More companies than ever are announcing they won’t hire people who smoke. But is that actually legal — and is it worth it in the [end] for employers?
The University of Pennsylvania Medical System is the latest employer to announce it will no longer hire smokers.
The firm joins a number of companies who’ve closed their doors to tobacco user, as Molly DiBianca of the Delaware Employment Law Blog pointed out in a recent post.
But just because these organizations have decided not to hire smokers doesn’t automatically mean that you can.
Banning smokers – is it legal?
First, you and your supervisors should understand there’s no federal law that protects smokers or entitles them to equal protections when it comes to hiring, promotions, etc. That’s because the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission doesn’t recognize smokers as a protected class.
That said, there are 29 states (along with the District of Columbia) that do offer protections for smokers.
Dogs used to be man’s best friend, and diamonds were a girl’s best friend. Today a man’s or a girl’s best friend might very well be a Smartphone. Most people use Smartphones to check emails, send text messages, browse websites, and to take and view kid’s or grandkid’s pictures. Every once in a while we even use the phone as a phone.
Weather junkies check the weather 10 or more different ways in remote parts of the world. Sports junkies, (fiends), watch almost any sport, almost anywhere, at almost any time. News junkies see talking heads in any part of the world in almost any language discussing or railing on any bit of news, newsworthy or not.
Safety junkies, (that’s me), find apps for almost any safety situation. Recording, videos, charts, graphs, meters, measuring devices, analyzers, and even a camera to record anything you want.
- Affordable Care Act faces new wave of legal challenges
- Most small employers won’t be able to buy plans online until November 2014
- High Court to Review Health Care Reform Law’s Contraceptive Mandate
- ‘Panic Time’ nears of federal exchange
- Employees still under-informed on ACA
When on a daily basis you see, headlines like these how are you expected to understand and comply with the Affordable Healthcare Act? A logical response would be, “I contact someone who knows this stuff.”
For the brokers using Davidson Marketing Group and FON, we are that “someone who knows.” While you may be reading the headlines, we are looking into the background of those headlines to understand the laws and regulations. It is hard to hit a moving target. And, no one can deny that the ACA with its website glitches, deadline changes, and legal challenges is a moving target.
Each week FON includes a “Legislative Update” section. While it covers a variety of relevant topics, at least a third of the articles over the past months have involved the ACA. In this week’s “Legislative Update” there’s a piece titled Obamacare Means Employers Must Offer Coverage Sooner. Included in this piece are two very important things. One, brokers read the updates and find them useful; and two, there is a good deal of confusion out there.
Our brethren on the direct pay side of compensation and benefits preach total rewards to their clients and employers seem to lap it up. Employee benefit advisers would serve themselves and their customers well to do the same. Are you selling insurance products and services with a total rewards wrapper?
Selling employee benefits with a total rewards approach is not some clever slogan, fad or marketing angle. Progressive employers have been there for years and the idea is picking up momentum.
The concept allows you to match your sales efforts with how employers think – itemizing out and communicating every large and small positive reason for why employees should work at their company. It makes sense.
Satisfying the old adage that employee benefits are in place to attract and retain qualified employees with a total rewards spin means that employers leave nothing to be assumed. Employers sell, and do so repeatedly, current and prospective employees on all the positives of working at their company.
Look at the calendar and you may think it too early for a Holiday Wish List. But, have you been to your favorite shopping mall lately? The holidays are upon us!
As a child, you may have prepared a wish list. It included things your younger self believed you simply must have. I am revisiting that age-old practice; here is my FON Holiday Wish List for you.
May there be –
1. An up-to-date, ERISA complaint Summary Plan Description for benefit plans. ERISA states that an employer is responsible for providing a SPD to plan participants in certain employee benefit plans. While this may sound like a daunting task, everything needed is on Front Office Network (FON). Use the Group Health Insurance ERISA SPD Wrap Document Template to prepare a SPD for any health and welfare benefit plan. It works for more than one plan as a true wrap document or for a single benefit plan.
