Tag: News

Oregon: 2011 Legislative Session Preview

Oregon’s 76th Legislative Assembly convened on February 1, 2011. The Legislature has wasted no time introducing a multitude of new labor and employment bills, some with potentially far reaching effects. Below is a (non-exhaustive) list of some of the more interesting bills up for debate: Civil Rights: HB 2035 — Standardizes statute of limitations period for filing … Continue Reading

Utah: 2011 Legislative Session Preview

The 59th legislative session of the Utah State Legislature convened in January, and several labor and employment-related bills were introduced. We’ve highlighted some of the more interesting bills below.    Immigration – Immigration is an issue that has been a subject of intense debate in Utah and nationally and multiple bills have been proposed on the … Continue Reading

More Employers Resorting to No-Nicotine Hiring Policies

Check out this Washington Healthcare News article authored by Stoel Rives Labor and Employment attorneys Keelin Curran and Karin Jones, in which they discuss the developing trend of strict no-smoking policies in the workplace, including no-nicotine hiring practices. Research indicates that smokers impose significant additional health and disability costs on employers, and experience twice as many illness-related absences … Continue Reading

The Do’s and Don’ts of Employee Handbooks

Employee handbooks can operate as a useful management tool to ensure fairness and consistency in employment practices which in turn may limit an employer’s exposure to unwanted and costly litigation. But if not carefully drafted an employee handbook may unwittingly supply a disgruntled employee with greater ammunition on the legal battlefield. A couple of Utah employers recently … Continue Reading

Stoel Rives/SHRM Ninth Annual Labor and Employment Conference!

Please join us for our Ninth Annual Stoel Rives/SHRM Labor and Employment Law Conference on March 10 at the Oregon Convention Center!  This year’s theme is "HR Horror Show." We have an all star lineup this year, including keynote speaker David Rabiner, lunchtime speaker Ed Reeves, and a variety of presentations by Stoel Rives attorneys on … Continue Reading

Alaska: 2011 Legislative Session Preview

  The 27th Session of the Alaska Legislature convened in January, and several labor and employment-related bills were introduced. We’ve highlighted some of the more interesting bills below.   Hot Topics: “Alaska’s Oil, Alaska’s Jobs” — HB 82 and SB 71 propose to authorize a rebate of the production tax on oil and gas, based … Continue Reading

Companion Anti-Union Bills Slated to Pass Idaho Legislature

Never shy about taking on unions, especially in a state where organized labor enjoys little support outside the government sector, the Idaho Legislature recently introduced a pair of bills for addition to the state’s existing Right to Work statute.  Senate Bill 1007, named the “Fairness in Contracting Act,” is intended to “promote fairness in bidding … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Clarifies Meaning of “Voluntary Departure” Under WARN Act

In Collins v. Gee West Seattle, LLC, a three member Ninth Circuit panel held 2-1 that employees who receive notice of a plant closing, but stop returning to work before the plant closing takes effect, have not “voluntarily departed” under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN). In Collins, the employer announced to its employees in … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Holds Title VII Can Cover Third Party Retaliation Claims

The United States Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion today in Thompson v. North American Stainless, LP., 562 U.S. ___ (2011), that confirms the expansive scope of persons protected by Title VII. The Court held that it is unlawful for an employer to intentionally harm one employee in order to retaliate against another employee who engaged in … Continue Reading

Oregon Supreme Court Allows Greater Punitive Damage Award in Some Employment Cases

The Oregon Supreme Court has recognized an exception to limits on punitive damage awards in certain employment cases where the compensatory damages are low.  In Hamlin v. Hampton Lumber Mills, Inc., the Oregon Supreme Court considered the case of a plaintiff who was injured on the job and whose employer failed to reinstate him as required … Continue Reading

Supreme Court: Disparate Impact Plaintiffs Can Sue Based on the Application of the Discriminatory Practice

The Supreme Court today issued a judicial smackdown to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, unanimously reversing its decision in Lewis v. City of Chicago (as we suggested it should when we reviewed the details of this case back in October!). Briefly put, the plaintiffs are a group of approximately 6,000 black firefighter applicants who filed … Continue Reading

