United States: Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP Presents Your 13 Labor & Employment Resolutions For 2013

The world did not end last week, and so it is that time again to reflect on the year behind us and to consider what is on the horizon for the upcoming year. What resolutions will we make for 2013? Will we train for an Iron Man race or marathon? Not wait until the last minute to do our taxes? Attend more of our kids' little league games or dance recitals? Go visit grandma at least once a month?

As an employer, your resolutions undoubtedly will be influenced by the unpredictable economic and regulatory climate. Indeed, you may decide that 2013 is the year to implement more systematic measures to ensure your business or organization is in compliance with ever-changing federal and state employment laws and regulations. Schnader's Labor & Employment Practices Group encourages employers to make the following 13 resolutions that will provide a firm foundation for navigating successfully through the legal and regulatory world of 2013:

  1. Develop a natural disaster plan (or enhance your existing plan) to address issues such as employee pay, leave, benefits, safety and collective bargaining as well as communication with and among employees in the event of another major natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy or an earthquake.
  2. For employers with 50 or more employees, prepare for upcoming reporting and recordkeeping deadlines and significant tax changes under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). This includes providing employees with a summary of benefits and coverage and plain plan language for plan years commencing after September 22, 2012; incorporating the value of employer provided health care coverage in employees' 2012 W-2 forms due by January 31, 2013; and providing employees by March 1, 2013 with written notice of the availability of health insurance through state exchanges and of tax credits to offset employee premium costs where employer-sponsored insurance is not provided. Other major changes under Obamacare effective January 2013 include an additional 0.9 percent payroll tax for Medicare for certain high income workers, a new $2,500 cap on employee flexible spending accounts and the termination of an employer tax subsidy that helps pay for retirees' drug benefits. Such changes are a precursor to more significant changes expected by the fall of 2013, by which time insurance companies, states and the federal government are required to establish a system allowing individuals to purchase insurance through exchanges.
  3. Review and update employee and applicant criminal background check policies and practices to consider the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) 2012 enforcement guidelines and to ensure compliance with new notification and reporting requirements under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, including providing employees with modified Summary of Rights forms in January 2013.
  4. Review and update employee whistleblower and anti-retaliation policies and procedures in view of the reported receipt by the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) of 3,000 formal "tips" of securities laws violations in 2012 from persons in the U.S. and in nearly 50 foreign nations hoping to receive large financial bounties should the SEC successfully prosecute the companies they reported. (See SEC's 2012 Annual Report on Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program) Moreover, at least 20 other federal laws, including the Internal Revenue Code, that regulate both public and private companies in a wide variety of businesses, plus laws of most states, also protect whistleblowers from adverse employment action and have contributed to a pronounced increase in whistleblower lawsuits brought by increasingly aggressive and specialized plaintiff advocates.
  5. Review and update electronic communications, social networking and media policies and practices in view of significant activity by Obama appointees, including advice memoranda and decisions published by the National Labor Relations Board in 2012 proscribing social media policies that restrict employee communication of matters of interest to coworkers and overturning discipline of both union and non-union employees for complaining on social media about working conditions, pay or other terms of employment, on grounds that they unlawfully interfere with the employees' right to "concerted activity" under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act.
  6. Review compensation policies and practices for female employees to ensure compliance with the Equal Pay Act and Title VII in view of the White House Equal Pay Task Force Report in April 2012 and EEOC initiatives signaling greater Administration focus on and increased administrative investigation and enforcement activity to address perceived violations of the act in 2013.
  7. For employers that are federal contractors or subcontractors, prepare for final regulations concerning disabled workers and veterans from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs expected before mid-2013 that, among other things, would require federal contractors to set a 7 percent hiring goal for workers with disabilities and to establish annual hiring benchmarks for protected veterans, both of which would impose a substantial increase in data collection, recordkeeping, recruitment, training, and policy dissemination requirements.
  8. Review and update workplace posters to ensure compliance with existing and new state law posting requirements, such as New Jersey's new gender equality notice.
  9. Review worker Employee and Independent Contract or classifications to ensure that workers are classified properly under the varying standards applied by the IRS, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the agencies in your state, in view of the DOL's continued compliance initiatives and joint efforts with state and other federal agencies, and the increasing wave of audits initiated by the IRS.
  10. Review and update employee attendance policies and practices to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in view of the EEOC's enforcement position that policies and practices that require employees to disclose specific medical reasons for health-related absences violate the ADA.
  11. Review worker volunteer designations and employee exempt and non-exempt classifications to ensure compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act in view of increased enforcement activity from the DOL on these issues and the potential impact of the "fiscal cliff" on employees' schedules, responsibilities and hours.
  12. Review your organization's California policies and practices to ensure that they comply with a slate of new state laws that will affect both public and private employees beginning January 1, 2013, including the mandatory preparation of written contracts for commission earning employees, expanded employee rights to inspect their personnel records within stringent time limits, strict limitations on employer inquiries into employee or applicant personal social media and obligations to provide complete and accurate wage information to temporary service employees.
  13. Schedule a compliance audit of your labor and employment law policies and procedures, being careful to maximize the protection of the audit results by the attorney client privilege.

The failure to comply with the new and existing legal requirements referred to above could cost your organization monetary penalties and other sanctions on top of back pay liability to employees and adverse publicity.

Schnader attorneys can assist you and your organization to implement these resolutions — to identify risks and take important preventive measures — to help avoid sanctions, penalties and litigation in the New Year. We wish you a happy and proactive New Year!

Originally published December 28, 2012

www.schnader.com

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.