The recent decision in United States v. Regence Blue Cross (10th Cir 12/05/2006) illustrates the power of qui tam, or private, civil lawsuits under the False Claims Act (FCA). Under the FCA, an action can be commenced either by the United States itself, or as a â€œqui tamâ€ action, by a private person acting â€œfor the United States Governmentâ€ against providers â€œin the name of the Government.â€ The false claim may take many forms: overcharging for a product, failing to perform a service, … [Read more...] about Private Lawsuits Under the False Claims Act
While HIPAA protects the health information of individuals, it does not create a private cause of action for those aggrieved (65 Fed. Reg. 82566). Â This is made abundantly clear from the commentary to the regulations and HIPAAâ€™s legislative history. And while many federal district courts have dismissed individual plaintiffsâ€™ lawsuits under this rule, the Fifth Circuit, in the case of Acara v. Banks (5th Cir. Nov.13, 2006), has become the first federal appellate court to affirm the ruling.Â … [Read more...] about Fifth Circuit: No Private Cause of Action for HIPAA Violations
It is time to update your mandated notices by adding the newly revised USERRA and Workers' Compensation posters. (Text from the interim notice that employers were required to post in March 2005 was temporary.) First, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) posted its final regulations for the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) in December 2005. The new regulations include a few minor changes to the text of the required notice to employees, effective January 18, … [Read more...] about New Posters for USERRA and Workers’ Compensation
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales proclaimed: "Every day, men and women of our nation's armed forces put their lives on the line to protect the freedoms we enjoy, and it is our responsibility to ensure that their rights are protected in return." The new Web site, located by clicking here, is a partnership between the Justice Department and other federal agencies that oversee these protections. The new website consolidates notices and information on several laws, including the Uniformed … [Read more...] about DOJ Launches New Website Regarding Employment, Voting and Financial Security Rights of Veterans and Members of Armed Services.
Need another reason to review your safety programs for Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) compliance? A recent Fifth Circuit ruling protects an employer from strict liability for "willful" violations, even though the employer's own supervisor violates company safety rules. OSHA "establishes a comprehensive regulatory scheme designed ‘to assure so far as possible . . . safe and healthful working conditions' for ‘every working man and woman in the Nation.'" Martin v. OSHRC, 499 U.S. … [Read more...] about Avoiding Strict Liability for OSHA Violations
July 26, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a new Q&A on the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to workers who have hearing impairments or are deaf. Topics addressed in the document include: • When a hearing loss is a disability under the ADA; • When an employer may ask an applicant or employee about a hearing impairment and what it should do if an applicant voluntarily discloses the impairment; • Voluntarily discloses the impairment; • What … [Read more...] about New EEOC Publication on Deafness and Hearing Impairments
On July 26, the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced a new initiative and best business practices to help employers ensure they are hiring a legal workforce through voluntary partnerships with the government. Called the ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers (IMAGE), the program is designed to build cooperative relationships between government and businesses to reinforce hiring practices and reduce the unlawful employment of … [Read more...] about DHS Announces New Initiative on Immigration Law Compliance
Many teen workers are starting their first jobs. Congratulations! And they're probably more focused on how to spend their paychecks than on job safety issues. If you have teens working over the summer, you should check out the safety campaign posted online by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) this past April. OSHA's safety campaign was developed to help educate both teens and employers on workplace hazards and identify ways to ensure teen safety on-the-job. The Teen … [Read more...] about OSHA Teen Worker Safety Program
On April 24, the Department of Labor (DOL) published its semiannual regulatory agenda promising to issue revisions to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The DOL set a deadline for June, 2006 for publishing the revisions. Of course, the DOL has already set and passed numerous dates for the proposed FMLA revisions. We will continue to monitor this issue. … [Read more...] about FMLA Amendments on the Table…Again.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that it was unable to verify in all but one case (from in-service training "sign-in sheets" and a master training list) that a randomly selected sample of CNAs in Texas had received the mandated performance reviews and in-service training. The CMS report, issued this past February, was based on its onsite review of Texas' Nurse Aide Training and Competency Evaluation Program (NATCEP). As a result, the Texas Department of Aging and … [Read more...] about CMS & DADS Instruct Facilities To Improve Documentation of CNA Training and Performance Reviews.