The Changing Tide In HR

Posted by Lee Yarborough on 7/22/15 2:00 PM
Lee Yarborough
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Posted on: July 22, 2015

In the past month, there has been a deluge of employment law developments which will affect your business.  The Supreme Court, Department of Labor (DOL) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have all been working overtime and making decisions that impact the business community.

June was a busy month for the Supreme Court. Here are three of their decisions and some guidance for employers:

1.  The court upheld the Affordable Care Act in King V. Burwell by allowing subsidies through the federal marketplace. Employers should recognize that the ACA is the law of the land and prepare for the 2016 requirements. 

2.  Obergefell v. Hodges guarantees the Constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Businesses should evaluate their benefit plans, including leave policies, for compliance.

3.  A young woman was denied a job at Abercrombie & Fitch because she wore a headscarf, known as a hijab, which violated the “look policy” for sales clerks. However, in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch, the Supreme Court ruled that the store’s failure to accommodate the applicant was discrimination. The lesson for employers:  Do not make an applicant’s religious practice, confirmed or not, a factor in employment decisions.

In other HR news, the Wage & Hour Division of the DOL made an important proposal to extend overtime pay to nearly 5 million workers. By raising the salary threshold, the proposal would guarantee overtime pay to most salaried workers earning less than $50,440. Employers, stay tuned as this proposal moves through the rulemaking process. 

And lastly, Caitlyn Jenner is not the only one making news for transgender issues. The EEOC has recently filed its third lawsuit alleging discrimination on the basis of transgender status. This issue is tricky and full of legal pitfalls. As an employer, if you have an employee who is transitioning gender, please seek counsel with an HR expert before making ANY policy decisions.

Business in America is dynamic and it is imperative that employers keep up with the changing tide.  By staying aware of new developments in HR, businesses will be able to reduce liability, protect their assets and grow successfully. 


Topics: Human Resources

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