Stoel Rives Labor & Employment News Digest - March/April 2009
New Swine Flu Resources for Employers Available
The U.S. government has set up a new website, PandemicFlu.gov, to provide "One-stop access to U.S. government swine, avian and pandemic flu information." It has posted a great deal of information on its workplace planning page to help employers and employees reduce the risk of infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has posted this H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) page with links to helpful and up-to-date information on the swine flu, how it spreads, and how employers can help employees reduce the risk of contracting the flu. The Department of Labor's Job Accommodation Network has issued a fact sheet titled "Considering the Needs of Employees with Disabilities During a Pandemic Flu Outbreak" (click to download).
IRS Forms W-4 and I-9 Now Available in Spanish
After some delay, here it is: the 2009 IRS Form W-4, Spanish Version (click to download). Click here instead if you need the 2009 IRS Form W-4 in English.
Also, you can click to download the current Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) in Spanish. Note, however, that the Spanish version may be filled out by employers and employees in Puerto Rico ONLY. Spanish-speaking employers and employees in the 50 states and other U.S. territories may print this for their reference, but may only complete the form in English to meet employment eligibility verification requirements. Click here to download the Form I-9 in English.
President Obama Announces NLRB Nominations
Last Friday, President Obama announced his intention to nominate Craig Becker and Mark Pearce as members to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the government agency that administers the National Labor Relations Act, the primary law governing relations between unions and employers in the private sector. Click here to read the White House press release, or click here to read complete coverage of the nominations on the World of Work Blog.
10 Worst Employees of 2008
Every employer and HR manager is sure he or she has dealt with the worst employee of all time, but how do your experiences stack up? Compare your most dreadful employees to this list of the 10 worst employees of 2008, courtesy of Careerbuilder.com. If you haven't heard yet, these two Domino's employees are topping the list of the worst employees for 2009. Yikes!
Age Discrimination Claims on the Rise
According to the Wall Street Journal, discrimination filings with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) went up 15 percent in 2008 compared to 2007, and age discrimination suits in particular showed a dramatic 29 percent increase over the previous year. Click here to read the WSJ article. Click here to read commentary on the World of Work Blog.
Nevada Minimum Wage Increase Effective July 1, 2009
Nevada's minimum wage will increase effective July 1, 2009, pursuant to state law that requires the Nevada Labor Commissioner to adjust the minimum wage to reflect increases in the cost of living.
The minimum wage for employees who receive qualified health benefits from their employers will increase from the current $5.85 per hour to $6.55 per hour, while the minimum wage for employees not receiving health benefits will increase from $6.85 per hour to $7.55 per hour. Click here to download the Nevada Labor Commissioner's 2009 Minimum Wage Bulletin.
IRS and DOL Publish New Info on COBRA Subsidy
This month the Department of Labor expanded its FAQs on the COBRA subsidies included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Click here to read the DOL's new COBRA FAQs. Wondering what the tax implications of the subsidy are, or whether the person asking for the subsidy is truly eligible? Click here to read the IRS's Premium Assistance for COBRA Benefits. If that doesn't answer your tax questions, click here to visit the IRS's ARRA page. As a reminder, employers can click here to download the new model COBRA notices. And finally, click here to visit the World of Work's complete COBRA coverage.
Supreme Court: Arbitration Provisions in Collective Bargaining Agreements Enforceable on Statutory Claims
This month the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision of paramount importance to union employers, holding that arbitration clauses in collective bargaining agreements are enforceable as to statutory claims. Click here to read the decision in 14 Penn Plaza LLC v. Pyett. Click here to read a synopsis of the case and its implications in the World of Work Blog.
Arlen Specter Opposes EFCA
More news on the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA): last month, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter, long considered a critical swing vote for both sides, came out in opposition to EFCA. Click here to read the New York Times' coverage (of course, since then, he's changed party allegiances from Republican to Democratic, but apparently has not changed his position on EFCA).
Ninth Circuit Declines to Reconsider Ruling on SF Health Care Ordinance
Back in October 2008, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a San Francisco city ordinance that requires many employers to either contribute a specified amount toward their employees' health care costs on a regular basis or pay into a city health care fund for San Francisco residents. Last month, the Ninth Circuit denied a petition for rehearing en banc, meaning that the law will continue to be in effect—until or unless the Supreme Court decides to hear an appeal. Click here to read complete coverage of the SF Health Care Ordinance on the World of Work Blog.
EEOC Proposes Regulations for Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act
This March the EEOC published its proposed regulations on the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). Click here to download the proposed regulations. GINA, passed by Congress last year, prohibits the improper use of genetic information in health insurance and employment. GINA prohibits group health plans and health insurers from denying coverage or charging higher premiums based solely on the insured's genetic predisposition to developing a disease in the future.
More World of Work Available Online
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Contact your Stoel Rives Labor and Employment attorney if you have questions about this or other workplace issues. For a list of attorneys in the Labor and Employment group, click here.