As part of a widespread regulatory overhaul, the National Labor Relations Board recently issued new guidance on employee handbooks. The new handbook rules are considerably friendlier to employers than the old rules, and the NLRB has tried to provide employers with clear examples of how to remain in compliance with the new guidelines. The guidance results from a case decided by the NLRB in December 2017, The Boeing Company, which overturned a previous Bush II era case that imposed much stricter guidelines for acceptability when reviewing provisions of employee handbooks.
Employee handbooks are an essential resource for most companies. They are an excellent way for companies to communicate important and vital information to employees such as benefit information, sick and vacation leave policies. They’re also a great way to help establish a company culture and lay out clear expectations for employees. They can lay out the essential processes and procedures of your company, and your employees should follow. Moreover, if you’re not careful, an employee handbook can be enforced against the employer as a binding contract.
The United States as a whole has a significant problem with prescription medication. Estimates are that Americans consume seventy five percent of the world’s prescription drugs. A large part of these prescription drugs focus on chronic pain management. Doctors in the 1980s began prescribing opioids for those patients suffering from chronic pain under a mistaken assumption that prescription opioids had little potential for addiction or abuse.
On August 1, 2017, OSHA launched its web portal to accept the submissions of recordkeeping forms per the requirements in the final rule; to “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses.” As we had advised earlier this year, under this rule, which was enacted in May 2016.
Prescription painkillers create unique problems in the world of workers compensation. Doctors in all fields have grown more aware of the issues created by prescribing potentially addictive painkillers to patients. Painkiller addictions can make the likelihood of finding a long-term solution to a patient’s situation decrease.
The Supreme Court of New Jersey recently accepted a case that could have far reaching implications for how employee relations and worker’s compensation are handled moving forward. The case, Vitale v. Schering Plough, involves the validity of third-party lawsuit waivers in employment contracts. Lower courts have found that such waivers violate public policy and are thus unenforceable.
Wage and Hour litigation continues to increase across most types of businesses in the United States. The number of cases filed in the US reached an all-time high in 2015. Unsurprisingly, industries with large number of service jobs caused the majority of cases and losses: hotels, restaurants, leisure companies, as well as department stores and supermarkets. The nature of these suits can vary but often involve multiple claims - misclassification of employees, failure to pay or calculate overtime properly, breaking rules on rest periods and meal periods, as well as a host of violations relating to the paying of tipped employees.
As employers continue to take successful action to reduce their worker’s compensation claims, the question of how far worker’s compensation extends comes up fairly often. Many people often believe it takes little more than an employee suffering an injury at the location of their employment for a claim to qualify for worker’s compensation. The actual law in most states is more complicated than that, as a recent action out of New Jersey showed.
A United States District Court Judge in Texas issued a nationwide temporary injunction against the Department of Labor’s new rule implementing a higher minimum salary for overtime exempt employees in November, 2016. The rule had garnered a lot of criticism from businesses worried over the financial costs of either paying workers a higher salary or paying them overtime. Forecasts had put the number of employees affected by the new rule at over four million people.