Number of Workplace Fatalities Rose to Highest Level Since 2008
The number of workers whose deaths were tied to their jobs in the U.S. likely rose last year to the highest number since 2008, according to figures by the Labor Department. The number of oil-and-gas-industry workers who died in job-related accidents rose dramatically, continuing a pattern that has troubled worker-safety experts.
(Source: The Wall Street Journal, 2015-09-17) Read the full article
Now HIPAA Compliant, Fitbit Seeks Role in Workplace Wellness
Fitbit just announced a major milestone in its quest to make workplaces healthier. The wearables company is now HIPAA compliant, meaning it can expand its corporate wellness program to more businesses while still keeping information about its customers secure.
(Source: Ars Technica, 2015-09-17) Read the full article
The Board's New Math: Browning-Ferris And How 2=1
Mark W. Ford

Labor Day has come and gone but organized labor is still celebrating its significant victory in the NLRB’s Browning-Ferris decision of August 27, 2015, which held that the individuals employed through Leadpoint were joint employees of both Leadpoint and Browning-Ferris for the purpose of collective bargaining. To make matters worse, the NLRB election ballots were opened recently at the Browning-Ferris facility and the Teamsters buried the now joint employer BFI/Leadpoint by a tally of 73 to 17. The Teamsters announced in something of an understatement that they are looking forward to “negotiating a contract” with the new joint employer “that will ensure the best working conditions” for its members. Given that the member-employees in question were considered employees of Leadpoint until the NLRB’s decision, the process of deciding which component of the new joint employer is responsible for which of the terms and conditions of employment shall assuredly regress into a circus. It does not appear that the Board’s thinking has evolved quite this far ahead. Even the shape of the bargaining table (2-sided or 3-sided) has yet to be sorted out.

The practical meaning of this expansion of the joint employer definition is significant.

Read the full article here.


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>Warning Signs That Warrant Heightened Scrutiny of Workers’ Compensation Claims


  1. Monday Morning Injury: The alleged injury occurs first thing Monday morning or the injury occurs late Friday afternoon, but is not reported until Monday.
  2. Employment Change: The accident occurs shortly before or immediately after the end of a lengthy project; the conclusion of seasonal work; before or after job termination or layoff.
  3. Suspicious Providers: The Claimant’s doctors and/or legal counsel have a history of handling suspicious claims.
  4. No Witnesses: No witnesses to the accident and the Claimant’s own description is not consistent to support the cause of injury.
  5. Conflicting Descriptions: The Claimant’s description of the accident conflicts with the medical history or the First Report of Injury.
  6. History of Claims: The Claimant has a history of numerous, suspicious or litigated claims.
  7. Life Circumstances: Circumstances such as child care issues, commencement of a business venture, home improvement project, attending school, or a supplement to retirement income.

The mere presence of the aforementioned circumstances does not in and of themselves constitute evidence of fraud or abuse. The presence of any one of the enumerated warning signs, however, reflect circumstances that give cause to heightened claim scrutiny.

To learn more, please contact an attorney in Ice Miller’s Workers Compensation Group.


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