If Congress Can’t Comply With OSHA, How Can the Rest of Us?

Good question, and the answer is probably that complying with the regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) probably requires constant vigilance. An Office of Compliance inspection recently showed that 70 percent of all Congressional offices exhibit employee workplace safety violations. The good news is that most of the infractions are minor compared […]

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HHS Begins Listing Medical Record Breaches on Web

As required by law, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has begun publicly listing breaches of private health information (PHI), generally in medical records, when the breach totals 500 or more individuals. Though breach notification rules under HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act) went into effect in September 2009, a […]

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IRS Begins Audit of 6,000 Firms for Misclassification and Other Abuses

As reported here this past November when the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced its plans, the federal tax agency has commenced the first phase of its audit of 6,000 firms of all sizes and industries to root out abuses of executive pay, fringe benefits, record-keeping, and misclassification of employees as independent contractors. The Employment Tax […]

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Warning to Ohio Businesses: House Bill 434 Is a Real Killer

The federal version of the WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) Act affects businesses with 100 or more employees and requires 60 days’ advance notice of layoffs (if they reach a certain level) and of company closings. In lieu of advance notice, the firm can pay 60 days’ wages and benefits on the day of discharge or […]

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EEOC Loses Big and Has to Pay the Piper (Read: Rival Attorneys)

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been ordered to pay $4.56 million in attorneys’ fees and "reasonable" expenses after shoddily pursuing a sexual harassment lawsuit against a trucking firm and losing. In ordering the reparations, Chief Judge Linda Reade of the Northern Division Court of Iowa said the EEOC had "wholly abandoned its statutory […]

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Maine Legislature to Consider Tying Minimum Wage to Inflation

On Thursday, Feb. 18, the Labor Committee of the Maine legislature will hold hearings on a proposed law to tie the state’s minimum wage into the cost-of-living index. The Maine minimum wage currently rests at $7.50 an hour, 25 cents higher than the federal rate. The indexing law was introduced in 2009 by Representative John Tuttle, […]

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Like Other DOL Agencies, OFCCP to Beef Up Enforcement

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is receiving a 33-percent budget increase for fiscal 2011 and will use the money to hire 213 new compliance officers and launch a more rigorous enforcement program. The OFCCP is tasked with monitoring compliance with federal labor laws and regulations by contractors working on federal government contracts. […]

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OSHA Set to Regulate Popcorn Butter

No word yet on what effect it will have on the popcorn you buy in the theater or microwave in a bag at home, but the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is set to regulate the use of diacetyl–the buttery-taste substance in commercial popcorn. Exposure to the chemical’s fumes can cause a horribly debilitating disease […]

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In DOL/IRS Crosshairs: Independent Contractor Misclassifications

The Obama Administration’s fiscal 2011 budget earmarks $25 million for a joint project by the Department of Labor (DOL) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to ferret out employers who abuse the tax code and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by misclassifying as independent contractors those who actually qualify as employees. One of the tests […]

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GINA Could Put Kibosh on Workplace Wellness Programs

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), which took effect Nov. 21, 2009, not only forbids employers and health insurers from collecting individuals’ genetic information and using that in their decision-making; it also prohibits the solicitation of family medical histories, again to prevent discrimination in decision-making. As the Wall Street Journal recently pointed out, however, GINA could […]

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