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26Jun 2018

Be Prepared

In addition to making the necessary preparations for you and your family, you must also consider what you will do with your pet(s). Making arrangements for your beloved furry friends ahead of time will save you the hassle and heartache of determining how and where to care for them if you must evacuate in an emergency.

Before a Disaster Strikes:

  • Generate a list of veterinary care facilities located outside of your immediate area in case your pet needs medical attention.
  • Ask friends and relatives living outside of your immediate area to look after your pet if you must evacuate your home.

Generate a list of pet-friendly hotels outside of your immediate area and keep this information with your emergency supply kit

When a Disaster Strikes:

  • Bring your pets indoors and get them under control.
  • Make sure that your pet is wearing a collar with a current rabies vaccination tag and ID tag.
  • If you can stay at home in the emergency, go to a safe area and stay together.
  • Gather your disaster kit, which should at least include the following for your pet:
    • Leashes or harnesses
    • Extra food and water
    • Pet medication

Safety First

Establishing a thorough plan for caring for your pets before a disaster strikes is key. If you do not prepare ahead of time, you may have to resort to a public shelter in which animals are generally not allowed. Consequently, you may have to leave your pets at home to fend for themselves. This puts them at risk of starvation, being attacked by predators, drinking contaminated water or being hit by a vehicle. Take similar considerations for your pet that you would for family members and plan ahead!

26Jun 2018

Job Loss and Health Coverage

When facing job loss or a reduction in hours, you need to know your options ahead of time to prevent loss of health coverage. There may be several options available to individuals who are losing their health coverage when they lose their jobs.

Special Enrollment in Another Group Plan

If other group health coverage is available (for example, through a spouse’s employer-provided plan), special enrollment in that plan should be considered. It allows the individual and his or her family an opportunity to enroll in a plan for which they are otherwise eligible, regardless of enrollment periods. However, to qualify, enrollment must be requested within 30 days of losing eligibility for other coverage. After special enrollment is requested, coverage is required to be made effective no later than the first day of the first month following your request for enrollment. This type of coverage is usually the most cost-effective of all the options.

Coverage from the Marketplace

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), you can enroll in a health plan in the Marketplace during a special enrollment period if you lose your job-based coverage outside of the normal open enrollment period. You may be eligible for subsidies for reduced premiums and you might qualify for lower out-of-pocket costs. Visit www.healthcare.gov for more information about getting coverage through the Marketplace.

COBRA Continuation Coverage

The cost of individual coverage is often higher than similar coverage under a group health plan obtained through special enrollment in another group plan or COBRA.

 

If the individual’s employer continues to operate and offer a group health plan, COBRA continuation coverage may be available. COBRA, which generally applies to employers with 20 or more employees, allows the individual and his or her family to continue the same group health coverage at group rates. The cost for coverage may be higher than what the individual was paying before (and is usually higher than the cost for coverage under special enrollment in a spouse’s plan), but generally the cost is lower than that for private, individual health insurance coverage. The plan should send a notice regarding the availability of COBRA coverage.

After this notice is provided, the individual generally has 60 days to elect coverage and it is then available retroactive to the loss of coverage. (Note: Once COBRA is elected, an individual won’t be eligible for special enrollment in another group health plan, such as a spouse’s plan, until all COBRA coverage available is exhausted. Therefore, it is important to consider special enrollment in another plan promptly.) COBRA coverage typically lasts 18 months, but may last longer in certain circumstances.

Health Coverage through a Government Program

Health coverage may be available to certain qualified individuals through the state or federal governments. Information on government programs such as Medicaid (for low-income individuals and individuals with special needs), State Children’s Health Insurance Program (for children of qualified families), or Medicare (for people aged 65 and over, and for certain people who are disabled or have end-stage renal disease), is available through your state insurance department or the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services at 1-800-MEDICARE.

Private, Individual Health Insurance

The last option for an individual to consider is private individual health insurance coverage. Individuals may qualify for guaranteed access to such coverage, without any pre-existing condition exclusions, if:

  • They had health coverage for at least 18 months without a significant break in coverage (generally a break in coverage of 63 days or more) and the most recent period of coverage was under a group health plan.
  • Group coverage was not terminated because of fraud or failure to pay premiums.
  • They either were not eligible for COBRA continuation coverage (or similar state program), or if eligible for COBRA coverage (or similar state program), they both elected and exhausted COBRA coverage.
  • They are not eligible for other health coverage.

Even if they do not meet these criteria, they may still be able to obtain coverage. The cost of individual coverage is often higher than similar coverage under a group health plan obtained through special enrollment in another group plan or COBRA. More information on individual health coverage is available from your state insurance commissioner or the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at www.cms.gov.

Note: When considering health coverage options, individuals should examine the scope of the coverage (including benefit coverage and limitations, visit limits, and dollar limits), premiums, cost sharing (including co-payments and deductibles), and waiting periods for coverage. For information on the coverage through a particular group health plan, the worker should call the plan administrator and request a copy of the plan’s summary plan description.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration

21Jun 2018

Vision Care: UV Protection

UV rays radiate directly from the sun, but they’re also reflected from the ground, from water, snow, sand and other bright surfaces.

