Regulations

Data: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Data analysis informs our daily business decisions, but that analysis is only as good as the data supporting it. Organizations should invest in ensuring that their decision-making is based on accurate information. As data analysis is becoming increasingly sophisticated, machine learning is becoming a sought after technology. Organizations that haven’t already incorporated machine learning predictions…

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Optimal Investment in Data Error Assessment

My last post discussed some of the ways that data errors weaken the reliability of conclusions drawn from those noisy data. Even measures of the uncertainty in conclusions (such as statistical confidence intervals) can be inaccurate. This raises the question as to how one assesses data for such errors, and at what cost? The Data…

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OFCCP Issues Contract Requirement Exemptions for Alaskan Earthquake and California Wildfires

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has issued additional temporary contracting requirement exemptions for new contracts following the aftermath of the Alaskan Earthquake and California Wildfires. The exemptions state that new federal contractors and subcontractors will be exempt from having to develop written affirmative action programs under Executive…

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Achieving Equal Pay Requires Everyone’s Involvement

It’s a bit mind boggling, but it encapsulates how much work needs to be done to achieve equal pay in the U.S. A new study by AAUW found that in a comparison of occupations with at least 50,000 men and 50,000 women in 2017, 107 out of 114 occupations had statistically significant gaps in pay…

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The Gender Pay Gap – Just How Bad Is It?

How bad is the gender pay gap in America? The answer is bad, with how bad depending on which report you agree with most. The Census Bureau and its annual report on income and poverty is the most often referenced to quantify the gender wage gap. Each year, as part of this report, the Census…

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EEOC Enforcements Efforts Focus on Sexual Harassment [Update]

Fiscal year 2018 saw the most enforcement litigation activity by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) than any year in the agency’s history since it was formed as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Those organizations that thought the level of EEOC enforcement activity would be slowing down under a Trump Administration may…

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Oregon State is Subject to its Own Equal Pay Law

As state lawmakers work to implement the state’s 2017 pay equity legislation before its January 2019 deadline, a lawsuit involving Cheyenne Ross and her employer, the State of Oregon, may be a harbinger of the challenges the state may face. Oregon has one of the more stringent equal pay requirements in the country, including measures…

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Canada Proposes New Equal Pay Act

Canada is poised to join the trend of countries passing legislation to close the gender wage gap. In October, the Canada House of Commons held a “First Reading” or introduction of legislation entitled “ the Pay Equity Act.” The Pay Equity Act would require certain federally regulated public and private employers with 10 or more…

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OFCCP Issues Contract Requirement Exemptions in Light of Hurricane Devastation

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has issued temporary contracting requirement exemptions for new contracts in light of Hurricanes Michael and Florence. The exemptions state that new federal contracts will be exempt from having to develop written affirmative action programs under Executive Order 11246; The Vietnam Era Veterans…

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IRS Issues WOTC Deadline Extension in Hurricanes Aftermath

This year’s hurricane season was a traumatic one, especially for those in the southern Atlantic region. Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia were all hit with monster storms. In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence and Michael, the IRS has granted tax relief for Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) certification requests. For those affected…

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Honor Military Veterans By Hiring Them

Veteran’s Day is a time to take stock of how fortunate we are to live in a country with extensive freedoms, and how fortunate we are to have brave men and women who, generation after generation, step forward to willingly put their lives on the line to protect those freedoms for all of us. While…

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New York State Issues Final Guidance on Sexual Harassment Prevention

The New York State Department of Labor and State Division of Human Rights have issued final guidance for the state’s employer policies for workplace harassment that require every employer in the New York State to adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy. As part of the state’s budget bill, which was signed into law in April,…

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OFCCP to Start New Ombud Service

The Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has released a new directive that creates an ombudsman service in an effort to facilitate the fair and equitable resolution of concerns raised by OFCCP’s external stakeholders. The new Directive 2018-09 addresses an issue raised in a 2016 GAO report, Equal Employment Opportunity: Strengthening…

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DOL’s PAID Extended for 6 Months

U.S. Department of Labor has extended the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) pilot program for another six months. The program, which launched in March and was scheduled to conclude last month, will now be extended until April 2019, in hopes of drawing greater participation. The PAID pilot program allows an employer to review Wage and…

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The OFCCP’s Directive 2018-07 Supports Affirmative Action

The U.S. Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has a new directive to ensure that federal contractors have prepared a written affirmative action program (AAP) and that the program is being updated annually. Directive 2018-07 establishes a program to ensure that federal contractors are complying with their AAP obligations. The OFCCP…

