On August 31, 2018, President Trump signed an executive order authorizing the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury to evaluate expanding access to 401(k) retirement plans. The order is designed to cut some of the administrative burdens and costs that prevent smaller employers from offering 401(k) plans to their employees. The Trump administration noted that in 2017, roughly 89 percent of larger employers offered retirement plans compared to only 53 percent of small employers (those with fewer than 100 employees).

The executive order directs the agencies to consider two main issues:

  1. Expanding the criteria for multiple-employer plans (MEPs), under which employees of different private-sector employers may participate in a single retirement plan; and
  2. Raising the age when individuals with traditional Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and 401(k)s must start making required minimum distributions, which is currently age 70 ½.

Continue Reading Trump Seeks to Ease Rules for Multiple-Employer Retirement Plans and Required Mandatory Withdrawals

Bass, Berry & Sims invites you to a complimentary seminar focusing on trending areas of labor & employment law.

Topics will include:

  • FMLA/ADA Considerations for Leaves of Absence: A practical, scenario-based discussion regarding extended leaves of absence and how they are regulated by application of the FMLA and the ADA, including a detailed discussion of the EEOC’s position with respect to extended leave as a reasonable accommodation.
  • Preventing and Addressing Workplace Violence: A comprehensive discussion of workplace violence, including strategies for preventing and properly addressing acts of violence in the workplace.
  • An Employers Approach to Reducing Harassment: Questions employers should ask as they strive to reduce harassment in the workplace and cultivate a healthy working environment.

EVENT DETAILS:

Continue Reading EVENT: Labor and Employment Law Update – August 28

The recent Sixth Circuit opinion in Hostettler v. The College of Wooster, No. 17-3406 (6th Cir. July 17, 2018), is a cautionary tale for employers faced with a full-time employee seeking a modified work schedule as an accommodation for a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

An HR Generalist for the College, Hostettler was unable to return to work full time after the conclusion of her 12 weeks of maternity leave because of postpartum depression and separation anxiety.  The district court granted summary judgment to the College, finding that full-time work was an essential function of the position and that Hostettler was not a qualified individual under the ADA because she could not perform that essential function.

Continue Reading Is a Reduced Work Schedule for a Full-Time Employee a Reasonable Accommodation?

In an article published in the Nashville Business Journal’s Largest Employers special report on July 6, 2018, Tim Garrett provided a column highlighting three important questions for employers to ask as they strive to reduce harassment in the workplace and cultivate a healthy workplace environment. The effectiveness of an anti-harassment policy often comes down to employee perception of how the policy is enforced, trained and embraced by leadership, so it is important that employers are mindful of the answers to these questions:

Continue Reading How to Reduce Harassment in the Workplace

Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Bob Horton authored an article for Modern Restaurant Management magazine outlining the Supreme Court’s recent decision impacting the future of class action waivers in arbitration agreements. In May 2018 the Supreme Court issued a decision in three consolidate cases NLRB v. Murphy Oil USA Inc.Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, and Ernst & Young LLP v. Morris ruling that “an employer may require an employee, as a condition of employment, to enter into an arbitration agreement in which the employee agrees to waive the right to bring a class or collective action.”

Continue Reading The Future of Class Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements

Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Dustin Carlton discussed the tension that exists between state and federal laws regarding medical marijuana use in the workplace. While marijuana remains a controlled substance under federal law and currently illegal to use, many states have legalized the drug for medical and even recreational use. Many employers are faced with remaining compliant with these opposing laws. Dustin recommends employers review any current zero-tolerance policies in light of new state laws, “If you are a multi-state employer, you need to assume you need to make some modifications to tailor to each individual state, or make concessions in terms of past practices.”

Continue Reading Tension between State and Federal Laws Regarding Medical Marijuana Use in Workplace

Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Doug Dahl outlined the key considerations, important steps and issues of concern when buying a company that is employee-owned, or at least partially employee-owned, by an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), including:

  1. The nature of an ESOP: In an ESOP, employees have retirement accounts invested primarily in their employer’s stock, rather than having accounts invested in an array of securities and mutual funds. The trustee of the ESOP – who represents ESOP participants as the beneficial owners of the company stock – is entitled to participate in the sale or transaction like other shareholders would. Most importantly, anytime an ESOP is involved in the acquisition or sale of company stock, the transaction must be for “adequate consideration,” and the trustee’s decision to buy or sell must be in the financial best interest of the ESOP participants.
    Continue Reading Key Considerations When Buying a Company with an ESOP

Tim Garrett provided insight on background check best practices as employers seek ways to balance the need to validate applicants’ background and experience with compliance and privacy issues, particularly amid a surge of legislation, litigation and public scrutiny.

Continue Reading Best Practices for Background Check Compliance

Bass, Berry & Sims and HR Professionals Magazine invite you to join us for a complimentary seminar focused on addressing, reducing and preventing sexual harassment claims in the workplace.

  • Harassment Law Refresher: A high-level review of harassment law.
  • Conducting Effective Internal Investigations: A discussion of best practices for conducting internal investigations into harassment claims.
  • The “Company Culture” Issue – How to Reduce Harassment in the Workplace: Strategies for reducing harassment in the workplace and developing a safe culture.

EVENT DETAILS:

Continue Reading EVENT: Labor and Employment Law Update: Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

In January 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced that final regulations affecting how some ERISA plans process claims and appeals will apply beginning April 1, 2018.  As explained below, the final regulations require that plans, plan fiduciaries, and insurance providers comply with additional procedural requirements when deciding claims involving disability determinations, which can impact a variety of different types of plans, including pension and non-qualified plans. The final regulations were initially released in December 2016, but had been delayed several times.

Continue Reading Action Needed by Certain ERISA Plans – New Disability Claims Procedures Apply Beginning April 2018