News & Analysis

Meeting (and exceeding) legal obligations to seriously ill employees

Few situations are more difficult for a caring employer than learning that an employee is facing a permanent disability or terminal illness. You've probably read plenty of articles about your obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), but those laws cover only what an employer is legally required to do. Responsible HR professionals strive to go above and beyond to help struggling employees receive the full advantage of the benefits they offer.

Revisiting employment agreements in the age of Weinstein

With all the recent sexual harassment and assault scandals in Hollywood, Washington, high-profile boardrooms, and even public television and radio, many are asking how these things could have been going on in secret for all these years. The answer, in many cases, is that the employer had some sort of contractual agreement with the alleged victims that basically guaranteed their silence.

Agency Action

EEOC cites progress in managing charge inventory. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its annual Performance and Accountability Report on November 15, 2017, showing a decline in charge inventory as a highlight. During fiscal year 2017, which ended September 30, the agency reported it had resolved 99,109 charges and reduced the charge workload by 16.2 percent to 61,621, the lowest level of inventory in 10 years. Additionally, the EEOC handled over 540,000 calls to its toll-free number and more than 155,000 contacts about possible charge filings in field offices, resulting in 84,254 charges being filed. The 2017 report also notes that the agency secured approximately $484 million for victims of discrimination in the workplace.

Take it away: deducting PTO for tardiness

Q When an employee is consistently late, apart from giving him an oral or written warning, are we allowed to dock his paid time off (PTO) hours?

Workplace Trends

Survey finds most applicants dont negotiate job offers. A survey from CareerBuilder finds that 56% of workers dont negotiate for better pay when they are offered a job. Those who dont attempt to negotiate say they dont feel comfortable asking for more money (51%), they are afraid the employer will decide not to hire them (47%), or they dont want to appear greedy (36%). The survey also shows that the majority of employers expect a counteroffer. Fifty-three percent of employers said they are willing to negotiate salaries on initial job offers for entry-level workers, and 52% say when they first extend a job offer to an employee, they typically offer a lower salary than theyre willing to pay so there is room to negotiate.

Tax reform bill includes some Obamacare-related items

Complete repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) fell apart in Congress months ago. But the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), a tax reform bill that recently cleared Congress and was signed by the president on December 22, 2017, does include some provisions related to the ACA, health care, and other employer-sponsored health, welfare, and fringe benefits, albeit not the "big ticket" items sought by employers or related stakeholders, such as repeal of the employer mandate penalties.

Review of the Trump administration's first year overseeing employment law

The past year has included many expected moves by the Trump administration, such as the reversal of some of the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) controversial decisions under the Obama administration, as well as several unexpected developments, such as the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program's (OFCCP) continued aggressiveness in audits and litigation.

Trump administration oversees sweeping changes at NLRB

The Trump administration has been criticized in some quarters for giving little attention to labor and employment issues. That hasn't been the case at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). With unparalleled speed, new NLRB members have been confirmed, and a new General Counsel is in place. And the Republican leadership on the Board is already reversing cases decided under the Obama administration, announcing new policies, and starting on the path to rescinding regulations promulgated by the previous Board.

EEOC issues its 2018-22 draft strategic plan

On December 8, 2017, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its draft strategic plan for fiscal year (FY) 2018-22 for public comment. The release of the four-year strategic plan fulfills a congressional requirement that executive departments, government corporations, and independent agencies create a strategic plan outlining their mission, goals, performance measures, and budgetary plans.

DACA update: What's happening with the phaseout?

Several months ago, the Trump administration announced the phaseout of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Based on 2017 estimates, the phaseout would mean that almost 700,000 undocumented immigrant youths would lose their work authorization on a rolling basis, beginning in 2017.