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Kansas Legislative Update
By: Boyd Byers

The 2013 Kansas legislative session is now in full swing. Lawmakers have introduced several employment-related bills.

House Bill 2022 -- Expands the number and types of deductions that employers may withhold from an employee's wages, contingent on a written agreement between the parties. Also expands an employer's ability to withhold wages when an employee leaves. However, such withholding cannot reduce the employee's wages below the federal or state minimum wage law.

Senate Bill 53 / House Bill 2092 -- Specifies what social media information an employer can and cannot ask an applicant or employee to divulge.

Senate Bill 48 -- Requires that, starting January 1, 2014, all governmental units and contractors involved in a public contract of $50,000 must use e-verify for verification of employment status of all employees whose employment begin on or after January 1, 2014. Grants the Secretary of Labor authority to establish rules and regulations and impose restrictions on violations of the act.

House Bill 2105 -- Incorporates numerous amendments to the employment security law, such as revising the circumstances when an individual can be disqualified for benefits; redefining "gross misconduct" involving the use of alcohol or controlled substances; and imposing penalties for unlawfully receiving benefits.

Kansas Employment Law Blog will keep you up to date on the progress of these bills and other significant legislative developments.

Dealing with Work Authorization Concerns
By: Donald Berner

The recent news regarding the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) actions in Wichita involving a local McDonald's franchise highlights the risk for employers with respect to employee work authorization. This arena involves a wide-ranging variety of fact patterns for employers to work through as no two cases are ever exactly alike. The key points for employers to consider are:

  • I-9:  Make sure your I-9 process is being conducted properly and that your I-9 documents are being fully and accurately completed. In addition, conduct periodic audits of your completed I-9 collection to identify any shortcomings in your process and follow-up on those shortcomings to ensure the process is working as intended.
  • Stray Information:  Promptly respond to all information that calls into question the work authorization of one of your employees. This can be a very tricky issue for employers since there can be varying levels of information presented which may or may not be legitimate. The source of the information should be evaluated in determining the proper response to the situation. The key point for employers on this issue is not to bury your head in the sand and ignore the information. Ignoring can lead to a very negative outcome at some point in the future.
  • Social Security Problems: While somewhat like the stray information category, there are a number of ways a social security number problem can arise. Anytime the concern is generated by some sort of action by the Social Security Administration,      Continue Reading...
U.S. Attorney Serves up an Unhappy Meal to Wichita McDonald's Franchise
By: Donald Berner

On a night when most of the kids in Wichita are going door-to-door dressed in scary costumes declaring trick or treat, the U.S. Attorney's office served up a very scary and unpleasant trick on a local Wichita business. The press release issued by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) reflects that the business was charged with one felony count for knowingly accepting a fraudulent identification document.

At some point in the past, the employer was made aware of an employee with a bad social security number. The employer followed up by asking for documentation to prove the employee was authorized to work in the U.S. The employee provided a permanent-resident card, and the employer updated the employee's I-9 documentation.

ICE took the position that the employer was aware the permanent-resident card  was not legitimate because of the speed with which the employee obtained the documentation. The ICE press release indicates a plea agreement is in the works, and the company will pay out $400,000 in fines and forfeitures to the federal government as a result of the agreement. 

Read the ICE press release here.

E-Verify Gets A New Look
By: Donald Berner

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has revised and updated the E-Verify interface used by employers to electronically validate the employment authorization of newly hired employees.  The revisions are designed to improve the user experience with the E-Verify system by streamlining functions and simplifying terms.  For more information on the redesign of E-Verify go to http://www.uscis.gov/e-verify_redesign.

E-Verify is the online verification system designed by USCIS to permit employers to verify employment authorization materials provided by newly hired employees.  For most employers, the use of the E-Verify system is purely voluntary.  For those employers that are government contractors (or subcontractors of government contractors), the use of E-Verify may be mandatory under the terms of the specific contracts.



Don Berner Image
Don Berner, the Labor Law, OSHA, & Immigration Law Guy
Boyd Byers Image
Boyd Byers, the General Employment Law Guy
Jason Lacey Image
Jason Lacey, the Employee Benefits Guy
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