Overview

On November 8, 2016, the future of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) became more uncertain. Republicans in Congress have been working to repeal the ACA since it was passed in 2010, and now, with control of both houses of Congress and the White House, they may finally get the chance to do so. President-elect Trump has stated that the Trump Administration will work with Congress to repeal the ACA and replace it with a “patient-centered healthcare system” that includes Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), the return of high-risk pools and the “modernization” of Medicare. Trump announced this week the nomination of Georgia Congressman Tom Price, a physician and long-time critic of the ACA, as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Additionally, Speaker Paul Ryan has set forth his “A Better Way” healthcare reform plan that would repeal and replace the ACA. Ryan’s plan includes substantial reform to Medicaid through per capita allotment financing and block grants; the creation of a “Medicare Exchange” in which private plans would compete with traditional fee-for-service Medicare; and Medicare “premium support” payments that would be paid by Medicare directly to the private plan or the fee-for-service program to subsidize its cost.

Continue Reading Navigating the ACA in the Trump Era

On October 24, 2016, U.S. District Judge Marcia Crone granted a preliminary injunction to halt the implementation of the “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” Executive Order 13673 (EO 13673), implementing provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) in the final rule, and Department of Labor (DOL) guidance that impose new reporting requirements on contractors regarding labor law violations.

Continue Reading Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Not “Fair” to Contractors, According to Texas Judge

Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Tim Garrett discussed how natural disasters, such as the recent Hurricane Matthew, can impact employers and employees as they strive to maintain compliance with labor and employment laws. The article outlines key compliance areas such as timekeeping records and delivery of paychecks that could be effected. As with any disruption in normal work schedule, Tim recommends that “employers remain focused on relationship issues with [the] workforce. This often is an opportunity for employers to show with their actions that the words ‘we value our employees’ ring true.”

The full article, “Hurricane Damage Control: Piecing Together Time Records,” was published on the SHRM website on October 10, 2016, and is available online.

The authors of the BVR/AHLA Guide to Healthcare Industry Finance and Valuation cited content from Bob Horton’s 2013 Member Briefing, “Restrictive Covenants in Physician Employment Relationships.” Bob’s briefing, written for the Labor & Employment and the Business Law & Governance Practice Groups of the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA), outlines the enforceability of restrictive covenants in the healthcare industry. The BVR/AHLA Guide to Healthcare Industry Finance and Valuation covers the best practices in healthcare valuation and how the current market is effecting valuations.

To read more about the BVR/AHLA guide, please visit the Business Valuation Resources (BVR) website.

Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Tim Garrett analyzed an employer’s obligations in responding to workplace conflict among employees. Conduct on social media between colleagues and domestic violence situations that can spill over into the workplace have blurred the lines of what is considered on-duty and off-duty behavior. This new landscape has left many employers wondering how involved a company should be in responding to these situations. In the article, Tim outlines some practical guidelines for balancing these concerns.

This article is the last in a three-part series on the topic of how the culture war in America is playing out in the workplace. The full article, “Workplace Conflicts: How Involved Must An Employer Be?,” was published by InsideCounsel on December 23, 2015 and is available online.

Use the links below to access the other two articles in the series published by InsideCounsel earlier this year:

Employers in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee may now have more freedom to alter, reduce or eliminate healthcare benefits provided to retired union workers.  On January 26, 2015, the Supreme Court in M&G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett unanimously decided that the Sixth Circuit’s long-standing “Yard-Man” presumption violates traditional principles of contract law. 2015 U.S. LEXIS 759 (2015).  Under Yard-Man, courts should presume that healthcare benefits provided to union employees are vested for the life of the retired employee unless the collective-bargaining agreement clearly states to the contrary. See United Auto Workers v. Yard-Man, Inc., 716 F.2d 1476 (6th Cir. 1983).  As Justice Clarence Thomas noted, however, such a presumption distorts any attempt to ascertain the actual intent of the parties.  As a result, it effectively disregards ordinary contract principles and “plac[es] a thumb on the scale in favor of vested retiree benefits in all collective-bargaining agreements.” M&G Polymers, 2015 U.S. LEXIS, at *18. Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Sixth Circuit’s Long-Standing Presumption Treating Healthcare Benefits as Vested for Life

The White House has announced that President Obama will sign an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, a move the White House hopes will pressure Congress into passing legislation banning employment discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. The Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in November 2013, but the legislation stalled in the House.

Government contractors already are prohibited from considering race, gender, religion or national origin when hiring employees. This executive order will provide the first specific anti-discrimination protections for the LGBT community and is estimated to apply to approximately 20% of the U.S. workforce (14 million workers). The White House has not indicated when President Obama will sign the executive order and the specific language has not been released, however, the order likely will be in line with current measures banning federal contractors from discriminating against employees on the basis of race, religion, and national origin.

To Andy Griffith Show aficionados, Andy was a true leader. Barney? Well, not so much. Why? Barney thought his job was to enforce rules, that any infraction had to be punished, that only then could appropriate respect for the rules and for authority be engendered. These sound like good things. So why did Barney seem to get it so wrong?  Continue Reading Proper Tone In Performance Management – Be an Andy, Not a Barney

Employers have long been under an obligation to provide employees and prospective employees with prior written notice that a credit report – a “consumer report” in the language of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) – may be obtained about them.  The FCRA specifically requires this notice to be “in a document that consists solely of the disclosure,” although the Act elsewhere clarifies that the disclosure may also contain an authorization by the employee or applicant for procurement of the report.  Recent court decisions, settlements, and new lawsuits have highlighted the importance of ensuring compliance with this provision of the FCRA.
Continue Reading Employers Cautioned to Review Disclosures for FCRA Compliance