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OSHA Issues New Reporting and Recordkeeping Rules

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 10/1/2014
doctor holding medical records

Employers will soon have new rules to follow after experiencing workplace injuries and illnesses. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently published regulations regarding the reporting and recordkeeping requirements under the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s (“Act”). These new rules, which become effective on January 1, 2015, modify an employer’s obligation to report workplace injuries and illnesses to OSHA and to routinely keep records of injuries and illnesses.

Reporting Requirements

Though a majority of workplace injuries and illnesses do not have to be reported to OSHA, some do. Like the current rules, the new rules require employers to notify OSHA within 8 hours of an employee’s work-related death. Under the new rules, employers are no longer required to notify OSHA of any work-related hospitalization of 3 or more employees. However, under the new rules, employers will be required to notify OSHA within 24 hours of any work-related incident that results in:

  • the in-patient hospitalization of one or more employees (the formal admission to a hospital or clinic for care or treatment, rather than merely observation or diagnostic testing);
  • an employee’s amputation (the traumatic loss of a limb or other external body part); or
  • the loss of an employee’s eye.
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When Does Disability Leave Become an Unreasonable Accommodation?

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 7/9/2014
court room

When has an employer done enough to avoid liability for disability discrimination? Though hard and fast rules are rare in employment discrimination cases, particularly those involving disabilities, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that employers are almost never required to provide more than 6 months leave to an employee with a disability.

The quality versus cost argument is nothing new especially when it comes to insurance. Consumers who pay less tend to get less, whether in the form of coverages, limits or financial security. And, when people choose cost over quality, it usually means they are uninformed about what they really need.

In Hwang v. Kansas State University, an assistant professor working under a one year employment contract was diagnosed with cancer. KSU gave Ms. Hwang a six-month paid leave of absence so she could get treatment. On the advice of her doctor, Ms. Hwang requested additional time off. According to Ms. Hwang, KSU refused her request and effectively terminated her employment.

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Warning: Whistleblowers Must be Handled with Care

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 6/4/2014
judge's gavel

Though dealing with a disgruntled employee can be hard, various anti-retaliation protections make it even harder when an employee’s complaints or conduct is protected by law. A 2013 Congressional Report identified 40 different federal whistleblower and anti-retaliation laws, including:

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Prevent Holiday Celebration Litigation

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 12/4/2013

The annual holiday party is an excellent opportunity for employees to strengthen bonds by mixing and mingling and for senior managers to connect with employees they might not otherwise interact with throughout the year. Holiday parties often generate feelings of family and unity in the workplace. They may also lead to litigation.

Since holiday parties are generally viewed work events, most employees know not to cross the line. When alcohol is involved, however, lines may get blurry and employers may get sued. Off-color comments, racy jokes or inappropriate flirty behavior may lead to claims of unlawful discrimination or harassment. Alcohol-related car accidents caused by those attending the party may lead to claims of negligence.

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EEOC Focusing on Employers Using Criminal Background Checks

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 6/18/2013
background check

In a previous article we discussed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) position on the use of arrest and conviction records in the employment context. According to the EEOC, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII) prohibits the use of arrest and conviction records in a manner that discriminates on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, or sex. The EEOC recently reaffirmed its position by filing two lawsuits involving the use of criminal background records.

BMW Manufacturing Co.

The EEOC claims that BMW’s criminal conviction policy, which disproportionately screened out African Americans, is not job related and consistent with business necessity. The lawsuit alleges that BMW’s policy is a blanket exclusion that does not provide for an individualized assessment of the nature and gravity of the crimes, the ages of the convictions, or the nature of the workers’ respective positions. More...

The New Form I-9: What’s Different?

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 4/30/2013
paperwork

Those of you following us on Facebook or Twitter know that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) recently revised the Employment Eligibility Verification Form (Form I-9). Though optional since early March 2013, the revised Form I-9 will become mandatory on May 7, 2013. As of this date, employers must stop using prior versions of the Form I-9 and begin using the version dated 03/08/13. (The version date can be found at the bottom of the form.)

