Posted on / Updated on / in Blog & Human Resources & OSHA /

As one year ends and a new one begins, we all tend to take stock of where we are, where we are headed and how are we going to get there.

As you’re looking forward, now is the perfect time to assess how well your organization is planning on responding to new and updated legislation in 2010, as well as whether you are prepared for what is coming down the pipe in 2011.

That’s exactly what we helped our community with at our most recent seminar – 2011 Legal Updates 2011 – Get Your Organization Up to Speed.

This seminar had a packed house of business professionals all looking to ensure the compliance of their business moving forward into 2011. This post will summarize what went on from an educational standpoint during this event.

Key Takeaways From Legal Updates 2011 Seminar

We’re talking compliance here, and to help make the process easier, we’ve summarized some key areas that you should be looking at as you go through your review, and have even included a few slides from the presentation as visual aids.

Let’s start with what happened in 2010. Are you aware of these changes to federal laws and how they will affect you moving forward?

Did you claim the benefits you were eligible for through the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act?

 

How about healthcare reform? Are you up to speed with all of the updates listed below?

There was a significant change in the FMLA that will surely impact your current policy.

Make sure you understand recent rulings on Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).

There were also some significant rulings by the Supreme Court.  Check out the City of Ontario v. Quon and what the Supreme Court ruled regarding text messaging and the reasonable expectation of privacy.

Over 600 decisions issued by the NLRB during a 27 month period, starting December 2007, are in question as a result of New Process Steel, L.P. v. NLRB. There were also some significant arbitration cases.

What Legal Changes May Be In Store for 2011?

Now that you’ve had a chance to look back, let’s see what we’ve got in store for us in 2011.  Regulatory enforcement is going to be key.  The EEOC has received funding to expand their staff.

The Department of Labor is also increasing their manpower and will be addressing several issues, including misclassification of exempt/non-exempt employees. The Internal Revenue Service too will be examining the misclassification of exempt/non-exempt employees.

This is a big issue in terms of HR compliance and will no doubt be the cause of heavy fines for many employers if changes are not made.

There have also been a few significant changes by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), essentially citing that enforcement of standards will become more strict when it comes to issuing citations and penalties. There are also a few other significant OSHA changes coming down the line.

“There is a new sheriff in town,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor David Michaels.

These changes are explained on slides 40 through 42 (available in the download below).

What Does All of This Mean for Employers?

We have included a summary of some of the action items and takeaways from this Seminar on slides 56-59 towards the end of the presentation deck. Download the slides below to see for yourself.

While we all understand the importance of compliance, the potential consequences of non-compliance have never been greater. The U.S. Government is beefing up in nearly every department to make sure that labor laws are followed.

Making sure that your overall HR strategy is reflective of current employment law is critical.  The Boy Scouts really did have it right – BE PREPARED!

This article was written by Tracy Cottrell, PHR

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about the author: Amy Letke

Amy Newbanks Letke, SPHR, GPHR, is the Founder of Integrity HR, Inc. Amy provides workplace solutions to improve performance, reduce liability and increase profits. She is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs and business owners achieve success.