August 18, 2005
Whistleblowing, Who Do You Call?
In Outside, Looking In, John H. Hermann and William H. Kimball (Morgan, Lewis & Bockius) reviews, perhaps, the two most important decisions in-house counsel faces after receiving information from a whistleblower: (1) to investigate or not and (2) to conduct the investigation internally or retain outside counsel to investigate the whistleblower's claims.
San Diego Police Office Sue for Overtime Pay
The Voice of San Diego is reporting that San Diego police officers are claiming police administrators refused to compensate officers for job-related activities they perform out of uniform, such as getting ready for court appearances and preparing investigative reports at home. The federal class-action suit seeks a jury award of $120 million or more for police officers who have been denied overtime pay and were misinformed as to what they can claim as overtime under federal labor law.
Treasury and IRS Issue Guidance on Employee-Owned Tools
On August 3, 2005 the Treasury Department and the IRS issued a revenue ruling and a notice concerning the application of the accountable plan rules to employee-owned tools.
From the press release:
Previously, the Treasury and the IRS clarified that such reimbursements must satisfy the accountable plan rules - expenses reimbursed under an accountable plan are excluded from income and wages; expenses that are reimbursed under a non-accountable plan are taxable.
The new revenue ruling clarifies that employers using accountable plans to reimburse employees for the cost of providing tools must substantiate the expenses reimbursed and, to the extent the plan provides payments before expenses are incurred, the plan requires the employee to return amounts in excess of the substantiated expenses. In particular, the ruling clarifies that an accountable plan may not use estimates to substantiate the amount of the expenses.
In addition to the ruling, Treasury and the IRS are issuing a notice regarding criteria for considering proposals involving employer reimbursements of equipment expenses for the Service's Industry Issue Resolution (IIR) program. The notice identifies factors that would be considered in determining that the existing accountable plan rules are unworkable for an industry and thus relief may be appropriate. The notice also states that the mere cost of collecting records, substantiating expenses, and reconciling the expenses against reimbursements would not constitute grounds for relief from the requirements of the accountable plan rules
- Joe Hodnicki
August 17, 2005
Recent Publications on Retirement Security Policy
A list of recent publications on retirement security policy by the Brookings Institution and the National Academy of Social Insurance is available on Law Librarian Blog.
August 16, 2005
GAO Report on National Security Personnel System
Washington Post Columnist Stephan Barr reports that a GAO report recently provided to Congress recomments that the Pentagon needs to create a comprehensive communications strategy to employees and unions as it prepares to launch the National Security Personnel System. Defense unions content that one of the NSPS's key changes is designed to weaken collective bargaining rights.
Basic Materials on The Small Business Health Fairness Act, H.R. 525 as passed by the House
The Small Business Health Fairness Act (H.R. 525) would create association health plans (AHPs), allowing small businesses to band together through associations and purchase health care for employees and their families at a lower cost. The House passed the bill on July 27th. The roll call was 263-165, with the support of 36 Democrats.
Here's some down 'n dirty research:
CRS Bill Summary
CBO Cost Estimate
- Joe Hodnicki
August 15, 2005
Child Labor Coalition
The Child Labor Coalition (CLC) exists to serve as a national network for the exchange of information about child labor; to provide a forum and a unified voice on protecting working minors and ending child labor exploitation; and to develop informational and educational outreach to the public and private sectors to combat child labor abuses and promote progressive initiatives and legislation. In addition to promoting information regarding the Coalition’s political campaigns, the CLC website offers visitors information about proposed and pending U.S. federal legislation on child labor, and links to related U.S. initiatives and agency reports. Researchers will be interested in the site’s large section on child labor in the U.S., including state-by-state surveys. The Coalition’s site also focuses on child labor around the world, providing links to best practices reports, as well as international treaties, conventions, and initiatives.
Source: Cornell Law Library, InSite (August 15, 2005)
August 14, 2005
Homeland Security Blocked from Unilaterally Implementing New Work Rules
The Washington Post is reporting that a decision Friday by U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer has blocked plans to revise personnel and pay rules at the Department of Homeland Security, saying the government-wide change of labor rules fails to protect workers' right to bargain collectively. At issue are employee assignments and technology use.
- Joe Hodnicki