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California’s New Salary History Ban Is Signed into Law

With the signing into law of bill AB 2282 by Governor Jerry Brown, California continues to take an aggressive stance towards achieving the goal of equal pay for all workers, regardless of gender, race, or ethnicity. The new law amends the existing state salary history ban which came into effect January 1, 2018 (AB 168).…

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More States and Cities Banning Salary History Inquiries [UPDATE]

It’s an unfortunate truth that pay disparities continue to exist in the U.S. workforce. The good news is that we are moving towards a future that is correcting that issue. Over the last two years, in an effort to alleviate the pay disparity between men and women across the U.S., some state,county and local governments…

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Wage Gap Not Diminishing in Quest for Equal Pay

Women are not gaining ground in the effort to achieve equal pay, and they may be falling behind in the U.S. However, the trends point to the effort to provide equal pay for women to be successful. It’s only a matter of time. Recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that despite efforts put…

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Organizations Need to Take These Steps to Address Equal Pay

The possible consequences for failing to comply with the Equal Pay Act and related state and local legislation are becoming more and more costly. If you are like most employers, you are behind in the effort to achieve pay equity within your organization. Many employers are starting to recognize that the movement to obtain equal…

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Time to Take Payroll Snapshots for EEO-1 Reporting

In late 2017, the reporting deadline for providing the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) with annual EEO-1 data changed from September 30, 2017, to a new deadline of March 31, 2018. The EEO-1 report for 2018 payroll data is due on March 31, 2019. Now is the time to decide which pay period within…

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Equal Pay Action Rings Loudly in France

Europe is on the front line of the Equal Pay movement these days. Iceland this year became the first country to mandate that companies with 25 or more full-time employees must submit proof that both men and women are paid equally. This spring, organizations of 250 or more employees in the United Kingdom began providing…

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OFCCP Mailing Notices of Compliance Reviews for 2018 [UPDATE]

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has now mailed 1,750 corporate scheduling announcement letters (CSALs) to federal contractors and subcontractors for FY 2018. The CSALs are being sent to service and supply contractors this month to provide them with advance notice that they may be selected for an OFCCP compliance review. OFCCP mails…

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OFCCP Provides Updated Guidance for Pay Equity Self Audits

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has issued new guidance on enforcement and compliance for reviewing contractor compensation practices during a compliance evaluation. The new guidance – Directive (DIR) 2018-05, Analysis of Contractor Compensation Practices During a Compliance Evaluation – is meant to emphasize OFCCP’s priority of eliminating pay discrimination…

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Uber Settlement Highlights How Pay Equity Issues Can Linger

Uber is one of several tech titans to find itself on the wrong side of pay equity disputes with employees. Uber earlier this year agreed to a $10 million settlement to address a pay discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit dating back to October 2017 involving two former and one current Latina engineer Uber employees. The…

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Data Security and Consolidation A CFO Concern Entering 2018

Data security continues to be a concern for CFOs around the world. Studies in the past year continue to highlight the discomfort many CFOs are feeling about data security, data ownership, and the use of cloud technology. A study by Ernst and Young (EY) found that 56% of CFOs are concerned with managing data security…

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IRS Issues Extension to Receive Tax Credits for Empowerment Zones

Employers with employees living in designated empowerment zones have another opportunity to apply for Work Opportunity Tax Credits (WOTC). The IRS recently announced that tax credits for WOTC Target Group D, which consists of individuals ages 18-39 who when hired are residents of an empowerment zone, has been extended. In Notice 2018-47, employers will now…

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Clean Data Essential for Reliable Data Analysis

How much confidence can you place in the conclusions of your data analysis? For regulatory compliance actions, the cost of errors can involve fines, lawsuits, and damage to the brand. When being wrong involves significant costs, it is important to consider ways in which errors in the underlying data could be undermining your results. Many…

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OFCCP Issues New Directive on Focused Contractor Reviews

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has issued Directive (DIR) 2018–04 to provide guidance for federal contractors on enforcement and compliance practices regarding upcoming focused contractor reviews for the 2019 fiscal year. OFCCP is in the process of implementing an initiative to conduct focused reviews on select groups affected by Executive Order 11246…

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New Jersey Issues New Equal Pay Forms and Instructions

