Both the American workforce and the American population as a whole are aging. These changes mean that an increasing number of people in the workforce will be juggling job responsibilities with their responsibilities for taking care of elderly relatives, according to Protecting Family Caregivers from Employment Discrimination, an August 2012 report from the AARP Public Policy Institute and the Center for WorkLife Law at Hastings College of the Law.
The Affordable Care Act has provided new funding and tools to fight Medicare and Medicaid fraud. Federal fraud investigators now use sophisticated computer systems to crawl through and analyze massive amounts of data – four million Medicare claims per day – looking for anything out of the ordinary. The systems, which are similar to those that credit card companies use to flag suspicious purchases, allow fraud fighters to focus more on preventing fraud rather than trying to track it down after it occurs.
A new law in California that will become effective January 1, 2013 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of their religious clothing or hair styles.
A bill that would have given California farmworkers the same overtime rights as other nonexempt California employees did not pass the State Assembly. As a result, the farmworkers will continue to earn overtime pay only after working 10 hours in a day or 60 hours in a week. Other employees in the state earn overtime after eight hours in a day or 40 hours in a week.
OSHA fines can be costly. Recently, an OSHA-initiated inspection found 14 alleged serious violations at Delorio Foods, a Utica, New York, food-processing facility. Proposed fines total $54,900.
The ADA generally does not require an employer to allow a disabled employee to work at home. However, there may be exceptions. A recent case in federal court in Ohio ruled that an employer can’t dismiss such requests out of hand as unreasonable. Instead, the ultimate determination of reasonableness is a question for the fact-finder.
A recently settled sexual harassment and retaliation case paid claimants more than $1 million each. To settle the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) case against Fry’s Electronics, the retail company agreed to pay a total of $2.3 million, one of the highest EEOC settlements of all time on a per-claimant basis.
Providing paid sick leave to employees could save companies money. A study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that workers who had access to paid sick leave were 28% less likely to suffer nonfatal work-related injuries than workers who did not have that access. Fewer on-the-job injuries can translate to lower expenses for employers. The study found that workers in higher-risk industries such as manufacturing, construction, agriculture and health care benefitted the most from the ability to take paid time off.
For the first time ever, federal law-enforcement officials seized three website domain names from sites that were allegedly involved in illegally distributing copyrighted cellphone apps. The seizures were part of an operation that worked with international law-enforcement agencies, including officials from the Netherlands and France.
Insurance fraud costs U.S. companies as much as $120 billion each year. Claims professionals, who provide the first line of defense for their companies, need well-honed skills to identify the red flags that indicate possible fraudulent activity. Sometimes the indications of fraud are subtle. Other times, as in a recent alleged fake-drowning scheme, scammers appear to give themselves away.