Vigilant Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law, HR, safety & workers' comp

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Photo of Sean Brown
Jul 21 2022
Wage and Hour  

Q&A: Reimbursing employee expenses can be necessary

Question: Do we have to reimburse employees for expenses, and if so, which ones? Answer: Yes, there are times when employees must be reimbursed for expenses, but it depends on the expense you’re talking about and whether you’re dealing with less generous federal law or more generous state or local law. Under federal law,…

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Photo of Kara Craig
Jul 07 2022
Q&ADisabilityDrug and AlcoholHiringSafety and Health  

Q&A: Hiring before receipt of drug test and background check is risky

Question: Our company is struggling to find workers and keep operations running efficiently. All employment offers are conditioned on passing a preemployment drug screen and background check. We’ve been allowing new hires to start working before we receive the results from our third-party vendors. We just learned that an employee who has…

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Photo of Karen Davis
Jul 07 2022
COVID-19Safety and Health  

CALIFORNIA: CDPH updates definition of “close contact”

On June 8, 2022, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) changed the definition of a COVID-19 “close contact” to someone sharing the same “indoor airspace” (instead of the prior standard of being within 6 feet) for a cumulative total of at least 15 minutes over a 24-hour period during the infectious period of a…

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Photo of Chris Edison
Jul 07 2022
Drug and AlcoholHiringWage and Hour  

CALIFORNIA: No pay due for applicants’ time to take drug tests

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that California employers aren’t required to compensate applicants for time and travel expenses required to undergo mandatory preemployment drug tests. A grocery store with locations in California offered jobs to applicants contingent on a successful background check and drug test. The company paid…

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Photo of Karen Davis
Jul 07 2022
Affirmative ActionHarassment & DiscriminationTermination & ResignationWage and Hour  

OFCCP posts more affirmative action settlements

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) recently posted another significant financial settlement with a federal contractor, arising out of a routine affirmative action audit. Without admitting liability, Becton, Dickinson and Company agreed to pay $499,349 in back pay and interest to resolve allegations that it discriminated against 125 female applicants at three locations in…

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Photo of Chris Edison
Jun 16 2022
Safety and Health  

OSHA assesses large penalties for two employers’ safety violations

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently cited two companies after it found the employers exposed workers to serious hazards that resulted in the death of two individuals. A plastics company in Ohio faces $291,086 in penalties after an employee died while trying to clear plastic parts stuck in…

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Photo of Sean Brown
Jun 16 2022
Harassment & DiscriminationHiring  

MONTANA: Good hiring criteria and documentation win the day

A Montana employer’s clear hiring criteria and good documentation showing why it chose not to hire a former employee allowed it to overcome a discrimination and retaliation claim in federal court. A former employee with human resources experience applied for three part-time package handler positions with United Parcel Service (UPS). UPS…

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Photo of Karen Davis
Jun 16 2022
 

Business mileage rate rises again July 1, 2022

If you reimburse employees for business mileage, be aware that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced a mid-year increase of four cents, resulting in a standard mileage rate of 62.5 cents per mile, effective July 1, 2022. The standard rate from January 1, 2022, through June 30, 2022, is 58.5…

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Photo of Chris Edison
Jun 03 2022
Safety and Health  

Washington Alert: Emergency regulations for outdoor heat exposure and wildfire smoke released

On June 1, 2022, emergency regulations for outdoor heat exposure and wildfire smoke were released. This Alert summarizes both sets of regulations, which take effect on June 15, 2022. WASHINGTON: L&I issues emergency rules for outdoor heat Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) has released emergency requirements to protect workers from outdoor heat…

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Photo of Sean Brown
Jun 02 2022
COVID-19Safety and Health  

WASHINGTON: COVID-19 temporary worker housing rules updated 5/20

On May 20, 2022, Washington’s Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) and Department of Health (DOH) made yet another update to the emergency COVID-19 (coronavirus) safety rules for temporary worker housing (TWH) in the agriculture industry. The rules took effect immediately. Here are the important changes: Education on exposure and testing positive: The previous version of the rules required…

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