ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — To help small business owners, managers, supervisors, and human resource administrators stay current with changing employment laws and regulations, Blue Gavel Press has announced the release of its U.S. Employer’s Guide, 18th Edition.

According to Blue Gavel Press, the following 10 employment concerns are among the most critical facing today’s business community. That is why the guide is divided into chapters that cover these concerns. Each concern is followed by a listing of related issues, selected from recent legislation and court cases, of which employers need to be aware, says the company.

1. Hiring:

• New state laws addressing medical marijuana use.

• Federal immigration laws, including verification of Social Security numbers, verifying employment eligibility, sanctions for hiring undocumented workers, types of visas, and the labor certification process for hiring foreign workers.

• Recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions regarding arbitration agreements.

2. Managing employees and personnel costs:

• Investigation of employee misconduct.

• Liability for employee actions.

3. Termination of employment:

• Changes in federal unemployment taxes.

• Recent court cases involving wrongful discharge, defamation, and notice of layoffs under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act.

4. Health and safety:

• New state laws addressing workplace bullying.

• The new Severe Violator Enforcement Program from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which penalizes employers for willful, repeated, or failure-to-abate violations.

5. Employment discrimination:

• New regulations clarifying the meaning of the term “disability” under the ADA Amendments Act.

• New state laws addressing religious discrimination.

• Recent court cases addressing employment discrimination.

6. Wages, hours, and child labor:

• New state laws addressing unclaimed wages and wage theft.

• New federal law requiring employers to provide break time and a quiet place for nursing mothers to breastfeed.

• Changes in federal income taxes (FICA), including computation and reporting requirements.

• Recent court cases involving exemptions from overtime pay and tip pools.

7. Employee benefits and leave:

• New regulations implementing the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

• New laws affecting employee retirement plans, including the Pension Relief Act of 2010, which provides funding relief for certain plans.

• New rollover provisions for 401(k) plans under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010.

• Regulations providing guidance on hybrid defined benefit plans.

• Proposed regulations concerning fiduciaries and exemptions from prohibited transaction rules under the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

8. Personnel records:

• Recent court cases involving access to personnel records.

9. Workplace privacy:

• Recent court cases involving workplace privacy.

• Recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions regarding employee privacy and electronic communications.

10. Unions and government contractors:

• New federal immigration laws, including special requirements for government contractors.

• Proposed amendments to the National Labor Relations Act, which could change the way unions are recognized and impose additional notice and posting requirements.

Produced and updated by legal authorities and compliance specialists, Blue Gavel Press employment guides have been developed to provide up-to-date facts on top safety, human resources, compliance, and legal topics. For more information on the U.S. Employer’s Guide, 18th Edition, visit

Publication date: 08/29/2011