September’s Here, and So (Probably) Is E-Verify (Finally)

Despite the united efforts of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and politicians trolling for the future votes of (suddenly amnestied) illegal immigrants, the Department of Labor is implementing the Bush-era mandate for contractors to use E-Verify. Everything E-Verify (unless delayed again or even canceled) thus takes hold a week from today, on Sept. 8, 2009.

E-Verify is an online system that checks Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) databases to determine if a person is legally authorized to work in the United States. It is used in concert with the United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) form I-9, which must be held by all employers for all their employees in the United States.

The much-delayed Bush regulation was assailed because it requires those with federal contracts of $100,000 or more (and subcontractors with contracts of $3,000 or more) to E-Verify all current and future employees.

The Chamber and others instituted legal proceedings, claiming that the E-Verify enabling legislation did not provide for mandated use. The U.S. District Court of Maryland, however, rejected all opposition claims and affirmatively categorized federal contracts as “voluntary,” so that E-Verify usage could be rejected by not applying for the contract (and thus its use could not be considered as mandated).

Ironically, several states have long required E-Verify usage, and businesses have learned to live with it.

Personnel Concepts has a comprehensive I-9 Compliance Kit that will help all employers, whether using E-Verify or not, to comply with federal employment verification laws.


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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Off the Radar and Off the Clock: Some FLSA Misconceptions

We’ve just posted a new white paper in that section on the Personnel Concepts new Web site entitled “Popular Misconceptions,” in which we examine the ingenious ways that employers seek to stay off the overtime-pay radar of the Department of Labor (DOL).

Let’s look at one of those methods: Say Employer A sends 20 hourly employees to training on a Saturday. He calls it “voluntary,” but the employees sense that they’d better go or suffer the consequences.

Calling it “voluntary” and “off the clock,” Business A Head Owner Guy says he doesn’t have to pay overtime for the extra day of work beyond 40 hours that week.

What does the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) and DOL say?

Wrong! Since the employees felt pressure to attend, and since the benefits of their attending fell mainly on the company, all 20 of them deserve time-and-a-half for the training.

Let’s put it this way: About the only way an employer can send employees to training and avoid paying them is to say something like, “Okay, go study whatever you like this weekend and I’ll pay for it.” The workers head off to yoga, meditation, screenwriting and start-your-own-business classes voluntarily and without benefit primarily to the company. Since Head Boss is a Nice Guy, he doesn’t have to pay them overtime.

For more information, check out the white paper.


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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Welcome to the New Personnel Concepts Blog

If you’re here, you probably visited the redesigned Personnel Concepts Web site and saw a blog tab and hit it.

Anywhere, you’re here, so a few words of welcome are in order.

For months, we’ve been blogging with Blogger and WordPress and experimenting with every wild thought on labor law and OSHA (and a few other topics) to try to drum up some interest in a rather mundane set of topics. In fact, some of those postings have been imported into here (and sanitized at times!).

Now that the redesigned parent site for Personnel Concepts has gone live (over the weekend), we’ll be shifting attention to the company’s official blog–this one–and keep you up to date–and sometimes behind the scenes–as the federal and state governments rewrite and create new laws and regulations.


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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Site Opposing EFCA Creates ‘Card Checked the Game’

The site called “What Is EFCA?” is pretty gnarly looking, but it’s offering a new take on the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) with a somewhat interactive presentation called “Card Checked the Game.”

Behind the site and game, evidently, are two groups called Americans for Tax Reform and Alliance for Worker Freedom. No idea who they are.


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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Has the Republic Windows Recovery Door Slammed Shut?

Vice President Joe Biden even visited the factory to proclaim a great victory for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), and the new owners pledged to hire back everyone laid off in December 2008.

However, despite plans for Republic Windows and Doors to be back in full operation by May or June 2009, the Chicago-based factory has so far managed to hire only 15 or so of the 240 workers let go when the previous owner shut the place down and moved to a non-union site.

Serious Materials, a California firm, early this year bought Republic in hopes of producing green doors and windows to meet demand from the weatherization subsidy in ARRA. So far, not much in the way of orders has trickled in, however, leaving the firm with a truncated workforce.

Was Serious just being too optimistic? Time will tell, but you can read the full story here.


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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Number of Mass Layoffs Recede in June from Record High

Mass layoffs of 50 or more employees receded in June to 2,763 events, down 170 from May’s record high. In all, the June layoffs resulted in 279,231 new filings for unemployment insurance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced on July 23.

Thus, over the year so far, the number of mass layoff events has increased by 1,046 and initial claims from those events by 104,483. From the start of the recession in December 2007, there have been 39,822 such events, with initial claims totaling 4,090,538, the BLS added.

Mass layoffs are regulated under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), which provides for 60 days’ advance notice for those affected.

