Posts from March 2016.

All is not well with wellness plans. The EEOC, fearing employers can use employee health data gained through employer wellness programs to discriminate against employees, recently issued new regulations for employer wellness programs. Patricia Nemeth, founding partner of Nemeth Law, highlights the 4 key EEOC regulations:

1. Wellness plans must have a reasonable chance of improving an employee’s health

2. The program must be voluntary for employees

3. The employer must notify employees if the wellness plan is part of the employer-sponsored health insurance plan

4. Wellness plans must provide reasonable alternatives for disabled employees who are unable to participate

Two recent bills introduced in the Legislature represent the latest in a line of challenges and proposed amendments to Michigan’s controversial right-to-work law. As currently written, right-to-work laws prevent employers from entering into agreements with unions that require employees to pay dues or fees to the union in order to remain employed. If the new bills are enacted, employees could vote to determine whether they want to be covered by right-to-work. If the employees vote to opt-out of right-to-work, then all employees would be required to pay union dues or fees in order to keep their jobs. The requirement to pay union dues or fees would continue until the employees vote to opt back into right-to-work. But, a vote to opt back into right-to-work could only be held at the expiration of the contract with the union or after three years.

The Department of Labor (DOL) thinks joint employer relationships have become murky and tenuous for employees and is stepping up its enforcement efforts to protect employees. Specifically, the DOL is looking at joint employment in two ways: horizontal and vertical. Horizontal employment involves, for example, a cook who may work at two restaurants owned by the same employer or a nurse who works for two medical groups with the same owner. Vertical employment involves subcontractors who are hired by a staffing agency but report to the supervisor at the contracted company. Nemeth Law’s Terry Bonnette looks at how both forms of joint employment can impact employee pay. Hint to employers: it’s going to cost you.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently filed two suits in federal court alleging that employers committed unlawful sex discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation under Title VII. These lawsuits go against well-established federal court precedent that sexual orientation is not a protected class under Title VII. Nevertheless, as of last summer, the EEOC has taken the position that sexual orientation discrimination is, in fact, discrimination because of sex and is thus protected under federal law.

On Friday January 29, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced proposed changes to its annual EEO-1 report that will significantly impact many employers if the changes are enacted. The EEOC proposes that employers should be required to submit pay data as part of their EEO-1 reports. The revised EEO-1 report was proposed as part of the White House's commemoration of the seventh anniversary of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which was President Obama's first piece of legislation.

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Woman-owned and led, Nemeth Bonnette Brouwer has exclusively represented management in the prevention, resolution, and litigation of labor and employment disputes for more than 30 years.

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