Week In Review

August 24, 2015

Manufacturer sued for GINA and ADA violations against job applicants
According to a complaint filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Virginia-based weaving manufacturer’s employment application asked applicants questions about their family medical history, solicited disability-related information, and contained questions about applicants’ personal medical history. The EEOC sued on behalf of a prospective employee who filled out an application to work at the facility in August 2013. She suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma, which she disclosed on her application. According to the EEOC, the employer told the applicant that it had no vacant positions, while in fact it had at least two vacant positions for which she was qualified. The questions asked on the employment application and the alleged failure to hire due to the information disclosed violate the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). The complaint also alleges that the employer failed to retain applications and other documents related to hiring for one year as required by the EEOC’s recordkeeping regulations. GINA prohibits employers from soliciting family medical history on a job application. The ADA also prohibits employers from requesting any information that might disclose a disability during the application process.

EEOC receives $365k default judgment after employer failed to respond
The EEOC has obtained a default judgment against a Florida company and its parent company awarding more than $365,000 to a discharged African-American bartender and a hiring manager who was purportedly fired for opposing what he saw a racially discriminatory action. The judgment was awarded by default because the Defendant-employer and its parent company never responded to the allegations in the EEOC’s complaint.

California requires electronic filing of withholding returns, payments
Legislation has been enacted that will California employers to file all income tax withholding returns and reports electronically and remit all payments of withheld income taxes to the Employment Development Department (EDD) by electronic funds transfer (EFT). The requirement is phased in as follows: effective January 1, 2017, it applies to employers with 10 or more employees; and effective January 1, 2018, it applies to all employers. Prior to January 1, 2017, employers are required to remit withheld income taxes by EFT only if their cumulative average payment for deposit periods in the 12-month period ending June 30 of the prior year was $20,000 or more.

Rhode Island allows use of payroll debit cards
Rhode Island has passed legislation allowing the use of payroll debit cards for the payment of wages. If an employer pays wages to an employee by credit to a payroll account, the employee must be able to make at least one withdrawal from the payroll card account in each pay period without charge for any amount up to and including the full amount of the employee's net wages for the pay period. If the employee's wages are paid more frequently than weekly, the employee must be able to make at least one withdrawal from the payroll card account each week without charge for any amount up to and including the full amount of the employee's net wages for that week. Employees who receive wages by credit to a payroll card account must be provided with a means of checking their payroll card account balances, either through an automated telephone system or online, without cost, irrespective of the number of inquiries made.

SESCO recommends that clients review all applicable policy and practices to ensure compliance. For assistance, contact us at 423-764-4127 or by email at sesco@sescomgt.com