Start Your FREE Membership NOW
 Discover Proven Ways to Be a Better Law Office Manager
 Get Our Weekly eNewsletter, Law Office Manager Bulletin,
    and MUCH MORE
 Absolutely NO Risk or Obligation on Your Part -- It's FREE!
EMAIL ADDRESS



Upgrade to Premium Membership NOW for Just $90!
Get 3 Months of Full Premium Membership Access
Includes Our Monthly Newsletter, Office Toolbox, Policy Center, and Archives
And MUCH MORE!
EMPLOYERS FOOT THE BILL

Feds say insurers not required to pay for employer return to work COVID-19 testing

Since the public health emergency began, the US government has taken the position that insurers shouldn’t be allowed to make consumers pay for COVID-19 lab tests. But now comes news that insurers will not be put in that same position with regard to return to work screening conducted on employees by their employers. FFCRA rules for COVID-19 test payment The key piece of federal relief legislation, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), required insurers to cover COVID-19 tests without imposing any copayments, deductibles, coinsurance or other patient cost-sharing. But the rule (Section 6001 of FFCRA) rule applied only to tests deemed “medically appropriate” by a healthcare provider. The key question: Would insurers also have to foot the bill for screening tests not used for diagnosis and treatment? Apparently, the answer… . . . read more

Employment Law Update

Supreme Court ruling extends workplace protections to LGBTQ workers

By Mike O’Brien bio SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND TRANSGENDER STATUS NOW ARE PROTECTED CLASSES NATIONALLY: Federal civil rights law protects gay, lesbian, and transgender employees, the United States Supreme Court announced June 15 in a landmark ruling. The historic decision will extend workplace anti-discrimination and anti-harassment protections to about 8 million LGBTQ workers nationwide. The ruling also vindicates a position long taken by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). It is a defeat, however, for the Trump administration, which opposed the EEOC. President Trump instructed the Department of Justice to argue that the provision of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that bars discrimination based on sex did not extend to claims of gender identity and sexual orientation bias. This led to the odd circumstance where two parts of the same government argued for opposite… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Top 10 questions an employer should ask before returning employees to work

By Mike O’Brien bio As various states and municipalities across the country lift shutdowns and begin easing COVID restrictions, employers are faced with complex questions about safely bringing their employees back to the workplace. We’ve compiled the top 10 questions every employer should consider before returning employees to work.    How do we implement proper infection prevention measures? First, and perhaps foremost, employers should design, implement, communicate, and begin to monitor basic infection prevention measures as they return employees to onsite work. Although a complex task, OSHA and CDC have both published step-by-step instructions for employers on how to implement appropriate infection prevention measures. OSHA has published an employer Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, which outlines the specific steps it believes all employers should take to reduce workers’ risk of exposure… . . . read more

COMPLIANCE GUIDANCE

How to create a legally sound COVID-19 medical screening policy

Like so many other law offices during the coronavirus pandemic, you may be considering medically screening your employees each day before letting them into the workplace. While screening is highly problematic in normal times, regulators have grudgingly acknowledged that it may be a justified health and safety measure during the pandemic. The operative phrase is “may be,” which means that limits still apply. You need to recognize and ensure keep your facility in compliance with those limits. Here’s how. Three Ways COVID-19 Screening Can Get Your Firm into Legal Hot Water Medically screening  personnel can expose you to three kinds of liability. Privacy Violations Body temperature and information about an individual’s symptoms (or lack thereof) collected during the screening process is personal health information (PHI) protected by HIPAA and other… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Employment law changing on the fly in response to COVID-19

By Mike O’Brien bio COVID-19 has ushered in a variety of new, and fast-evolving employment law changes, from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). EMPLOYEE RETENTION TAX CREDIT:  The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) includes a tax credit for employers that retain employees during the COVID-19 crisis.  The credit generally provides relief to employers of all sizes in the form of a refundable payroll tax credit of 50% of all “qualified wages” paid (up to $10,000 per employee) during the COVID-19 crisis if (i) operations were fully or partially suspended or subject to a shut-down order; or (ii) gross receipts declined more than 50% compared to the same quarter in the prior year.  Note that for… . . . read more

ASK THE EXPERT

Must employee notify our office of DUI?

QUESTION If one of our employees gets a DUI, do they have to notify us? ANSWER It depends. EXPLANATION There are at least four factors affecting whether the employee would have to come forward and tell you about the DUI? Your HR policies: What, if anything, do your current policies say about whether employees must notify you of their DUIs? Conviction or arrest? If the employee was arrested but not convicted, he/she may be able to prove innocence (or may have already done so if the charges were dropped or the employee was acquitted). A conviction, on the other hand, would more likely affect job performance and thus require disclosure. Impact on job performance: Notification is required if the DUI has an actual or potential impact on job performance, such… . . . read more

Employment Law Update

Age bias legislation and defamation claims

By Mike O’Brien bio Here is my periodic update prepared for interested HR professionals trying to deal with the complex American employment laws. House passes age bias legislation: The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA). The bill, passed in January, would allow an older worker to sue for job discrimination even if age was not the sole cause of adverse employment action, but simply one motivating factor in the decision. Under the ADEA and a 2009 Supreme Court decision (Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc.), an aggrieved worker must show that “but for” age (40 and over), the challenged employment decision would not have been made. POWADA would substantially lower that standard to proof that age was a “motivating factor.” In addition,… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

New overtime rule now in effect

By Mike O’Brien bio Jan. 1, 2020 was the deadline to comply with new FLSA overtime rule. At the end of September the Department of Labor issued its long-awaited final rule updating the salary level test for white-collar overtime exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Under the new rule, the minimum salary level for exemption is raised from $455 a week to $684 a week, or $35,568 annually. The change marks the first increase in the minimum salary level to take effect in more than 15 years. It is expected to bring overtime eligibility to over a million employees who are ineligible under the current threshold. Although the DOL released a final rule raising the salary level in 2016, the rule was blocked by a federal district court and… . . . read more

RISK MANAGEMENT

4 bad financial habits that may increase your policy premiums and your malpractice risk

Ineffective billing and collections practices affect more than the bottom line. They ultimately may determine what the firm has to…


. . . read more

TELECOMMUTING

8 pitfalls of letting law firm employees work from home

Contrary to what you might have heard in HR circles, refusing to let employees work from home will not make your law firm a dinosaur that nobody will ever want to work for. In fact, it will put you in the same position as the nearly 65 percent of…


. . . read more


(-0)