Archive for July, 2011

DOL Gives Pension Plan Service Providers More Time to Disclose Fees

The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced an extension of the effective date for new rules requiring pension plan service providers to disclose their fees to pension plan fiduciaries.

The rules were to take effect Jan. 1, 2012. The new effective date is April 1, 2012.  DOL also extended the date plan administrators must provide an initial fee disclosure to all current participants and beneficiaries until the later of May 31, 2012 or 60 days after the first date of the first plan year beginning on or after Nov. 1, 2011. Read more about the rules and the extension here.

 

US Airways, Pilots Union in Fight Over Alleged Slowdown

Strikes and slowdowns were once potent weapons that unions used to pressure their employers to agree to their terms at the negotiating table. They’re less so these days with the decline in union membership. That’s why it’s worth watching the brewing confrontation between US Airways and the US Airways Pilots Association.

US Airways has gone to court to stop its pilots from staging a slowdown that the company claims is disrupting its operations in Charlotte, N.C. and other East Coast hubs. The pilots and the carrier have been without a contract since US Airways merged in 2005 with America West Holdings Corp.

So this may be a ploy by the pilots union to pressure the carrier into negotiating a contract.  The Railway Labor Act, which governs airline labor relations, makes it illegal for unions to stage work slowdowns or strikes unless they have been released from contract talks by the National Mediation Board.

No doubt we’ll hear more about this as the summer travel season heats up.

Here’s some background on the Railway Labor Act.

Temp Agency Violated ADA, EEOC Alleges

A temporary employment agency violated the Americans With Disabilities Act by denying an employee who suffered an epileptic seizure the opportunity to return to his employer, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged today.

The commission said that although the employee got a note from his doctor giving him permission to return to work the next day, the agency neither advised him the note was inadequate or forwarded the note to the employer. The result-he was effectively terminated from his job.

Read the EEOC’s press release on the case.

 

For First Time, BLS Employee Benefits Survey Includes Domestic Partner Benefits

Further confirmation that gay and lesbian employees are gaining equality in the workplace. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, a division of the U.S. Department of Labor,  yesterday released its annual report on employer-provided benefits, including for the first time data on employers offering domestic partner benefits.

According to the survey data, about half of unmarried domestic partners in state and local government have access to survivor benefits, as compared to 7 percent of the workers in private industry.

Thirty-three percent of state and local government workers and 29 percent of private sector workers have access to health care benefits for unmarried domestic partners of the same sex. Access to benefits varies by employer and employee characteristics and by whether the unmarried domestic partner is of the same or opposite sex.

The report also includes data on health care benefits.

For more information on the report, visit http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ebs2.nr0.htm.

New Book Discusses Ins and Outs of Managing Social Media in the Workplace

I don’t normally advertise for other authors, but I’m making an exception this time to tell you about a new book  by fellow blogger and employment law attorney Jon Hyman on the intersection of social media, HR, and labor/employment law.

To learn more about this book and how to purchase it, please visit the Ohio Employer’s Law Blog.

Jon didn’t ask me to make this pitch. I’m making it solely on my own because I know Jon to be one of the best labor lawyers in the country and the subject is too important to ignore.

Ohio Employer Must Pony Up $563K for Willful Safety Violations

A reminder that the federal government takes workplace safety seriously. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently fined Republic Engineered Products, Inc. of Lorraine Ohio $563,000 for willful violations of fall hazard regulations.

Read more about the case and what you should do to lesson your chance of being caught in OSHA’s web here.