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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has determined that retailer, Wet Seal, Inc. discriminated against a former African American store manager.

Although the new health care law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (“PPACA”), is still a full year away from almost full implementation, many small companies are beginning to show concern. With the Presidential elections behind us now almost a month, it’s solidly understood that the PPACA is here to stay which means it’s time for “Plan B” for lots of people who may have been thinking the new law would be trashed with a Romney presidential win.  However, we all know that didn’t happen and the PPACA will be so strongly established within a few years that anyone trying to disengage it in the future will have a slim to no chance of doing so.

With the month-long Christmas/New Year holiday season just getting underway, it’s time to review a few guidelines to keep the holiday a happy one and avoid any related HR problems. Although the most typical and certainly biggest topic you may hear about concerning holiday practices involves the company-sponsored holiday party and serving alcohol,
there are several other areas, in addition to holiday parties, that we want to cover with this article.

Implementation of the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA) moved forward on November 20th with the issuance of proposed rules on some of the health care law’s key provisions, according to a news release from the Department of Health and Human Services. The expansion of employment-based wellness programs is the subject of one proposed rule.  It also outlines standards for nondiscriminatory “health-contingent wellness programs,” which generally require individuals to meet a specific standard related to their health to obtain a reward, according to a fact sheet on the rule. A second proposed rule addresses standards for “essential health benefits” that must be covered by plans offered in the individual and small group markets, and a third proposed rule tackles insurance company requirements related to issues such as coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, fairness of premiums, and guaranteed renewability of coverage. A discussion of “Incentives and Rewards” appears in chapter Wellness and Health Promotion Programs.  In addition, the HR Health Care Compliance portal page provides easy access to a range of ACA news, analysis, and other resources.  11.21.2012

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today issued the 2013 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

On November 6th, San Jose, CA voters approved an ordinance requiring a $10.00 per hour minimum wage for all workers in the city who put in more than two hours a week.

The annual four-day Thanksgiving holiday officially arrives this Thursday. Thanksgiving and all that it stands for (e.g., traveling to be with family and friends, feasting on certain traditional foods, giving thanks for bounty, etc.) is one of America’s most unique holidays. Although the original idea of a thanksgiving can be traced back in history to the autumn harvest festival which has been celebrated all over the world in different cultures and societies, it slowly morphed into something very unique once it was brought to the New World in the early 17th century by the Pilgrims, a religious group trying to escape religious persecution in England.

On Sunday, November 4th at 2:00 A.M., remember to move your clocks back one hour and “gain” an extra hour. Otherwise, you may be arriving to work on Monday morning a bit early.

Although Halloween may turn out to be a soaked out event for much of the U.S. East Coast suffering from the wrath of Hurricane Sandy, the holiday arrives tomorrow (Wednesday, October 31st), for those of us not affected by the big storm events. Halloween is a mix of ancient Celtic practices, Catholic and Roman religious rituals and European folk traditions that blended together over time to create the holiday we know today with trick-or-treating, attending costume parties, carving jack-o’-lanterns, haunted attractions, telling scary stories and watching horror movies.. Straddling the line between fall and winter, plenty and paucity and life and death, Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition.

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