Overtime prohibitions for employees with medical restrictions challenged
Blanket policies that prohibit employees with medical restrictions from working overtime are being challenged under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). United Airlines recently rescinded its policy of not letting light-duty employees work overtime when the EEOC found that the policy runs counter to the ADA's goal that each person be evaluated individually. In a separate case, a court sent to jury an ADA claim challenging a policy that offered overtime to light-duty employees only after first offering it to other employees.
Drug testing direct observation rules upheld
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on May 15 unanimously upheld the Department of Transportation's rules for direct observation during drug testing.
The rules (43 CFR Part 40.67) require a same-gender observer to watch urine pass from the employee's body into the collection container and are applicable to return-to-duty, safety-sensitive transportation industry employees who have already failed or refused to take a prior drug test. For more information on this rule, visit http://www.dot.gov/ost/dapc/index.html.
OSHA issues guidelines on Assigned Protection Factors for respirator selection
OSHA has released a 51 page document that defines Assigned Protection Factors and Maximum Use Concentration provisions that explains how to use them to determine appropriate respirators for employees exposed to airborne contaminants.
Social Security Verification process changes
Currently, telephone agents can verify up to five employee SSNs for employers. Beginning fall 2009, Social Security will no longer provide this service. TNEV or SSNVS must be used to verify SSNs. Employees who verify SSNs for their employers must be registered SSNVS users in order to access TNEV and/or SSNVS. To register, visit http://www.ssa.gov/employer/ssnv.htm.
New immigration enforcement guidelines target employers
New enforcement guidelines issued on April 30, 2009 by the Immigrations and Custom Enforcement (ICE) shifts the focus from high profile raids on worksites to building cases against employers that are suspected of hiring undocumented immigrants. A fact sheet is available on the guidelines.
Study - Arthritis impacts employees
A recent study from the University of Pittsburgh surveyed 315 arthritis patients on the level of discomfort they experienced while working on a computer. 84% had a problem using the computer and 77% experienced discomfort while working due to restricted movement. Many were unable to find a comfortable position in the office chair and had problems manipulating the mouse and keyboard. The most severely affected patients were those suffering from fibromyalgia. In a related study from Canada, women were found to be more likely than men to leave the workforce due to the condition.