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News Notes: Workplace Injury And Illness Rates Decline

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that the number of injuries and illnesses in private industry workplaces continued to edge down in 2001. The 2001 rate of 5.7 injury-and-illness cases per 100 full-time workers was not only an 8% decline from 2000 but also the lowest rate since the agency began reporting this […]

News Notes: Self-Insured Employer On The Hook For Insolvent Insurer’s Portion Of Workers’ Comp Benefits

As some workers’ comp insurers struggle to stay afloat, you may be wondering what would happen if yours became insolvent. In a recent case, a Denny’s employee’s work-related cumulative injury occurred over a one-year period that overlapped two months with the time Denny’s was self-insured for workers’ comp. During the other 10 months, Denny’s was […]

News Notes: Employer Defends Harassment Suit By Pointing To Employee’s Prior Sexual Conduct

A California appeals court has ruled that when an employee sues for hostile work environment sexual harassment, the employer can rely on evidence of the employee’s own sexual statements and conduct with the alleged harasser—whether in the workplace or not—to prove that the alleged harassment wasn’t unwelcome or abusive. The case involved a legal secretary […]

News Notes: Bush Issues New Executive Order Furthering Faith-Based Initiative

President Bush has issued a new Executive order exempting religious organizations that contract with the U.S. government from prohibitions on religious discrimination in hiring. The order, part of his “faith-based initiative,” applies to religious corporations, associations, educational institutions, and societies. It does not, however, release religious groups from complying with other state and local anti-bias […]

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.