Date archive: October 2015

Health Care Alert: OSHA Targets Healthcare Facilities

OSHA administrator David Michaels has stated, “It’s time for hospitals and the health care industry to make the changes necessary to protect their workers.” Workers’ injury rates at nursing and residential care facilities are more than twice that of the overall private industry, and hospital workers face a rate nearly as high, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Therefore, OSHA has decided to target hospital and nursing facility for inspections on hazards that contribute to the industry’s high injury rate. To address these injuries, an internal OSHA memorandum directs compliance officers to target hospitals and nursing facilities and inspect the following hazards:

EMPLOYER ALERT: Now Is The Time to Audit Exempt Status to Adjust For DOL’s New White Collar Exemption Regulations

The U.S. Department of Labor has proposed the biggest overhaul to U.S. overtime law in history. Public comments on the proposal expired on September 4, 2015. The final regulations are expected to be released by the end of 2015, with an effective date in spring or summer 2016. The Proposed Rule focused primarily on updating the salary and compensation levels needed for white collar workers to be exempt. Specifically, the DOL proposes to:

Court Strikes Down St. Louis Ordinance to Increase Minimum Wage

On August 28, 2015, St. Louis Mayor Slay signed a bill, approved by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, into law as Ordinance 70078 that would have raised the minimum wage in St. Louis City from the current rate of $7.65 per hour. Ordinance 70078 was set to increase the current minimum wage to $8.25 per hour on October 15, 2015, with additional increases taking place on a yearly basis – $9.00 on January 1, 2016, $10.00 in 2017, and $11.00 on January 1, 2018. In 2019 the ordinance provided for increases to the minimum wage based on the rate of inflation. The ordinance states its purpose was “for the preservation of public peace, health and safety.” It expressly identified the intent to address local concerns for the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the City of St. Louis.

Employees Are Protected From Third-Party Harassment … Including Patients At Health Care Facilities

In a case straight from “Bad Grandpa” the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals further confirmed an employer’s obligation to provide a work environment free of all forms of discrimination and harassment. In Chavonya Watson v. Heartland Health Laboratories, the 8th Circuit “assumed” for sake of analysis that an employer can be held liable under the Missouri Human Rights Act (“MHRA”) for harassment by a third-party who is not an employee. Ultimately, however, the 8th Circuit found that the incidents of harassments did not rise to the level of “hostile work environment” and affirmed summary judgment on behalf of the employer.

NLRB Revises Joint Employer Test

On August 27, 2015, the National Labor Relations Board issued a long-anticipated decision in the case of Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. By a three-to-two vote the Board reconsidered its test for when employers are considered joint employers, thus triggering bargaining obligations for an employer which may not be the direct employer of a bargaining unit.

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