I-9’s are used by employers to verify the identity and employment authorization of every new employee hired in the United States, regardless of citizenship. This process is authorized by the Immigration Reform and Control Act to preclude the unlawful hiring, recruiting or accepting a fee for the referral of aliens who are not authorized to work in the United States. More...

Individual Liability under the Fair Labor Standards Act

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 4/3/2013
alarm clock

Did you know that individuals can be held personally liable for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)? The FLSA’s broad definition of employer includes “any person acting directly or indirectly in the interests of an employer in relation to an employee.” The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently considered when it is appropriate to hold someone personally liable for wage and hour violations under the FLSA.

In Lamonica v. Safe Hurricane Shutters, Inc., former employees sued their employer to recover unpaid overtime wages under the FLSA. The employees also sued two of the corporate-employer’s directors, arguing that they sufficiently controlled the corporation to justify holding them personally liable under the FLSA. To support their case against the directors, the employees showed that: More...

Court Interprets FLSA’s Break Requirement for Nursing Mothers

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 1/29/2013

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals recently became the first federal appellate court to consider a significant, though rarely publicized, provision of the Affordable Care Act—the reasonable break time requirement for nursing mothers under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

In Miller v. Roche Surety and Casualty, an employee sued her employer alleging a violation of her rights as a nursing mother under the FLSA. Under the FLSA, employers are required to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child. This requirement, which extends for 1 year after the child's birth, requires an employer to provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public,” so that the employee may express breast milk.

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Employers May See More Sexual Harassment Lawsuits

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 11/20/2012

An employer’s liability for sexual harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act depends on whether the harasser is a supervisor. If the alleged harasser is the victim’s co-employee, the employer may have various defenses to liability. However, if the harasser is a supervisor, Title VII’s strict liability standard may be triggered and the employer may be left defenseless.

So, who is considered a supervisor under Title VII?

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Demanding Access to an Employee’s Facebook Account May Give Employee Access to Employer’s Bank Account

by Martin Salcedo, Esq. - The Human Equation on 7/26/2012

Social media websites like Facebook have become the new water cooler. Once discussions (and gossip) about the workplace, supervisors and co-workers moved online, employers started getting curious about who was saying what to whom. More...

Is Your Business Ready for the 2012 Hurricane Season?

by Anita Byer, President - The Human Equation on 6/4/2012

For those living or working in areas at risk of experiencing a tropical storm or hurricane, June 1st rarely passes unnoticed. At Setnor Byer Insurance & Risk, we understand that preparing for Hurricane Season is rarely easy and often stressful. We also understand that a lack of awareness and preparation can lead to disaster, and that the best way to limit the risks posed by hurricanes is to take preventative steps now. More...

The State of Florida Approves The Human Equation’s Condominium Management Suite

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 10/18/2010

Those choosing to serve on their condominium board undertake a significant responsibility. Their decision puts them in charge of steering the course of not only their homes, but those of their neighbors. More...

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Categories: 2010, Florida Condominium Management

Don't Sweep the Breach Under the Rug! Notification Under the HITECH Act

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 10/22/2009

As more and more personal information ends up being maintained in some form of electronic medium, the concern surrounding data security breaches has never been higher. More...

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Categories: 2009

The Downside and Economic Risk of Email, Web and Other Digital Communications

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 8/13/2009

The ease with which a brick and mortar business can transform into an e-commerce operation, at least to some degree, can be startling. What was once accomplished face-to-face is now done virtually. What was once kept in a filing cabinet is now stored on electronic databases. More...

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Categories: 2009

The Human Equation's newsletters and publications are intended as an information source for the clients and friends of the firm. Their content should not be construed as legal advice, and readers should not act upon the information in these publications without professional guidance. Please note that newsletters and publications that are archived by The Human Equation are not updated after initial publication and may not contain the most current information available.

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