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Here’s your chance to nominate an individual from an ACCA member company known for his/her stellar spirit of giving and charitable work for the 2017 Skip Snyder Humanitarian Award. This award recognizes an ACCA contractor who makes extraordinary humanitarian efforts for those in need for the betterment of society and the community. Past award honorees include: 2016 – Daniel Burke of Goettl Air Conditioning , for long time extensive charitable efforts on behalf of military veterans, seniors, schools and the homeless. 2015 – Brian Hooper of MSI Mechanical Systems , for leadership and participation in Building...
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In a dramatic last-minute development, a federal judge in Texas late yesterday blocked the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) overtime rule from taking effect on December 1, handing an 11 th hour victory to employers across the country. As our members are well aware, back in May, 2016 the DOL unveiled a package of revised regulations changing the compensation requirements for employees who can be treated as exempt from overtime pay, upping the minimum salary from $455 to $913 per week, which annualizes to $47,476 (up from $23,000 per year), and this rate would be then subsequently raised again every three years with the first hike scheduled for January...
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With all the hoopla surrounding the Presidential Election this week, consumption of marijuana – either medicinally or recreationally – which was also at stake across the nation, got a bit lost in the fanfare. On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, nine states had marijuana-related measures on their ballots – five to consider whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use, and four to vote on whether to allow medical marijuana. In all but one state (Arizona), the measures passed. Here are how the votes shook out: Medical Marijuana: Arkansas – The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act legalized marijuana for medical use by individuals...
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On October 20, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued joint guidance entitled “Antitrust Guidance for Human Resource Professionals” (Guidance) found here: https://www.justice.gov/atr/file/903511/download . The Guidance is accompanied by a quick reference card that summarizes the guidance and in a convenient index-card-sized format ( https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/public_statements/992623/ftc-doj_hr_red_flags.pdf ). This Guidance is significant because it is the first time that the DOJ has publicly announced it intends to conduct criminal investigations of no-poaching and wage-fixing...
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It’s been a busy fall, and I’ve been swamped, as I am sure all of you have as well. I do want to catch everyone up on some items over the last month. Back in late September, the Department of Labor (DOL) published a final rule regarding paid sick leave for federal contractors. The final rule implements the Executive Order signed by President Obama earlier in the month, and it requires parties who enter into certain contracts with the federal government to provide covered employees with up to seven (7) days of sick leave per year. Workers will be able to use the paid sick leave for a variety of purposes. Similar to the Family and Medical Leave...
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In a trend taking over many of the states, Florida’s minimum wage will increase on January 1, 2017. However, the increase will not be as burdensome as others, as the current rate of $8.05 per hour will go up to $8.10 per hour, or 0.6 percent. An employee who has not received the lawful minimum wage may bring a civil action in a court of law against an employer to recover back wages plus damages and attorneys’ fees. But the employer first has 15 days to resolve any claims for unpaid wages. An employer found liable for intentionally violating minimum wage requirements may be subject to a fine of $1000 per violation, payable to the State’s...
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First piercings, then tats...and now hair. What’s an employer to do? As you attempt to adapt and embrace changing styles and personal statements in the emerging millennial workforce, you also want to maintain certain dress and appearance policies you deem important to your operations and interaction with the general public, and your customers in particular. And, once again, a federal court has made it easier for you to set and maintain these policies, so long as they are non-discriminatory and do not disproportionately affect persons of a protected class. Earlier this week, the 11 th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an argument by the Equal Employment...
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On September 14, 2016, with the stroke of a pen, Morristown, New Jersey became the State’s 13 th municipality to enact a paid sick leave law which requires private employers to provide paid sick time to employees. The ordinance is set to take effect on October 4, 2016, thereby leaving employers with limited time to comply with the provisions of the new law, including notice, posting, and record-keeping requirements. Much like many of the other New Jersey municipalities enacting paid sick leave laws, the new ordinance requires employers with at least 10 employees to provide 40 hours of paid sick leave during the calendar year. Employers with fewer...
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Assuming a recent court decision stands, Minneapolis voters will cast their ballots this fall on an amendment to the City of Minneapolis Charter which will eventually raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Proposed by Minneapolis residents, the amendment will increase the minimum wage to $10 per hour on August 1, 2017, followed by annual increases based on the size of the employer. For employers with fewer than 500 employees, the final increase to $15 per hour is scheduled for August 1, 2020. For 500 or more employees, employers will hit $15 per hour by August 1, 2022. After reaching $15, the minimum wage will adjust annually to keep up with increases to...
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With a 90-day deadline for taking effect from the signing of the legislation into law in late June, September 8, 2016 marked the date medical marijuana became legal in in the State of Ohio in a limited capacity. Yes, residents can possess and use the drug without going to jail, so long as the resident qualifies as a patient whose physician has certified, in writing, the following: That the patient has been diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition. That the physician has gone over the risks and benefits to using medical marijuana. That the physician thinks the benefits of the patient using marijuana outweigh its risks. Additionally,...
