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Employers will ring in some new laws with the New Year, and those laws will bring challenges and opportunities.
Q. What recourse do employers have against employees involved in ‘Occupy [Wherever]’ protests during off-time?
This was not the year to get sloppy with your I-9 forms. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued a record 2,393 audit notices to inspect employers’ I-9s this year, a more than 375% increase from audits in 2008.
No federal or state law requires employers to use job applications. But if you do require applicants to fill them out, know the legal do’s and don’ts of what questions to ask. Here's the topic-by-topic guidance you need, along with relevant records-retention rules.
Under USERRA, employees called up to serve our country are entitled to prompt reinstatement. Your obligation is triggered when the returning service member tells you he is ready to return. It’s not enough to place the returning worker in an entry-level position: Returning service members are entitled to reinstatement to the same position or one similar to the job they previously held.
If you’ve been worried that some of your workers may be incorrectly classified as independent contractors, but leery about opening a legal can of worms to fix potential problems, take note: Uncle Sam is raising new threats with one hand … and offering to cut you a break with the other.
On Nov. 30, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board voted 2-1 in favor of changing the union election rules to speed up the process of securing union representation in workplaces nationwide. The new rule shortens the time between the filing of an election petition and actual voting, making it easier for unions to win elections and more difficult for employers to communicate with employees before the vote.
After weeks of wrangling, the House of Representatives and the Senate on Dec. 23, 2011 agreed to extend a 2 percentage point payroll tax cut for two months to buy time for talks on a full-year renewal. President Obama immediately signed the bill into law. The vote removes employer uncertainly about how to handle payroll withholding starting Jan. 1, 2012.
With more veterans returning from active duty in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, remember: Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, service members are entitled to reinstatement as if they never left for deployment.
At-will employment is the rule in most states, meaning you can terminate employees at any time and for any reason (except an unlawful one), as long as you don’t promise them a job for a specific length of time. Don't risk their at-will status by using the term “permanent” or “probationary period.”