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By Jill Luft on April 3, 2018 at 2:50 PM

Stethoscope on top of a BibleThe U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) earlier this year announced that it would create a new division within the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) to enforce certain federal laws to protect religious freedom and the rights of conscience of workers in health and human services. This new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division will provide an avenue for HHS to more aggressively enforce laws protecting the rights of conscience and religious freedom.

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By Lauren Daming on February 27, 2018 at 1:54 PM

Word "confidential" written on shredded paperA National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge in February struck down two provisions in a severance agreement relating to confidentiality and participation in third-party claims. In Baylor University Medical Center, the administrative law judge (ALJ) concluded that these provisions violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) because they had the effect of restricting protected conduct and were not justified by any countervailing concerns. The ALJ relied on the board’s recent Boeing Company decision that outlined a new framework for reviewing employer policies.

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"2017" and "2018" written on metal wheelsThe federal employment law landscape saw some interesting developments in 2017, as well as some anticipated changes that were ultimately halted or delayed. Below is a summary of major federal employment law headlines and a look at what employers can expect in 2018.

For Missouri and Illinois employers specifically, a review of 2017 updates and a look forward at 2018 can be found here.

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Missouri and Illinois highlighted in red on a map.Employers in Missouri and Illinois saw the passage of several new employment-related laws in 2017. Below is a look at some legislative highlights of 2017 and how they might affect your business in 2018.

Missouri employment laws

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By Lauren Harris on January 26, 2018 at 1:38 PM

Female intern carrying coffees in a hallwayThe U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) this month issued its revised Fact Sheet #71 on “Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act” outlining that the agency will rely on the court-approved “primary beneficiary test” to determine whether an intern should be considered an employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). 

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By Amy Blaisdell, Camille Toney on January 12, 2018 at 4:15 PM

Words "NEW RULES" spelled out with block letters on a table.In a surprising move, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced that the Final Rule, changing the claims procedure for ERISA- governed disability plans, will become effective on April 1, 2018. The DOL previously delayed the Jan. 1, 2018 effective date to allow additional time for comments and data submissions and to give the DOL time to amend or rescind the Final Rule. In a press statement released on Jan. 5, 2018, the DOL stated that while it received numerous complaints about the New Rule, only a few of them provided substantive criticism. 

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By Katherine Fechte, Camille Toney on January 12, 2018 at 3:50 PM

Stack of envelopesOn January 5, 2018, the Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division reissued 17 opinion letters to shed light on the DOL’s stance on numerous issues under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under the administration of President George W. Bush, the DOL issued 36 opinion letters, many of which were recalled under President Barack Obama in early 2009. A year later in 2010, the Wage and Hour Division announced it would no longer issue opinion letters in response to employer and business questions about wage and hour issues under the FLSA.

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By Lauren Daming on January 10, 2018 at 11:35 AM

Employee clocking in with fingerprintA wave of class action lawsuits has been filed alleging violations of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), a statute aimed at regulating how companies use information based on “biometric identifiers” such as fingerprints and retina scans. Violating BIPA can be costly, so employers operating within Illinois should review their business practices to determine whether they are using “biometric information” and plan accordingly.

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By Audrie Howard, Katherine Fechte on December 15, 2017 at 11:00 AM EDT

Sign shows reverse directionThe National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Dec. 14, 2017, overturned significant prior precedent related to its position governing workplace policies and handbooks and its joint employer standard. These decisions are significant because they reversed two previous standards that had caused numerous headaches for employers.

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By Katherine Fechte on December 11, 2017 at 4:25 PM

Elevated view of a restaurant bill and money, showing a tip. The Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor (DOL) recently proposed a rule affecting tip regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Under the rule proposed Dec. 4, 2017, establishments can implement tip pools, or require servers and workers who earn tips to share with those, such as line cooks and dishwashers, who do not.

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