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Posted in Immigration
Its that time of year again; time for employers to evaluate their H-1B work visa hiring needs in anticipation of H-1B filing season. For those readers who may not be familiar with the H-1B, it is a nonimmigrant visa category that allows employers to hire skilled foreign workers for temporary employment in the U.S. The annual cap for new H-1Bs is 65,000, with an additional 20,000 visa numbers reserved for applicants who possess a Masters degree or higher from a U.S. institution. Note that only petitions filed on behalf of foreign nationals who have not previously been counted ...
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As 2012 draws to a close, we reflect back on all that we have learned this last year. In the modern workplace, both employers and employees learned their fair share of technological dos and don'ts (re-read a few old Weeks in Review, and you'll see what I mean). The most recent lesson? Even "legal" employment actions can cause PR problems.  Just ask the Iowa dentist who fired his assistant for being too attractive. The Iowa Supreme Court ruled that the termination was justified, but individuals from around the country have plastered the dentist's Yelp page with negative reviews, calling for ...

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While employers should take steps to comply with all applicable legal obligations, it doesn't hurt to know those areas of compliance that are going to be given particular attention by enforcement agencies. Earlier this week, the EEOC announced its Strategic Enforcement Plan  (SEP) for Fiscal Years 2013 2016. The SEP gives employers a peek at the measures the EEOC believes are needed to achieve its goal of deterring discriminatory practices in the workplace.

The SEP identifies the following six enforcement priorities:

  1. Eliminating Barriers in Recruitment and Hiring. The Commission ...
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Do you remember a few weeks back when Facebook was flooded with statuses claiming "copyrights" to users' content? While this hoax was quickly debunked, it left many concerned about what social media can -- and does -- do with the stuff we put online. This week, Instagram fueled the fire when it announced its new terms of use, which allows the company to sell users' photos and keep the profits. The announcement immediately drew opposition, and a day later, Instagram promised to "modify" some of the terms, which are expected  to take effect January 16th. Whether these modifications will win ...
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Posted in Discrimination
Employers have been justifiably concerned about the recent significant expansion of employees rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (See EEOC fact sheet here). However, all hope may not be lost. As employees return from their exotic holiday travel, firing them based on pandemic flu panic may yet be legal.
This week, a Minnesota Federal Judge issued an order considering:
the interesting question of whether someone who is regarded as having an impairment that in fact is no more serious than seasonal flu but that, for a period of time, is  widely (although mistakenly ...
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Do you have a lot of travel plans for this holiday season? Whether it is for work or play, new developments on the technology front may make your trip more enjoyable -- and productive too, if you'd like. The FAA is in the process of updating its policies on in-flight gadget use. With encouragement from the FCC and many frequent fliers, it is possible the FAA will expand when and what devices may be used during air travel.

If your trip involves leaving the country, you're likely to appreciate the more permissive policies, especially now that three of the United States' largest airlines will be ...

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Usually, come year-end, you're hearing all kinds of suggestions about how to delay income until next year, so as to reduce the tax burden this year. This year is different. Yes, as the fiscal cliff talk reminds us daily income tax rates for those with high incomes may go up. But there's more, and its not dependent on what Congress does about the fiscal cliff or the deficit .... Starting in 2013, highly compensated employees have to pay an additional Medicare tax.
Wages over $200,000 will be subject to an additional 0.9% Medicare tax. In addition, unearned income (such as ...
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This week, there were a number of interesting developments in the world of employment labor law. A NLRB judge ruled that a union's Facebook page is not an extension of the picket line. The case involved striking workers' threatening comments on the union's Facebook page. The NLRB Acting General Counsel initiated the complaint against the union, arguing that the union, which did nothing to disavow the comments, should be held responsible for them, just like it would be if they were made out on the picket line. The NLRB judge disagreed and dismissed the complaint.

The other two ...

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Posted in Discrimination
Perhaps you think this is the most wonderful time of the year, or perhaps you think its the most stressful.  Either way, its here, and our workplaces aren't immune from the impact of the holidays.  It can sometimes be tricky for employers to allow goodwill and celebration without offending those who do not celebrate Christmas. 
The topics of religious accommodation and religious discrimination have been touched on in previous posts.  This post is focused on the specific issues that arise during the holiday season.  Note that these comments are intended for secular employers only.  ...
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