NLRA Celebrates Its 80th Anniversary

On July 5, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) into existence, and along with it, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

On the observance of the law’s 80th anniversary, current NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce noted:

Enacted in midst of the Great Depression, the National Labor Relations Act gave workers an avenue to join together to improve their wages and working conditions. The ability to organize and bargain collectively put more money in the pockets of workers while helping build — and maintain — the middle-class.  Through good times and bad, the act has offered workers a voice in their workplace and promoted industrial peace. Our country and workplaces have changed over the last eight decades, but the need for the act has remained a constant.


If you own or operate a small to medium-sized business, managing all your employees plus meeting federal labor laws and regulations can be daunting, especially with new rules being issued all the time. To help you understand your rights and responsibilities in every facet of running a business, please order a copy of Personnel Concepts’ All-On-One HR Compliance Program for Small Businesses.



NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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EEOC to Celebrate 50th Anniversary with Employment Discrimination Confab

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will hold a meeting today, July 1, at 9:30 a.m. (Eastern Time), at agency headquarters, 131 M Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. The meeting, entitled “EEOC at 50: Progress and Continuing Challenges in Eradicating Employment Discrimination,” will be open to public observation and commemorates the agency’s 50th anniversary on July 2.

At the meeting, the commission will hear from invited panelists about persistent and evolving forms of discrimination that continue in today’s workplaces as well as about employment practices that can reduce barriers to equal opportunity. The following panelists are confirmed to speak:

  • Solon Barocas, research associate, Center for Information Technology, Princeton University
  • The Honorable Cari M. Dominguez, former Chair, EEOC, senior vice president and chief talent and diversity officer, Loma Linda University Health
  • Ronald Edwards, director, Program Research and Surveys Division, EEOC – newly added witness
  • Jocelyn Frye, senior fellow, Center for American Progress
  • Darrell S. Gay, partner, Arent Fox LLP
  • Rachel D. Godsil, professor, Seton Hall University School of Law
  • Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, professor, University of Massachusetts-Amherst

In conjunction with this meeting, the agency will announce the release of American Experiences Versus American Expectations. The report is an update of the groundbreaking 1977 EEOC report Black Experiences Versus Black Expectations and uses EEOC data to examine changes in participation rates of minorities in the American workforce from 1966 to 2013.


If you own or operate a small to medium-sized business, managing all your employees plus meeting federal labor laws and regulations can be daunting, especially with new rules being issued all the time. To help you understand your rights and responsibilities in every facet of running a business, please order a copy of Personnel Concepts’ All-On-One HR Compliance Program for Small Businesses.



NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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Obama Plan More Than Doubles Overtime Exemption Qualification

President Obama last night unveiled his long-awaited proposed overtime exemption rule, enabling those who earn up to $970 a week, or $50,440 a year, to be eligible for time-and-a-half when working more than 40 hours in a week. The current minimum salary exemption (free from overtime) is $455 a week, or $23,660 a year.

“Right now,” the president’s announcement in The Huffington Post notes, “too many Americans are working long days for less pay than they deserve.” The change would restore the threshold in purchasing power to where it stood in 1975, the presidential op-ed piece claims.

The rule is part of the administration’s power under the overtime provisions of 1938’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), but will no doubt be challenged in court anyway.

The rule must still undergo the normal rulemaking process, including being published in the Federal Register and being opened for public commentary, and most likely will not take effect before 2016.

[This morning the Department of Labor (DOL) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on the overtime proposal, but you have to scroll to page 8 to find the figures Obama refers to.]


If you own or operate a small to medium-sized business, managing all your employees plus meeting federal labor laws and regulations can be daunting, especially with new rules being issued all the time. To help you understand your rights and responsibilities in every facet of running a business, please order a copy of Personnel Concepts’ All-On-One HR Compliance Program for Small Businesses.



NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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SCOTUS Upholds Same-Sex Marriage Under the 14th Amendment

The Supreme Court has just issued a historic ruling upholding same-sex marriages in all states under the guarantees of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Judge Anthony Kennedy, who has long been a champion of marriage for all, wrote the opinion in the 5-4 ruling. Chief Justice John Roberts, who yesterday was in vocal support of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) ruling, dissented.

The Supreme Court’s ruling reads:

The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State.

The ruling is available here.


If you own or operate a small to medium-sized business, managing all your employees plus meeting federal labor laws and regulations can be daunting, especially with new rules being issued all the time. To help you understand your rights and responsibilities in every facet of running a business, please order a copy of Personnel Concepts’ All-On-One HR Compliance Program for Small Businesses.



NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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SCOTUS Upholds Obamacare Subsidies

The Supreme Court has handed President Obama a second victory in his signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), ruling that premium subsidies should be available to both federal and state health insurance enrollees despite ACA language saying subsidies would be available only on exchanges “established by the state.”

“Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority decision.

Today’s ruling follows a near-death experience for the ACA in 2012 when only a last-minute change of heart by the same Chief Justice John Roberts saved Obamacare from unconstitutionality.

The 6-to-3 decision in King v. Burwell saw only its three most conservative members — Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito — offering up nay votes.

