What should you do when you receive a claim from the Human Rights Commission or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission? How you respond sets a tone for the charge, and also for defense of possible claims arising after the response. Here are five suggestions that should guide your response:
- Contact your EPLI carrier if you have insurance, and coordinate with counsel. Prompt reporting of a claim is a requirement of all insurance. An agency charge may be the first step to litigation, and input from counsel to investigate, review, and coordinate defense is important.
- Be accurate and inclusive. Conduct a sufficient investigation to verify the information. Also, preserve all pertinent information and documents, and avoid future spoliation issues by suspending document destruction practices.
- Explain how your business works. Details about your organization may help provide context for your actions.
- Recount all that happened completely. Even if the charge includes only an imprecise allegation, a comprehensive response with justification for all decisions is preferable. This includes making all necessary witnesses available, and you must ensure confidentiality and no retaliation during the interview process.
- Provide context for the charge. Outlining your consistent past actions displays that your organization is responsible and treated the current employee the same as others.
There are always changes when working with employees. There are some big ones in store for many workplaces in the next few years. Gen Z will arrive soon, and in some ways, it will open a whole new frontier in HR. It’s a brave new world. LOL.
There has been much discussion in recent years of generations in the workplace, particularly about assimilating Gen X and Gen Y employees into the work force. Now Gen Z is on its way. Generation Z has been defined as those born in 1991 or later. This group will soon be entering the work force in greater numbers, and being ready to interact with and respond to this group effectively will require some rethinking of historic methods. JMO. This is the social media generation. AFAIUI. Growing up with cell phones, personal computers, Internet, and texting; this generation communicates in vastly different ways from those before it. UGTBK, right?
This group brings many opportunities with the challenges. This group can provide information with mass effect and get answers to nearly anything in seconds, yet many in this group struggle with personal interaction and may fail to interpret face-to-face interaction correctly. They share intimate thoughts and experiences with hundreds of Internet “friends,” but can have trouble engaging in conversation. This group has been over-stimulated and over-socialized—at least in a virtual way. As this group hits your workforce, your employer will need to structure positions with frequent task changes. SLAP. There will need to be direct, precise tasks with frequent validation and instruction. They will also look for social networking options. There will need to be mentoring for soft skills, but the technological expertise and willingness will be strong. This group can perform multiple, simultaneous tasks. With some understanding and calibration, there will be growth avenues that benefit your workplace, once you establish ways for meaningful communication and assign responsibilities that allow for effective use of skills. HTH.
In early 2009, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published the final rule that requires the implementation of HIPAA Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12 version 5010 for electronic claims, referrals, enrollment, patient eligibility inquiries, coordination of benefits (COB), and remittance advices. This replaces version 4010Ai. The new version is required to allow the transition in 2013 from ICD-9-CM to ICD-10 coding. In order to ensure the submission of electronic claims, healthcare providers have been working to prepare for the transition.
Covered entities were required to comply beginning January 1, 2012 (small plans have until January 1, 2013, to comply with the NCPDP Medicaid Subrogation 3.0 standard). Covered entities include healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses.
The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of E-Health Standards and Services (OESS) will enforce the compliance standards. In November 2011, CMS announced, “While enforcement action will not be taken (until March 31, 2012), OESS will continue to accept complaints associated with compliance with Version 5010, NCPDP D.0 and NCPDP 3.0 transaction standards during the 90-day period. . . . If requested by OESS, covered entities that are the subject of complaints (known as ‘filed-against entities’) must produce evidence of either compliance or a good faith effort to become compliant with the new HIPAA [version] standards during the 90-day period.” You can access the announcement here.
Unless extended again, enforcement of compliance ASC X12 v5010 will begin midnight March 31, 2012.
I have written recent posts on religious discrimination. Employment decisions can be based on religion in some circumstances.
First, the restrictions under federal law only apply to employers with fifteen or more employees (state law may have similar protections but require fewer employees).
Second, there may be a BFOQ, a bona fide occupational qualification. For instance, a Catholic church is not required to consider the application of a Baptist minister to be a priest. Certain religious belief may also be a qualification when the job involves teaching or presenting doctrine. For example, a private, religious school may lawfully require that its teachers be members of a particular denomination, and may bar anyone who is not a member from employment. BFOQs apply when the qualification is reasonably necessary to perform job duties for a position or when necessary to the normal operations of the employer. A Christian college may lawfully require positions such as president, chaplain, and faculty to be Christians or to make a profession of faith.
This exception also applies to the other protected classes under Title VII, as well as to the protections under the ADEA. For example, a transportation company may legitimately place an age restriction on a pilot or driver for public safety purposes. And a “gentlemen’s club” need only hire women for some of its positions because being female is essential to “the job.”
“There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people… Religion, Politics, and The Great Pumpkin. ” ― Charles M. Schulz
Creating a policy setting out how to make a request for accommodation is a must. Also, many employers have a sexual harassment policy. However, a better practice is to create a more general anti-harassment policy that covers all protected categories, including religion. Religion can be a unifying force, but it can also cause a great deal of strife. Protecting against strife and discrimination based on religious belief in the workplace is essential.