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Showing 5 posts from April 2012.

New Guidance on the Use of Criminal Background Checks in Hiring

If you are an employer which uses criminal background checks as part of your decision process in deciding whether to hire an applicant, you should be aware that on April 25, 2012 the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a new Guidance (EEOC Enforcement Guidance No. 915.002) which further clarifies under what circumstances such a practice may in fact be viewed as discriminatory.  While the use of criminal background checks to screen applicants may seem like a colorblind endeavor, the EEOC has outlined via its Guidance when that activity can have an unlawful impact on certain groups of job applicants. This finding is based upon the EEOC’s noted findings, based upon historical data, that different races are incarcerated at different rates, making a prohibition on not hiring anyone with a conviction a prohibition which is more limiting to African-American applicants as opposed to Caucasians for example.    Because of this new clarification on the potential unlawful effects criminal background checks may have, employers generally need to once again examine their hiring policies to make sure that they will not run afoul of the law even if one’s motive in conducting criminal background checks is pure.

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Plan Documents Rule Ineffective to Protect ERISA Administrators Against Claims by Adverse Spouses

By now, it is abundantly clear that administrators of ERISA pension or life-insurance plans are required to pay death benefits to the spousal beneficiary identified in the employee’s plan documents even when the employee has divorced the spouse identified at the time the benefits become payable.  The so called “Plan Documents Rule” can have a harsh effect as it applies even when the former spouse has waived all interest in an employee’s ERISA plan during state court divorce proceedings.  See McMillan v. Parrott, 913 F.2d 310 (6th Cir. 1990); Kennedy v. Plan Administrator for DuPont Savings and Investment Plan, 555 U.S. 285 (2009).  The Supreme Court has rationalized strict interpretation of the Plan Documents Rule, in part, because it establishes a uniform administrative scheme and simplifies the duties incumbent upon a plan administrator in making distributions.

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Unpaid Interns – Too Good to be True?

With summer fast-approaching, many employers are now deciding whether to hire summer interns. Undoubtedly, the benefits of an internship extend to both the employer and the intern. The company receives the intern’s services, while the intern enjoys exposure to and experience within his or her chosen field. If your company is considering hiring an intern, however, it is imperative that you seriously evaluate the internship program and policies to ensure that your company is not violating federal law. More >

School’s Out for the Summer!: Important Employment Law Considerations when Hiring Interns and Graduates

Spring is here, and along with the change in season comes a flurry of graduation announcements, parties, and for employers, a flurry of applications and resumes from recent high school and college graduates.  Recent graduates and interns provide a wealth of talent for many employers, and often become a core part of their operations and strategy.  However, there are a few employment law considerations that must be understood by a company’s HR representative, and really, everyone involved in the hiring process, when advertising, hiring and determining wages for your Spring hires. More >

Class Action Waivers in Employee Arbitration Provisions: Proceed with Caution – For Now.

Employee arbitration provisions containing class or collective action waivers are frequently utilized by non-union employers, often within employment agreements as a condition of employment.  The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), however, recently issued a decision regarding the validity of such provisions which could significantly impact the ability of employers to enforce class waivers. More >

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