Employer Pays $25,000 to Settle Employee FMLA Claims Arising Out of Care for the Employee’s Niece

February 7, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Posted in Compliance, Department of Labor, Employment Law, FMLA, Human Resources, Regulations | Leave a comment
Tags: , ,

Ohio based DNA Diagnostics Center Inc. has agreed to pay $25,000 in lost wages and liquidated damages to an employee  for unlawfully denying her FMLA leave. The company  fired the employee for exercising her rights under the FMLA to care for her seriously ill 12-year-old niece, for whom the employee was standing “in loco parentis,” or in the place of a parent. Under terms of the settlement agreement, the company must expunge the employee’s record of any disciplinary references. In June 2010, the DOL issued an Administrator Interpretation clarifying the definition of son and daughter under the FMLA includes not only a biological or adopted child, but also a foster child, a stepchild, a legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis. This definition ensures that an employee who assumes the role of caring for a child receives parental rights to family leave, regardless of the legal or biological relationship.

A copy of the DOL press release is here: http://www.dol.gov/whd/media/press/whdpressVB3.asp?pressdoc=Midwest/20140204.xml

HR and the Growing Compliance Headache

August 16, 2013 at 10:19 am | Posted in Compliance, Human Resources, Regulations | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , ,

According to national HR survey published in the August 15th edition of Benefits Pro, the increasing regulatory compliance load on HR professionals is causing widespread consternation.

“Since HR compliance lies at the heart of effective human resource management, it is alarming to discover that most HR managers surveyed express concern about their ability to comply with HR laws and employment laws today and into the future,” the study intoned. “Roughly half of the survey respondents indicate having only moderate or slight levels of confidence — or even no confidence at all — in their ability to comply with important HR and employment laws, rules and regulations.”

The anxiety over compliance was higher among small businesses, with 57 percent of HR types at small companies reporting that they lacked confidence in their ability to comply with mounting rules and regulations.

At mid-sized businesses, the response was better but not great. Forty-four percent admitted they had “little or no confidence they can keep up” with compliance issues.

There were some areas where respondents had more confidence in their ability to get their companies in compliance: payroll and benefits laws and regulations. But they said they were less confident with regard to compliance in key areas of hiring, employee relations, and risk and safety.

Managing employee relations compliance laws is by far the largest concern of mid-sized companies; 49 percent cited it as a major concern, followed by benefit plan offerings/admin (36 percent) and workers compensation/claims administration (35 percent).

Small companies listed payroll taxes as their chief concern at 40 percent, followed closely by recruiting and hiring good people at 39 percent, and pay requirements at 28 percent.

“With employee litigation — and compensatory awards — on the rise, companies face major potential legal liabilities if they fail to comply with HR and employment laws, rules and regulations,” the study authors said. “Statistics compiled by Jury Verdict Research show that employment lawsuits have risen 400 percent in the last 20 years, with the average compensatory reward in federal employment cases now exceeding $490,000.”

So, given the risks of noncompliance, what are these companies doing? They are increasingly turning to HR consultants and services for help. According to the survey, more than 90 percent of companies rely on outside advice for compliance issues. Payroll, benefits and risk and safety are the big three areas for small and mid-sized businesses for outsourcing compliance, with payroll by far the major area where small businesses were willing to spend on outside help.

Benefits management is No. 1 for mid-sized firms — 70 percent have used outside help there. Risk and safety, hiring, employee relations, and terminations show a descending, but still substantial, use pattern. That outsourcing trend will likely grow, given that fewer than 10 percent of HR managers surveyed believe that the overall compliance burden will decrease in the future.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.