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Ohio’s Health is Not Well

August 26, 2016

Ohio just released its 2016 state health assessment (SHA) which provides data needed to inform health improvement priorities and strategies in the state, and by employers.

Several national scorecards and rankings place Ohio in the bottom quartile of states for health.

According to the report: “… Ohio’s performance on population health outcomes has steadily declined relative to other states over the past few decades, falling from a rank of 27 in 1990 in America’s Health Rankings to 39 in 2015.”

Among the key findings: “While Ohio faces many behavioral health challenges, including poor access to care and high prevalence of depression, the rise in opiate-related drug overdose deaths stands out as an immediate threat to the wellbeing of Ohioans. … The unintentional injury death rate, which includes drug overdoses, increased 30 percent from 2009 to 2014 and emerged as Ohio’s second highest cause of premature death …

“Given that unintentional injuries (largely from drug overdoses) and cancer were the two leading causes of premature death in Ohio, addictions to opiates and nicotine (due to Ohio’s high tobacco use rates) may be two of the greatest challenges to health and well-being in the state.

“Chronic diseases, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer, as well as related risk factors such as tobacco use and poor nutrition, stand out as concerns for Ohio.”  8/23/2016

Department of Justice Issues a Proposed Rule to Expand Discrimination Investigations

August 19, 2016

According to a post by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), this week the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking expanding its authority and investigative power over employment discrimination and the employment eligibility verification process.

Specifically, the proposed rule seeks to, among other things, expand the scope of activities during the employment verification process that could be deemed “discriminatory” as well as the definition of “discriminatory intent,” for employers.  Additionally, the rule would repeal the statute of limitations by expanding the current time bar of 180 days to five years in which DOJ is able to bring an investigation against employers for alleged discrimination based on a variety of grounds including; citizenship, immigration status, national origin discrimination and unfair documentary practices.

Under the current law and practice, employers are found to have engaged in discriminatory behavior if there is intent to discriminate. This rule would essentially remove the requirement to show an employer’s intent. Further, it appears that extending the statute of limitations will give DOJ the leeway to keep investigations going in perpetuity, giving the agency even more leverage to force employers to submit to settle for large sums of money.

NAM is in the process of reviewing this proposed rule.  If you care to comment on how this proposal will impact your company, email Christine Scullion, Director, HR Policy, at NAM by Friday, August 26.

New NLRB Decision Impacts Management Rights Clauses

August 5, 2016

OMA Connections Partner, Frantz Ward, says that a recent decision from the National Labor Relations Board may make it more difficult for an employer to activate a management rights clause in a labor contract.

Here is the Frantz Ward analysis of Graymont, PA, Inc. and Local Lodge D92.

Drug-free Workplace Support for Employers in Allen, Auglaize, Hardin, Pickaway & Ross Counties

August 5, 2016

If you are a manufacturer in Allen, Auglaize, Hardin, Pickaway or Ross county and want help creating or enhancing your drug-free workplace program, help is on the way.  This community initiative can help you :

  • Learn how to legally and operationally protect your business from the risks associated with substance abuse;
  • Obtain technical assistance to update your existing substance abuse policy or create a new one;
  • Access resources to assist prospective or current employees dealing with substance abuse issues;
  • Access discounted drug testing, employee education, supervisor training and ongoing technical assistance.

To learn more or apply, contact Katie Lemke at OMA Connections Partner, Working Partners®, at (614) 337-8200.

OSHA Delays Enforcement of New Rule’s Anti-Retaliation Provisions

July 29, 2016

According to OMA Connections Partner, Roetzel, “On July 13, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced it was delaying enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions in its new injury and illness tracking rule. …

“The new rule also includes whistleblower protections, which require employers to inform workers of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation, and implement procedures for reporting injuries and illnesses that are reasonable and do not deter workers from reporting. The whistleblower protections were originally scheduled to begin August 10, 2016, but enforcement will now begin November 1, 2016. There is no change in the effective date for electronic reporting provisions.”  (Electronic reporting begins in 2017.)

The delay is possibly related to a lawsuit that has been filed:  “In their complaint, the National Association of Manufacturers and other industry groups allege the anti-retaliation provisions go too far in limiting post-accident drug testing. …”

Read more from Roetzel.

NLRB: Temporary Workers Can Join Bargaining Units with Regular Employees

July 15, 2016

OMA Connections Partner, Barnes & Thornburg, posts this:  “… The NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) rendered its long-awaited opinion in Miller & Anderson, Inc. that, as many business groups feared, makes it easier for temporary employees (e.g., employees provided by staffing companies) to be placed in the same bargaining units as permanent employees.

“… Now, employer consent is no longer required for potential bargaining units that combine jointly employed and solely employed employees of a single user employer. In other words, regular employees (employed directly by the owner of the business) and temporary employees (supplied by an outside temporary staffing agency) can be in the same bargaining unit – and therefore vote together on representation.”

Read more from Barnes & Thornburg here.

Medical Marijuana and Your Workers’ Compensation Program

July 15, 2016

House Bill 523, establishing a statutory right to the use of marijuana for medical purposes for qualifying medical conditions, becomes effective September 8, 2016.

OMA Connections Partner, Dinsmore, posted this article about the effect the new law on workers’ compensation programs and claims.  In short, workers’ compensation policies and practices will not be immediately impacted.  Read more from Dinsmore.

AG: Muni Minimum Wage Can’t Exceed State’s

July 8, 2016

The labor union (and allies) push for a $15 minimum wage in some Ohio cities has hit an obstacle.  Attorney General Mike DeWine issued an advisory opinion that cities may not set minimum wage levels in excess of the state minimum wage, pursuant to the state constitution.

In 1912, Ohio voters gave the Ohio legislature the authority to pass wage and hour laws statutorily.  In 2006, voters passed a ballot initiative that put Ohio wage and hour law into the state constitution, and put in place minimum wage increases.

In his opinion, the Attorney General essentially says that a municipal ordinance cannot trump the state constitution, even under home rule.

This matter will undoubtedly end up in the Supreme Court of Ohio some day.  Meanwhile, we are left with the irony that labor unions pushing the municipal minimum wage increases are the same ones that backed the statewide initiative that put the issue into the constitutional.

Millennials: Recruit, Engage & Develop the Next Generation of Leaders

July 1, 2016

OMA Connections Partner, Clark Schaefer Hackett, is presenting an afternoon event on July 12 in Columbus about recruiting, engaging, and developing the next generation of leaders – millennials.

OMA member, Bob Grote, CEO of the Grote Company, will be one of the panelists.

Learn more and register here.

Ohio’s New Medical Marijuana Law Summarized

June 17, 2016

On June 8, 2016, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a medical marijuana bill, Sub. H.B. 523, into law, making Ohio the 25th state to adopt some form of approval and regulation of medical marijuana.

Sub. H.B. 523, which underwent robust discussion and numerous amendments, attempts to balance a perceived acceptance by Ohioans to approve medical marijuana while getting ahead of various groups’ efforts to permanently incorporate medical marijuana measures into the Ohio Constitution.

Following extensive House committee review, the House version introduced in April 2016 passed by a 70 to 25 vote.  It incorporated many concepts discussed during a series of public meetings convened by the House’s Medical Marijuana Task Force earlier this year.  Although the Senate version passed by a much narrower version, the Senate amendments also incorporated public input.

The highlights of the final version are summarized here by OMA counsel, Joelle Khouzam of Bricker & Eckler.