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Minimizing Risk in Changing Whistleblower Landscape
The Legal Intelligencer
June 11, 2013

When most employers think of whistleblowers, they likely envision employees like Sherron Watkins and Cynthia Cooper, the Enron and WorldCom whistleblowers who helped bring to light the accounting irregularities that led to the collapses of their respective employers. Indeed, it was that very type of whistleblowing that prompted Congress to establish the anti-retaliation provisions set forth in Section 806 of the Corporate and Criminal Fraud Accountability Act of 2002 (Sarbanes-Oxley Act or SOX), the sweeping reform legislation enacted to restore public confidence in corporate accounting and reporting in the wake of these and other high-profile corporate scandals. Full Text

Five Costly Mistakes to Avoid With the PPACA
The Legal Intelligencer
June 11, 2013

Organizations large and small are quickly running out of time to ensure that they are compliant with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), signed into law in 2010. Also known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), major portions of the law begin to take effect next year. However, an employer’s actions this year will have a significant impact on its ability to comply with the reforms in 2014 and the company’s financial liability for noncompliance. Full Text

Attempting to Work With a Pending Disability Hearing
The Legal Intelligencer
June 11, 2013

Applicants for Social Security disability benefits currently face an average 17-month wait from the date of their initial application until their hearing with an administrative law judge. Over the course of this agonizing wait, many claimants will feel financial pressure to return to work in some capacity. Current regulations permit claimants to explore different ways to work despite their impairments. Claimants can currently earn less than $1,040 per month and still technically qualify for disability. Claimants could alternatively earn more than this monthly amount without losing their eligibility as long as their work qualifies as an "unsuccessful work attempt," which is work that lasts no more than six months and ends because of the claimant’s impairments. Full Text


Smartphone Overtime: The FLSA Knows No Bounds
The Legal Intelligencer
June 11, 2013

The advent of remote connectivity has fundamentally changed the landscape of the American workplace and increased the potential wage-and-hour risks for employers. Modern technology, such as smartphones and virtual private networks (VPNs), provides many workers with the flexibility to conduct business from anywhere and at any time. A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that 45 percent of American adults own a smartphone, giving them access to email and the Internet at their fingertips on a 24/7 basis. The constant connectivity of today’s American workforce could signal the end of the 9-to-5 work day as we know it and correspondingly could create the potential for enormous overtime pay liability for employers. Full Text

Avoiding Age Discrimination Claims in Succession Planning
The Legal Intelligencer
June 11, 2013

A recent report released by the Department of Labor estimates that by 2016, approximately 33 percent of the total workforce in the United States will be older than 50. By 2050, the same report suggests that 19 percent of the U.S. workforce will be 65 or older. As the average age of the workforce continues to increase to an all-time high, employers are often confronted with the need to identify and train future business leaders who will replace their most experienced and knowledgeable employees when they decide to move on to other business endeavors, become ill or simply retire. Full Text

Defending Municipalities in Discrimination Cases
The Legal Intelligencer
June 11, 2013

The defense of municipalities in employment discrimination cases presents issues common with the defense of private employers, such as burden of proof, motivation, pretext, credibility and mitigation. However, the defense of a municipality also involves other considerations. Full Text

Employment Law Lessons From the Penn State Scandal
The Legal Intelligencer
June 11, 2013

The injuries to children, trust and reputation that Jerry Sandusky caused — and some former Penn State University administrators allegedly compounded — may never fully heal. But some good may come out of this tragedy, if Penn State and other institutions and employers learn from it. Full Text

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EEOC Issues Guidance on Disabilities Affecting Millions
The Legal Intelligencer
June 11, 2013

In the United States, an estimated 34 million people have been diagnosed with cancer, epilepsy or diabetes, and more than 2 million have an intellectual disability. Unsurprisingly, most employers receive accommodation requests related to these medical conditions. Full Text

Employers Face ‘New Rules’ With Modern Hiring Practices
The Legal Intelligencer
June 11, 2013

Modern-day employers are not only confronted with the challenges of adapting their policies and practices for their workforce to conform with the ever-changing landscape of employment law, but are now grappling with new potential landmines arising from the hiring process. Full Text

Questions Raised Regarding Who Qualifies as a Supervisor
The Legal Intelligencer
June 11, 2013

In a case that could impact employers everywhere, Vance v. Ball State University, Docket No. 11-556, the U.S. Supreme Court is considering who qualifies as a supervisor pursuant to Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, 524 U.S. 775 (1998), and Burlington Industries v. Ellerth, 524 U.S. 742 (1998). Or maybe not. Full Text

Protection of Pregnant Women in the Workplace
The Legal Intelligencer
June 11, 2013

There are several federal laws in place to protect pregnant women and women with newborns in the workplace. Over time, the laws have become more expansive so as to not only prevent discrimination based on pregnancy, but to provide leave entitlement and most recently to provide lactation privacy rights. The laws promote the necessity of women in the workforce while recognizing the importance of motherhood. Full Text