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Privacy: New Restrictions on Using Social Security Numbers in Mailings; Public and Private Employers Now Covered

In July 2002, a law took effect restricting the display of consumer Social Security numbers (SSNs) by California businesses. Although the law wasn’t targeted at the workplace, it had implications for employers’ use and display of worker SSNs. On Jan. 1, 2004, a follow-up law will further limit SSN use in mailings. Here’s what you […]

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Health and Safety: Preventing Toxic Mold in the Workplace

One of the fastest-growing concerns for employers is toxic mold in the workplace. According to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), toxic mold can affect indoor air quality and cause serious health conditions. These problems are fueling an increase in litigation over the presence of mold, and big-money settlements and judgments in the […]

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News Notes: OSHA Issues Reminder that Teens Can’t Drive Forklifts

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released a new bulletin reminding employers that most workers under age 18 are prohibited from operating forklifts for nonagricultural operations. Plus, says OSHA, workers over 18 must be properly trained and certified before driving forklifts in the workplace. Note that Cal-OSHA also prohibits teens from driving […]

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News Notes: No Comp Benefits for New Employee’s Psychiatric Injury

  A California appeal court has ruled an employee couldn’t recover workers’ comp benefits for psychiatric injury stemming from a work-related physical injury because the individual hadn’t worked for the employer for at least six months when initially injured. The court based its decision on a provision of the workers’ comp law that bars benefits […]

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News Notes: IRS Releases Compliance Materials for Retirement Plans

The Internal Revenue Service has issued new materials to help small businesses and plan administrators understand how to maintain the tax-favored status of employee retirement plans. A pamphlet explains the various correction programs operated by various federal agencies, and a CD-ROM includes more detailed information on the correction programs, guidance on qualification requirements and self-audit […]

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News Notes: Ninth Circuit Says Alter-Ego Employees Jointly Liable for Unpaid Wages

According to a new Ninth Circuit ruling, a group of health care employees who worked more than 40 hours a week, with the time split between two employers, was eligible for overtime pay because the companies qualified as a single enterprise. The two companies, A-One Health Care and Alternative Rehabilitation, had substantially merged their operations […]

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Domestic Partners: New Legislation Expands Workplace Rights, Benefits; Review Your Employee Handbook

Two new bills extending the rights and benefits provided to spouses to domestic partners were recently signed into law. We’ll take a look at the new laws. State Contractors Can’t Discriminate Under AB 17, certain state contractors have to provide employee benefits for registered domestic partners on the same basis as they do for spouses. […]

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Wage and Hour: Were Bonus Deductions for Workers’ Comp Losses and Cash Shortages Illegal? Exercise Caution with Deductions

In calculating profit-based bonuses for certain store employees, Ralph’s Grocery Co. subtracts the store’s workers’ compensation costs as well as cash and merchandise shortages. David Swanson, a former Ralph’s store manager in Southern California, filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of himself and other employees challenging these bonus deductions. He claimed the grocer violated […]

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