It is no secret that employers often struggle with fashioning light duty jobs for employees on the mend. A growing trend, however, is for employers to send employees in need of light duty assignments to work for charitable or community organizations wherein the employee receives his or her regular wage and the organization receives a “volunteer.” By engaging in community service, the employee is returning to a job and is productive, albeit in new and different ways. The employer is getting the benefit of goodwill in the community, as well as assisting the employee in the healing and reconditioning process.
On July 14, 2014, the EEOC issued Updated Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination, as well as a set of Questions and Answers and a Fact Sheet for small businesses related to that Guidance. This is the first comprehensive update to the Commission’s pregnancy discrimination guidance since 1983.
In an important win for employers seeking to resolve disputes with former employees outside of the circuit courts, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals recently upheld a circuit court decision that compelled a former employee to submit his wrongful termination dispute to alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) rather than pursue the claim in court. Although the West Virginia Supreme Court often finds ADR agreements to be unenforceable, it’s important to note why they found this one was acceptable.
Retaliation against an employee who has filed a complaint, testified, or exercised any right under OSHA is a violation of that Act. OSHA, however, has a small window of opportunity for an employee who believes he has been retaliated against by his employer to bring a claim before OSHA. To be timely, an employee must file his whistleblower complaint with OSHA within thirty days from the date of an adverse action.
The first open enrollment period for obtaining health coverage through the ACA’s Health Insurance Marketplace ended on March 31, 2014. That means that individuals without coverage can no longer obtain private coverage through the Marketplace for 2014 unless they are eligible for special enrollment by virtue of having a “qualifying life event.” Qualifying events for purposes of COBRA are also “qualifying life events” under the Marketplace rules. So, for example, a participant in an employer-sponsored group health plan who loses coverage under the plan due to termination of employment (other than for gross misconduct) is eligible for COBRA coverage or may purchase Marketplace coverage in lieu of COBRA. This “special enrollment event” for Marketplace coverage is available for 60 days from the time coverage under the employer’s group health plan ends.