President Obama’s U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Shows Consistent Deference to Employment Agencies

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Today, President Obama nominated Merrick B. Garland as his choice to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy left by the recent death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Chief Judge Garland was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia by President Clinton in 1997 and became Chief Judge on February 12, 2013. He received wide, bipartisan support for his nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals. Seven of the Republican Senators who voted for his 1997 nomination still serve in the U.S.

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BLS Releases Statistics Amid Push to Increase the Minimum Wage

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As the current administration continues its efforts to increase the federal minimum wage rate, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its 2012 minimum wage statistics, which are excerpted below:

In 2012, 75.3 million workers in the United States age 16 and over were paid at hourly rates, representing 59.0 percent of all wage and salary workers. 1 Among those paid by the hour, 1.6 million earned exactly the prevailing federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

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Court Finds that Random Alcohol Tests Don’t Always Violate the ADA

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Last week the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania made a surprising ruling:  a company can show that random alcohol test are “job related and consistent with business necessity.”  In the first case of its kind, the federal judge rejected the EEOC’s Enforcement Guidelines.  Before this ruling, the traditional wisdom, garnered from the guidelines was:

  • You can test a person for alcohol only if you have reasonable cause or suspicion,

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Governor Signs House Bill 22

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On February 20, 2013, Governor Otter signed House Bill 22 into law.

Under current law, large employers must remit income tax withheld on a pay period schedule that overlaps two calendar months. This split monthly filing results in a fiscal reporting year of January 16 in one year to January 15 of the next year. Because employee W-2 reporting is done on a calendar year basis, these employers must file a more complex annual form to reconcile calendar year W-2 information with the fiscal year withholding reporting period.

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ABA Releases 2012 FMLA Case Report

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The American Bar Association, in association with the Bureau of National Affairs, released its 2013 Midwinter Meeting Report of 2012 FMLA Cases.  This report reviews a comprehensive list of FMLA cases from 2012 and categorizes them into subparts of the FMLA to which they pertain.

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Illness-related work absences in January 2013 highest since February 2008

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Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report highlighting the nearly 2.9 million workers who took time off for illness or injury some time during January 2013.  The report goes on to reference another 1.2 million workers who did not work at all during January due to illness or injury.  These numbers are the highest on record since February 2008.

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The Parental Bereavement Act

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House Bill 515 and Senate Bill 226 have been introduced for Congressional consideration.  These bills are basically a reintroduction of House Bill 6673 and Senate Bill 1358 from the 112th legislative session.

If passed, they would expand the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 to provide leave for the death of a son or daughter.  Intermittent or reduced schedule leave would not apply to leave taken under this proposed amendment,

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What if Money Were No Object?

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I saw this video tonight and thought of all the employment problems that could be solved if everyone learned this lesson early in life.

It’s Valentine’s Day.  Here’s to the LOVE of what you do “for a living.”

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State of the Union Identifies Administration’s Employment Law Focal Points

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In the State of the Union Address tonight, President Obama pronounced several areas of focus that may affect employers.

He urged the House to pass a bill that the Senate passed today: the Violence Against Women Act. He also asked Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that he said ensures “that woman [w]ould earn a living equal to their efforts.”

He asked for the minimum wage to be increased to $9.00 per hour and to tie future increases to the cost of living.

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2012 Union Strike Numbers Surpass 2011’s

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its “work stoppage” report today.  The report indicates that 19 major work stoppages (“strikes”) idled more workers than all of the strikes in 2011 combined–148,000 workers.

The Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teacher’s Union idled the most employees–26,500; and Lockheed Martin’s strike was the longest–48 workdays.  When multiplied by the 3600 Lockheed and International Association of Machinist workers who went out on strike, this equals 172,800 lost work days.

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