Supreme Court To Decide Scope of Cat’s Paw in Employment Cases

  Yesterday, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Staub v. Proctor Hospital to address the question of when an employer may be held liable in “cat’s paw” situations, where an employee with unlawful intent influences a decisionmaker but is not involved in making the ultimate employment decision. In this case the employee, Vincent Staub, was … Continue Reading

Oregon Supreme Court: Employers Are Not Required to Accommodate Medical Marijuana

Yesterday the Oregon Supreme Court conclusively ruled that employers are not required to accommodate the use of medical marijuana in the workplace, ending years of doubt and confusion on this critical issue. Click here to read the Court’s opinion in Emerald Steel Fabricators, Inc. v. Bureau of Labor and Industries. In Emerald Steel, a drill … Continue Reading

IRS Issues HIRE Act Affidavit

The Internal Revenue Service released yesterday Form W-11, the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act Employee Affidavit.  Employers can use the form to claim the special payroll tax exemption that applies to many newly hired workers during 2010.  Click here to download a copy of Form W-11. The HIRE Act, which President Obama signed into law on … Continue Reading

How Does the Heath Care Reform Package Impact Employers?

The health care reform legislation passed by Congress places significant new responsibilities on employers, group health plans, insurers, and individuals. The Stoel Rives Employee Benefits team has developed the following overview of the most significant issues affecting employers and group health plans, in order of effective date. (click on CONTINUE READING" for the full text of the overview). Effective … Continue Reading

President Obama Uses Recess Appointments to Fill NLRB, EEOC Seats

This week President Obama announced that he would make recess appointments to fill vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  The move allows the White House to bypass the Senate confirmation process, which promised to be extremely contentious.  The appointments will add two Democratic members to the … Continue Reading

President Obama to Sign Jobs Bill Today

President Obama is today expected to sign the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act, which in its final form passed The House of Representatives 217-201 on March 4 and the Senate 68-29  on March 17.  Click here to download the final version of the HIRE Act. Key provisions of the HIRE Act include: An exemption … Continue Reading

Senate Jobs Bill: Tax Incentives to Hire Unemployed, but no COBRA Subsidy Extension

Yesterday the U.S. Senate  voted 70-28 to approve the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act, a $15 billion bill aimed at creating jobs, helping small businesses, and rebuilding public infrastructure.  However, the bill does not include a further extension of the current COBRA subsides for unemployed workers, nor does it increase funding for state … Continue Reading

When Is It Okay to Cuss Out Your Boss?

Most of us assume that if an employee swears at a manager or, he or she can be disciplined or even fired.  That assumption may be wrong, depending on the context in which the swearing occurs.  A federal judge recently held that the Federal Aviation Administration violated federal labor law when it removed a local union president from its premises … Continue Reading

Federal Government to Crack Down on Misclassified “Independent Contractors?”

It’s always risky to misclassify someone who should be an employee as an "independent contractor," but President Obama’s 2011 budget proposal will increase the risks for employers.  According to this budget summary from the U.S. Department of Labor, the misclassification of employees as contractors is estimated to cost the Treasury Department over $7 billion in lost payroll … Continue Reading

Despite Assertions to Contrary, Employment Laws Do Exist

On my way in to work this morning, I was listening to NPR’s Morning Edition, and caught an interview with Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute. The interview was ostensibly to promote Mr. Maltby’s new book, “ Can They Do That?” in which he discusses employment termination cases that were deemed legal, but … Continue Reading

COBRA Subsidy Extended Through February 28, 2010

As originally enacted as part of the 2009 stimulus package, the COBRA subsidy provided up to nine months of health insurance premium assistance for covered workers who were involuntarily terminated on or before December 31, 2009.  Last week, President Obama signed a bill that extends the COBRA subsidy for involuntarily terminated employees in two ways:  First, it extends the eligibility period … Continue Reading

GINA Requires Employers to Post Notice, Review Policies and Procedures

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) takes effect November 21, 2009.  Is your workplace ready?  Employers will soon be required to post a notice stating that they do not discriminate on the basis of genetic information, under proposed regulations interpreting GINA. If you don’t already have one, click here to download the full "EEO is the Law" … Continue Reading
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