Isolated Incidents of Allegedly Inappropriate Behavior Insufficient to Establish Sexual Harassment Claim

A California appellate court has upheld the trial court’s dismissal of a county employee’s sexual harassment claim. The court found that isolated, minor instances of alleged harassment were insufficient to sustain the worker’s claim. The case is Robinson v. County of Los Angeles, Calif. Ct. App., No. B317521 (Nov. 8, 2023). The employee worked as a student professional worker in a county public defender's office, Read More

IBM Shifts Employees From 401(k) to Hybrid Pension

IBM has notified its employees that it will suspend its current match and 1% automatic contribution to employee 401(k) plans as of January 1, 2024. In lieu of contributing to a 401(k) plan, the industry leader will provide a monthly account credit toward a new Retirement Benefit Account (RBA). Employees also will receive a one-time salary increase to offset the difference between the current 401(k) contribution and Read More

HHS Issues First Settlement for HIPAA Violations Related to a Ransomware Attack

In late October, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reached a settlement agreement with a medical management company based in Massachusetts over alleged HIPAA violations. Under the settlement terms, the company will pay $100,000 and comply with a three-year corrective action plan (CAP). The company is a HIPAA business associate (BA) that provides services to HIPAA-covered entities (CEs), Read More

Court Finds in Favor of Veteran Whose Employer Denied His Disability Accommodation Request

A former Texas state trooper recently won a $2.4 million verdict against the Texas Highway Patrol under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). In his lawsuit, the former law enforcement officer alleged that the state agency failed to accommodate a disability that he sustained during military service. Although a Texas appellate court ruled in 2018 that the state had immunity from the Read More

EBSA Rejects Requested Delay as Proposed Fiduciary Rule Moves Forward

The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration issued a letter rejecting a request for delays in the rulemaking process concerning the expansion of the definition of "fiduciary" under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), American Retirement Association (ARA), and various other financial groups previously Read More

Weis Markets Faces Lawsuit for Allegedly Misusing EAP Benefit

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit against Weis Markets, a Pennsylvania supermarket chain. In the lawsuit, the EEOC alleges that a supervisor subjected an employee to sexual harassment, and the employer fired her after she refused to comply with its unlawful directive to participate in the company employee assistance program (EAP). The employee reportedly reported her Read More

Health Care Stakeholders Support Passage of The Value in Health Care Act

Seventeen healthcare stakeholder groups have come together to support The Value in Health Care Act, a bill that a bipartisan coalition reintroduced in Congress this summer. The bill supports a shift in the medical care industry from the current fee-for-service model to an accountable care model, which assigns compensation to medical providers based on health outcomes. Instead of incentivizing physicians to prescribe Read More

DOL Proposes Expansion of ERISA’s Fiduciary Rule to Include More Investment Advisors

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a proposed rule that would include subjecting more investment advisors to ERISA's fiduciary rule, including its strict conflict of interest provisions. The proposed rule comes five years after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit struck down the DOL’s 2018 final rule defining who qualifies as an ERISA fiduciary. According to the DOL, the purpose of the Read More

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Whistleblower Retaliation Case

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard arguments in Murray v. UBS Securities, a whistleblower retaliation case. In this case, the Court is considering whether whistleblowers alleging retaliation by their employers must prove that they acted with retaliatory intent. Murray worked for UBS as a strategist in its mortgage strategy group. UBS laid him off in 2008 due to a reduction in force due to the financial crisis Read More

HHS, OPM, Treasury, and DOL Proposed Rule: Federal Independent Dispute Resolution Process

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Department of Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) have issued a proposed rule on the federal Independent Dispute Resolution (IDR) process under the No Surprises Act (NSA). The Read More