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Apr 2016
18
April 18, 2016

HR Focus - News Digest - Spring 2016


The United States DOL Gets Involved in the Reporting of Work-Related Injuries

According to the United States Department of Labor (DOL), a policy requiring an employee to immediately notify the company of a work-related injury is retaliatory and discourages reporting injuries. The DOL articulated its claim in a lawsuit recently filed against US Steel Corporation.

US Steel Corporation suspended two workers for five days because the individuals reported work injuries a few days after the work incidents occurred. In both situations, the employees claim their delay in reporting was because they did not experience symptoms when the accidents took place. Once they became symptomatic, they notified the company of the incidents.

The DOL is seeking for US Steel Corporation to reverse the disciplinary actions and reimburse the injured employees for wages lost during the five-day suspension. Additionally, the DOL is requesting a ruling prohibiting enforcement of a policy that requires employees to report work-related injuries or illnesses less than seven days after the person becomes aware of the condition.

EEOC Proposes Increased Reporting Burden for Many Employers

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a proposed change to the Employer Information Report (EEO-1) that many employers are required to file annually. The proposed changes will take effect in September 2017 and would require covered employers to provide aggregate data on pay ranges and hours worked along with information already collected. This new pay data will provide the EEOC and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs with information regarding “pay disparities across industries and occupations” and will help to “strengthen federal efforts to combat discrimination.” The EEOC states this information would also help employers voluntarily comply with the law and help all agencies “assess complaints of discrimination, focus agency investigations and identify existing pay disparities that may warrant further examination.”

Spring Cleaning May Prevent MiOSHA Violations

Instead of throwing things away, do you save things thinking that you may eventually need them? Having a “pack rat” mentality may result in a number of Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MiOSHA) violations. The most obvious violation is the housekeeping rule (R408.10015) which, in general, requires that all workplace aisles, passageways, storerooms and service rooms be kept clean and orderly. However, other violations may exist including blocked exits (R408.10632(1)), lack of accessibility to fire extinguishers (R408.10831(1)), blocked electrical panels (R1910.303(g)(1)) and lack of accessibility to eye/body wash stations (R325.47201(3)). The next time you are walking through your business, you might want to look for these obvious violations.

Scalia’s Death Could Result in the Continuation of Mandatory Union Dues for Public Workers

The death of Justice Antonin Scalia could give unions a reprieve in a suit that could restrict the ability of unions to require dues from public workers. Following oral arguments in January, most expected the Supreme Court to overturn the Appeals Court decision in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association and overturn a nearly 40-year-old standard allowing union fee mandates for all public employees. Without Scalia, the justices would likely be evenly split. In the case of a 4-4 tie, the Supreme Court would issue a one-line ruling saying the lower court decision stands, which would affirm the ruling favoring the unions. The Supreme Court could also delay the case pending the appointment of a new justice, which could mean a year-long delay until the justices can rehear the case.

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