Informed Employer: What Happened To Confidentiality? Informed Employer: What Happened To Confidentiality?

Informed Employer: What Happened To Confidentiality?

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High Court Mulls Collective Bargaining Health Care Benefits Case
The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in a case that has implications for employers that provide retiree health care benefits subject to a collective bargaining agreement. The case, M&G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett, involves the so-called "Yard-Man presumption," which infers that the duration of retirement health insurance benefits established under a collective bargaining agreement applies to the lifetimes of covered retirees if the collective bargaining agreement is silent on the issue.
(Source:, 2014-11-10) Read the full article
Appeals Court Rules Against Religious Objection to Contraception
In a win for the Obama administration on insurance coverage for contraception under Obamacare, a U.S. appeals court ruled that Catholic non-profit groups' religious rights were not violated by a compromise already achieved on the volatile issue. Catholic groups had sued over the compromise, saying they should not have to pay for or facilitate access to contraception or abortion, but a judge wrote in the ruling that under the compromise, "the regulations do not compel them to do that."
(Source: Reuters, 2014-11-14) Read the full article
Employees Fighting Back Against Growing 401(k) Fees with Lawsuits
In many retirement plans, a significant amount of future retirees' funds are devoured by fees. Growing employee resistance, resulting from a greater awareness of plan costs, has resulted in more than 30 lawsuits against 401(k) plans and employers since 2006.
(Source: The New York Times, 2014-11-07) Read the full article
Higher Life Expectancy of White-Collar Workers Impacts Pensions
White-collar workers -- salaried and non-union members -- have made gains in life expectancy at double the rate of blue-collar workers. Among other consequences, that has lasting effects on pension plans and the fortunes of the ever-shrinking number of people they cover.
(Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, 2014-11-05) Read the full article
Few States Protect Workers from Firing Over Legal Marijuana Use
Your state may be OK with you smoking pot, but that doesn't mean your employer is. Recreational marijuana is now legal in four states, while medical marijuana is legal in 21, but only two of those 21 states have a law on the books that protects workers from getting fired for failing a drug test at work: Arizona and Delaware.
(Source:, 2014-11-09) Read the full article
Voters Approve Mandated Sick Leave in Several States, Cities
With cold and flu season beginning, it's a good time for employers to revisit their company sick leave policies. But it's especially important in places where laws have recently mandated that private companies provide their employees with paid sick days.
(Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, 2014-11-06) Read the full article
Many Minnesota Employers Fumble on 'Ban the Box' Law
"Ban the box" sounded like a simple concept. Companies can no longer ask about a job seeker's criminal history on initial employment applications. But some of the state's marquee employers fumbled the new law, which took effect Jan. 1.
(Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2014-11-17) Read the full article
Disclosing Mental Illness at Work Can Have Repercussions
A 2013 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index found that diagnosed depression alone costs companies an estimated $23 billion annually in absenteeism. And while celebrities and others who have publicized their mental health problems have to some extent reduced the stigma, that is not true in the place people spend most of their waking hours -- on the job.
(Source: The New York Times, 2014-11-14) Read the full article
Blacks, Hispanics Make Up Less Than 3% of Tech Company Execs
Missing on the management teams of major technology companies: Blacks and Hispanics. Of the 307 top executives at 22 companies, six are black and three are Hispanic, a new survey from the Rainbow PUSH Coalition found. That's less than three percent.
(Source: USA Today, 2014-11-13) Read the full article
U.S. Workers Steal More from Employers Than Workers Elsewhere
American workers steal from their employers -- a lot. The Global Retail Theft Barometer released by Checkpoint Systems finds that American employees steal from their employers at significantly higher rates than workers in other countries, with the exception of Argentina.
(Source: MarketWatch, 2014-11-06) Read the full article
What Happened To Confidentiality?


Bob Weisman


The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has been one of the most active governmental agencies addressing employment issues under the Obama administration. The NLRB has increasingly become involved with employers' non-union workplace concerns, particularly those involving social media. However, there has been comparatively less discussion about the Board’s propensity to invalidate employers’ confidentiality restrictions. Perhaps more than any other issue within the Board’s purview, the dissemination of confidential information can seriously impact a company’s bottom line, and its ability to comply with its legal responsibilities under laws related to the National Labor Relations Board.

Read full article here.



Cold Weather Preparedness

The best time to prepare for severe winter weather is now, before temperatures drop significantly, and staying safe and warm becomes a challenge. Workers who work in cold environments may be at risk of cold stress. Extreme cold weather is a dangerous situation that can bring on health emergencies in susceptible people, such as those without shelter, outdoor workers and those who work in an area that is poorly insulated or without heat. Types of cold stress include hypothermia, cold water immersion and frostbite. As such, companies need to take the following measures to guard against cold stress:

  • Schedule cold jobs for the warmer part of the day
  • Provide warm liquids to workers
  • Provide warm areas for use during break periods
  • Provide cold stress training that includes information about:
    • Worker risk;
    • Prevention;
    • Symptoms;
    • Personal Protective Equipment.

Companies should also remind their workers to wear several layers of loose clothing. Layering provides better insulation. Also, workers need to focus on protecting their ears, face, hands and feet from extreme cold weather. Boots should be waterproof and insulated.

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


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