Sexual Harassment Lawsuits: How to Protect Your Company

| posted in Uncategorized

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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Trump Administration Writing Regs to Loosen Rules on Health Plan Tax Credits for Small Employers

| posted in Blog

The Trump administration is crafting regulations that will allow small employers to bypass government-run exchanges to purchase coverage and still be eligible for a tax subsidy. Part of the Affordable Care Act provides for small employers to be eligible for a tax credit if they purchase health insurance for their workers on federally operated exchanges for small businesses. However, the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit is only available to employers that bought coverage on the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), leaving those who bought plans on the private market out of luck. Now the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid…
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Indoor Workers Can Also Get Heat Illness; Here’s How to Protect Them

| posted in Blog

As temperatures soar this summer, it’s not only outdoor workers that toil under the sun who are at risk of heat illness. Workers in warehouses, boiler rooms and factories are also susceptible to heat illness, which can cause severe symptoms – and even death. The temperature inside these facilities can often exceed 80 degrees, the threshold at which employers with outdoor workers are required by Cal/OSHA to take certain steps to protect their workers from heat illness. And on extreme heat days, even the air conditioners can sometimes not keep up with cooling down the building, making workers uncomfortable and…
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Workers’ Comp Referral Ring Busted: How You Can Keep Your Employees from Being Ensnared

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

One of the hidden cost drivers in workers’ comp is fraud and while many employers feel that fraud by “injured workers” is the biggest problem, there are also vendors in the system that do their part to skim money from employers and insurers. Most recently, law enforcement in California busted a fraud ring that required attorneys to pay a monthly referral fee to a company that brought the lawyers new clients and then used the same company for a number of services that were later billed to insurance companies. Prosecutors estimate that the ring encompassed 33,000 injured workers and netted…
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Creating a Strong Safety Program for Your Fleet Drivers

| posted in Blog

While most operations with an automotive or trucking fleet focus on safety, few businesses are actually monitoring their drivers to make sure they are adhering to the company’s rules, a new study has found. Many companies only pull reports on their drivers’ records on an annual basis, which means they miss important developments like a DUI or a few moving violations that will increase the cost of insuring them. In fact, 70% of companies with fleets do not even monitor their drivers and 60% don’t have a safety program in place, according to the study by SambaSafety, a firm that…
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Drug Use Skyrockets among American Workers

| posted in Blog

Drug use is rapidly increasing among American workers, as more states liberalize marijuana laws, cocaine makes a resurgence and more people abuse amphetamines and heroin. A new study by Quest Diagnostics Inc., a workplace drug-testing lab, found that the number of workers testing positive for illicit drugs is higher than at any time in the last 12 years. That puts employers in a tricky predicament, particularly if employees are using at work, which could reduce productivity and also make them more susceptible to workplace injuries since they may not be as focused as they should be on their work. In…
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Employee Texting Blows Holes in Your Company Communications Policy

| posted in Blog

If you are not aware, your employees are most likely communicating with each other and clients using texting or instant messaging. While the immediacy of texting and instant messaging is great for business as it allows faster communications, better collaboration and more responsiveness, the downside is that your organization likely can’t track and retrieve those communications. It becomes even harder if the communications are via instant messaging apps like Whatsapp! and Facebook’s Messenger. As an employer, it’s important that you understand the issue and that you have clear rules for communications among employees in order to protect your company’s interests….
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April Is Distracted Driving Awareness Month: Educate Your Staff

| posted in Blog

As accidents skyrocket in part due to people using their smartphones while behind the wheel, April has been designated Distracted Driving Awareness Month – a great time for you as an employer to further promote safe driving among your staff. Hammering home the importance of safe driving can keep your employees from causing serious damage or worse to a third party, and also help keep your insurance costs in check. That’s especially important now as commercial auto insurance rates are rising due to a combination of factors, including: More traffic – The number of total miles driven has increased 50%…
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Bill Would Make Collecting Health Information for Wellness Plans Easier

| posted in Blog

Legislation has surfaced in Congress that would allow employers to collect biometric and genetic information from employees and their family members as a precondition for participation in a company wellness program. The bill would essentially repeal a portion of the Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act (GINA), which in part bars employers from collecting genetic information on employees or members of their family for certain wellness programs. The GINA bars health insurers and employers from discriminating against people based on information that their genes carry – say, a family history of heart disease or stroke. The law contains an exception for employers…
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Appeal Promptly if You Get Notice of Staff Receiving Exchange Subsidies

| posted in Blog

More employers have been receiving notices from their state health insurance exchange, informing them that one of their employees has received subsidies to purchase insurance on the exchange and that the employer may be subject to a penalty for not offering employees a health plan that complies with the law. The notices are not calls to pay a fine – only the IRS can do that – but employers need to respond with documentation to show that they did in fact offer affordable coverage that meets the minimum value requirements of the Affordable Care Act. If you receive a notice,…
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