Employers must notify qualified workers by the first day of the first plan year falling after February 4, 2010 or May 1, 2010, and every year thereafter. Many employers have annual healthcare plans, so the notification date would be before January 1, 2011.
Workers who reside in Alabama, Alaska, California, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, (more…)
The greatest change for HR pros and employers under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will come from penalties to employers who fail to provide group health insurance. The law technically stops short of a mandate, because it does not require that employers provide healthcare benefits to workers. However, companies that fail to offer health care coverage will have to pay a penalty of $2,000 per employee beginning January 1, 2014. The law makes an exception for small employers, as the first 30 workers do not count towards the penalty.
If the employer offers health care benefits, if even one employee applies for a federal subsidy to purchase individual health insurance, the employer may be fined $750 per person, under the law signed by President Barack Obama.
One important change involves how employees are enrolled in healthcare plans. Under the new system, employers with 200 or more employees will automatically enroll new employees in the group health insurance. Employees will have to intentionally opt out of the plan, in order to not receive healthcare.
The law also includes provisions to make healthcare coverage more affordable for low-income workers, according to the Society for Human Resource Management or SHRM. An employee who earns less than four times the federal poverty level will have the option of buying health insurance through a health care exchange.
Small business owners and employees will have the option of purchasing health insurance through an exchange, which will offer lower rates for insurance than currently available. So-called SHOP exchanges, or Small Business (more…)
A recent court case highlights the necessity for employers to eliminate gender-specific vulgarity from the workplace. While some employers may still choose to allow swearing at work, language that is defamatory towards any sex or racial group should be forbidden, even if it does not target any one individual.
In a case involving trucking company C. H. Robinson Worldwide Inc., sales rep Ingrid Reeves complained repeatedly to upper management about the pervasive use of crude and derogatory terms for women, including female co-workers, clients and women in general. She was also exposed daily to a radio program that was vulgar and made derogatory statements about women. Reeves objected almost daily to her coworkers about their conduct, first in person and then by email.
Reeves complained to the branch manager, whose conduct was similarly vulgar. He claims to have discussed her complaints with the male workers, but acknowledges that no change in their actions occurred.
In the initial ruling, a lower court determined that vulgar, offensive language in itself is not sex discrimination. On appeal, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, but found that pervasive sexually offensive language, especially denigrating women, created a hostile work environment for a female.
In an important ruling for the workplace, (more…)
Employers need to be more vigilant in hiring and promotions than ever before. That’s because a new EEOC task force has increased enforcement actions against employers who lack diversity in their workforce, calling such situations “systemic discrimination.” The agency may initiate investigations, even in the absence of an employee complaint.
To cite just two examples, the EEOC recently announced a $2 million settlement with Les Schwab Tire Centers in a sex discrimination case. The company was accused of not hiring qualified females for its auto care stores in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada, Montana and Utah since 2004.
In a separate case, Wal-Mart paid $11.7 million to settle a sex discrimination case involving applicants for warehouse jobs in the London, Kentucky distribution center. Hiring officials with the retail giant told female applicants that the positions were not suitable for women, and that most new hires (more…)
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that the state can enforce this portion of the Oklahoma immigration law. The Chamber of Commerce argued that only the federal government has the right to control immigration, and therefore the state law was unconstitutional. This argument failed, which is no surprise considering that at least a dozen states have immigration laws.
Although all three judges of the appellate (more…)