The current recession has also seen the number of terminated employees’ discrimination and retaliation filings and lawsuits increase dramatically. Employers, you don’t want to put yourself at jeopardy by not carrying out smart and legal layoffs, and Personnel Concepts has provided just the right tool for your legal compliance in its Workforce Reduction Compliance Kit. Get yours today.


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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To Save Their Factory, They Had to Destroy It

Or some such reasoning, if such a thing (reasoning) can be said to apply to French workers and politics.

I’ve blogged before about how terminated French employees will often hold their bosses hostage until a more suitable severance package is offered. As it turns out, “more suitable” has now been defined as 30,000 euros ($53,000) and hostage-taking has been replaced by explosive-wielding-and-threatening, to wit:

A French construction equipment plant owned by U.S.-based Oshkosh Corporation has agreed to boost severance packages for laid-off workers who threatened to blow up machinery, employers say. While only 53 workers are affected, each was guaranteed up to 30,000 euros ($53,000) in severance pay. The incident occurred during a week in which unions at three different French factories used threats of explosions to get their complaints heard.

In other such violent encounters, as at this one, French police refused to intervene.

If Obama and the laborcrats get their way, this is what America will soon be like, except here you can expect the bombs will actually be exploded.


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 Says Age Discrimination Claims Are Up 30 Percent

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is so concerned about the rise in age-discrimination filings that it recently held a public hearing on the matter.

"Age discrimination is an equal opportunity plague," acting EEOC Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru said. "It is not limited to members of a particular class or a particular race. It is not limited to particular industries or particular regions. And it is not limited to a particular gender."

The EEOC says claims of discrimination based on age rose almost 30 percent in 2008 over the year earlier, and it expects the number to keep rising in the current economic climate.

Only retaliation was cited more in EEOC filings.

Witnesses at the hearing testified that the Age Discrimination Act in Employment (ADEA), passed by Congress in 1967, has been decimated by several recent Supreme Court decisions that curtail the ability of older workers to challenge age discrimination.

Employer and human resources professionals should obtain a copy of Personnel Concepts’ ADEA Age Discrimination Compliance Kit to ensure all laws and regulations are being observed.


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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PATIENTS: Well-Intended Law With No Chance of Passage

Anyone paying any attention (in the voting public, that would be no one except for me and a few others) will soon see unmistkable proof that the Democrats running Congress (and our nation, for better or worse–mostly the latter) are planning to ration health care with a vengeance (except for themselves, of course).

The proof will come when a bill introduced by Republicans called PATIENTS gets shot down in committee or is allowed to die there. PATIENTS makes it illegal for the government to ration any health care or deny any service, procedure or medicine.

(You’ve got to hand it to these overpaid Congressional staffers who have nothing better to do than come up with names for legislation that equate to real words or at least form nice-sounding acronyms. PATIENTS stands for Preserving Access to Targeted, Individualized, and Effective New Treatments and Services–whew, a mouthful!)

“We feel it is necessary to introduce this bill to make it crystal clear that the government should not be funding research which is then going to be used in one way or another to ration health care for Americans, to decide what diagnostics or treatments or prescriptions or care can be allowed under any kind of federal program,” Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said at a briefing with reporters Monday.

Now, will the mainstream media report a word of this when PATIENTS is rationed off into the sunset by the Democrats?

Of course not. Rationing is here to stay. I’m sure those overpaid staffers will come up with some gentle-sounding euphemisms for the “R” word (in Britain, it’s NICE–National Institute for Clinical Effectiveness, aka “the rationing institute”).


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 Reviewing Closed Cases For Renewal Under Ledbetter Law

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is currently reviewing closed cases of wage discrimination complaints to determine if it can reissue right-to-sue notifications to those affected under the provisions of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.

Grounds for reissuance would be based upon new statute-of-limitations guidelines under the Fair Pay Act. Previously, a complaint had to be filed within 180 days of a discriminatory employment decision, but the Lily Ledbetter Act extended the 180-day limit to recommence each time a paycheck is issued based on an earlier discriminatory decision, which could stretch out employer liability for years or even decades.

Employment lawyers earlier this year forecast a spate of new and reopened lawsuits based upon Ledbetter, and the EEOC may indeed open the legal spigot to get matters rolling. So far, however, courts have ruled narrowly in their interpretation of the Fair Pay Act and have generally not allowed it to be applied retroactively, but time will tell.

Any new right-to-sue notification would be good for 90 days.

Meanwhile, employers, you need to carefully protect yourselves against charges of discrimination based on gender, wage, age, disability and other factors. Personnel Concepts provides several discrimination resources to help you do just that. In matters of fair pay, pick up your copy today of our Compensation Discrimination Compliance Kit and safeguard yourselves.


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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