Posts from January 2015.

On January 23, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released its 2014 Union Membership Annual Report.  Most notably was a decrease in union membership overall by .2%.  The private sector union rates fell from 7.5% to 7.4% between 2013 and 2014 while the public sector rose from 38.7% to 39.2%.

The DOL report indicated that in 2014, 7.2 million employees in the public sector were members of a union compared to 7.4 million workers in the private sector.  However, public sector workers have a much higher percentage of union membership – 35.7% for the public sector vs. 6.6% for the private ...

Last week the Indiana Court of Appeals reaffirmed its earlier decision holding an employer liable for its employee’s breach of its privacy policy. After the employee’s husband divulged he had fathered a child with another woman and contracted herpes, the employee searched her employer’s database and accessed the other woman’s prescription records. Of course the employer had a strict confidentiality policy in place. In fact the employee admitted she knew accessing patient information for personal reasons violated company policy. Why then is the company on the hook for ...

It’s January and you know what that means….it’s time to take down your Christmas lights and get your OSHA Form 300A ready for the February 1, 2015 deadline. Oh, the fun never ends! Every year we receive numerous inquiries regarding requirements under the OSHA Form 300A, and this year is no exception – except it is an exception.  As of January 1, 2015, some of the industries that were exempt from this requirement have changed.

Prior to the change, the list of exempted industries was based on the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system.  As of January 1, 2015, the list ...

California: Effective January 1, 2015, the required paid for rest periods are considered “hours worked” by the employee, and, consequently, are not subject to wage deductions by the employer.  (California also has special requirements for making any deductions from their paychecks that you should be aware of before making any).

Colorado: Minimum wage rose to $8.23 per hour on January 1 

Connecticut: As of the first of the year, CT’s minimum wage went to $9.15 per hour.  Are you aware there is a paid sick leave law in CT?  If not, be sure to contact your employment counsel or the ...

Effective January 1, 2015, employers that have fewer than 15 employees and either maintain a business facility within Chicago’s city limits or are subject to any of the license requirements of Title 4 of the Chicago Municipal Code (or both), are prohibited from pre-screening applicants for employment based on criminal history.  Essentially, Chicago has taken the Illinois Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act (otherwise known as the Illinois Ban-the-Box law), and applied it to the employers doing business in Chicago who are too small to be covered by the statewide ...

Terminating an employee for willful misconduct while on light duty related to a compensable workers’ compensation claim, has long resulted in the employee’s loss of total temporary disability benefits in most jurisdictions.  However, an Illinois Supreme Court recently decided that termination of an employee based on questionable conduct (engaged in by other employees without discipline), does not provide a basis for termination of total temporary disability benefits.

Rather than focus on an evaluation of the issue of misconduct, the Court applied a test as to ...

The 7th Circuit’s recent decision in Taylor-Novotny v. Health Alliance Medical Plans, Inc., 772 F.3d 478 (7th Cir. 2014) provides a reminder to all employers that in order for an employee to establish an ADA claim he or she must show they are a “qualified individual with a disability.”  That is, the employee must be able to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation.  In this case, the 7th Circuit reiterated that regular attendance is an essential function of most jobs and the fact that an employer allows flexibility through a ...

The IRS recently released its standard mileage reimbursement rates for the year 2015.  As of January 1, 2015, those rates, which apply to the use of a car, van, pickup, or panel truck, are:

  • 57.5 cents per mile for business miles driven;
  • 23 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes; and
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

Employers should remember that the law does not require mileage reimbursement at these or any other rates.  Instead, employers must reimburse employees for mileage only if a contract requires such reimbursements.  Employers ...

The Illinois Secure Choice Savings Act (Secure Choice Act) was quietly signed into law by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn over the weekend.  The controversial legislation will require most businesses in Illinois to adopt a retirement savings plan for their employees by June 1, 2017.

The Secure Choice Act creates a state-run retirement savings program in which eligible workers can contribute to a Roth IRA through automatic payroll deductions from their paychecks. Employers with 25 or more employees, who do not offer another type of retirement program, will be required to offer the ...

At the beginning of the year it is not uncommon for employees to jump ship.  We often find our employer clients either dealing with employees who have left, or considering hiring employees who may be under non-compete agreements with their former employers.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

If you are an employer who has an employee leave, make sure that his or her work station, laptop, or other electronic storage device is not “wiped” or put back in service until you are comfortable that the employee is not taking information or engaged in conduct that violates his or her ...

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

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