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Labor & Human Resources Committee Update 8/12/16

Hello Everyone:

Below you will find information regarding new developments in human resource management. Feel free to contact me directly if you would like any additional information or if you would like to discuss potential impacts and compliance strategies. I can be reached at frank.kerbein@bcnys.org or at (518) 465-7511, ext. 210.

New Required Federal Posters

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently published two updated workplace posters: Federal Minimum Wage poster, and Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) poster. (Note: Federal, state or local governments are exempt from the EPPA - no poster would be required for those employers). The posters have been visually redesigned and nclude a QR Code, which when scanned takes the user to the DOL’s Wage & Hour Division page for “Wages and the Fair Labor Standards Act” and the EPPA.

The updated posters are dated 07/16 and went in effect on August 1, 2016. This means that employers must have these posters up now. Copies of the new posters can be obtained from the Department of Labor or from The Business Council’s Labor and Human Resource Committee page.

EEO-1 Report Deadline is September 30, 2016

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has completed its mailing of the 2016 EEO-1 Survey notification letters. The EEO-1 is an annual survey that requires all private employers with 100 or more employees and federal government contractors or first-tier subcontractors with 50 or more employees and a contract/subcontract of $50,000 or more to file the EEO-1 report. The filing of the EEO-1 report is not voluntary and is required by federal law. The filing deadline is Sept. 30, 2016.

The EEO-1 report provides employment data by race/ethnicity, gender and job categories, and is used by researchers, private attorneys, human resource staff, etc. in developing affirmative action plans, and in the Commission's enforcement of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

Employers who meet the criteria listed above, or employers that filed the EEO-1 report in 2015 and have not received the 2016 EEO-1 notification letter by Aug.15, 2016, should immediately contact the EEO-1 Joint Reporting Committee at 1-877-392-4647 (toll-free) or e-mail eeo1.techassistance@eeoc.gov.

Also, on July 14, the EEOC reissued its proposal, originally released in January, to add pay data to the EEO-1 report. There were few changes from the original proposal other than changing the deadline for the first report—now March 31, 2018. The 2016 EEO-1 reporting deadline remains Sept. 30, 2016. There will then be a year and a half gap between the 2016 report and the 2017 report. Going forward from March 31, 2018, each subsequent EEO-1 report will be due in March to coordinate with employers' end-of-year income reporting obligations.

The new proposal, like the original, recommends the use of W-2’s for reporting pay data, despite vigorous objections from the employer community. The point of having pay data in the report is so the EEOC can identify possible pay discrimination.

Information and additional details on the proposed changes to the EEO-1 Report can be found here.

Increase in Penalties for Federal Violations

Last November, as part of the federal budget deal, the President signed the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act that allows federal agencies to dramatically increase penalty amounts to reflect inflation since the last adjustment. Included in these changes are increases to penalties for violations of OSHA, FLSA, FMLA, ERISA and others. These penalty increases take effect August 1, 2016.

The increase in OSHA penalties is especially noteworthy. They include:

You can find information regarding all the information regarding penalty increases here.

In addition, OSHA has issued a new rule regarding how injury and illness data is reported. The new rule, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2017, requires certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness data that they are already required to record on their onsite OSHA Injury and Illness forms. Analysis of this data will enable OSHA to use its enforcement and compliance assistance resources more efficiently.

Some of the data will be posted to the OSHA website. OSHA believes that public disclosure will encourage employers to improve workplace safety and provide valuable information to workers, job seekers, customers, researchers and the general public. The amount of data submitted will vary depending on the size of company and type of industry.

The new reporting requirements will be phased in over two years:

Division of Human Rights Adopts Regulation Prohibiting Discrimination Based on Relationship or Association

On May 18, 2016 the New York State Division of Human Rights adopted a new regulation prohibiting employment discrimination based on an individual’s relationship or association with a member of a protected category covered by the New York Human Rights Law. The proposed rule was published in the State Register on March 9th. The agency did not receive any public comments regarding the proposed rule, and adopted the rule without making any changes.

According to the Division, the purpose of the new regulation is to confirm long-standing precedent supporting anti-discrimination protection for individuals based on their relationship or association with members of a protected class.

For questions on any of these topics, please contact me at frank.kerbein@bcnys.org or at (800)332-2117.