Delaware News & Analysis

  • Do it like Google: guidelines on workplace behavior

    Here in Delaware, most employers are in the midst of a mad dash to get all employees trained on sexual harassment prevention—consistent with House Bill 360—before the deadline for compliance on December 31, 2019. One of the best lessons to incorporate in that training is what topics areand are notappropriate for the workplace. And Google has some news for us on that front!

  • Workplace violence—no, the other kind

    For some years now, Delaware law has prohibited employment discrimination based on an employee's status as a target of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual offense. On first blush, that seems like a pretty easy requirement—no one wants to single out the target of intimate-partner violence. But these issues can be more complicated than they appear. Here are some tips on getting it right.

  • Individual coverage HRAs probably not option for 2020

    On his very first day in office, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order instructing federal agencies to lessen the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) burden on the organizations and individuals who were subject to its requirements. More than two years later, the ACA is limping along, but the Trump administration is still working to carry out that order.

  • How to identify and minimize employee burnout

    You may have seen reports recently that the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified employee burnout as a diagnosable medical condition. While that's not exactly accurate, the group has expanded its definition of the term in its latest edition of the International Classification of Diseases.

  • They're back! Responding to 2019 no-match letters

    In March 2019, the Social Security Administration (SSA) began mailing educational correspondence (EDCOR)—also known as employer correction request (ECR) notices and formerly known as "no-match letters"—to employers that filed W-2 forms for 2018 containing at least one mismatched name and Social Security number (SSN). You should not ignore the notices. You must ensure you're complying with your obligations to resolve the errors. Failure to comply could result in an I-9 audit by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and/or penalties from the IRS. To avoid noncompliance, you should act quickly.

  • Agency Action

    DOL takes more steps to advance apprenticeships. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) along with monetary awards in its continuing effort to expand apprenticeships. In the announcement, the DOL said the NPRM would establish a process for the agency to advance the development of high-quality, industry-recognized apprenticeship programs (IRAPs). A 2017 Executive Order created the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion, which developed recommendations on how to best expand the apprenticeship model. The new NPRM reflects key recommendations from the task force. The DOL also announced awards totaling $183.8 million to support the development and expansion of apprenticeships for educational institutions partnering with companies that provide a funding match component. The agency also will make available an additional $100 million for efforts to expand apprenticeships and close the skills gap.

  • Workplace Trends

    Tight labor market tops HR concerns, survey says. Attracting talent has surpassed regulatory compliance as the top HR concern, according to the 2019 Paychex Pulse of HR Survey, released on June 24. More than two-thirds of HR leaders reported difficulty finding and hiring quality candidates, up from 59% last year. When asked specifically about challenges related to hiring, HR professionals most often cited finding qualified candidates (49%), retaining their best employees (49%), and finding candidates who fit their company culture (42%). The survey reported that as a result of those challenges, HR teams are increasingly willing to train job candidates who may not check all the boxes for required skills. The survey showed 85% of HR leaders would be willing to train and upskill an underqualified candidate, and 78% said their organizations have already benefited from upskilling underqualified workers.

  • Judge orders retrial in $1.5M KFC breast-pumping case

    U.S. District Court Judge Colm F. Connolly recently ordered a new trial in a case alleging disparate treatment (sex discrimination), a hostile work environment, and the failure to accommodate an employee's need to express breast milk. In February, a jury ruled in the employee's favor on the first two counts (the third count had been dismissed before the trial) and awarded her $25,000 in compensatory damages and $1.5 million in punitive damages. But the judge believed the jury had confused the issues and decided that allowing their findings to stand would have been a "miscarriage of justice."

  • Put the Penn down: 3rd Circuit decision has impact on ERISA class action claims

    A split three-judge panel recently overturned a lower court decision that had favored the employer in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) class action lawsuit. The case was originally filed by a group of University of Pennsylvania employees who felt the school wasn't meeting its fiduciary burden when managing their retirement funds.

  • DOL updates opinion on independent contractors for the gig economy

    Under the Trump administration, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has taken a decidedly industry-friendly approach to the independent contractor analysis. If there was any doubt before, that was made clear by its recent issuance of a whopping 10-page opinion letter examining the nature of the relationship between a virtual marketplace company (think Uber) and the "gig" workers they employ (e.g., Uber drivers).