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Civil Rights Act Now Grants LGBT Protections


The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled this past month that sexual orientation is prohibited sex discrimination within the meaning of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Previously, sexual orientation was not a protected class of sex discrimination under Title VII.  This decision flies in the face of decisions by several other circuit courts which have ruled that sexual orientation is not a protected class. Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court may have to decide this issue during an upcoming session.

Can Employees Video or Record Their Employer?

Due to rapid fire technology and innovations, I have been asked multiple times over the years if employees have the right to record, openly or secretly, conversations at the workplace. This is true whether the employee is disgruntled, the employee wants to catch the employer doing or saying something inappropriate, the employee is simply antagonistic or the employee is trying to cover his or her butt for some reason. 

Wellness Program Incentive Limits - How much is too much?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) continue to be busy bees in the wellness program arena. Two recent events involving the EEOC and wellness programs have popped up in the news lately, both of which employers will want to take note.

How to Correct ACA Reporting Errors (Forms 1094 and 1095)

With the ACA information reporting deadlines for the 2016 calendar year now past (barring an individual extension), employers should- if they have not already done so- confirm the accuracy of all information returns and correct any errors as soon as possible with both the IRS and their employees. This is true even if there are no penalties associated with filing mistakes as long as the employer demonstrates that it made a good faith basis in completing the required ACA forms.  This “good faith” basis was extended to the 2016 filing year by the Obama administration earlier this year. 

 

EEOC Enforcement and Litigation Measures Continue To Increase

On January 18, 2017, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released detailed breakdowns for the 91,503 charges of workplace discrimination the agency received in fiscal year 2016. The EEOC details its annual litigation recap every January and this is the second year in a row that the number of charges filed with the EEOC has increased. For the most part, EEOC activity has been on the uptick for the last decade. So, what does this mean for employers?

Sexual Harassment Investigations

I have had to deal with a few client sexual harassment issues these past two months. As such, I thought it would be appropriate to review a few important items when faced with a potentially delicate sexual harassment complaint. 

Liability Implications Under USERRA

Given the tension that is starting to brew with our new regime and certain foreign governments, it is a good time for a brief overview of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 since it applies to all public and private employers regardless of size.  

Medicare Reporting to CMS Due

Medicare prescription drug coverage is available to all individuals who are enrolled in Medicare. Medicare has special rules that apply to those eligible individuals who have group health plan coverage through their own employer or through a spouse's employer. Group health plans of employers with 20 or more employees must offer these Medicare eligible employees the same health insurance benefits under the same conditions that younger workers and spouses receive.

In other words, an employer cannot discriminate against older employees by assessing higher premiums or excluding certain benefits simply on the basis of them reaching Medicare age.