More than 170 people attended CAI’s annual Triad Employment Law Update on Friday, November 14. Held at the beautiful Grandover Resort in Greensboro, the conference informed participants on the most recent updates in state and federal employment law. Knowledgeable attorneys from Constangy, Brooks and Smith, LLP, as well as compliance experts from CAI, shared information on several employment law topics, such as DOMA, health care reform, I-9 and E-verify compliance and FLSA.
Below are five important topics that speakers highlighted at this year’s conference:
I-9s Made Easy
- I-9s must be completed by employees no later than the first day of work and completed by the employer no later than the third day of the new hire’s employment.
- Retain I-9s for the longer of three years or one year after an employee’s termination.
- Office of Special Counsel of the US Justice Department investigates I-9 complaints of over-documenting an I-9, asking for a particular document, not accepting a valid document and requiring a document when one is not needed.
Practical Tips for Complying with Health Care Reform
- Determination of “full-time” – employees must be treated as full-time in the following “stability period” if the employee averages 30 hours during the measurement period.
- Stability period must last for at least six months and be the same for new employees and on-going employees.
- Carefully consider the best measurement and stability periods to minimize costs.
- Track hours to confirm that individuals are properly classified.
Correcting FLSA Mistakes
- Meal breaks must be continuous and uninterrupted. If not, you must pay employees for that time.
- Tips – Don’t let employees take lunch at their work stations, train supervisors to respect lunch, and if you use automatic meal break deductions, have a procedure in place for exceptions.
- You must pay employees for preliminary and postliminary work that is indispensible to their principal work activities. For example, time spent logging into the computer system and shutting it down at the end of the day is likely compensable.
- Tips – allow employees to clock in when they arrive at their work stations. If your clock in system is run through a computer system, either leave the computer on or add a set number of minutes to the time each day, and have a procedure for exceptions.
Avoid Discrimination with Unique Employees
- Public image policies should not be based upon discriminatory preferences of clients. Be sure to avoid improper stereotypes, and if you have a questionable policy, ask yourself if you’re willing to defend it in court.
Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Same-Sex Marriage
- In 2012 North Carolina passed a constitutional amendment saying marriage is between one man and one woman. In 2013 the Supreme Court of the United States declared that amendment unconstitutional under Section 2 of DOMA.
- Same-sex spouses will be entitled to all spousal benefits if they married in NC after October 10, 2014.
- Same-sex spouses will be entitled to all spousal benefits if they were validly married in another state before moving to NC.
- Same-sex spouses will not be entitled to spousal benefits if they were “married” in a state that doesn’t recognize it, but they can always remarry in NC.
For further assistance on staying compliant with state and federal employment laws, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.