December 1, 2016: Two important Federal-mandated deadlines for US employers

US employers must prepare to meet two important Federally-mandated deadlines, both falling on December 1, 2016.

OSHA – Anti-Retaliation provisions

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (“OSHA”) Anti-Retaliation provisions, originally scheduled to take effect on August 10, 2016, will become effective on December 1, 2016 after their implementation has been initially delayed to November 1, 2016, and following a request from U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas to allow additional time to review additional briefing in opposition to the provisions at issue.

The new Anti-Retaliation provisions essentially prohibit employers from discouraging – in any way – employees from reporting work related injuries or illnesses.

Additionally, employers will have to:

  •      establish a reasonable procedure for employees to report work related injuries and illnesses promptly and accurately, without in any way discharging or discriminating against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses;
  •      inform their employees about such procedure for reporting work related injuries and illnesses; and
  •      inform their employees of their rights to report work related injuries and illnesses without being subjected to any form of retaliation.

According to OSHA, a “reasonable procedure” to report work related injuries and illnesses, will consist in a procedure that will not deter or discourage a reasonable employee from accurately reporting a work related injury or illness. Finally, OSHA mandates that employers may be sanctioned for using drug testing, or the threat of drug testing, as a form of retaliation against employees who report injuries or illnesses. However, if an employer conducts drug testing to comply with the requirements of a state or federal law or regulation, such testing would not be prohibited under the new rule.

The new Anti-Retaliation provision is part of OSHA’s injury and illness tracking rule, which will take effect on January 1, 2017, and will require certain employers to electronically submit work related injury and illness data that they are already required to record on their onsite OSHA Injury and Illness forms.

Department of Labor – New minimum salary requirements

On May 18, 2016 the Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued its final rule amending the Fair Labor Standard Act’s minimum wage and overtime rule exemptions for executive, administrative, and professional employees (so-called “white collar” employees).The new rule substantially amends the existing standard salary level and total annual compensation requirements to distinguish between non-exempt (“overtime-eligible white collar employees”) and exempt workers, setting it at $913 per week or $47,476 annually for a full-year worker, and set the total annual compensation requirement for highly compensated employees (HCE) subject to a minimal duties test to $134,004, of which at least $913 per week on a salary basis. Additionally, the rule establishes periodic increases every three years.

The rule will be effective on December 1, 2016 and the initial increases to the standard salary level (from $455 to $913 per week) and HCE total annual compensation requirement (from $100,000 to $134,004 per year) will be effective on that date. Future automatic updates to those thresholds will occur every three years, beginning on January 1, 2020.

For any questions about the above-referenced important deadlines, or if you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss your compliance and reporting requirements, contact our firm at +13124420983 or send an email to info@thinkinlaw.com.