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Apr 2017
07
April 07, 2017

News Digest - HR Focus - Spring 2017

  • EEOC Publishes Proposed Enforcement Guidance on Unlawful Harassment for Public Comment

    On January 10, the EEOC published an Enforcement Guidance on Unlawful Harassment. “This enforcement guidance explains the legal standards for unlawful harassment and employer liability. This guidance presents a single legal analysis for harassment that applies the same legal principals under all equal employment opportunity (EEO) statutes enforced by the Commission. This guidance also replaces, updates and consolidates several earlier EEOC guidance documents... ” stated the EEOC. The main topics in this guidance include unwelcomes, gender and gender identity harassment. Also included is a section called “Promising Practices,” which states: “Employers also may find it helpful to consider and implement new forms of training, such as workplace civility training and/or bystander intervention training, to prevent workplace harassment.”

  • Work-Related Injuries and Discipline

    While employers have most likely reviewed and revised their drug and alcohol policy to comply with the new Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) recordkeeping rules, this may not be the only change employers should be making. OSHA has interpreted its new retaliation rules relating to the reporting of workplace injuries and illnesses as applying to disciplinary programs. For example, if an employer has a policy that requires employees to immediately report work-related injuries or illnesses and the employer disciplines an employee for failing to immediately report a work-related injury that built up over time, OSHA may find a violation of its new rule. In addition, if an employer only disciplines employees for safety violations who report work-related injuries or illnesses, OSHA may find a violation. Additional information about this issue is available at:  https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/modernization_guidance.html.

  • Pension Cuts Approved

    For the first time under a 2014 law, the U.S. Treasury Department has approved reducing benefits to workers and retirees to improve the financial health of a multiemployer (union) pension trust. Members of the Iron Workers Local 17 Pension Fund approved the cuts, but the impact will vary greatly. Many participants will see little or no change, while more than 300 of the 1,938 participants will face pension cuts of 30%-60%. We expect other multiemployer pension funds to follow suit unless another long-term fix is put in place.

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