Earthquakes and immigration

The earthquake in Haiti has affected people around the world. People have come together to support the dismantled county and have looked for ways to rebuild. Even the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has gotten involved. Deportation of Haitian citizens has been suspended and Haitians present in the U.S. are now eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for a period of 18 months. TPS is commonly extended so employers need to be aware of the standards involved. Find out what employers need to know NOW by reading “What Haiti’s Earthquake Means to U.S. Immigration – TPS and More” by our partners at Ogletree Deakins LLP. Click here to read the article. 

You can learn more about TPS by visiting the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website by clicking here.


Top 10 Ways to Avoid A Lawsuit

Have you read the ten ways you can avoid lawsuits in “For Employers, How to Avoid Lawsuits?” by our partners at Fisher & Phillips? No, it’s not a David Letterman Top Ten List with jokes and slick answers. But in less than five minutes, you’ll identify the problem spots and give yourself an always necessary HR audit. Here are a few quick hits to get you started:

  • Ensure that employees are correctly classified as exempt.
  • Pay attention to employee’s medical issues.
  • Don’t create false reasons for terminating employment.

Click here to read the full list.

Time off for breastfeeding?

Many states currently have laws protecting nursing mothers in the workplace, but this could gain national application if the proposed health care bill is passed. Buried deep within the bill (page 1,230 of 2,074 – if you’re wondering) are provisions requiring an employer to allow a nursing mother the opportunity to express milk during working hours and provide a private place (but not a bathroom) in which to do so. 

There is no final decision on the health care bill so no action is needed at this time. We will update you when more information is available.

You can find out more on this topic by reading “What the Senate Health-Care Bill Says About Breast Feeding” by Jacob Goldstein from the Wall Street Journal. Click here to read the article.

Most common charges with EEOC? Retaliation and Race Discrimination

On January 6th, 2010, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released the workplace discrimination statistics for 2009. In 2009, the EEOC had 93,277 workplace discrimination charges and through its enforcement, mediation, and litigation programs, recovered more than $376 million. That’s the second highest number of claims on record, right behind 2008, when 95,402 charges were filed.

As an employer, does that number send shivers down your spine? It does to me.

What we can do with this information is make it work for us. The most common type of charge filed was a tie between retaliation and race discrimination. Take the time today to educate yourself on these two topics. The EEOC has compiled two helpful fact sheets that will help you understand what you can and can’t do so you stay in compliance.

Get the facts about retaliation by clicking here.

Get the facts about race/color discrimination by clicking here.

Read more about the EEOC’s announcement by clicking here.

Social media Q&A for beginners

The use of social networking sites (like Facebook and Twitter) is continuing to grow. These utilities first caught on with the tech-savvy Gen-Y folks, but it seems everyone is getting into it now. (Everyone in my family has a page – we’re only waiting on Grandma to join). It’s one thing to be sharing your personal information with family and friends, but what should you know about sharing information with your co-workers?

Matt Villano of the New York Times put together a Q&A that will help you build a professional life in the social networking universe. If you’ve wondered…

  • What are the professional benefits of connecting with colleagues via online sites?
  • What are the potential pitfalls?
  • To what extent can you control the information your connections see?
  • If you wish to decline certain connection requests, what is the most polite approach?

… then click here for the answer!

New security measures for international flights

On January 4th, 2010, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) released new measures designed to increase flight safety. If you or your employees have international travel planned, please take a look at the new regulations before you fly – ensuring you get where you’re going on time and with minimal trouble.

Learn more about these new measures by clicking here.

COBRA subsidy extension notices now available

On January 13, the Department of Labor posted model notices to help employers comply with the new COBRA notification requirements. Here are the three new notices:

  • Updated General Notice
  • Premium Assistance Extension Notice
  • Updated Alternative Notice

You can download the notices for free and learn more about what each one is used for by clicking here

For more information on the COBRA changes, the new notices available, and a list of next steps you should take, click here to read “DOL Publishes Model COBRA Notices, Other Compliance Resources” by our partners at Ford & Harrison LLP.  

Need to start at the beginning? You can get the COBRA basics by visiting the Department of Labor homepage by clicking here.