OSHA Fines Double for Serious Violations

Even though the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) top dog thinks they're still too low, fines for serious violations by the agency in 2011 shot up to $2,132 from $1,053 a year earlier, thanks to a legislative tweak that reduced the number of penalty reductions available to employers for factors such as the number […]

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DOL’s FMLA Forms Expired on Dec. 31 But Can Still Be Used

According to the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) must approve all federal government forms and assign them expiration dates. Thus the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) forms issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) in 2008 (when new regulations were issued) on Dec. 31, […]

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Veterans Employment Law Adds Harassment Protection to USERRA

As part of the Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) Act signed Nov. 21 by President Obama, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act (USERRA) has been amended to provide protection against harassment for service members in their civilian jobs. Prior to VOW, courts had found it unclear if USERRA offered harassment (hostile work environment) protection […]

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DOL Funding Up, but Actually Down from Last Year–Restrictions Apply

The House and Senate have both passed a fiscal 2012, $14.5-billion appropriations bill for the Department of Labor (DOL) that represents $145.4 million in additional funding. Since those additional funds derive solely from a provision to fully finance the Job Corps, however, the DOL is actually receiving $545.6 million less than fiscal 2011 and $942.2 […]

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DOL Issues NPRM on Minimum Wage, Overtime Pay for Home Health Care Workers

A 1974 ruling by the Department of Labor (DOL) grouped adult home health care workers with teenage babysitters as "companions" not entitled to the wage protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In 2007, the Supreme Court upheld that interpretation, saying it was up to Congress or the DOL to change the interpretation. Yesterday […]

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DOL Issues Proposed Final Rule on Cease and Desist, Seizure of MEWAs

The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a proposed final rule on Multiple Employer Welfare Agreements (MEWAs) regarding provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), allowing the DOL Secretary to issue cease and desist orders and/or seize MEWAs that aren't fulfilling their obligations. A MEWA is an alternative method of providing health […]

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Time to Update Your Employee Handbook for 2012

Human resource and employment law professionals are urging businesses to review their employee handbooks for the upcoming year in light of several changes in the field of social media policy over the past 12 months. As many of you know, the National Labor Relations Board—in addition to mandating a new Employee Rights Poster—has clarified what […]

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Supreme Court to Decide Issue of Pharma Reps’ Overtime Status

Federal appeals courts have ruled differently on the issue of whether pharmaceutical sales representatives are or are not exempt from the overtime pay provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), so today the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider the issue. The case in question is Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham Corp. Christopher and other […]

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EEOC and OFCCP Sign New MOU on Joint Discrimination Case Jurisdiction

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (OFCCP) have signed a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) to settle jurisdictional issues that arise when overlapping discrimination claims are filed. Generally, this occurs when the discrimination charge reported to the OFCCP involves violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights […]

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EBSA Creates New Consumer Web Page for Benefits Assistance

The U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has created a new consumer assistance Web page that provides easy access to useful information and allows users to submit questions and complaints about health and retirement plans electronically. "Helping retirement and health plan participants find answers to questions about their benefits and providing assistance […]

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