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News Notes: New Guidance Available On Health Care Privacy Rules

As we reported in an earlier article, the government recently released new privacy regulations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). As the April 14, 2003, compliance deadline approaches, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued guidance (available on our website), including frequently asked questions, explaining significant aspects of the […]

E-Alerts: Disability Bias: California State Standard for Determining Who’s Disabled Is More Lenient Than the ADA, States Supreme Court Confirms

The California Supreme Court has handed down a new decision making it easier for disabled workers in California to sue their employers for job discrimination. The court ruled that under the state Fair Employment and Housing Act, an individual claiming workplace disability discrimination need only show that their disorder limits a major life activity. In […]

E-Alerts: Health and Safety: Two New OSHA Resources Available

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is offering a “Cold Stress Card” that recommends ways to avoid health problems caused by prolonged exposure to freezing or cold temperatures on the job. According to OSHA, workers in construction, commercial fishing, maritime, and agriculture are at highest risk for these problems, which can include trench foot, […]

E-Alerts: Pension Reform: Blackout Period Rules Finalized

The U.S. Labor Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (formerly the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration) has finalized rules for implementing a new federal law requiring 401(k) plans to give workers 30-day advance notice of blackout periods during which they can’t make transactions. The rules took effect on January 26, 2003.

E-Alerts: Employee Uniforms: Big Clothing Retailers Hit with Wage and Hour Lawsuits Over Dress Requirements

In an earlier article, we reported on a lawsuit filed by employees of fashion retailer Polo Ralph Lauren charging that the employer violated wage and hour rules by requiring them to spend their own money on the company’s clothing to wear on the job. Now two other high-profile retailers—Gap Inc. and Abercrombie & Fitch—have been […]

Ergonomics: CAL/OSHA Considering Petition To Alter Ergonomics Rule

On February 20, 2003, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board held a public meeting to consider a petition filed by the California Labor Federation to alter the requirements of the state’s ergonomic rule. At the meeting, the standards board voted to convene an advisory committee to consider the petition, which seeks to drop […]

E-Alerts: Workers’ Compensation: Fraudulent Concealment Claim Dismissed; Worker Knew of Injury Before Employer Did

Darcy Jensen, a module team builder for Amgen Inc., filed a workers’ comp claim as a result of health problems that she believed stemmed from exposure to laboratory animals. Several months later, the company discovered mold in the building where Jensen had worked. Jensen eventually sued Amgen under an exception to the workers’ compensation system […]