Conducting Formal Racial Equity Audits in the Workplace

Companies have increasingly turned to formal racial equity audits to identify and address systemic bias and discrimination. Typically, a third-party or external law firm conducts a racial equity audit for a company by evaluating its policies, procedures, and practices. For instance, the auditor may look at the company's recruiting, interviewing, hiring, promotion, and retention processes. The auditor also may examine Read More

DOL’s Transaction Waiver Proposal Raises Issues

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) issued a proposal in July 2022 to tighten the rules allowing asset managers to oversee retirement plans. More specifically, the proposal would make changes to the Qualified Professional Asset Manager (QPAM) exemption to prohibited transactions under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The QPAM exemption allows Read More

SEC Adopts Final Executive Compensation Rule 12 Years Later

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has finalized the executive compensation or “pay-versus-performance” rule that Congress first directed it to create in 2010 when it passed the Dodd-Frank Act. The rule, designed to provide more information to investors about how companies calculate pay for CEOs and other top executives, requires companies to justify executive pay to shareholders by comparing it to the Read More

Federal Judge Rejects Motion to Dismiss HIV Patients’ Disability Bias Suit by CVS

A California federal judge refused to dismiss a proposed class action claiming that CVS Pharmacy’s prescription drug program discriminates against HIV and AIDS patients. CVS had argued that its five subsidiaries against which the plaintiffs had filed suit under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could not be held responsible for the alleged discrimination. The judge disagreed, finding that separate corporate entities Read More

New ERISA Retirement Plan Court Cases Pending

ERISA class action lawsuits, alleging that plans have charged excessive fees or provided poorly performing investment selections in retirement plans, have continued in recent months. The U.S. Supreme Court’s January 2022 ruling in Hughes v. Northwestern University has not stopped the deluge of these filings, even as summer rulings in the Sixth Circuit have potentially narrowed the pleading standards for these types Read More

Companies Urge Supreme Court to Preserve Affirmative Action in Higher Ed

As the U.S. Supreme Court begins its 2022-2023 term, among the first cases it will take up are a pair of cases that challenge the future of affirmative action in higher education. The cases are Students for Fair Admissions v. President & Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina. Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) is asking the high Court to overrule its 2003 Read More

Collecting Pay Data May Help EEOC Identify Race and Sex Discrimination

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (National Academies) recently published a study in which it concluded that collecting pay data can help the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) prevent and combat race and sex discrimination in American workplaces. Since 1966, EEOC has required employers with 100 or more employees and federal contractors with 50 or more employees to Read More

Four Court Cases for Benefits Attorneys to Watch

Fifth Circuit Affirms Texas Federal Court’s Injunction in Abortion/Transgender Healthcare Dispute In Franciscan Alliance v. Becerra, case number 21-11174, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed a Texas federal court judge’s permanent injunction, enjoining the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from enforcing certain requirements under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Read More

Agencies Issue Guidance Regarding Contraception Coverage Requirements

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have issued Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 54 concerning contraception requirements for group health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA requires certain non-grandfathered group health plans and individual insurance to cover preventative services without Read More

HHS Announces Proposed Rule to Strengthen Nondiscrimination in Health Care

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a proposed rule that implements Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Section 1557 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability in certain health programs and activities. After a 2020 rule limited this section’s scope and power to cover fewer programs and services, the newly proposed rule reinstates Read More