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Human Resources

Is Focusing on High Potentials a Blessing or a Blunder?
by Brad Federman

High potential employees, also referred to as HIPOs, are workers that show ambition, dedication, determination, and a number of qualities that suggest they will succeed in their field.
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2015 FMI Talent Survey

Smoking Hot New Court Decision: Marijuana and the Workplace
by Erin Ebeler, Woods & Aitken LLP

On Monday, June 15, 2015, the Colorado Supreme Court issued a decision regarding the use of medical marijuana that is likely to have a reach broader than Colorado’s borders. Namely, the Court held that use of medical marijuana could be grounds for termination by the employer of that employee. Read More

My Employee's Pregnant! Now What?
United States Supreme Court Decision Highlights Pregnancy Discrimination Act

by Erin L. Ebeler, Woods & Aitken LLP

News of a pregnancy often promotes happy tears, hearty congratulations, and well wishes for the new parents-to-be and baby. However, a pregnancy also raises a host of issues in the employment context. Is the employee physically able to perform her tasks during the end stages of pregnancy? What if the employee needs to go on bed rest or develops a pregnancy-induced medical condition? Read More

Hiring Horror Stories
by Midwest Builders’ Casualty

Employers understand the impact that a bad hire can have on their business but often the need for immediate additional labor overrides this know-ledge. A March 2013 survey found that 41% of companies surveyed said that a recent bad hire has cost them at least $25,000 in the past year. Read More

Final Rule for Federal Contractor Minimum Wage
DOL Adopts Many AGC Recommendations—The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) released its final rule implementing Executive Order 13658 (EO), which establishes a minimum wage of $10.10 per hour for direct federal prime contractors and subcontractors at all tiers. Read More

Paying Attention to Retirement Plan Fees
by John Nownes, JD, Vice President – Retirement Plan Services, Union Bank & Trust

As defined benefit plans have transitioned to defined contribution plans, employees have become responsible for saving for retirement through a 401(k). Ideally, our balances will grow as much as possible over time. But what factors affect how that balance grows? Read More

Navigating Federal Regulations on Drug and Alcohol Testing of Safety-Sensitive Drivers
by Erin L. Ebeler, Woods & Aitken LLP

Most states have laws that govern workplace drug and alcohol testing, including specifics like when testing is permitted or required, who pays for testing and what employers can do after a positive test. For example, Nebraska’s state drug and alcohol testing laws are fairly simple; other states (like Iowa, for example) have much more extensive requirements. Read More

AGCA Alternative-Private Health Exchange Exclusive for AGC Members--Update
AGC of America is pleased to announce that it has selected Aetna to anchor the association’s new private insurance exchange, The AGC Alternative. Read More

Violence in the Workplace: OSHA, Common Law, the Americans with Disabilities Act and Common Sense Battle it Out
by Erin Ebeler, Woods & Aitken LLP

Stories of violence in public locations, schools and elsewhere have become nearly common place. Even before such stories became nightly news, employees were known to get in fist fights or loud arguments with co-workers. While there is no shortage of opinions about the best method to address these issues, employers face a number of difficult legal challenges when presented with issues of workplace violence. Read More

Empowering Employees for Retirement Readiness
by Stacy Gutschenritter, Education Manager & Trust Officer, Retirement Plan Services, Union Bank & Trust Company

Employers can do many things to empower their employees for financial wellness and retirement readiness.

Research indicates that more needs to be done in helping employees prepare and transition confidently into retirement. Many employees are looking to their employers for access to one-on-one retirement and financial coaching. Employees feel they don’t have enough saved or believe it will be difficult to ever save enough to support their lifestyle while in retirement. Read More

AGC of America's Approach to Health Insurance Headaches

As discussed, AGC of America is working to further increase the value of AGC membership and to do so they are preparing to make a private health insurance exchange available to every AGC member, irrespective of company size. AGC of America is also making a pro-active effort to bring in all chapters “on the ground floor.” Read More

RISK MANAGEMENT: Techniques to Employ Before Your Next Hire
by Amy Conway, Midwest Builders' Casualty

risk management: (noun) the technique or profession of assessing, minimizing, and preventing accidental loss to a business, as through the use of safety measures, etc.

When and where does risk management begin within your organization? Is it during new hire orientation or initial field training? Read More

Affordable Care Act--Where Does it Stand and What to Do Now?
by Josh Weiss, Partner, Lutz & Company CPA

The Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare is one of the largest pieces of legislation ever created. The volumes of paper and text dedicated to the law and changes are tremendous. Along with that volume comes a variety of provisions and rules based on the size of your company, the type of insurance you currently provide, what happens if you do not provide health insurance and so forth. There are certain provisions already in place as well as some that are set to go into place in 2014 and finally certain requirements that have been deferred until 2015. This article will focus on some of the higher level provisions that are in effect or will go into effect over the next few years. It is not comprehensive, but should highlight some of the major issues as they stand today. Read More

The Office of Federal What Said I Had to Hire Who?
by Erin Ebeler, Woods & Aitken LLP