The sun releases energy, called radiation, in various forms: in the sunlight you see, the heat you feel and the invisible ultraviolet (UV) rays that cause sunburn. UV rays from the sun can also damage your eyes and hurt your vision.

Dangers of UV Rays

There are two types of UV radiation: UVA rays and UVB rays. UVB rays are more likely to cause sunburn, but UVA rays penetrate deeper. Exposure to either can damage your eyes. Long-term exposure to UV rays can result in eye problems that may lead to vision loss from conditions like cataracts or macular degeneration. Other dangers include skin cancer (around the eyelids) and corneal sunburn. Long hours at the beach or ski slope without proper eye protection can cause corneal sunburn, which can be very painful and may cause temporary vision loss.

Exposure Risk Factors

Everyone is at risk for eye damage from UV radiation. The risk of sun-related eye problems, however, is higher for people who:

  • Spend long hours in the sun
  • Have had cataract surgery or have certain retina disorders
  • Are on certain medications, such as tetracycline, sulfa drugs, birth control pills, diuretics and tranquilizers that increase the eye’s sensitivity to light

Proper Eye Protection

Adequately protecting your eyes from the sun, and other elements like wind or water, is crucial to maintaining your vision and eye health.

  • Use everyday eyewear that absorbs UV rays. All types of eyewear, including prescription and nonprescription glasses, contact lenses and lens implants, should absorb UVA and UVB rays. For UV protection in everyday eyewear, there are several options like UV-blocking lens materials, coatings and photochromic lenses.
  • Select the right sunglasses. Sunglasses help in two important ways: they filter light, and they protect the eyes from damaging UV rays. Look for labels that state they block 99-100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. They should also reduce glare, protect your entire eye area, be comfortable to wear and don’t distort color. Be aware that if you are at the beach or on the ski slope, you should wear sunglasses with a darker tint to block more light. Your risk of eye damage from the sun is greater because of reflection off the water and snow.
  • Wear a brimmed hat or cap. A wide-brimmed hat or cap will block about half of UV rays, and also limit UV rays that hit the eyes from above or around glasses.

 

19Jun 2018

Self-driving Tech Could Put Motor Carriers Back in the Driver’s Seat

Self-driving vehicles may feel like something that will only be available in the distant future, but autonomous technology is already having an impact on the transportation industry. Many motor carriers are promoting new equipment to attract tech-savvy drivers, and advanced safety sensors are helping decrease accidents on the road.

Over 30 automakers and technology companies are working to make trucks fully autonomous, and many states have already passed self-driving legislation that allows for testing on public roads. But, even though this technology offers motor carriers a way to increase efficiency and improve safety, there are a number of topics your business needs to consider before adopting self-driving trucks.

The Different Levels of Automation

Most of the technology used in autonomous vehicles is an evolution of common safety features that use vehicle-mounted cameras and sensors, such as automatic brakes, lane departure systems and blind spot alerts. However, self-driving technology takes this concept a step further by having these systems work together to perform some or all driving functions.

Because there are multiple self-driving systems in development that offer different levels of autonomy, most companies use a system developed by SAE International to classify levels of autonomous vehicles. Levels 0-2 mainly define limited control systems that are commonly available in consumer and commercial vehicles:

  • Level 0: No automation—The driver performs all driving tasks, but automated system issue warnings may be present.
  • Level 1: Driver assistance—The vehicle and driver may share control in limited circumstances, such as adaptive cruise control and parking assistance. However, the driver must be ready to retake control at all times.
  • Level 2: Partial automation—The vehicle has combined automatic functions (such as controlling acceleration and steering simultaneously), but the driver must be constantly engaged and aware of the surrounding environment.

Levels 3-5 define vehicles that are commonly referred to as autonomous or self-driving:

  • Level 3: Conditional automation—A driver must still be present, but doesn’t have to monitor the environment. However, they must be ready to take control at all times and with no notice.
  • Level 4: High automation—The vehicle can perform all driving functions under certain conditions, and switching control back to the driver may be optional.
  • Level 5: Full automation—The vehicle can perform all driving functions at all times.

How Can Self-driving Trucks Help Carriers?

Self-driving trucks could help motor carriers address a number of common issues:

  • Safety—Properly functioning self-driving systems operate without the chance of human error and can react to changing traffic patterns faster than a regular driver.
  • Driver shortage—Regulations likely won’t allow vehicles to operate without a driver in the near future. However, the technology will attract applicants who don’t want to spend long stretches of time in full control of a commercial truck.
  • Increased efficiency—Autonomous technology can give carriers real-time information on location, maintenance status and traffic patterns in order to increase efficiency and better manage fleets.
  • Cost reductions—Motor carriers can reduce costs by sending autonomous trucks on more fuel-efficient routes or by platooning the vehicles together to reduce air drag.

