Good news for many PA companies! The Pennsylvania Insurance Department (PID) approved a 5.7 percent overall decrease in workers’ compensation costs. The rate cuts will result in an estimated $160 million in savings for Pennsylvania employers. This is the first rate cut in three years.
Rate changes for individual employers will vary based on type of business they are in and claim history. Some employers will see deeper rate reductions, while rates for others will increase. Businesses enrolled in the Certified Workplace Safety Committee program of Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) receives an additional 5 percent discount. Currently, 9,652 businesses have certified safety committees.
An NLRB Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) ordered an employee at Silver Eagle Logistics, LLC to be reinstated in February due to discharge as a result of an overly broad confidentiality policy. The ALJ found the organization maintained a confidentiality rule that, on its face, violates the NLRA because employees would reasonably interpret it as prohibiting their discussion of wages.
Silver Eagle’s CFO testified that the confidentiality agreement does not prohibit employees from talking with other employees about wages. Silver Eagle’s Policy read as follows:
Employees deal with and have access to information that must stay within the Organization. Confidential information includes, but is not limited to, information that is related to: our customers, suppliers, distributors; Silver Eagle organization management and marketing processes, plans and ideas, processes and plans; our financial information, including costs, prices; current and future business plans, our computer and software systems and processes; personnel information and documents, and our logos, and art work. No employee is permitted to share this Confidential Information outside the organization, or to remove or make copies of any Silver Eagle records, reports or documents in any form, without prior management approval. Disclosure of Confidential Information could lead to termination, as well as other possible legal action.
Even though the ALJ found that Silver Eagle did not terminate employment of this individual because she discussed wages with other employees, her termination was nevertheless ruled unlawful. By including the wording “personnel information and documents” in the listing of confidential documents, the ALJ decided that Silver Eagle leaves to employees the task of determining what entails “personnel information and documents” and requires them to speculate as to what kind of information disclosure may trigger their discharge.
Employers should carefully review confidentiality policies to ensure overly broad terms such as “personnel information and documents” are not included.