Training Prevents Discriminatory Behaviors

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) the most frequent claims filed are allegations of race and sexual harassment. The reason is clear, a lack of training.

Do you offer training to your employees in the prevention of discriminatory behaviors? The cost is worth the price with the average claim settling for $500,000 (this does not include litigation costs).

For more, read this press release from the EEOC.

For information regarding training, contact us.

OSHA Rulemaking Increases Reporting Obligations

This post is provided to us by Gregory Narsh, Pepper Hamilton, LLP.

Beginning in 2017, employers will be required to affirmatively submit to OSHA whatever injury/illness information and forms they were already required to compile.

In a recent rulemaking titled “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses,” 81 Fed. Reg. 29,624 (May 12, 2016) (Final Rule), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) introduced new mandatory reporting obligations for certain employers and increased its scrutiny of potentially discriminatory or retaliatory policies and practices that may discourage reporting by employees of injuries or illnesses. OSHA emphasized that employers will not have to collect or maintain any new or additional data as a result of the Final Rule but will have to affirmatively submit data that previously had to be submitted only if requested. The Final Rule amends various subparts of 29 C.F.R. parts 1904 and 1902.

Click here to read Greg's full blog post.

Gig Economy

A gig economy is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements. The trend toward a gig economy has begun. A study by Intuit predicted that by 2020, 40 percent of American workers would be independent contractors.

Years ago, the motivation for classifying an employee as a contractor was to avoid paying the employer’s share of payroll taxes, or reduce other potential liabilities.  Now, the motivation is primarily ACA-based.  Regardless, the IRS, Department of Labor and other administrative agencies (state and federal) are alerted to the practice. 

The landmines for misclassifying employees as contractors are legion, but the practice nevertheless persists.  Many employers hope not to get “caught,” but the net need not capture the employer directly for there to be problems.  If the contractor is audited and a problem is discovered, we have learned recently of subsequent administrative enforcement actions against the employer for misclassifying employees as contractors.  Such employers may have liabilities beyond tax assessments.  Indeed, they may be responsible for unpaid minimum wage, overtime, and benefits.  

The “control” test remains the benchmark against which classification decisions are tested, but we have seen some rather poor efforts lately to feign contractor status.  Among these efforts are former employees who “retired” from being employees and are now performing their identical job function as a contractor for the same employer, and only for the same employer.  This is a design that is fraught with liabilities for both the employer and the “contractor,” but the employer more so.

Powered by: James McMackin, III , partner, Morris James

Webinar 5/25: How will the latest DOL overtime rules affect your business?

On May 18, 2016, the Department of Labor released its final regulations making changes to Part 541 governing overtime exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). These changes will make overtime pay appropriate for many employees not currently eligible.

Join us next Wednesday, 5/25 (9-10:30 am) for a webinar presented by Matt Maguire, Pepper Hamilton, to explore the extent of these changes and what they mean to your organization.

Key Provisions of the Final Rule

The Final Rule focuses primarily on updating the salary and compensation levels needed for Executive, Administrative and Professional workers to be exempt. Specifically, the Final Rule:

  • Sets overtime eligibility at $913 per week; $47,476 annually for a full-year worker;

  • Sets highly compensated employee exemption status at $134,004; and

  • Establishes a mechanism to automatically update salary and compensation levels every three years.

  • Amends the salary basis test to allow employers to use non-discretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10 percent of the new standard salary level.

The effective date of the final rule is December 1, 2016.

Register today!

Overtime Eligibility

Today, the Department of Labor (DOL) released its final regulations making changes to Part 541 governing overtime exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). These changes will make overtime pay appropriate for many employees not currently eligible.

We will host a webinar with the law offices of Pepper Hamilton to review these changes as soon as possible.

Common Workplace Poster Mistakes and How to Correct Them

A number of federal, state, and local laws require employers to display labor posters in their workplaces that include information about relevant employment laws. Employers should be mindful of the following mistakes concerning workplace posters.

Mistake #1: Posting the Wrong Posters 
A good place to start your poster inspection is with the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) online Poster Advisor, an interactive tool that can be used to determine the poster requirements of several federal laws administered by the DOL. Be sure to check with your state labor office for state-specific poster requirements, as well as any industry-specific requirements that may apply to your business. You should also check with your local municipal government, as certain localities may require additional workplace postings.

Mistake #2: Posting Outdated Posters
Workplace posters are updated from time to time—for example, to reflect changes in the law—so make it a regular practice to check whether the posters displayed in your workplace are the most recent versions available.

Mistake #3: Posting the Wrong-Sized Poster
Many of the agency links to required workplace posters contain specific information regarding a poster's size. If you have any questions regarding the required size of a poster, contact the DOL or the applicable state or local agency.

Mistake #4: Hanging Posters in the Wrong Place 
Workplace posters must generally be displayed in a prominent location where all employees can see them, but some posters may have special location requirements. Check for specific requirements for the posters you must display, and choose each poster's placement carefully.

There's still time to register

Now that the March 31 deadline under the ACA reporting regulations has passed, it is time to focus on what you need to know when amended returns are required and how to respond to an IRS penalty assessment.

Join  Sarah K. Ivy, McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC  to learn how and when to prepare amended Forms 1094-C and 1095-C and how to respond to IRS inquiries and penalty assessments.

Amended Forms 1094-C and 1095-C and Filing
We anticipate many questions before the IRS filings are due, as employers become aware of errors and on Forms 1095-Cs sent to employees by the March 31, 2016 filing deadline.  We will discuss the circumstances under which it is necessary to send amended 1094 and 1095-C forms and how to handle these issues before and after the IRS filing deadline of May 31, 2016 (or June 30, 2016 if filing electronically). 

IRS Inquiries and Penalty Notices
Employers should not automatically assume that an IRS penalty assessments are correct and should be prepared to defend any claim that a penalty does not apply.  We will provide guidance on how to respond to an IRS penalty notice and what employers can do to protect themselves in the event a penalty is incorrectly assessed.

This session is offered in-house and via webinar.  There is no cost to participate.  Seminar seating is limited to 25.  Register today!