Archive | July 2013

New DOL Secretary Sworn In

Department of Labor crestLast week, the Senate approved the nomination of Thomas Perez to head the United States Department of Labor. There had been previous concerns voiced about his involvement in a False Claims Act case in Minnesota and his responsiveness to a congressional subpoena.

He was sworn in Tuesday. Perez is expected to have an aggressive, enforcement-focused agenda that could propose a number of new regulations.  More information on the new agency chief is available on the DOL website through this link.

Wilson Worley Employment Newsletter on Recent Supreme Court Cases

image001Summer associate Katie Steffen has prepared case summaries for two United States Supreme Court opinions released in June.  Vance v. Ball State University discussed who is a “supervisor” for purposes of vicarious liability under Title VII, while University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar held that a retaliation plaintiff must prove the “desire to retaliate was the but-for cause of the challenged employment action.” The full newsletter is available by clicking here.

CFPB: New Consumer Materials on Debt Collection

CFPB logoThe Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was launched in 2011 after passage of the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, which added provisions to FCRA.  Over the last two years, the CFPB has incrementally started taking complaints involving different types of transactions, sending 15-day requests for response to businesses.

On July 10, 2013, the CFPB released two new bulletins discussing debt collection practices along with “action letters” for consumers to use in responding to debt collectors. The action letters include:

  • A “more information” letter,
  • A “dispute and proof” letter,
  • A “contact restriction” letter,
  • A “hired lawyer” letter, and
  • A “stop contact” letter.

More information and links to the letters are available on the CFPB website by clicking here.

ACA: Call for Delay in the Individual Mandate

PPACAThere has been more political jockeying this week related to the ACA.  A week after the White House announced that it would delay implementation of the play-or-pay rule for large employers to provide health insurance coverage by one year, House Republicans have called for a similar delay in the individual mandate.  The mandate is expected to play a significant role in getting uninsured people signed up for health coverage.  Outside of a few limited categories of people, the mandate applies to most everyone in the United States.

There is no indication that such a delay will occur.  Jay Carney, spokesman for the Obama administration, responded,  “A piece of legislation like [the ACA], to be responsibly implemented, needs to be implemented in a flexible way.”

ACA Penalties for Large Employers Delayed Until 2015

PPACAIn a surprising announcement this week, the Obama administration delayed implementation until 2015 of the requirement that large employers provide coverage for workers. The Affordable Care Act establishes penalties for companies with more than 50 employees that fail to offer affordable health insurance. Those penalties were set to commence in 2014 but are now delayed.

On the White House blog, Valerie Jarrett wrote yesterday about simplified reporting procedures, “[W]e believe we need to give employers more time to comply with the new rules. Since employer responsibility payments can only be assessed based on this new reporting, payments won’t be collected for 2014. This allows employers the time to test the new reporting systems and make any necessary adaptations to their health benefits while staying the course toward making health coverage more affordable and accessible for their workers.”

Tennessee Workers’ Comp Division Director Appointed

2008 CLE TN flagGovernor Bill Haslam has appointed Abbie Hudgens as director of the new Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Division.  This will be a six-year term leading the Workers’ Compensation Division within the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.  The press release from the State is available by clicking here.