The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued new regulations that create a "safe-harbor" for employers who either receive a (i) no-match letter from the Social Security Administration or (ii) written notice from DHS questioning an I-9 Form. Employers who follow the protocol and timeline set forth in the regulations will not be charged with
Hiring & Retention
Appearance Bias: It’s what’s in the wrapper that counts?
An Associated Press article by Lindsey Tanner reports that McDonald’s wrapper tricks kids’ taste buds:
Anything made by McDonald’s tastes better, preschoolers said in a study that powerfully demonstrates how advertising can trick the taste buds of young children.
Even carrots, milk and apple juice tasted better to the kids if it was wrapped
Employment References In Pennsylvania: The Truth or Nothing at All
I received a call from a very irritated client who just hired a new book keeper only to find out the new hire had just been arrested for embezzling from the same prior employer who gave her a glowing reference. Ethics aside, what are the legal parameters for giving a reference?
Frankly, misleading references involve a developing area of the law that is based on negligence theories. To be liable for negligence, you must owe a duty to someone, breach that duty, and the breach must cause damage. The best way to avoid being sued for a reference is not to give one.
No state imposes a duty on an employer to provide a reference on behalf of an employee. However, if a business chooses to provide a reference, it must do so uniformly and may be liable to the employee, other businesses or third parties if the reference is negligent. Negligent references are either inaccurate, materially incomplete, or both.
Pennsylvania law gives employers some protection in lawsuits by employees; provided, the employer acts in "good faith" when it discloses information. Lack of good faith must be established by clear and convincing evidence that the employer disclosed information:
- Knowing it was false or should have known it was false
- Knowing it was materially misleading
- With reckless disregard of the truth or falsity.
- In violation of some other contract or legal right of the employee.
However, the employer’s "opinions" about the quality of work are not generally considered to be slanderous or libelous, unless the opinion implies undisclosed defamatory facts as the basis for the opinion. For example, stating that someone is dishonest is an "opinion" which implies undisclosed and potentially defamatory facts. Stating that someone did "poor quality work" does not.…
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Reconciling Hazelton’s Illegal Immigrant Ordinance and the Nation’s Predicted Worker Shortage
A federal judge struck down the City of Hazelton’s ordinance which was enacted to combat criminal and social service problems blamed on the influx of "illegal immigrants" into the area. The court’s 206 page opinion ruled that the ordinance violates federal constitutional protections and was pre-empted by federal immigration laws.
The ordinance call the "Illegal Immigration …
DOL pulls plug on America’s Job Bank
The Department of Labor closed America’s Job Bank- a national online job board- effective July 1, 2007. The decision was somewhat controversial leaving some government contractors with no good alternative to comply with OFCCP regulations mandating job posting.
The Department of Labor has not published a final rule for compliance with Mandatory Job Postings Requirement under …
OFCCP Audits Focus on Systemic Discrimination
The OFCCP reports coordination of EO Surveys with statistical analysis techniques to predict "systemic discrimination" in order to target its compliance audits. The result from using data from 3,723 establishments that responded to the EO Survey, together with the findings from 2,651 completed compliance evaluations was that 89 cases of systemic discrimination were found. In 2006, the OFCCP recovered a record $51.5 million for over 15,000 workers. Of the recovery, 88% was collected for cases of systemic discrimination in the application process because of unlawful employment policy or practice.
Government contractors are selected for audit in several ways including the use of a mathematical model that predicts the likelihood of a finding of systemic discrimination. The model analyzes data from five years of OFCCP compliance evaluations to formally identify and characterize relationships between reported EEO-1 workforce profiles and findings of discrimination.
I have been involved is several of these style OFCCP audits and the approach is the same. The audit is triggered by an anomaly in a business’ EO Survey which shows a statistical disparity in either hires or terminations. For example, the percentage of minority applicants differs by more than 80% from the percentage of minorities hired (the four-fifths rule). The investigation into the disparity in the hiring process follows the road map set out in the OFCCP’s Compliance Manual as follows:…
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Systemic Discrimination: EEOC’s Latest Tactic to Redress Discrimination
The EEOC announced a $20 million settlement with Walgreens based upon "systemic discrimination" against African American retail management and pharmacy employees in promotion, compensation and assignment. In addition to the monetary relief for an estimated 10,000 class members, the consent decree prohibits store assignments based on race.
The EEOC’s lawsuit is part of its Systemic …
Protecting Your Business with Noncompetition Agreements
The incidents of corporate raiding and mass employee defections to competitors are on the rise as businesses scramble to find and retain high quality employees. Under any business model, it is far easier to recruit away a group of experienced employees with a "book of business" than it is for an employer to start from scratch.…
Immigration Law Compliance: How good are your I-9s?
It starts out as a normal workday in the HR department of XYZ company…You just deleted 54 spam e-mails, listened to 27 inane voice messages, and refilled the empty coffee pot (again). You look out the window to the parking lot (because those are the types of scenic views HR managers get in the corporate hierarchy). You…
Summer Internships: To Pay or Not to Pay
The Human Resource Blog has a great post on the benefits of hiring a summer intern. At the risk of throwing the legal wet blanket on internship programs, employers need to be cautious when it comes to unpaid interns. The FLSA provides minimum wage and overtime protection to those employed within the meaning of the Act. FLSA section 3(g) states that to “employ” means to “suffer or permit to work.” The Supreme Court in Walling v. Portland Terminal Co., 330 U.S. 148, 152 (1947), identified six factors to evaluate whether a trainee, intern, extern, apprentice, graduate assistant, or similar individual is to be considered an employee. If all of the following six factors are met, then an employment relationship does not exist and compensation is not due:…