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That’s Good HR Weekly News Update – July 8, 2011

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July 7, 2011
newsAt-will employment, IRS, FMLA, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, SHRM, unemployment, lawsuits and hygiene all came up in our That’s Good HR news update this week. Good stuff to know. There is even a little bit of good news for Indiana’s GDP so read on and let us know if you have any insights or opinions on any of these important topics. We always love to hear from our customers about how they are adapting to the ever changing legal and HR environment.

How NOT to handle At-Will Employment: In most states, absent a contract of employment, an employee is considered at-will (i.e., he or she can be fired for any reason or no reason at all). Many employers reinforce that their employees are at-will (TLNT)

Good News for Indiana Businesses from the Indy Chamber: Figures from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis show Indiana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew 4.6 percent in 2010, compared to the national rate of 2.6 percent. 

SHRM Meeting recap of Fox presentation – ‘Don’t Play the Result‘: “The script of your life is not yet written. Life changes, and you change with it,” said Michael J. Fox, the Emmy Award-winning actor, author and advocate, during the June 29, 2011, closing keynote speech of the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) 63rd Annual Conference & Exposition.

U.S. unemployment claims drop to 7-week low: The number of people applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level in seven weeks, although applications remain elevated. (IBJ)

Verizon lawsuit over its policies for disabled workers ends with $20 million settlement : Verizon Communications Inc. will pay $20 million to settle a U.S. lawsuit over unlawful policies for disabled workers, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in resolving its largest discrimination case. (LA Times)

Hygiene and appearance play into employers’ promotion decisions: Do your tattoos keep you from moving up the ladder? Survey Says yes.  (The Hiring Site)

Engagement, retention top HR concerns according to SHRM survey: Sixty-nine percent of the respondents said engagement would be “very important.” Running a close second is employee retention, cited by 63%. Recruitment and managing organizational culture were deemed very important issues by 53% and 51%, respectively (benefit news)

IRS announces increased standard mileage rate for qualified business drivers for the second half of 2011. The adjustment reflects rising costs at the gas pumps this year. It is accompanied by a hike in the standard mileage rate for medical and job-related moving expenses. (IRS Announcement 2011-40)  (Bizactions)

How well do you know the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act?: It’s long been said that what you don’t know won’t hurt you. Whoever said that clearly had no knowledge of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Benefit News)

FMLA: Second Opinion not enough to reject leave: The FMLA allows employers to request second opinions when they have concerns about an employee’s medical certification. But companies that are going to do that must be prepared to ask for a third cert. (HR morning)