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June 2014 Archives

Supreme Court Deals Another Blow to Unions

The Supreme Court is issuing labor law decisions at a fast and furious pace this week. Today's decision, Harris v. Quinn, struck down an Illinois law that had previously required non-union Medicaid homecare providers to pay fees equivalent to union dues to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a public employee union. The rationale had been that such employees should be required to pay fees to help cover the union's costs of collective bargaining. Although it invalided the Illinois regulation, the Supreme Court did not go so far as to overturn wholesale a long-standing precedent allowing other unions to impose fees on non-union workers.

Ohio Energy Law to Be Signed by Governor Kasich

Over the past two years, Ohio's industries, businesses and lawmakers have fiercely debated whether the state's utility requirements for renewable energy and energy efficiency have been harmful or beneficial to the state's economy.

Be Prepared for a Workers' Compensation Audit

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation routinely conducts audits on state fund employers to confirm that payroll records submitted to the Bureau are accurate and that appropriate workers' compensation coverage is being provided for the types of employees in a particular business. Following the audit, the Bureau of Workers' Compensation could determine that there is a discrepancy between a company's estimated premium and the actual/appropriate premium based upon current employee records. Under such circumstances, the company may be obligated to pay up to two years in past due premiums.

Ohio's Short-Term Lender Act Law Nothing But Smoke and Mirrors

After the passing of Ohio's Short-Term Lender Act in 2008, many felt enough had been done to curb the predatory practices of payday lenders. Proponents of the law explained that its intention was to limit what payday lenders can charge consumers as well as the repercussions available to them if a consumer fails to pay.

NLRB Rules that Cursing Out The Boss Is Protected Activity

Who knew an employee could dress down the owner of the company with profanity (while angrily pushing aside a chair, no less) and get away with it? The National Labor Relations Board - that's who! Last week, on remand from the Ninth Circuit, the NLRB in Plaza Auto Center, Inc., 360 NLRB No. 117 (2014), again found that an employer violated the National Labor Relations Act by terminating an employee for a tirade during which the employee cursed at the owner, called him profanity-laced names, and, within the confines of a small enclosed office, pushed a chair aside to underscore his point.

U.S. Supreme Court holds that severance payments are subject to FICA

In a case decided earlier this year, United States v. Quality Stores, Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court resolved a split among the circuits and held that severance payments that are not linked to the receipt of state unemployment benefits are "wages" subject to FICA withholding. This decision overturned the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit which had concluded that the taxpayer, Quality Stores, Inc., was entitled to a refund of FICA taxes paid with respect to severance payments. While not a favorable decision for the taxpayer, it does offer employers some certainty that severance payments, not linked to the receipt of state unemployment benefits, are subject to FICA.