Last week, the EEOC initiated two separate lawsuits against private employers alleging that the employers discriminated against employees on the basis of sexual orientation. Both cases involve allegations of sexual harassment and hostile work environment against homosexual employees.  The first
Continue Reading It Depends on What the Meaning of the Word “Sex” Is

During 2015, employers with an aggregate number of full-time and full-time equivalent employees between 50 and 99 have enjoyed a reprieve from the Patient

Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) Employer Mandate.  Although these employers qualify as Applicable Large Employers (“ALE’s”) under the ACA – and therefore must offer their full-time employees affordable, minimum value health insurance coverage or pay a penalty – the Government promised not to impose such penalties if ALE’s with less than 100 full-time and full-time equivalent employees (“Small ALE’s”) did not comply with the Employer Mandate during 2015.  However, beginning on January 1, 2016, Small ALE’s must comply with the Employer Mandate or be subject to potentially significant monetary penalties.

As the January 1, 2016 deadline looms, many Small ALE’s are struggling to analyze and select what they consider to be the lesser of two evils:  (1) bear the likely onerous costs of offering affordable health insurance coverage (that is, the employee’s share of employee-only premium cannot exceed 9.5% of the employee’s income) to at least 95% of their full-time employees and their dependents; or (2) pay a potentially significant tax penalty.  In addition, even if these employers offer coverage, it may be difficult for the employer to offer affordable coverage to its lower-income employees.

Over the past several years, many ALE’s have assumed that the “Sledgehammer Penalty” – that is, the penalty for not offering coverage to at least 95% of their full-time employees and one of those employees obtains a premium tax credit – is $2,000 per year ($167 per month) per full-time employee (less 30 employees beginning in 2016).  Likewise, ALE’s have assumed that the “Tackhammer Penalty” – the penalty if an ALE offers coverage to at least 95% of its full-time employees but fails to offer coverage to at least one full-time employee who obtains a premium tax credit – is $3,000 per year ($250 per month) for each such employee.  However, ALE’s must be aware that beginning in 2015, those amounts have increased and likely will continue to increase annually.


Continue Reading Thinking of Rolling the Dice? Think Again: PPACA Employer Mandate Penalties Have Increased

blog2015HRLawUpdateBannerHaynsworth Sinkler Boyd’s Employment Team is pleased to offer the 2015 HR Law Update in six cities this Fall.

Hot Topics. Through these six sessions, you’ll learn about hot topics HR managers are facing today: Immigration, Criminal Background Checks, Independent
Continue Reading Gear Up for HSB’s 2015 HR Law Updates

Inappropriate interview questions create a risk of discrimination claims under various state and federal anti-discrimination laws.  (For example, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended by the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act.)   Therefore, when interviewing an applicant for a job, you must avoid questions relating to race, sex, national origin, age, pregnancy, religion and disability, which are irrelevant as to whether he or she is qualified for the job.

Even asking questions that do not appear discriminatory on their face may be considered unlawful when they screen out a disproportionately high percentage of candidates on the basis of protected status and are not justified by any business purpose.  For example, asking about whether an applicant owns their own home could be considered racial discrimination.


Continue Reading Can I Ask About This? Interview Do’s and Don’ts