The state of New Jersey has issued two new pay equity reporting forms to be filed by any employer, regardless of location, that enters into a contract with a public body to provide qualifying services or public work. The Annual Equal Pay Report for Qualifying Services Other than Public Works Projects form applies to employers…

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Pay Equity Affects Us All

Employers are being challenged by the growth in the number of pay equity laws and regulations being approved by state, regional, and local governments across the country. Entire states have been passing similar laws to help combat the pay disparities that exist between men and women as well as between employees of different races and…

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Lawsuit Charges Nike with Systematic Pay Inequality

Pay discrimination, sexual harassment, and biased performance evaluations have called into question the corporate cultures of some of the world’s biggest organizations. Nike has surfaced as yet another company under fire, accused of not providing its employees with equal pay. On August 9, Kelly Cahill and Sara Johnston, two former Nike employees, filed a lawsuit…

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Data Quality is Critical to Addressing Pay Equity Issues. Just Ask Uber.

A recent report by the National Bureau of Economic Research into pay differences between men and women Uber drivers demonstrated how having the right type and amount of data can lead to helpful research findings. National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) is a private, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to conducting economic research and to disseminating…

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This Trifecta of WOTC Services Will Increase Your Certifications

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a federal tax credit available to employers who hire individuals from specific target groups. Any business can earn tax credits by hiring individuals who fit one of the program’s target groups such as veterans, disabled persons and persons receiving government assistance. Employers can earn anywhere from $1,200 to…

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Federal Agencies to Crack Down on Employers Using Foreign Hires

On July 31, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a press release disclosing the recently formed interagency partnership between the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) and the DOL’s Employment and Training Administration, Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) to stop discrimination against U.S. workers…

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Employers Should be Prepared For Increased I-9 Enforcement in 2019

It’s evident that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been active this year. Expect that trend to continue in 2019 based on U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s proposed budget for 2019. In the Department of Homeland Security’s 2019 FY Budget Summary, a number of additions have been proposed to continue the enforcement of U.S.…

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An ICE Storm in July

The recent announcement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) should have gotten the attention of employers. It illustrates how seriously ICE is in carrying out its commitment to increase the number of I-9 audits in an effort to create a culture of compliance among employers. In a press release issued last week, ICE shared…

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Don’t Let Applicant Tracking Systems Trip Up Regulatory Compliance

From restaurant industries to biopharmaceuticals, employers from all types of industries have implemented applicant tracking systems (ATS) for screening and hiring candidates. Some of the advantages of an ATS include central storage, application throttle, and screening capabilities. These benefits don’t come without potential complications, however. An ATS may lead to a number of costly errors…

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New Privacy Law Brings Major Changes to California Businesses

AB 375 is the result of a compromise between the Democrats in the California legislature and consumer privacy advocates led by real-estate mogul Alistair Mactaggart. Mactaggart and his organization, Californians for Consumer Privacy (CCP), sponsored a sweeping ballot initiative aimed at giving consumers the right to know what personal information is collected about them and…

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EEOC Enforcement Is Alive and Well in 2018

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has had a productive year with the filing of several employee discrimination lawsuits across the U.S., such as the disability discrimination case between lifestyle clothing retailer Pacific Sunwear of California (PacSun) and an 18-year-old student surfaced in Jacksonville, Florida. The EEOC’s lawsuit states that the 18-year-old student, John Sumner,…

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Nevada’s WOTC Process Goes Electronic

Good news from the state of Nevada for employers anxious to hire and get paid for doing it. The state has taken the initiative to improve its process for handling the federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), which provides tax incentives for employers to hire from specific groups of individuals targeted by the federal program,…

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Federal Agencies Amping Up U.S. Worker Protections

A recent federal interagency agreement is looking to identify potential violations by employers of statutes and regulations governing the processes for seeking employment-based immigrant and non-immigrant visas. Under a recent memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that “a framework has been…

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Minimum Wage Increase for More California Cities

Beginning July 1, 2018, the minimum wage will change for many people working in California. As part of California’s statewide initiative to increase the minimum wage, Emeryville, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Malibu, Milpitas, Pasadena, San Francisco, Santa Monica, and San Leandro will see increases in their minimum wages. In locations such as Emeryville, the wage…

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California Continues to Map the Frontier of Pay Equity

In the absence of federal legislative activity addressing pay equity, states continue to take matters into their own hands. (See my blog on the federal Paycheck Fairness Act here). Few states are as proactive as California. With three new bills passing the Senate and Assembly in June, the Golden State aims to tackle various elements…

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