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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was busy this past summer, announcing a host of new enforcement priorities.  Here we recap two: (1) combatting employee illness and injury at inpatient-care facilities; and (2) ensuring proper restroom access for transgender workers at all employer facilities.

Inpatient Care Employers Face an OSHA Inspection Ramp-Up

OSHA’s announced initiative regarding inpatient care facilities – e.g., hospitals and residential care/nursing homes – involves a plan by the Agency to:

  • Expand the resources OSHA directs for inspections at these sites, and
  • Direct inspectors to focus on five, recently identified “key hazard” areas:  (1) musculoskeletal disorders related to patient and resident handling; (2) bloodborn pathogens; (3) workplace violence; (4) tuberculosis; and (5) slips, trips and falls.

An OSHA Directive to Regional Administrators and State Designees, which accompanied the press release announcing the Agency’s health care inpatient-facility initiative, provides guidance to OSHA investigators on how to detect each of the five, newly identified hazards.  According to OSHA, these hazards are responsible for the bulk of all work-related employee illnesses and injuries occurring at hospitals and inpatient care facilities.  Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, Dr. David Michaels, has also advised that
“[v]irtually all of these injuries and illnesses are preventable,” and he warns:

It’s time for hospitals and the health care industry to make the changes necessary to protect their workers. Healthcare Release (emphasis added).
Continue Reading OSHA Sets Sights on Health Care Facilities & Transgender Restrooms

As our nation’s built-in babysitters close shop for the next three months, the bulk of our nation’s workforce braces for the barrage of new summer stressors, including: the uncertain reliability of teenage babysitters needed to cover 7-8 extra childcare hours per day; the effective imposition of second full-time job duties at home, with predictably unpredictable hours; and, for many, the summertime onset of “work-life imbalance malaise.”

These summertime stressors also cause angst for employers. Employees’ additional responsibilities at home invariably mean spikes in last-minute employee requests for “emergency” sick leave, attempts to “take off” early, and other impromptu absenteeism issues. All this can be incredibly disruptive to an employer’s normal business operations. Here are three tips to help maximize a smoother summer transition in your workplace:

Continue Reading ‘School’s Out!’ Means More Free Time for Kids, But None for Working Parents. Here is Help for Employers Managing the Fallout.

A movement to give part-time employees more predictable schedules and related perks recently made front-page news.  See Steven Greenhouse, “A Push to Give Steadier Shifts to Part-Timers,” The New York Times (July 15, 2014).  The number of jurisdictions with laws providing for such a right remains small but is likely growing, and the

In a ruling issued today, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decided that President Obama’s January 4, 2012, recess appointments of three National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) members violated the Constitution.  The ruling is of great significance:  it invalidates every single decision—of which there are more than a hundred—that the Board handed down

A recent explosion in state and local workplace pregnancy protections has dramatically increased the number of employers required to reasonably accommodate pregnant employees.  Fourteen jurisdictions now impose such a duty, with many going far beyond that required by any federal law.  Employers need to review and/or modify their existing disability and leave programs to account

The past year has seen significant developments in the whistleblower arena. Employee retaliation claims have spiked, employers have paid out large sums, and regulators have stepped up enforcement efforts. Employers need to understand the legal provisions that protect their whistleblowing employees and take steps to shield themselves from retaliation claims.

To read the full article,

Amanda Haverstick wrote a new article on Forbes.com discussing the recent Supreme Court decision to reverse the pro-employer, 2013 Sixth Court decision in U.S. v. Quality Stores Inc., quashing any prospect of big tax refunds to employers for their past severance payouts to laid-off workers.

To read the full article, please visit forbes.com.

Amanda Haverstick and Tsedey Bogale wrote a new article on Forbes.com discussing the recently issued Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Fact Sheet and Question-and-Answer Guide (the Guides). In the Guides, the EEOC reinforces its long-held, hard stance on employers’ duty to accommodate employee religious expression and appearance in the workplace.

To read the full article,

Amanda Haverstick posted a new article on Forbes.com discussing a little-publicized addition to the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA), which quietly became law on October 21, 2013. Known as the Unemployment Insurance Integrity Act of 2011 (“Act”), it suggests that employers will have to take a new tack when responding to agency info requests about