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More on background checks

I wrote about this issue back in September here, and today there is news that several states are considering laws to limit the use of credit reports in hiring. Supporters of such laws say they are necessary because an increasing number of employers are doing credit checks even though there is no proof that bad [...]

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Are your interns really employees?

  This recent article in the New York Times should remind us that employers can get themselves into trouble by offering “unpaid internships” that are not really internships.  Agencies in several different states have investigated the use of internships and have, in some cases, fined employers who are actually using the interns to provide unpaid labor. [...]

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New Tax Break for Employers That Hire Unemployed Workers

On March 18, 2010, President Obama signed the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (“HIRE”), which provides a number of tax credits designed to stimulate employment, including one for business that hire unemployed workers.  Employers of a “qualified employee” are excused from paying the employer’s portion of Social Security taxes on that employee’s wages in 2010. [...]

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Employee Privacy Rights

  This morning there are a couple of interesting privacy stories that serve as good reminders of best practices in this area.  The first arises in connection with a union arbitration over discipline meted out to an employee of a municipal liquor store in Paynesville, Minnesota.  As you know, these types of arbitrations usually depend [...]

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Health care costs slow business expansion

  According to a new survey by health insurance company HealthPartners, health care costs are the biggest obstacle to business expansion for Minnesota businesses. Almost two-thirds of companies said health costs jumped 10 percent or more in the past two years, with a quarter reporting costs increasing by more than 20 percent Many employers blame [...]

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COBRA subsidy may be extended

The Obama administration is seeking to extend the subsidy of COBRA premiums.   Currently, many employees who were laid off between September 2008 and February 2010 receive a 65 percent subsidy of their health care coverage for up to 15 months.  The President’s budget proposal would extend that subsidy to employees who lose their jobs in [...]

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COBRA subsidy extended through February

You may have missed it during the holiday rush, but on December 21 Congress passed an extension through February 28, 2010 of the popular COBRA subsidy.  More information about the extension, as well as some employer fact sheets, are available on the DOL’s website:  www.dol.gov/cobra. Plans subject to the Federal COBRA provisions must provide a [...]

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Ready for some privacy turducken?

The Supreme Court seems likely to accept a case involving background checks on employees who do contract work for the government, a legal hodgepodge which one judge has analogized to a turducken (a turkey stuffed with a duck and a chicken).  The case was brought by a group of scientists and engineers at the Jet [...]

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Privacy 101

Two interesting stories on privacy issues this morning. First, Acorn is having even more problems because a republican activist did a little dumpster diving behind its offices in San Diego and came out with a bunch of documents containing social security and driver’s license numbers of its members and job applicants.    Ouch! Second, Sen. Patrick [...]

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Employers: Time to check your wage and hour compliance

The Department of Labor announced Friday that it has hired an additional 250 wage and hour investigators to respond more quickly to complaints and undertake more targeted enforcement of wage and hour laws. In the past three months, the Labor Department has brought two enforcement cases that resulted in the recovery of nearly $2 million [...]

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