Iowa News & Analysis

  • Bargaining obligations when acquiring a unionized business

    When a business acquires the assets of a unionized facility, there are very few options for continuing the operations with the same employees without assuming the obligation to bargain with the union.

  • Is obesity an ADA-covered disability? Courts in conflict

    There's debate among employers about whether being morbidly obese is considered a disability covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Do you have to accommodate limitations caused by obesity by treating it as a disability?

  • Preparation, training help employers cope with unsettling ICE news

    The thought of immigration enforcement agents surrounding a workplace, seizing business records, questioning employees, and even making arrests is worrisome to say the least. But it has been and likely will continue to be a reality for many employers since audits and raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are on the upswing. Plus, the Social Security Administration has once again begun sending "no-match letters" to employers that have W-2 forms with mismatched names and Social Security numbers. Now referred to as educational correspondence (EDCOR) or an employer correction request (ECR), the letters require employers to take action to resolve the problem. So the signals are clear: Employers with undocumented workers are on notice that they face serious consequences.

  • New OT rule sparks questions beyond where to set salary threshold for 'exempt' status

    The thought of immigration enforcement agents surrounding a workplace, seizing business records, questioning employees, and even making arrests is worrisome to say the least. But it has been and likely will continue to be a reality for many employers since audits and raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are on the upswing. Plus, the Social Security Administration has once again begun sending "no-match letters" to employers that have W-2 forms with mismatched names and Social Security numbers. Now referred to as educational correspondence (EDCOR) or an employer correction request (ECR), the letters require employers to take action to resolve the problem. So the signals are clear: Employers with undocumented workers are on notice that they face serious consequences.

  • How (not) to handle negative social media posts

    Employers often want to know what to do in response to a negative social media post. The offending post could be an unfairly negative review on Yelp. Or it could be a rant by an ex-employee on the company's Facebook page. What to do in response (and what not to do) is a tricky question that has become more complicated by a federal law.

  • Even without 'ban-the-box' law, consider interviewing applicant with alleged criminal history

    Q Based on the "ban-the-box" law, we removed the criminal history question from our application, though we still ask it once a person has an interview set up. We are hiring for a position working with troubled youth, and we received one application from an individual who is known by the manager to have a criminal history. Should we interview him as we would anyone else, even knowing his criminal history will prevent him from obtaining the position? Or can we reject his application based on the position's sensitive nature?

  • Workplace Trends

    Report details persistent wage gap affecting black women. Black women who work full time year-round typically are paid 61 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men, according to a fact sheet from the National Women's Law Center released in August. The wage gap also contributes to the wealth gap, the fact sheet says, and is an obstacle to black women's economic security over their lifetimes. The report says that in 1967, a black woman working full time year-round typically made 43 cents for every dollar a white man made. In 2017, the most recent year for which figures are available, the gap had narrowed by just 18 cents. The wage gap is wider in certain areas. The report lists the 10 worst states for black women's wage equality: Louisiana, a wage gap of 53 cents; Washington, D.C., a gap of 49 cents; Utah, 47 cents; South Dakota, 47 cents; New Jersey, 44 cents; Mississippi, 44 cents; Connecticut, 43 cents; South Carolina, 43 cents; Alabama, 41 cents; and Texas, 41 cents. The gap for the United States as a whole is 39 cents.

  • Agency Action

    USCIS releases guidance on employment authorization. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in August announced new policy guidance to address its discretion to grant employment authorization to foreign nationals who are paroled into the United States, including those who are otherwise inadmissible. The agency explained that certain foreign nationals may be paroled into the country for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit, but they aren't entitled to employment authorization solely because of that. Instead, they must establish eligibility and apply for employment authorization. USCIS will consider employment authorization for parolees only when, based on the facts and circumstances of each individual case, it finds a favorable exercise of discretion is warranted. The agency said it is taking the action in response to "the national emergency at the southern border."

  • My best parenting advice as applied to human resources

    I've been to a lot of baby showers lately where it seems like the parents-to-be are showered with as much advice as they are gifts. I've seen this as a parent myself—people like to give parenting advice. Strangers offer advice as they evaluate the contents of your shopping cart at the grocery store, at Super Target as they question your toy choices, and pretty much whenever your kids have missed nap time or are having a bad day.

  • 'Same-decision' defense could help Iowa employers against discrimination claims

    Striking down a $4.5 million jury verdict against a rural hospital, the Iowa Supreme Court recently adopted a new affirmative defense to employment discrimination claims filed under the Iowa Civil Rights Act (ICRA).