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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law
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20 Nov 2013 Useful Online Guide To Keeping Tabs On The ACA

Many employers have spent the last several years trying to understand the intricacies and nuances of the Affordable Care Act. The various delays in the roll-out, which have been underscored in recent weeks with the problems associated with the launch of the website, have done nothing to quiet the air of uncertainty that surrounds the Act. Further, while the delay of the employer mandate last summer provided a temporary respite, this also has only added to the growing number of headaches employers face in keeping…

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12 Apr 2013 Administration’s Budget Reveals Priorities

President Obama’s $3.8 trillion FY 2014 budget request has been released. In this era of cutbacks and fiscal cliffs, special funds earmarked for certain types of enforcement activities – as well as funds removed from other functions – give a clear picture of the Obama administration’s workplace priorities. Although the total budget request for OSHA increases only about $1.5M over last year’s budget for a total of $570.5M, there is a $5.9M increase in the budget for OSHA’s whistleblower enforcement program ($21.8M from $15.9M the…

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11 Feb 2013 OSHA – Regulatory and Enforcement Update

With four more years of the Obama administration, expect increased enforcement efforts from OSHA as we have seen in the past four years. As noted last year, even without formal statutory reform, OSHA managed to double the average fines given to employers through an internal administrative penalty bulletin and the Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP). The outlook for 2013 appears to be more of the same. The scope of enforcement activities of OSHA may expand as well with the creation of the Whistleblower Protection Advisory…

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08 Feb 2013 Obama Administration Revises the Contraceptive Mandate, but Provides No Accommodations for For-Profit Companies with Religious Objections

On February 1, 2013, the Obama administration issued new proposed rules which would amend the contraceptive mandate under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  The proposed rules, which can be found here, provide no relief to for-profit companies with religious objections to the contraceptive mandate.  Instead, the new proposed rules provide some additional accommodations for religious employers.  For example, under the new proposed rules, an entity may qualify for the religious employer exemption even if it serves or hires people of different religious faiths. …

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11 Jan 2013 Department of Labor Secretary Solis Resigns

Earlier this week, Secretary Hilda Solis announced that she is leaving the Department of Labor (DOL), creating a vacancy for President Obama to fill. In her letter to DOL employees, Solis stated that she submitted her resignation to President Obama earlier in the day after “much discussion with family and close friends” over the holiday season.  Solis’ letter praised the enforcement efforts of the DOL, noting that last year the largest number of investigations were conducted “in recent memory, collecting the most back wages in…

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06 Nov 2012 D-Day for ObamaCare?

Today is Election Day, and many believe that it represents what may be the last realistic challenge to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (a/k/a ObamaCare).  If the President wins re-election, it is virtually certain that the Act will be implemented as planned in January 2014.  However, what many overlook is that even if the President loses, the Act still may survive – depending on which party winds up controlling the Senate and whether there is sufficient political will to repeal the law.  As…

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16 Oct 2012 Congressional Investigation Targets WARN Act Guidance Issued to Defense Contractors

A congressional investigation has been initiated in response to the Obama administration’s guidance advising defense contractors not to issue budget-driven layoff notices in accordance with federal WARN Act provisions.  The investigation, lead by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who serves as the Chair of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Oversight Committee, seeks correspondence between the White House and various defense firms to determine whether any guidance issued runs afoul of WARN Act requirements and encourages contractors to disregard employment laws. Specifically, with the upcoming November elections,…

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13 Aug 2012 Obama nominates Yang for EEOC Commissioner

According to a recent White House press release, President Obama will nominate Jenny R. Yang for EEOC Commissioner. This nomination follows the recent early resignation of Stuart J. Ishimaru, leaving a vacancy on the five-seat Commission. Ms. Yang is currently a partner at a law firm in Washington, D.C., where she has practiced in the Civil Rights and Employment Practice Group since 2003. If her nomination is confirmed by the Senate, she will serve as Commissioner until July 1, 2017 and she will be the fourth…

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18 Jun 2012 Obama Directive Offers Relief to Certain Unauthorized Immigrants

Under a new directive from President Obama, unauthorized immigrants who meet specific criteria will not be subject to deportation, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization immediately. To be eligible for relief, individuals must show, on a case-by-case basis, that they: – came to the United States under the age of 16; – have continuously lived in the U.S. for at least five years (before June 15) and are now present in the U.S.; – are currently in school, have graduated from high…

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