Tis the season . . . for ERISA disclosure requirements, of course!  Between open enrollment and the calendar year end, the list of documents, notices and updates required under ERISA looms large and annoying.

In these trying months of increased administrative hassle, many employer turn to electronic distribution in order to be environmentally forward, administratively efficient, and cost effective, and respond to wishes of employees who, let’s face it, don’t want (and won’t read) a big pile of paper.  But while electronic distribution is sound business practice, employers should keep in mind that there are rules to follow, at least with respect to ERISA notices.

This article contains a helpful guide to these rules, as well as some helpful steps employers can take to comply.  Note that the article was written shortly before the last presidential election, and while the rules have not changed, some of the author’s predictions about the proliferation of Affordable Care Act audits were based on incorrect assumptions about the election outcome and haven’t exactly come to pass.  Ahem.

Just six months after California modified its regulations concerning past criminal convictions for applicants, California has taken the additional step of modifying the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) to expressly prohibit employers from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history prior to a conditional offer of employment, and strictly limiting an employer’s use of an applicant’s criminal history following a conditional offer.

Continue Reading California “Ban-the-Box” Law Significantly Limits Employers’ Ability to Obtain and Use Information About Criminal Convictions in Recruiting and Hiring

On November 1, 2017 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) launched its new public portal to allow individuals to quickly and directly submit inquiries and requests for intake interviews to the EEOC.  Will online access to the EEOC’s intake and inquiry process lead to an increase in discrimination charges?  While that remains to be seen, the new portal undoubtedly provides employees with faster direct access to the EEOC.

Continue Reading Will the EEOC’s New Online Complaint Filing Portal Lead to a Spike in Discrimination Complaints?

Over on our sister blog, Privacy and Security Matters, Cynthia Larose has just published an article that will be of interest to any employer using or considering using biometric identifiers such as fingerprints, facial recognition, or retina scans in connection with employee identification, access and security protocols. The article discusses the recent rash of class action litigation against employers arising out of Illinois’ biometric privacy law. Read the full blog post here.

The Internal Revenue Service has for some time made available a comprehensive set of Questions & Answers covering the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) employer shared responsibility rules. (These are the rules that are codified in Section 4980H of the Internal Revenue Code, the compliance with which is reported on IRS Forms 1094-C and 1095-C, etc.) Entitled, “Questions and Answers on Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions Under the Affordable Care Act,” this web-based resource provided generally useful information about how the rules worked. Until recently, however, the IRS’ Questions and Answers merely said that the IRS “expects to publish guidance of general applicability describing the employer shared responsibility payment procedures in the Internal Revenue Bulletin before sending any letters to ALEs [Applicable Large Employers] regarding the 2015 calendar year” (Q&A 57). On November 2, that changed. This post explains what happened, and what it means for employers.

Continue Reading IRS (Quietly) Announces Procedures for the Assessment and Payment of Excise Taxes under the Affordable Care Act’s Employer Shared Responsibility Rules

As a reminder, the NYC law prohibiting employers and their agents from inquiring about or relying on an applicant’s salary history goes into effect today.

This means that as of today, employers cannot:

  • Ask for current salary or salary history on an employment application;
  • Ask about an applicant’s current or past salary (including wages, benefits, and other compensation);
  • Ask an applicant’s current or former employer or a staffing or recruiting agency for information related to an applicant’s current or past salary;
  • Search public records or the internet to find or verify an applicant’s current or past salary;
  • Rely on information about an applicant’s current or prior salary to set compensation.

We previously wrote about the new law here and here. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to your employment counsel for further guidance.

Trick or Treat! This month’s Bubbler is a cauldron full of hot new developments in employment law …  the NYC Salary History law is now in effect … California followed suit and its salary history law will take effect on January 1, 2018, just after Delaware and just before Massachusetts … Employers in New York are preparing to implement the new Paid Family Leave law, joining California, New Jersey and Rhode Island as the fourth state to provide this paid leave through employee-paid payroll taxes … The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the class action waiver case … the NYC Council passed a bill to expand the Earned Sick Time Act … and the Third Circuit cited to a Harry Potter novel in an FLSA decision.

 

Hurricanes. Fires. Floods. Shootings. The evening news seems consistently laden with catastrophe.

In times like these, a federal agency called the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) often springs into action. The NDMS, created in 2002 under the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, is a corps of volunteer reservists who perform a variety of disaster-relief services. While NDMS members are often medical clinicians providing health services (including doctors, nurses, paramedics, physician assistants, and pharmacists), teams may also include other non-medical professionals such as logistical specialists, information technologists, fatality management, veterinary professionals, and communication and administrative specialists.

Relevant to employers, NDMS reservists are protected by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).

Continue Reading Some Disaster Relief Workers Are Protected Employees under USERRA

As 2017 starts to wind down, Massachusetts employers should start reviewing and revising their employment policies and practices so they are prepared for the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), which goes into effect on April 1, 2018 and requires employers with six or more employees to provide written notice to their employees of their right to be free from pregnancy discrimination.

Continue Reading MA Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Goes Into Effect April 1, 2018

Recent cases in New York and Pennsylvania demonstrate that, at least in some jurisdictions and under some circumstances, a plaintiff can state a valid claim for unlawful gender discrimination based on a spouse’s jealousy.

Continue Reading Spousal Jealousy Can Lead to a Viable Claim of Unlawful Gender Discrimination