New Compliance for 2017

As 2016 draws to a close, we want to be sure that you are up to date on the many regulatory and legislative changes that have happened in the US this year. If you have any questions about how these changes apply to your organization, please feel free to contact us.

Revised I-9 Form is Now Available

On November 14th, the USCIS released a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Employers may continue using Form I-9 with a revision date of 03/08/2013 N. through Jan. 21, 2017. By Jan. 22, 2017, employers must use the revised form. Employers should continue to follow existing storage and retentions rules for all of their previously completed Forms I-9. You can read the USCIS News Release regarding the new form and visit I-9 Central for more information.

To more easily complete the from, it is easiest to download the PDF of the form directly to your computer and share the PDF with your employees using the the latest version of the free Adobe Reader.

Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA)

Passed earlier this year, the DTSA seeks to protect whistle blowers from criminal or civil liability for disclosing a trade secret if the disclosure is made in confidence to a government official, directly or indirectly, or to an attorney, and it is made for purpose of reporting a violation of law. Failure to comply with this act means that an employer may not recover exemplary damages or attorney fees in an action brought under the DTSA for theft of trade secrets against an employee to whom no notice was provided. The definition of “employee” is drafted broadly to include contractor and consultant work performed by an individual for an employer.

Employers need to give employees written notice of the act. Without giving notice to employees, an employer may not be able to recover exemplary damages or attorney fees in an action brought under the DTSA for theft of trade secrets against an employee to whom no notice was provided. This notice should not be included in an employee handbook because a handbook is not a contract. The best place to include this notice is in your Confidentiality Agreement/NDA. If you have a Confidentiality Agreement/NDA created before April 2016, you should update that document now to ensure you are including the wording related to this act.

Wage Payment and Collection Law

What can you do if an employee terminates and does not return the laptop or other company property that you provided them during their employment? It is good to know that you may be able to deduct the cost of the equipment from an employee’s final paycheck, but only if you have a signed release from the employee.

In PA, employees can agree to withholding the cost from their pay if they sign an agreement listing what they are given and that they agree to have their pay withheld if they don’t return it. If you do not already have a release that employees sign when you issue them company equipment, contact us to discuss your options.

FLSA Over Time Regulations

On November 22nd a federal judge in Texas blocked the U.S. Department of Labor’s changes to the regulations regarding the payment of overtime that would have made more than 4 million U.S. workers eligible for overtime pay. As you may know, the regulations were scheduled to take effect December 1st. Many employers have been preparing and planning to change the way they pay workers, or have already made changes, to meet the requirements of the new regulations.

The emergency injunction may not permanently block the rule change, but does block its December 1st mandatory implementation. There is no schedule for when the matter will be heard again. Our contacts in the legal community have told us that they anticipate an appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal and most likely an eventual hearing before the United States Supreme Court.

For now, please contact us to discuss:

  • If you should still convert employees from exempt to non-exempt who were scheduled to change due to the increased threshold for the Salary Basis Test to $47,476.
  • What to do if you already converted employees from exempt to non-exempt due to the increased threshold for the Salary Basis Test.
  • Whether or not to convert employees from exempt to non-exempt who were changing as a result of a review of the various Duties Tests, not as a result of the Salary Basis Test.

We will continue to keep you updated as we learn more. For more information, you can also reference this article posted on the SHRM website.

OSHA Drug Testing Rule and Reporting Requirements

Earlier this year OSHA published new rules enhancing employers’ obligations to ensure that employees report work-related injuries and illnesses. Effective in November 2016, employers must establish “a reasonable procedure” for employees to report work-related injuries and illnesses promptly and accurately. The rule prohibits the procedure from deterring or discouraging a reasonable employee from accurately reporting a workplace injury or illness. The rule also prohibits any retaliation for reporting an injury or illness.

Under the new reporting standard, employer policies that request or require post- accident drug or alcohol testing will now face scrutiny by OSHA because, the agency claims, post-incident testing deters injury reporting.

This is a good time to review your OSHA/Safety policies to ensure they are compliant with the current rules.