Posts from April 2014.

The IRS released Notice 2014-19 earlier this month, answering many of the open questions on the application of the Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Windsor to qualified retirement plans.  Although the IRS provided initial guidance on the impact on employee benefit plans shortly after the Court found the Defense of Marriage Act’s (DOMA) ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, many details specific to retirement plans were still outstanding.

Effective Date and Retroactivity

The recent release reaffirms that qualified retirement plans are required to recognize ...

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 7, 2014 that it had received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap for fiscal year 2015, which begins on October 1, 2014. USCIS also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the U.S. advance degree exemption. Approximately 172,500 H-1B petitions were received by USCIS during the filing period, which began on April 1, 2014. On April 10, 2014, USCIS completed a computer generated random selection process, or lottery, to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000 ...

Yesterday the Supreme Court upheld Michigan’s ban on affirmative action programs overturning a 6th Circuit Court of Appeals decision which had ruled the ban an unconstitutional violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.

Michigan’s ban on affirmative action was enacted as Article I, Section 26 of its State Constitution and, in relevant part, prohibits governmental entities, including public colleges and universities, from granting preferential treatment on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin. Michigan voters passed ...

On April 9, 2014, the Illinois Senate unanimously passed amendments to the Illinois Violence Prevention Act (“VPA”), sending the bill to the House for consideration once the General Assembly reconvenes on April 29, 2014.  The VPA, effective only since January 1, 2014, is meant to enable employers to protect its workforce, customers, guests and property by limiting access by potentially violent individuals (“PVI”).  Under the Senate-approved amendments, an employer would obtain, through any state circuit court, a workplace restraining order to prohibit further ...

On Tuesday, April 8, 2014, Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin, signed into law the “Wisconsin Social Media Protection Act.” The act went into effect on April 10, 2014, and places restrictions on the types of information that Wisconsin employers can and cannot seek from employees and/or job applicants regarding their personal social media accounts.

The act prohibits employers from requesting an employee or applicant to grant access to their personal internet account (i.e., internet based accounts created and used by an individual exclusively for personal ...

It’s that time of year again when we’re all settling up with the IRS and hoping and searching for as many deductions as we can.  Many employers would like a way to offer employees nontaxable dollars with which they could purchase individual coverage through the marketplace or in the individual private market, without the employer needing to establish its own group health plan (or allowing the employer to terminate the existing group health plan they might be providing).

However, the following prohibitions took effect January 1, 2014:

  • Stand-alone HRAs can no longer be ...

The United States District Court for the Western District of New York ruled in favor of Sterling Jewelers, Inc., and dismissed, with prejudice, the EEOC’s claim against the company alleging nationwide pattern and practice discrimination.  The court found that the EEOC did not present sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the agency undertook a nationwide investigation of the pattern and practice claims.  As such, the court found that the EEOC was barred from proceeding on those claims and granted summary judgment to Sterling Jewelers.

Throughout the last few years, there ...

Federal:   The OFCCP has published the data for federal contractors and subcontractors who must now comply with having protected veteran benchmarks for their affirmative action plans and hiring goals.  Currently, that nationwide threshold is 7.2% unless the contractor wants to create its own individualized benchmarks, to which that state specific veteran data is supplied. 

That is not all.  Contractors are now required to also request individuals to self-identify if they are an individual with a disability pre-offer stage.  Again, the OFCCP has given us guidance on how to do ...

This should be an easy one to cross off your to-do list.  Dust off the confidentiality and non-disclosure language that you require your non-supervisory employees to adhere to – whether through a specific agreement, employee handbook or general company policy.  Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit served up a reminder that what used to be considered standard language regarding an employer’s expectation of confidentiality, now opens the door to potential liability under federal labor law, for both union and non-union employers.

In Flex Frac ...

Welcome to the Labor and Employment Law Update where attorneys from SmithAmundsen blog about management side labor and employment issues. 

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