Protect Your Business against Supply Chain Disruption

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Hurricane Irma highlighted how fragile America’s supply and logistical chains can be. Thanks to a variety of technologies like RFID tracking and just-in-time supply chain management, U.S. businesses are running leaner than ever. And sometimes, all it takes is a bump in the road to show us just how lean, and how easy it is for events beyond anyone’s control to wreak havoc with a business’s ability to function. When Hurricane Irma walked up the Florida peninsula, tens of millions of Floridians flocked to stores to stock up on bottled water, batteries, ice and other supplies, expecting to be out…
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Sexual Harassment Lawsuits: How to Protect Your Company

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By now, employers should all realize and understand that sexual harassment is illegal. However, what they might not be aware of are two 20-year-old rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court that: • Expanded what is termed sexual harassment; • Expanded the responsibility that employers have to provide a work environment that’s non-hostile; and • Did away with harassed employees having to prove that their company holds some responsibility or that their career suffered from lack of promotion, firing, demotion, or other such action. Employers are now directly responsible for employee behavior, thereby giving harassed workers more recourse in bringing about…
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Republicans Consider Fixing ACA, Not Repealing It

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The steamroller everyone expected from President Trump and the GOP-led Congress to flatten the Affordable Care Act has been put on idle and what was a promised quick outright repeal has morphed into a plan to “repair” the law. In particular, Republican lawmakers, huddling while trying to devise a repeal-and-replace plan, have instead found that it won’t be so easy, unless they want to cut off millions of people from the health insurance they have purchased on exchanges. They are most concerned with the political fallout should that happen, not to mention the fact that a repeal would also do…
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New Slip, Trip, Fall Prevention Rules for General Industry – copy

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Federal OSHA implemented a new rule on Jan. 17 that is aimed at reducing slip, trip and fall hazards in the workplace. The revisions are aimed at tackling one of the main causes of worker deaths and injuries in American workplaces by applying rules designed for the construction and manufacturing sectors to other general industries. They add requirements for personal fall protection systems and eliminate existing mandates to use guardrails as a primary fall protection method. They also allow employers to choose from accepted fall protection systems which type they want to use. The new standard will prevent some 30…
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New Law Tightens Use of Smartphones while Driving

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As you know, California already has laws against using a phone while driving without a hands-free device or texting while driving. But because it basically was written before the proliferation of smartphones, the state law does not cover the many new uses for phones, like live chat, posting on social media or using a myriad of apps that require user interaction. Obviously, using a smartphone in any capacity behind the wheel is as, if not more, dangerous as driving while texting. Well, now there’s a law for that! Starting Jan. 1, 2017, a new law will dictate where you can…
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FMLA, FLSA Lawsuits Surge, Exposing Employers to Large Awards

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The number of employee lawsuits against employers for Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and wage and hour violations has skyrocketed in the last five years and your firm could be the next target even for a small misstep, which can be costly. The Department of Labor has increased its budget and the number of investigators pursuing employers who violate the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which covers wage and hour complaints, including exempt and non-exempt employee violations, overtime violations and similar issues. Employment law attorneys say that the surge in FMLA complaints is a result of more people knowing about…
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Seven Tips for Navigating a Workers’ Comp Audit

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No business ever wants to be audited, but in the world of workers’ compensation insurance it’s a regular occurrence that does not need to be a stressful event. A workers’ comp audit by your insurer is common for most mid-sized or larger employers, and the audit threshold in California is $16,000 or more in annual premium. While many employers are used to audits and have their procedures and policies in place to ensure a smooth experience, some of you may be growing concerns that now are large enough to be subject to audits. The key to a workers’ comp audit…
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California Wage & Hour Violations Can Create Personal Liability

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A new California law gives the state labor commissioner expansive new powers to go after employers that have judgments against them for non-payment of wages, including issuing stop-work orders and holding officers personally liable. The Fair Day’s Pay Act, which took effect Jan. 1, adds a whole new section to the state Labor Code aimed at reducing wage theft and making employers pay for skirting wage and hour laws. Specifically, those violations include: • Final payment of wages at termination. • Issuing wage statements. • Meal and rest break laws. • Overtime. • Expense reimbursement. • Payment of minimum wage….
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Open Enrollment is Coming to a Close

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With the tax penalty larger than it has ever been, now is the time to sign up for health coverage if you are not covered. The “shared responsibility” penalty for going without coverage in 2016 is $695 per person and $347.50 per child, or 2.5% of household income – whichever is higher. The open enrollment deadline is January 31st, 2016. Anyone who has not signed up by that deadline will not be able to enroll until next year’s open enrollment, unless they have a qualifying life event. If you wish to have coverage that is effective February 1st, your deadline to submit…
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