Employment Law Legislative Update Fourth Quarter 2013

Lamar-Sarah-OPTIn her fourth quarterly legislative update for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Sarah Lamar discusses recent changes in employment law:

Legislation: Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (H.R. 3712)
Introduced: 12/12/13
Status: Referred to Committee
Purpose: Provide workers with up to 12 weeks of up to 66% of their monthly wages (subject to cap) when they take leave for their own serious health condition, including pregnancy and childbirth recovery; the serious health condition of a child, parent, spouse or domestic partner; the birth or adoption of a child; and/or for particular military caregiving and leave purposes. The law would cover workers in all companies regardless of size and would be administered through the Social Security Administration.
Comment: This bill will likely not get passed due to opposition by the Republican majority in the House against new taxes.
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Legislation: Equal Employment for All Act (S. 1837)
Introduced: 12/17/13
Status: Referred to Committee
Purpose: Amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to bar employers from requiring applicants or employees to disclose their credit history for employment purposes. Exceptions would apply for jobs requiring national security clearances or as otherwise required by law.
Comment: This bill appears to be very broad and will likely be opposed by employer interest groups.
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Legislation: Trade Adjustment Assistance Extension Act of 2011 (TAAEA) (H.R. 2832)
Introduced: 9/2/11
Status: Signed into Law 10/21/11
Purpose: Effective October 22, 2013, employers who fail to respond to written requests for information from the Georgia Department of Labor with sufficient information or by the specified deadline regarding 3 separate unemployment compensation insurance claims within a calendar year will be charged for benefits paid on all subsequent claims paid during that year. This new change was made pursuant to Section 252 of the TAAEA’s “integrity” initiative to reduce the federal budget deficit and to help prevent fraudulent and other improper payments of unemployment compensation benefits.
Comment: This “integrity” initiative could become very expensive for employers who do not respond fully to requests for information from the Georgia DOL in a timely manner and they could see significant tax rate increases.
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Regulatory Requirements: Immigration Lockdown
Effective Date: 11/18/13
Purpose: USCIS has a new tool to combat identity fraud. The agency will use a combination of algorithms, detection reports and analysis to identify “patterns of fraudulent SSN use” and then lock the SSN in the E-Verify system, much like credit card companies lock cards that appear to have been stolen. According to the USCIS, employees who attempt to use a locked SSN will receive a tentative nonconfirmation from E-Verify, which they will be able to contest with the SSA. If the SSA determines that the employee’s identity correctly matches the SSN, the employee’s status in E-Verify will be converted to “employment authorized.”
Comment: This new tool sounds like a good way to address identity theft concerns on E-Verify but could create massive headaches for employees if it malfunctions.
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