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While we’ve not spent much time reporting this to you, we think the trend among the states is worth a mention at this point: Just last week, North Carolina and Nebraska joined 32 other states in entering memoranda of understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) agreeing to share information and conduct joint investigations regarding independent contractor misclassification. (We have, however, been blogging about legal actions which have gone the other way in favor of the employers in independent contractor misclassification litigation.) The current map of states who have signed MOU’s with the DOL can be found here . According...
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The ACCA Government Relations team recently sat down with Jeffrey London, Deputy Director of the Veterans Business Administration Office of Economic Opportunity and his team, to discuss ACCA member interest in hiring veterans. We all know that the HVAC industry struggles to find quality staff. Several ACCA members have tapped into veterans to fill this void. ACCA is working to expand those success stories across the country and connect ACCA members with veterans, which are often times very well-trained professionals who can quickly hit the ground running in HVACR industry. While there is much work to be done to help improve HVAC (and other trade skills)...
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With Tropical Storm Hermine due to make landfall on September 1 in Florida, plus hurricane watches and tropical storm warnings issued along the Eastern U.S. from Florida to New England, and Hurricanes Madeline and Lester aiming for Hawaii, ACCA’s Disaster Relief Committee urges all our contractors to please take a few minutes TODAY to review the resources available on our website at www.acca.org/issues/disaster-relief/ to help you, your family, and employees stay as safe as possible in the event of extreme weather situations. If you or another ACCA contractor need help following a severe weather event, please contact ACCA’s Disaster Relief Committee...
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If you are involved in federal contracts, you need to be aware that on August 25, 2016, after extensive input from the public, the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FAR Council) issued the final rules and guidance implementing the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order. These regulations and guidance make sure that agencies have the information they need to determine which contractors are providing their workers with basic protections. Using this information, agencies can ensure that taxpayer dollars only go to contractors that are willing to meet their responsibilities to their employees. They also create...
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In important elections, every vote counts. America works better when Americans vote, but Americans can't vote unless they are registered. There are millions of employees across the US who have not registered to vote. People don't register because they forget, or it's too complicated or time-consuming, or perhaps they have moved and just haven't updated their voter registration. The truth is that registering to vote is simple and doesn't take much time or effort. Employee Voter Registration Week, September 26 - 30, is an effort to make a dent in the number of unregistered citizens across the country. During this week, companies and associations are joining...
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Late last week, marijuana advocates were disappointed to hear that marijuana remains a Schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), despite rumors to the contrary leaked prior to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) announcement. The DEA denied two petitions – one filed as far back as 2009 – calling for legalization of the drug, in a 180-page document, although only three pages make up the denial, with the remaining pages comprised of attachments to the substantive portion. The DEA sought out the advice of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The HHS concluded that marijuana does have a potential for abuse,...
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For over six years now ACCA has been a member and strong supporter of ConsensusDocs. ConsensusDocs contracts incorporate best practices and fairly allocate risk to help reduce costly contingencies and adversarial negotiations. All parties in a construction project deserve to work under a fair contract – one in which their interests are represented during the drafting process. ConsensusDocs contracts are developed by a coalition of 40 leading industry associations representing owners, contractors, subcontractors, designers and sureties. ConsensusDocs contracts protect the best interests of the project rather than a singular party, yielding better project results...
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With major flooding slamming Louisiana, plus the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) updating its forecast for this year’s Atlantic Hurricane season to potentially be the most active since 2012, ACCA’s Disaster Relief Committee urges all our contractors to please visit our website . Our website provides tools to help you, your family and employees stay as safe as possible in the event of any extreme weather event. If you, or another ACCA contractor has been seriously impacted by the flooding or other significant weather event, and need help, please contact ACCA’s Disaster Relief Committee. Manager by email at Rosemary.Graeme@acca.org...
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On August 1, 2016, Governor Charlie Baker signed into law the Act to Establish Pay Equity (“the Act”), making Massachusetts the first state to bar employers from asking job applicants about their salary history before making a formal job offer that includes compensation. Under the new law, employers may not seek out information from the applicant’s current or former employers unless the applicant volunteers the information or gives the prospective employer written authorization to obtain such information after an offer of employment including compensation terms has been made. The Act also expands the existing Massachusetts Equal Pay Act, and prohibits...
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Earlier this week an Ohio man was sentenced to 4 ½ yeas of jail time and ordered to pay a fine of $29,045 for illegally venting R22 refrigerant, which is a violation of the Clean Air Act. ACCA applauds this sentence, while not the first of its kind it shows that the infamously lax enforcement of the Clean Air Act is starting to change. The man was an off duty HVAC employee that was striping air conditioning units for copper and in the process cut the tubing on the units, which released R22 into the environment. For years ACCA has advocated that Clean Air Act rules for refrigerants are ineffective without a strong, effective, and public enforcement process....
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