Monthly Archives: December 2009

Michaels Confirmed As New Head Of OSHA

Dr. David Michaels was confirmed and sworn in on December 9 as Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA.  Before coming to OSHA, Dr. Michaels was a professor and interim chair at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services’ Department of Environmental and Occupational Health.… Continue Reading

New Means of Communication: Employee Text Messaging Presents Unique Employment Issues

The Supreme Court last week agreed to decide whether a California police department violated the privacy rights of an employee police officer by reading sexually-explicit text messages on the officer’s employer-issued pager.  The case, Quon v. Arch Wireless Operating Company, is on appeal from the Ninth Circuit, which ruled that in certain circumstances a public employee … Continue Reading

Medical Marijuana Leaves Employers In A Haze

What to do with an employee who tested positive for marijuana used to be an easy decision.  That is not necessarily the case anymore. Thirteen states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes.  Some of these states require employers to accommodate the medical use of marijuana.  Although use of marijuana remains illegal under … Continue Reading

Why Is Organized Labor Suddenly Taking an Interest in America’s Big Banks?

Fairly or not, America’s commercial banks have been vilified by many as the cause of the nation’s financial meltdown. The CEOs of America’s most venerable financial institutions have been called to Washington and excoriated by an angry Congress, and on talk shows across the nation their salaries have been contrasted with those of hourly-paid financial … Continue Reading

High Court Resolves Circuit Split On Disclosure of Privileged Documents

In Mohawk Industries, Inc. v. Carpenter, the Supreme Court resolved a circuit split and held that an order requiring the disclosure of documents arguably protected by the attorney-client privilege does not qualify for immediate appeal under the “collateral order doctrine.”  The collateral order doctrine allows litigants to appeal a small class of orders that (1) conclusively … Continue Reading

What Employers Should Know About Health Care Reform

Now that the House has passed a health care reform bill and the Senate is considering its own version, we are beginning to get a better picture about what might be presented to President Obama. The Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962) is estimated by its supporters to reduce federal budget deficits by $109 … Continue Reading

DOL To Expand Reporting Obligations For Employers and Labor Consultants Engaged In “Persuader Activities”

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced that it will propose new regulations that potentially could expand employers’ and labor consultants’ reporting obligations under Section 203(c) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA). This may require employers to disclose some information that currently is not reportable, such as information related to advice from … Continue Reading

COBRA Subsidy Likely To Expand – Proposed Legislation Would Extend and Expand Subsidy for Former Employees

In the past two months, both the House and Senate have proposed legislation that would extend the COBRA subsidy for health insurance created by the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The ARRA subsidy will begin to expire on December 1, 2009 without government action.  As the subsidy expires, unemployed Americans receiving the … Continue Reading