The federal government is aggressively cracking down on healthcare fraud. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently announced a major Medicare-fraud bust — one of the largest takedowns of a healthcare fraud scheme ever. Charges were brought against more than 90 people, including doctors and nurses, in seven cities for their alleged part in the scheme that totaled nearly $430 million in billings for treatment and services that were not medically necessary or were never provided.
In a case that overturned precedent, the Seventh Circuit recently held that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may require employers to reassign employees who cannot be accommodated in their current position to vacant positions for which they are qualified, as long as doing so would be reasonable and not an undue hardship.
A Wisconsin court reinstated the right for the state’s city, county and school employees to engage in collective bargaining. The county court decision overturned a March 2011 law, often called the “anti-union law,” which had prohibited government employers from collective bargaining with unions for any issues except wages. The decision does not affect state employees, who were not a party to the lawsuit.
The court found that parts of the law violated employees’ constitutional rights of free speech and free association. The state Attorney General plans to appeal.
The Wall Street Journal and other observers expect that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will issue new guidance on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) as soon as sometime this week.
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.