This year, there are several notable revisions to TN law regarding workers’ compensation. First, reasonable attorney fees and costs can be awarded to the employee and his/her counsel when the employer fails to initiate appropriate medical treatment pursuant to a settlement, expedited order, or judgment and when the employer wrongfully denies a claim and fails to promptly initiate temporary benefits. Therefore, this may greatly limit our ability to deny claims that we had previously denied. As you are aware, very few attorneys wanted to take on cases for employees and this is meant to encourage more attorneys to take claims for employees. (more…)

It took them more than 46 years but the OFCCP finally released updated guidelines for federal contractors regarding sex discrimination (the last update was in 1970).  The new guidelines are consistent with Title VII and the EEOC’s current interpretation of the statute and provide federal contractors with direction regarding OFCCP’s position on compensation, pregnancy, and harassment, as well as a listing of Best Practices to prevent sex discrimination in the workplace. (more…)

The prevalence of employees identifying themselves as “whistleblowers” has expanded in recent years due to expansion of federal and state whistleblower rights.  Recently, a recently enacted federal law, the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (“DTSA”), created a new class of whistleblower protection rights. The DTSA creates a federal private civil action for the misappropriation of trade secrets.  Included in this Act, however, is a provision for immunity from both civil and criminal allegations, under state and federal law, for employees and independent contractors who are whistleblowers. (more…)

May 16th may be a significant day for employers across the country. After more than two years of debate, analysis and overall panic from employers across the country, this is the deadline that was widely reported when the final overtime rule would be published by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Don’t panic. As of the time of this posting the final overtime regulations HAVE NOT been published but if it is not today, it is definitely soon. The regulation change will impact the exempt status of employees in virtually every industry and has created one of the most significant challenges to face employers in the last decade. It is high alert time.
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On Wednesday, May 11, 2016, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) finalized its controversial workplace injury and illness reporting rules.  The new requirements are effective August 10, 2016, with phased-in data submissions beginning in 2017. So why all the fuss about a rule that’s been around since 1971?  Well, under the new rule, all employers who are covered by the recordkeeping regulation and who have 250 or more employees must electronically submit their recordkeeping forms to OSHA. But OSHA didn’t stop there . . . those electronic records of workplace injuries and illnesses will now be posted on OSHA’s website for all to see and review.
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It seems like an odd place to wage a civil rights war, but right now across the country there is a serious debate over public bathroom use. The LGBT community, backed by the U.S. Department of Labor (OSHA), has taken the position that a person should be able to use the bathroom of the gender to which he/she identifies, regardless of their anatomy. In response, the Minnesota-based retailer Target is now transitioning to gender-neutral restrooms. Not everyone agrees with this position. (more…)