The SCOTUS ruling upholds a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in July 2014 that found the language in the ACA “ambiguous” enough to be subject to “multiple interpretations,” thus preserving the IRS interpretation that subsidies should be available on all health care marketplaces, both federal and state.


For the full story on how the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) affects your business, no matter how large or small, please obtain a copy of our comprehensive yet easy-to-follow Affordable Care Act Compliance Kit.



NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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Ikea Follows One Minimum Wage Hike with Another for Next Year

A minimum wage hike in January brought the wage floor at Ikea’s U.S. stores to at least $10 an hour, and now with another hike announced for next January, the floor is set to rise to almost $12 an hour.

Currently, Ikea U.S. is using the MIT Living Wage Calculator to determine wage floors in each locale. The calculator takes into account the local cost of rent, food, transportation and other costs to determine a minimum wage. In 2016, using this same measuring system, the average Ikea minimum wage across the U.S. will be $11.87 an hour, the company said.

Rob Olson, chief financial officer for Ikea U.S., said the company is seeing a reduction in turnovers by 5 percent and an increase in more qualified job seekers since the first hike went into effect.

“We’re very pleased so far,” Olson said.


If you own or operate a small to medium-sized business, managing all your employees plus meeting federal labor laws and regulations can be daunting, especially with new rules being issued all the time. To help you understand your rights and responsibilities in every facet of running a business, please order a copy of Personnel Concepts’ All-On-One HR Compliance Program for Small Businesses.



NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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EEOC Has Preventing Workplace Retaliation in Its Sights

Addressing retaliation is good for businesses and for workers, a panel of experts told the commissioners of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) during a meeting held recently.

“Effective strategies, such as customized training and timely intervention, are critical to prevent and correct workplace retaliation,” said EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang. “Such efforts benefit workers and employers and make good business sense.”

Claims of retaliation are the most frequent charges filed with the EEOC, accounting for almost 43 percent of all claims filed in 2014. Raymond L. Peeler, EEOC senior attorney advisor said: “[R]etaliation is the linchpin for all civil rights enforcement. If employees fear the repercussions of filing a charge or complaint, then their rights are unlikely to be enforced.”

(more…)


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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NLRB and Columbian Minister Sign Memorandum of Understanding

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) designed to promote awareness among Colombian workers, their employers and business owners of their rights and responsibilities under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

The NLRA covers most private sector workers and business owners in the United States regardless of immigration status. To date, the agency has entered into three other such formal agreements with foreign ministries aimed at providing education, outreach and training to foreign workers, their employers, and business owners residing in the U.S.

The announced framework lays the groundwork for collaboration between the NLRB and the Colombian Ministry in D.C., as well as consulates across the country to improve awareness within the Colombian community working in the U.S. Specifically, the MOU outlines that the parties will coordinate with one another to develop resources and plans to provide training and outreach across the country.


If you own or operate a small to medium-sized business, managing all your employees plus meeting federal labor laws and regulations can be daunting, especially with new rules being issued all the time. To help you understand your rights and responsibilities in every facet of running a business, please order a copy of Personnel Concepts’ All-On-One HR Compliance Program for Small Businesses.



NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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Medicare Fraud Sweep Bags 243 on Charges of $712 Million in False Billing

A nationwide sweep led by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force in 17 districts has resulted in charges against 243 individuals, including 46 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals, for their alleged participation in Medicare fraud schemes involving approximately $712 million in false billings.

In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also suspended a number of providers using its suspension authority as provided in the Affordable Care Act. This coordinated takedown is the largest in Strike Force history, both in terms of the number of defendants charged and the loss amount, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The defendants are charged with various health care fraud-related crimes, including conspiracy to commit health care fraud, violations of the anti-kickback statutes, money laundering and aggravated identity theft. The charges are based on a variety of alleged fraud schemes involving various medical treatments and services, including home health care, psychotherapy, physical and occupational therapy, durable medical equipment (DME) and pharmacy fraud.

More than 44 of the defendants arrested are charged with fraud related to the Medicare prescription drug benefit program known as Part D, which is the fastest-growing component of the Medicare program overall.


If you own or operate a small to medium-sized business, managing all your employees plus meeting federal labor laws and regulations can be daunting, especially with new rules being issued all the time. To help you understand your rights and responsibilities in every facet of running a business, please order a copy of Personnel Concepts’ All-On-One HR Compliance Program for Small Businesses.



NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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HHS Fattens Pot for Health Insurers

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced yesterday that it was “pleased” to up its reimbursements to insurance companies to 100 percent for individual health claim costs that fall between $45,000 and $250,000. The original contribution level under the reinsurance provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was 80 percent.

The move is made possible by an abundance of unused funds in the ACA’s reinsurance pool, into which the insurers themselves must contribute. The program is designed to keep a lid of health insurance premiums by “providing payments to health insurance issuers that cover higher cost populations in the individual market.”

The program collected $8.7 billion for the pool in 2014 and paid out $1.2 billion to insurers in the first half of that year. To be eligible, a health plan must be non-grandfathered.


For the full story on how the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) affects your business, no matter how large or small, please obtain a copy of our comprehensive yet easy-to-follow Affordable Care Act Compliance Kit.



NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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