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) enforces the affirmative action and equal employment opportunity obligations imposed on companies that do business with the federal government with contracts or subcontracts of certain amounts. Over the past year, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of OFCCP audits, and OFCCP’s reach is broad. OFCCP has the authority not only to audit companies that have direct contracts with the federal government, but also to audit subcontractors on federal jobs and those contractors/subcontractors working on construction contracts that merely receive federal funding in the form of grants, loans, insurance, or guarantees. Read More

Hot Off The Press! The Definition of Marriage is Unconstitutional: Issues for Employers Following Windsor – Woods & Aitken LLP

On June 26, 2013, the United States Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision that invalidated Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA” or the “Act”), which defines marriage as being between a man and a woman and a spouse as being a person of the opposite sex. To say the least, this is a controversial topic. Indeed, the states are split regarding whether marriage should be limited to heterosexual couples or also include homosexual couples. The purpose of this article is not to address that controversy or weigh in on whether the Court made the right or wrong decision. Rather, the purpose of this article is to identify the issues now facing employers as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor. Read More

Employers Required to Use New Form I-9 Beginning on May 7
On March 8, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a revised Form I-9, the Employment Eligibility Verification form. Read More

Adding Science to the Art of Leader Selection
A good white paper recently written and released by FMI.

5 Employee Moral Boosting Tips from Dr. Suess. – Rebecca Barnes-Hogg, MA, SPHR
Keeping employees engaged and satisfied isn’t kids’ stuff! However, there are some great lessons to be learned from author Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss. Many organizations struggle to improve performance, reduce turnover, and attract and retain talented staff. Employee morale has a significant impact on all of those things. The good news is that building an organization with high morale does not have to be time consuming or expensive. We can all learn a little something from the simple principles of Dr. Seuss. Read More

Happy Birthday FMLA! My, How You've Grown. – Woods & Aitken LLP
Signed into law on February 5, 1993, the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) is now 20 years old. Like other 20 year olds, the Act has grown and changed in a number of ways, with the most recent amendments to governing regulations going into effect just this year. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor recently released its latest survey results detailing employer and employee perceptions of FMLA and how it is being used. This article will briefly identify those changes and highlight some of the statistics revealing how FMLA leave is being used across the country. Read More

Wellness Programs, the ADA, HIPAA, and the Affordable Care Act: The Legal Implications Can Make You Queasy – Woods & Aitken LLP

The concept of wellness is seemingly everywhere these days, but the many (and arguably conflicting) federal laws on employer wellness programs are difficult to navigate and understand. On November 20, 2012, the legal landscape became even more interesting with the proposal for additional wellness program regulations relating to the Affordable Care Act. The stated purpose of these regulations is to “encourage appropriately designed, consumer-protective wellness programs in group health coverage.” However, the proposed rules would not go into effect until January 1, 2014 (assuming no delays), and were only opened for public comment in the last weeks of November 2012. As such, these proposed rules are far from concrete and likely to change between now and when, if ever, they become effective. So, what are employers to do in the meantime? Generally speaking, employer wellness programs must be designed with the restrictions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in mind. Read More

NCCI Experience Mod Split Point Change – The Harry A. Koch Company
Many articles have been written, webinars held, and educational sessions conducted concerning the upcoming changes to the NCCI experience mod formula in 2013. By now, word of this change is likely not news to many of you. However, the rational and real implications may still be a bit of a mystery for some. Hopefully this brief article might shed some light on the topic. Read More

I’m Not Unionized.
What Do I Care About the National Labor Relations Board?
– Woods & Aitken
In recent months, there have been many news reports about posters that the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) wants employers to put up to notify employees about their rights, about President Obama using recess appointments to fill vacancies on the NLRB, and about “quickie election” rules being passed by the NLRB. If your company is non-union, do any of these issues affect you? In one word: YES! Read More

What’s Right For Your Retirement? – Union Bank
Planning for retirement can be a daunting and confusing task. Even with expert advice, there is not often a consensus on how much to save and where you should be invested. But even in the most challenging financial environments, there are aspects over which you have control. We are all familiar with the volatility of the stock market and recognize we have no control over the ups and the downs, but you can control your asset allocation. Read More

EEOC Releases New Guidance on Criminal Background Checks – Woods & Aitken
On April 25, 2012, the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (“EEOC” or “Commission”) published its Enforcement Guidance on Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Guidance”). The Guidance consolidates and supersedes the Commission’s 1987 and 1990 policy statements on this issue and is intended to limit employers’ options to use criminal history information in the employment process. A 2010 survey from the Society for Human Resource Management indicates that 73 percent of employers conduct criminal background checks on all candidates and another 19 percent do so for selected positions. Read More

Long Term Care: Think About It While You’re Young – Union Agency
The last thing on most of our minds when we are young and healthy is contemplating what life might be like when we aren’t. But as people age, we are likely to need costly help, whether it is specialized nursing care, in-home caregivers or assistance with the simple tasks of daily life, like getting dressed in the morning.
We buy insurance for our life because we know we are going to die, for our cars because we know we can get in an accident and for our health because we know we can get sick. But we don’t tend to buy insurance because we think we’ll need someone to help us take a bath. Read More

IRS Employment Exams – Lutz & Company
The IRS continues to utilize an audit program that focuses on employment tax issues. As part of a National Research Project (NRP), the IRS will randomly select approximately 6,000 employers over the next three years for detailed employment tax examinations. Read More

2012 Construction Hiring and Business Outlook