Employment Law Updates

In the wake of the U.S. Department of Labor’s issuance of the revised proposed rule concerning the change to the salary level for exempt employees, employers should make preparations now for the anticipated change.  The proposed revised salary level of $35,308 gives some relief to employers who were facing the previous proposed increase to $47,476 annually.  Both levels are an increase from the current $23,660 ($455 per week).  For many employers, however, even the increase to $35,308 annually ($679 per week) might be a burden.

Employers who provide health insurance coverage for their employees should be aware of the Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) rules that are often misunderstood.  The MSP rules are designed to shift costs from the Medicare program to private sources of payment (such as employer-sponsored group health plans) in certain situations. The MSP provisions govern the coordination of benefits rules for determining when an employer-sponsored group health plan will pay primary or secondary to Medicare.

Employers often receive subpoenas to produce an employee’s personnel records.  These subpoenas are frequently issued in cases involving divorce, custody or support disputes or personal injury cases, but are used in many other types of disputes.  Employers must be careful, however, because the federal HIPAA law and Virginia Code § 32.1-127.1:03 place restrictions on the dissemination of health or medical records. 

Beware of inadvertently creating FMLA eligibility when none exists! The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) generally provides 12 weeks of protected leave benefits only to certain larger employers.  It only covers employers with 50 or more employees, but there are additional limitations. 

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for qualified employees with disabilities. Although recovering drug addicts do have some protections under the ADA, it does not protect illegal drug use. Marijuana remains an illegal drug under federal law, with no exceptions for medicinal use, so its use is not protected under the Act.  Federal courts have generally ruled that the ADA does not require a medical marijuana accommodation.

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