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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.

Model COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan

Regulators have made it clear that workplaces must implement written plans to control COVID-19 exposure risks at the site. Here’s a Model Plan template your medical office can adapt that provides for the necessary protections.

COMPLIANCE

How to create a COVID-19 exposure control plan

For as long as COVID-19 remains a threat, businesses—both essential and nonessential—won’t be allowed to re-open and remain open unless they implement a plan to control workplace infection risks. While infection control is nothing new for medical offices, the challenges posed by COVID-19 are unprecedented and unique and you probably won’t find any great templates in your current policy folders and binders. As a result, you’ll need to build your plan from the ground up. Here’s a step-by-step strategy and Model COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan containing the necessary elements that you can use to accomplish that objective. The Exposure Control Plan & Why You Need It An exposure control plan is a set of measures to protect workers, patients, contractors, visitors and other people at your workplace against exposure to… . . . read more.

TECHNOLOGY

Choosing an automated compliance partner

By Kristi Williams bio Sometimes the obvious isn’t so obvious.  And sometimes it takes fresh eyes to see what has been right in front of you all along.  Such is the case with automation in healthcare. Today, healthcare organizations find themselves continuously challenged to keep up with changing regulatory requirements and to ensure that their business practices adhere to external rules and internal controls. That responsibility falls directly on the shoulders of the compliance department who is tasked with identifying risks that an organization faces and implementing controls to protect the company from those risks. The need for an effective compliance program is not new.  It has been understood by health plans for years.  What is new, however, is that an increasing number of health plans are turning to automation… . . . 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.

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… . . . read more.

Compliance Tool: Model In-Office Phlebotomist Agreement

The following Model Agreement between a referring physician and a testing lab was created by Savannah, GA, lab compliance attorney Adam Walters and structured to minimize kickback liability risks to each party in accordance with the OIG 1994 Special Fraud Alert, which remains the definitive source of federal guidance on the subject. Speak to your attorney about adapting the model for your own use.

Five reasons you need an employee handbook

By Julie Ellison bio For many employers, the idea of creating an Employee Handbook is overwhelming.  But the importance of having one should outweigh that hesitancy given the peace of mind it can provide you while you are busy running your law firm or business. An Employee Handbook is your roadmap for what your employees can expect from you and what you expect from your employees.  It should be simple, straightforward and relevant.  Not having one in place can create huge headaches that are completely avoidable. Here are five good reasons to have an employee handbook: 1. Handbooks Set Employee Expectations Handbooks allow you to clearly set forth everything from job responsibilities to disciplinary procedures, thus keeping employee expectations consistent with the employer. Experience teaches us that employees are willing to… . . . read more.

TOOL: Model Employee Illness/Injury Reporting Policy

The OSHA Recordkeeping Standard requires you to record and potentially report work-related illnesses and injuries. Reporting of illnesses and injuries is also crucial to investigating, identifying and correcting problems that can lead to further incidents and OSHA violations. So, it’s crucial to establish a policy and procedure for workers to report workplace injuries and illnesses. You can adapt this Model Policy to ensure prompt and proper reporting of workplace injuries and illnesses.

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.


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