Hanna Resource Group (HRG) was proud to sponsor the 28th Annual Kentucky Human Resource Update in conjunction with the Kentucky Chamber and Kentucky SHRM! The two day update took place twice (May 3rd and 4th in Lexington and May 24th and 25th in Louisville) and was attended by nearly 200 Human Resource professionals total! The sessions aimed to update attendees on recent changes to workplace environments, adjustments to laws and regulations, and other various HR topics.
A summary of the each session is included below for those who were unable to attend the event, as well as those who attended but would like a reminder of the topics presented. You can also click the PowerPoint link below to download an overview of each presentation that HRG put together.
Our very own Lyle Hanna, President & CEO of HRG, began the event with a welcome and greeting.
Cynthia Effinger, Associate at McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland PLLC, was the first speaker and she discussed updates regarding significant legal decisions. She covered how the EEOC considers LGBT individuals as a protected class and also says it is time to educate the workforce on transgender issues and considerations. Additionally, Cynthia revisited background check policies and talked about the importance of clear and accurate job descriptions.
Following Cynthia was Raymond C. Haley III, Partner at Fisher and Phillips LLC, who updated the audience on miscellaneous HR topics. He began by talking about the recent ordinance in Jefferson County raising minimum wage and how it is currently being challenged in the Kentucky Supreme Court, and then went on to discuss how the decline in unions has refocused the NLRB on the private sector as they fight to increase union representation. He also reiterated the importance of making sure your employee handbook is up to date and does not include unlawful restrictions on social media, email, etc., as these areas are always changing.
**LaToi Mayo, Shareholder of Littler Mendelson P.C., then began her session by detailing legal considerations when conducting an in-house investigation. Tips included taking general notes during conversations and adding more details later, keeping all invested parties informed during the investigation, and document EVERYTHING!
Jeffrey Calabrese, Member at Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC, then spoke about recent updates to unemployment insurance, including the President’s proposal to protect workers with wage insurance, expand UI coverage and duration, and make it easier for workers to retool and retrain. Calabrese says it’s important to weigh the positives and negatives of fighting claims, document all separations well, and follow deadlines to the letter.
Following Jeffrey, Sherry Porter, Partner at Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs, LLP, updated everyone on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The employer mandate is now in full effect for those employers that have 50 or more employees, and she reminded companies that if they are unsure if they are an Applicable Large Employer (ALE), they should find out as soon as possible! Employers are responsible for ACA filing and reporting, even if done by a third party, and while employers aren’t required to offer health insurance, they will be open to many potentially penalties and fees if they don’t.
To begin day two Kate Shanks, Director of Public Affairs for KY Chamber of Commerce, gave a legislative HR update. She covered “wins” for businesses such as the more than a $1 billion increase in funding allocated to improving pension funding, the passing of felony expungement legislation, and the updating of outdated alcohol laws that will modernize Kentucky’s hospitality industry.
Maurita Kamer, Member at Stites & Harbison, PLLC, provided us all with an update on FMLA, ADA, and GINA. According to Kamer, retaliation, race, and disability were the most common charges and the EEOC was aggressive in pursuing ADA claims. She also discussed how HR managers may be found personally liable in some instances for FMLA administration. Additionally, ADA and FMLA may interplay at times, so it is important to evaluate both to ensure you comply.
Benjamin Evans, Parter at Binghaum Greenebaum Doll LLP, and Brant Kennedy, CPA and VP at Harding, Shymanski & Company P.S.C., provided updates regarding employee benefits. They covered the need for companies to be consistent with contributions and revisit their plan’s definition of compensation. They also reminded the audience of the updated definition of “fiduciary.” Finally, the two warned those in attendance that cutting employee hours in an attempt to avoid offering health benefits may not be a good idea as it may interfere with ERISA rights.
To provide an update on worker’s compensation, David D. Black, Partner at Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP, came to the podium. He gave a quick reminder that worker’s compensation covers work-related injuries and pays for economic loss (including medical benefits, time off work, and retraining), but also covered company defenses. However, Black also reminded us that worker’s compensation does not cover pre-existing conditions, the natural aging process, or psychological conditions (unless caused by injury).
The final speaker at the event was James Cockrum, Member at Frost Brown Todd, LLC, who presented updates regarding wage and hours in the workplace. With one of the biggest updates of the event, Cockrum informed attendees of the new threshold for overtime, $47,476 annually, and reminded everyone it will go into effect at the beginning of December. To address this issue, companies can choose to raise employees to meet the threshold, convert employees to nonexempt and control their overtime, or pay employees overtime if they are below the threshold.
HRG is thankful to have been a part of such an informative event and would like to thank all of the attendees, speakers, and KY Chamber! We would also like to encourage you to reach out to us for information on future events, further HR updates, or the services we offer. You can reach us at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at (859) 514-7724.