Category Archives: In The News

Victories for Employers at the Supreme Court Level

The United States Supreme Court just issued two very important employment-related rulings and both of the decisions are big wins for employers. Today, let’s take a look at the first case:Vance v. Ball State University (decided June 24, 2013)which centered on employers’ liability for workplace harassment. The Supreme Court held many years ago that, under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, employers can be held liable for the acts of “supervisors” who harass subordinate employees.  When the harassment culminates in a tangible employment action (hiring, firing, promotion, etc.), strict liability is the standard.  When a tangible employment action is not involved, there is still a presumption that the employer is liable for the “supervisors” harassing actions that can only be disproved by showing that (1) the employer exercised reasonable care to prevent and correct any harassing behavior and (2) that the plaintiff unreasonably failed to take advantage of the preventive or corrective opportunities that the employer provided.  In...
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NLRB’s Poster Rule Struck Down by D.C. Circuit

On May 7, the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia struck down a National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) ruling that would have required millions of private employers, both union and non-union, to put up posters alerting employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). The poster informed employees of their right to join and/or form a union, collectively bargain with employers, and act jointly to improve wages or working conditions. The requirement was scheduled to become effective in April 2012, but the D.C. Circuit Court delayed any employer action until it decided whether the law was enforceable. Under the rule, an employer’s failure to display the poster would be considered an “unfair labor practice” under the NLRA. After considering the issue, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found the NLRB rule to be a violation of the NLRA’s “free speech” provision. This provision provides employers with the right to communicate...
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Association Group Coverage Changes

Trade Associations in Kentucky are being asked to show that they meet ERISA “bona fide association” requirements in order to continue to provide group health insurance for their members under health reform requirements effective in 2014.  Such group health insurance may be a more affordable option for some businesses as new health reform requirements begin to take effect. In a nutshell, ERISA requires that an association be considered an “employer” to sponsor a group health plan at the association level.  In order to qualify as an “employer”, an association must meet bona fide association requirements, including like-industry and participant control requirements.  By sponsoring a group health insurance plan at the association (rather than the individual employer) level, associations are able to pass along to their employer members reduced coverage premiums available under large group plans. Important health reform changes are applicable to insurance plan renewals occurring on or after January 1, 2014.  Trade associations should act now to confirm that they...
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