Tag: benefits

News Notes: Cash-Balance Retirement Plans Spark Controversy And Legislation

IBM¹s recent announcement that it was converting from a traditional pension plan to a cash-balance plan triggered angry employee protests and age discrimination allegations. Now, government agencies and federal legislators are vowing to take a closer look at the impact cash-balance plans have on older workers. Unlike traditional pension plans in which workers earn most […]

News Notes: Telephone Company Will Pay $25 Million To Settle Pregnancy Discrimination Claims

Pacific Bell has agreed to pay $25 million to settle charges that it didn’t credit pregnancy leave toward an employee’s service when calculating retirement benefits. As many as 10,000 women who took leave before 1979, when Congress passed the federal law banning pregnancy discrimination, may share in the settlement. The class action suit was filed […]

Disabled Workers: High Court Says Employees Can Make Inconsistent Statements About Disabilities; Impact On Employers

Can workers who swear to be totally disabled on an application for Social Security benefits turn around and sue you under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), contending they’re qualified to work despite their disability claim? Two recent court decisions – one from the United States Supreme Court and the other involving a Northern California […]

Investigating Sexual Harassment Complaints: Why Utilizing Outside Investigators Is Becoming More Complex—And Controversial

Employers are frequently reminded of their legal obligation to promptly and thoroughly investigate all sexual harassment complaints and, as a result, often call in lawyers or specially trained consultants to conduct a complete and objective inquiry. But a controversial new government opinion suggests that using outside investigators could result in your inadvertently breaking a federal […]

Unemployment Compensation: Contested Claim Backfires Into $1.3 Million Lawsuit; 4 Must-Know Guidelines For Handling Claims

Some employers routinely protest claims for unemployment benefits without much consideration of the facts of each case. But one company recently discovered that an automatic challenge can boomerang into a costly lawsuit. We’ll look at what happened and offer some practical legal tips on how to approach unemployment insurance claims.

Terminating And Disciplining Employees: Employer To Pay Four Years’ Back Wages For Firing One-Man Striker; Important Tips For Avoiding Labor Law Problems

If an employee makes unjustified complaints about wages and hours, you may be tempted to brand the person as a troublemaker. You might even take disciplinary action if the griping continues. But a new National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling cautions that even a one-employee protest can be a protected activity under federal labor law-landing […]

Hiring Temps And Independent Contractors: Employers Brace For Fallout From New Microsoft Ruling; How To Avoid Owing Benefits

The federal appeals court covering California ruled several years ago that software giant Microsoft Corp. had to pay certain retroactive employee benefits to workers improperly classified as independent contractors. Now, the same court has made clear that its earlier ruling will require Microsoft to provide millions of dollars in stock-purchase rights not only to contractors, […]

News Notes: Pension Reform May Be Coming; IRA Payroll Deductions Urged

Several bills pending in Congress could impact your pension plans. HR 1102 would increase the amount workers can contribute to 401(k) accounts and require faster vesting of matching employer contributions. It would also introduce new Roth 401(k)s and 403(b)s, allowing employees to contribute after-tax dollars but receive tax-free retirement benefits. Another measure, S 659, would […]

Military Leave: New Ruling Addresses Rights Of Employees Who Serve—Do You Know Your Obligations?

As thousands of reservists are being called to military action in the Balkans and taking leave from their jobs, it’s a good time to brush up on the intricacies of the federal law that protects the rights of workers who serve in the armed forces. And a new federal court decision upholds the special benefits […]

News Notes: Employee Benefits Data Now Available

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics has just released a new survey showing the latest trends in employee benefits. The study describes what medium and large private employers offer in terms of paid leave, health and retirement benefits, and life insurance, and it provides a useful benchmarkfor comparing your own employee benefit plans. When it […]