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Top Ten Employer Issues for 2014

Human-resource professionals will face significant challenges in the year ahead as they attempt to comply with various employment laws amid shifting demographics and societal trends. The year of 2013 saw the enactment of new laws and the rise of novel legal challenges that substantially altered the compliance landscape. With these changes in mind, the following represent the hot issues employers should focus on in 2014.

UK Boosts Anti-Corruption Enforcement Efforts

The UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is launching an investigation into whether claims of corruption by a former Rolls-Royce employee have any merit. Among the allegations is the assertion that Rolls-Royce gave Tommy Suharto, the son of a former Indonesian dictator, $20 million and one of its automobiles in exchange for his help in convincing Garuda, the country’s flag-carrying airline, to buy the company’s aircraft engines. In a letter to the SFO, Mr. Suharto has denied receiving any bribes from Rolls-Royce.

Older Canadians Still Face Age Discrimination

The demise of mandatory retirement, low returns on fixed-income investments and a significant population over the age of 50 has led to more Canadians working past retirement age than ever before. A recent online poll found more than half — 57% — of mature workers wish to work later into life. Yet many find that employers are either unwilling or ill-prepared to retain their services.

Temporary Accommodation Does Not Waive ADA "Essential Functions" Defense

Good employers often attempt to provide support for employees who are facing personal issues. Such was the case when Selena Hancock developed a nerve condition that prevented her from lifting more than 20 pounds. Although an essential function of Hancock's position as a medical assistant at the Washington Hospital Center (WHC) was triaging patients — preparing patients for physician examinations, escorting patients to the exam room, and taking and recording patients' information in their charts — WHC agreed to place her on modified duty and temporarily excused her from performing triage. Eventually, WHC required Hancock to return to full duty while she was still unable to perform triage and subsequently terminated her on the basis that she was unable to perform an essential function of her job.

Healthcare Enforcement Actions and Trends: 2013 Overview

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services continued aggressive enforcement of the healthcare industry in 2013. Officials employed a variety of tactics to secure compliance with federal healthcare laws, including the use of measures generally used to combat financial and organized crime. Charges — including Medicare fraud, securities fraud, violations of anti-corruption laws and money laundering — led to significant criminal fines and penalties, restitution and prison sentences, together with a number of multi-million dollar civil settlements and Corporate Integrity Agreements.

7 Tips for Complying with the Conflict Minerals Rule

With the recent publication of Form SD, the disclosure form that all companies subject to the Conflict Minerals Rule must file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), it is a good time to brush up on the Rule’s compliance requirements. Here are seven things companies should do to help ensure their compliance with the Conflict Minerals Rule.

OFCCP Self-ID Form: 5 Things Contractors Should Know

As we previously reported, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) in August adopted new rules intended to improve job opportunities for veterans and persons with disabilities.

5 Tips for Creating an Effective Electronic Communications Policy

Over 80% of business correspondence was in the form of email in 2012, with 89 billion messages sent and received each day. This raises the very real and immediate possibility of security breaches arising from employee errors or illegal activities conducted via email — from within and/or outside an organization.

EEOC Roundup (December 2013): Religious Discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which, among other things, forbids employers from treating job applicants and employees less favorably because of their religious beliefs.

EEOC Roundup (December 2013): Age Discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA). The Act forbids treating job applicants and employees less favorably because they are age 40 or older. Consequently, employers must not make decisions regarding hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits or any other term or condition of employment based on an individual's age.

ACC Alliance Partner
Thomson Reuters