2. An Employee Handbook. The combination of a litigious society and rapidly changing employment laws makes an employee handbook a valid safeguard against employee complaints and lawsuits. You may say, “Okay, my clients have handbooks” and be tempted to check this off your “to do list”. But wait! When was the last time those handbooks were reviewed? Are they still complaint? FON has industry-specific templates and a SMARTCAST that make handbook reviews a straightforward process.
Years ago, I saw a comic strip of a crying baby sitting in a puddle on the floor. The caption was “Only a baby welcomes change and even they cry.” I often remember this when working with supervisors and employees. Change is constant. As employers, we must keep our employees engaged and motivated at all times, but no more so than during uncertain times. Even the best changes bring with them uncertainty. So how do we keep employees motivated?
In a recent web article, Tim Gould, Editor of HRMorning and Editor-in-Chief of the biweekly newsletter What’s Working in Human Resources, encouraged me to put together a list of things that I believe will help you keep employees on-board.
Employees Feel Things
Emotions can be messy. Nevertheless, they are part of the human condition. Change and uncertainty affect us mere humans emotionally. Emotions can range from sadness, anger, anxiety, and fear. So how do we deal with this?
Find out how employees feel. Ask open-ended questions, encourage them to share, and acknowledge their feelings as valid.
The end of the year is a busy time in the insurance industry due to customer renewals. Adam Toporek has a great info graphic on Customer Retention by the Numbers. It comes as no surprise that a big part of customer retention has to do with their customer service experience with a carrier. In fact, 55% of American business owners believe that customer service plays an increasingly important role in differentiating one business from another. 1
Unfortunately, many carriers only surface during plan renewal periods to deliver the news of rate increases and/or coverage changes. In contrast to that approach, forward-thinking organizations are deploying targeted retention programs that align all functional areas, maximize personal touch points, and assess product set and membership demographics.2 Along with a great retention plan and superior customer service, don’t forget to utilize marketing tools and social media to keep in touch as well with clientele. Fortunately, FutureOffice Network (FON) delivers these tools directly to their brokers to help with client retention. Find these tools within Selling Tools > Marketing Tools > Introductory Pieces.
Happy Veterans Day, readers, and here’s a look at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ (OFCCP) new affirmative action requirements for veterans.
Last August, the OFCCP announced a final rule that makes significant changes to the regulations implementing the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act, or VEVRAA. VEVRAA prohibits employment discrimination against specified categories of veterans by federal government contractors and subcontractors.
For a closer look at the new regulations and the implications for federal contractors we turned to BLR® Senior Legal Editor and affirmative action expert Susan Schoenfeld.
For about 40 years, Schoenfeld says, VEVRAA has required federal contractors and subcontractors to take affirmative action in recruiting, hiring, training, and promoting qualified veterans. However, the regulations never required covered contractors and subcontractors to conduct data analysis and set workforce goals or benchmarks, as they are required to do when undertaking affirmative action for women and minorities.
That all changed in August of this year, when the final VEVRAA rule was issued by the OFCCP. The new rule requires covered federal contractors and subcontractors to collect data and take new specific, action-oriented steps in order to comply with the final affirmative action requirements for veterans.
Davidson Marketing Group (DMG) is currently hiring for two positions at our Elm Grove office.
With clients throughout the country, DMG specializes in cutting-edge technology to support insurance brokers and benefits companies. Our powerful flagship product, FutureOffice Network™, enables insurance consultants to increase retention rates with customized portals packed with resources on challenging topics such as Health Care Reform and Time & Attendance tracking. DMG also provides services that expand beyond the scope of the insurance industry. Our team is comprised of dedicated professionals who are committed to providing personal customer service, strong marketing initiatives, intuitive technologies and captivating design.
Can you see yourself as part of our team? Are you looking for an opportunity to use your skills and experience in taking DMG to the next level? If so, you might be the person we are looking for . . .