South Carolina News & Analysis

  • 4th Circuit upholds dismissal in South Carolina discrimination case

    In what's becoming a more infrequent occurrence, the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all South Carolina employers) agreed with a district court's dismissal of a discrimination case. The case contained several discrimination claims, but the district court couldn't find a legally sustainable claim. Since some of the allegations were part of several claims, they will be repeated so the reader can see how different claims with different elements have to be analyzed. Read on to see how and why the court reached its decision to uphold the dismissal of the case.

  • Employee benefits aren't for everyone

    Q Is it permissible to offer different classes of employees different amounts of paid time off (PTO)? Is it permissible to offer different employees in the same class the choice between PTO and another option, such as a gift card?

  • 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.

  • IRS authorizes more preventive services to be paid by HSA-eligible health plans

    The IRS recently issued guidance expanding the definition of "preventive care" that may be covered—possibly free of charge—by a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) that's paired with a health savings account (HSA). While the changes made by the guidance are relatively simple, they have the potential to make HSAs substantially more attractive, particularly to employees who have a chronic condition that is controlled by medication or therapy. Before diving too far into the details, however, it's important to have a solid understanding of HSAs and how they work.

  • Association retirement plans may not be ready for prime time

    The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently finalized regulations allowing multiple employers to offer a retirement plan to their employees through a combined association retirement plan (ARP). In what is becoming a common theme for the agency under President Donald Trump, the new rules are intended to make it easier for small to mid-sized employers to offer such plans to their employees. While they are similar to rules finalized last year that established a new type of association health plan, they go even further by establishing guidelines for professional employer organizations (PEOs) to sponsor retirement plans for their members' employees. Unfortunately, they also may face some of the same problems as those rules, but we're getting ahead of ourselves.

  • It's not me—it's you: how to break up with your employees

    Relationships—both personal and professional—can be complicated. Just like first dates, job interviews offer candidates the chance to show a prospective employer the best possible version of themselves: smart, charming, funny, and responsible. As an employer, you ask exploratory questions about a candidate's background, education, interests, and goals for the future to see if it's a good fit. If you both agree that it is, you start a relationship.

  • Agency Action

    New wage and hour opinion letters issued. The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) in July announced new opinion letters related to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). FLSA2019-7 addresses the calculation of overtime pay for nondiscretionary bonuses paid on a quarterly and annual basis. FLSA2019-8 addresses the application of the highly compensated employee exemption to paralegals employed by a trade organization. FLSA2019-9 addresses permissible rounding practices for calculating an employee's hours worked. FLSA2019-10 addresses the compensability of time spent in a truck's sleeper berth while otherwise relieved from duty. The DOL offers a search function allowing users to search existing opinion letters by keyword, year, topic, and a variety of other filters. The search function can be accessed at www.dol.gov/whd/opinion/search/fullsearch.htm.

  • Workplace Trends

    Texting gaining popularity in hiring process. More employers and job candidates are using texting as a communication method, according to research from Robert Half Technology. More than two-thirds (67%) of IT decision makers surveyed said their organization uses texting as one way of coordinating interviews with job candidates. Nearly half (48%) of U.S. workers polled in a similar survey said they've received a text message from a potential employer. When asked about the greatest advantage of texting during the hiring process, quick communication was the top response among IT managers and workers. They also acknowledged the greatest drawback was the possibility of miscommunication.

  • Lactation rooms can create sticky problems

    Q Does the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) require us to provide refrigeration for employees in the designated lactation room?

  • Workplace Trends

    Texting gaining popularity in hiring process. More employers and job candidates are using texting as a communication method, according to research from Robert Half Technology. More than two-thirds (67%) of IT decision makers surveyed said their organization uses texting as one way of coordinating interviews with job candidates. Nearly half (48%) of U.S. workers polled in a similar survey said they've received a text message from a potential employer. When asked about the greatest advantage of texting during the hiring process, quick communication was the top response among IT managers and workers. They also acknowledged the greatest drawback was the possibility of miscommunication.