News and Analysis
In late September, we reported that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) had announced its final rule to make an additional 1.3 million workers eligible for overtime pay. On Monday, Nov. 4, 2019, at 1 p.m. (EST), the U.S. Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division will offer a free webinar to provide employers with compliance assistance regarding the final rule. Participants will have the opportunity to submit questions. 10/22/2019
OMA Connections Partner Bricker & Eckler LLP reports that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently issued a decision in employers’ favor by holding that misclassification of an employee as an independent contractor, by itself, does not violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Employers are still advised to continue to exercise caution and consult legal counsel when making classifications since misclassifications can bring significant liability under other employment laws and regulations. 10/21/2019
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, median weekly earnings of the nation’s 118.4 million full-time wage and salary workers were $919 in the third quarter of 2019 (not seasonally adjusted). This was 3.6% higher compared to a year earlier. 10/21/2019
Legalization of marijuana and hemp has complicated life for employers, as well as for some applicants and employees. OMA Connections Partner Franz Ward reports on a case from New York involving a professional hazmat truck driver of 29 years. While the trucker knew he was subject to regular drug testing, he told the court he used the defendant’s CBD oil after seeing an ad that claimed the product contained no THC (the intoxicating compound in cannabis). Later, he tested positive for marijuana at almost double the concentration limit. He was terminated — and then sued the seller of the oil.
Because of the unpredictable developments in this area of the law and industry, “employers should continue to act thoughtfully when making decisions regarding applicants and employees who use marijuana or CBD,” the firm advises. 10/22/2019
At a press conference with representatives from the business community, including the OMA, state Reps. Brett Hudson Hillyer (R-Uhrichsville) and Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) this week unveiled House Bill 369. Titled the Ohio Fairness Act, the bill would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected groups under current Ohio’s anti-discrimination law, which prohibits discrimination against a person’s characteristics such as race, gender, and disability.
OMA member and former state Rep. Ross McGregor, who in the past championed the proposal, said the legislation is important for workforce development efforts as employers, such as his company, compete for a new generation of workers. Hannah News Service quoted McGregor as saying: “That’s why you’ll see this list of businesses and business groups that have put their names down as saying this is important. We didn’t have that in 2009.” 10/17/2019
This week, the House Civil Justice Committee began hearings on House Bill 352, the Employment Law Uniformity Act. The OMA has been a supporter of this legislation through its various iterations over the years.
On Wednesday, state Reps. George Lang (R-West Chester Township) and Jon Cross (R-Kenton) provided sponsor testimony. The two described the bill as legislation that “aims to improve Ohio’s workplace discrimination laws by allowing for timely, fair, and efficient resolution of claims for both employers and employees.”
The bill tackles several key provisions of the law, including — but not limited to — reducing the statute of limitations; preventing simultaneous filing of administrative and judicial actions; amending the definition of private employer; and creating an affirmative defense. 10/17/2019
Is your business still using paper drug-testing forms? OMA Connections Partner Working Partners® reports that studies show companies using an electronic custody and control form received their results at least 7.5 hours sooner than employers using traditional paper forms. Learn more by watching this two-minute video. 10/10/2019
OMA Connections Partner One Source Advisors cites a new national study that finds more than 80% of employers plan to increase their spending on health care and wellness in the next year. The average health insurance premium for family coverage was $19,616 in 2018, with employers paying 71% of that cost, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. To help mitigate rising costs, many employers plan to spend more on wellness initiatives.
One Source Advisors also reports that Medicare Part D notices are due by Oct. 15. Employers should confirm whether their health plans’ prescription drug coverage is creditable or non-creditable and prepare to submit their Medicare Part D disclosure notices before the middle of the month. Direct questions to One Source Advisors. 10/1/2019
Ohio’s minimum wage will increase 15 cents an hour — to $8.70 an hour — on Jan. 1. That’s due to a 2006 Ohio constitutional amendment that requires yearly inflationary increases in the minimum wage, currently $8.55 an hour. The Ohio Department of Commerce announced the increase Monday. Employers with annual gross receipts of more than $319,000 a year must comply with the increase. Read more from OMA Connections Partner Bricker & Eckler. 9/30/2019
This week, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a final rule to make 1.3 million workers newly eligible for overtime pay. This rule updates the earnings thresholds necessary to exempt executive, administrative, and professional employees from minimum wage and overtime pay requirements. It also allows employers to count a portion of certain bonuses/commissions towards meeting the salary level.