Tag: benefits

Personnel Manuals And Handbooks: Surprising Danger Lurks In Common Disclaimers; A 4-Point Update Checklist

Your employee handbooks and manuals probably state that the policies are not intended to create a contract and are subject to change. This is a common provision employers use to maintain the flexibility to modify their personnel practices and procedures. But now, in a recent case many employers will find startling, one company learned this […]

Print

Pension Plans: Billion Dollar Surplus Nightmare For Employer; How To Stay Legal

  If you have a defined benefit pension plan for your employees, thanks to stock market gains it may contain more money than you’ll need to pay out in benefits. But be careful before you use this “extra” money. One employer recently found there are strict rules about what you can and can’t do with […]

Print

Disability Discrimination: Court Says Look For Alternative Jobs, Even If Workers Don’t Ask; How To Avoid Accommodation Traps

Your obligation to accommodate disabled workers may be much broader than you think. According to a new California Court of Appeal ruling, if one of your employees becomes disabled and can’t perform their job, you must suggest possible reasonable accommodations-even if the employee doesn’t ask for your assistance. What’s more, you might be required to […]

Print

News Notes: Incomplete Summary Plan Descriptions Can Be Costly

Auto parts manufacturer Kelsey-Hayes Co. gave employees a summary plan description of their employee benefits plan stating that health insurance would continue at no cost when they retired. The summary didn’t mention the company had the right to modify or terminate benefits, even though the master health care plan paperwork did. Later, when Kelsey-Hayes informed […]

Print

Exempt Workers: High Court Clarifies Rules On Pay Docking Policies; Why You Should Review Yours Now

You probably know that docking the pay of an employee who is exempt from overtime is fraught with risk-the person could lose their exempt status and you could have to begin paying overtime, as well as back overtime for up to three years. And some courts have said that merely having a written policy giving […]

Print

News Notes: Court To Review Microsoft Independent Contractor Case

Late last year, software giant Microsoft Corp. was ordered by a federal Court of Appeal to extend retroactive pension and stock purchase benefits-potentially worth millions of dollars-to employees improperly classified as independent contractors. (See CEA November 1996.) But now, the court says it will reconsider its decision-a potentially positive signal for Microsoft. A change in […]

Print

News Notes: Help On New Health Insurance Laws Available

Several federal laws affecting employee health benefits were added last year, including the Health Insurance Portability Act, the Mental Health Parity Act and the Newborns’ and Mothers’ Health Protection Act. To help clear the confusion about these complex regulations, the U.S. Department of Labor has issued a booklet that answers some of the most common […]

Print

Reductions in Force: How to Do It the Right Way Without Getting Sued

Sales are down. Expenses are up. You’ve tried everything and it looks as if your only alternative is to eliminate jobs. These not uncommon circumstances can turn into a high-stakes gamble, particularly because the graying of the American workforce puts you at risk for expensive age bias claims. So when you’re facing a restructuring, it’s […]

Print

News Notes: SF Tells United Airlines To Offer Domestic Partner Benefits

If United wants to fly to San Francisco, it may have to comply with the City’s controversial new domestic partners ordinance, warned a Board of Supervisors committee. In December, the Board voted to do business only with contractors who provide their employees with domestic partner benefits. (See CEA December 1996.) United does not currently do […]

Print

Independent Contractors: How to Protect Yourself–Before You’re Called in for an Audit

The problem can surface without warning. A former independent contractor applies for unemployment benefits, but the state can’t find any record that the person was on your payroll or that you paid unemployment taxes. Before you know it, you’re being audited and facing huge penalties for all the workers you may have misclassified as independent […]

Print