USMCA on the Way? Lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle claimed victory this week over what appears to be a breakthrough in negotiations over the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade agreement. Of particular importance to the Buzz are two significant labor-related changes that appear to be catalysts in breaking the logjam. The first is the lowering of the standard for triggering the labor dispute mechanisms in the pact. The second matter is the…
One of the more significant reforms made by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) under the leadership of President Barack Obama’s appointees were the modifications made to the representation-case procedures. These regulations became known to many as the “quickie” or “ambush” election regulations and, as those names suggest, resulted in union representation elections being held in shorter periods of time and consequently often caused employees to have to decide the question of union representation without…
Not so long ago, federal courts began to hold that a federal statute of limitations did not run until the plaintiff knew or reasonably should have known of his or her claim.  This is commonly called the “discovery rule.”  The rule originated in state court tort cases involving surgical implements left in patients who did not discover their surgeons’ negligence until long after the limitations period had run. From there, the doctrine spread to many…
On November 20, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) Office of the General Counsel granted an appeal filed by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation (NRTWLDF) on behalf of a hotel housekeeper in Seattle finding that a neutrality agreement arguably violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and that the hotel’s recognition of the union pursuant to that agreement was unlawful. In this case, in March 2018, the employer opened a new…
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2019-63 on December 2, 2019 providing some relief from Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting requirements. The notice provides relief consistent with that provided in the past year as well as new relief due to the $0 ACA individual mandate penalty changes. Relief Regarding the Requirement to Furnish 2019 Form 1095-B Because 2019 is the first year that the individual penalty for not having health insurance is $0, individuals…
On December 5, 2019, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued the final redesigned 2020 Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Certificate, to incorporate changes pursuant to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The new form is intended to reduce the complexity and increase the transparency and accuracy of the withholding system. The 2020 Form W-4 no longer uses allowances, but includes lines to list dollar values to be used to calculate the withholding amount.…
On December 3, 2019, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) unanimously approved President Donald Trump’s two nominees to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The president tapped both nominees—Amanda Wood Laihow and Cynthia L. Attwood—for the commission earlier this year in October. Laihow, who currently serves as chief counsel to the commission’s chair, James J. Sullivan, Jr., was nominated to fill the remainder of the unexpired term…
On June 25, 2019, Governor J. B. Pritzker signed legislation making Illinois the eleventh state to approve marijuana for recreational use. Recreational use of marijuana will be permitted by law beginning January 1, 2020. As we noted in our earlier article, “Legalized Cannabis in Illinois: What Employers Need to Know,” the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (the “Act”) explicitly permits employers to adopt “reasonable” zero-tolerance or drug-free workplace policies, so long as…