What Risks Does This Technology Present?

Although autonomous technology is advancing rapidly, there are still a number of risks and obstacles to overcome before the vehicles can be widely adopted:

  • Public perception—Advanced sensors generally make self-driving trucks safe, but recent high-profile collisions and fatalities during tests have lowered the public’s opinion of the technology.
  • Long-term employment—Autonomous technology will help to attract new drivers in the near future, but some experts believe that fully independent vehicles may someday eliminate millions of jobs.
  • Liability—The liability of an accident involving human-driven vehicles is fairly easy to judge. However, self-driving trucks bring a nonhuman factor into the equation that makes it difficult to determine if an operator, technology developer, manufacturer or other party is at fault for an accident.
  • Compliance—Individual states, cities and jurisdictions currently manage laws regarding the testing and use of self-driving trucks, making interstate commerce more complicated. However, the FMCSA recently requested feedback on the regulations that would have to be updated, modified or eliminated to safely allow for the use of autonomous vehicles. Key questions discussed by the agency include the following:
    • How will motor carriers ensure automatic systems are functioning properly?
    • What changes, if any, should be made to distracted driving regulations?
    • How will enforcement officials determine a vehicle’s SAE classification level, and would easily identifiable classification signage negatively affect other drivers?
    • How should a driver’s hours of service be recorded when using an automated driving system?
14Jun 2018

 

Does your business analyze risks before they become a problem?

  • Many restaurant owners mistakenly believe that they only have to worry about risk management after an incident, but the truth is you can start saving now by implementing safety and risk evaluation programs. We can provide you with guides, workplace policies and other resources so you can protect your bottom line right now.

Does your business have risk management programs in place?

  • Even the most forward-thinking businesses experience losses, so it’s important to be ready with restaurant-specific risk management programs and response plans. The team at Kaercher Insurance can help you prepare your workplace so you’re ready to respond to a variety of scenarios.

are you taking the proper steps to keep your employees and business safe?

Creating and maintaining a culture of safety in your restaurant is key to keeping your employees safe and productive. Our library of documents includes employee-facing articles, safety manuals and other materials that can help you ensure your business’s safety

12Jun 2018

Legalized Marijuana and Employment: Off-duty Use and Drug Testing

 

While all marijuana use remains illegal under federal law, most states have enacted laws that allow certain uses of marijuana or a marijuana derivative. None of these laws place any restrictions on an employer’s right to administer drug tests or to prohibit their employees from using or being under the influence of marijuana at work or during work hours.

However, it is not always clear whether an employer may take adverse employment actions against an employee based solely on a positive test for marijuana. As a result, several courts have issued decisions on this issue. These decisions will answer this question for employers in some legalized marijuana states and may be helpful for employers in others.

This Compliance Overview provides a general summary of federal and state marijuana laws and the court decisions that provide guidance for employers in this area.

 

OVERVIEW

Under virtually every state law that legalizes marijuana use, employers have an explicit right to prohibit their employees from using or being under the influence of marijuana at work or during work hours. In addition, none of these laws place any restrictions on an employer’s right to administer drug tests.

Employment disputes can arise when a state’s marijuana law does not address whether employers may prohibit employees or applicants from engaging in off-duty marijuana use. The inconsistency between federal law and state marijuana laws also leads to questions regarding employers’ obligations.

FEderal AND STATE MARIJUANA LAWS

The federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) classifies marijuana as a Schedule I substance, which means it is considered to have high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical applications. All uses of Schedule I substances are illegal under the CSA. In addition, the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) prohibits the use, dispensing and licensing of substances, such as marijuana, that have not been approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

Nevertheless, most states have passed laws legalizing certain uses of marijuana. These states generally fall into one of the following three categories:

  • CBD-only – This category includes states that allow only tightly limited uses of a substance called cannabidiol (CBD), which is a derivative of marijuana that does not produce psychoactive effects in users and is usually administered in oil form. These states have not legalized the use of marijuana plants for any purpose and generally allow CBD use only for the treatment of one or more specified medical conditions, such as epilepsy in children. Because of these factors, employment-related issues rarely arise under these laws. The table below lists the states that fall into this category.
Alabama Georgia Iowa Indiana
Kentucky Louisiana Mississippi Missouri
North Carolina Oklahoma South Carolina Tennessee
Texas Utah Wisconsin Wyoming
  • Medical-only – This category includes states that allow the use of marijuana plants for medical purposes but do not allow any recreational use. Out of the three types of state marijuana laws, medical marijuana laws generally underlie most employment-related disputes involving the drug. The table below lists the states that fall into the medical-only category.
Arizona Delaware Michigan New Hampshire New York Pennsylvania
Arkansas Florida Minnesota New Jersey North Dakota Rhode Island
Connecticut Hawaii Montana New Mexico Ohio West Virginia
  • Recreational and medical – This category includes states that allow individuals who are age 21 or older to use marijuana plants for recreational purposes. Each of these states also has a separate law governing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The table below lists the states that fall into this category.
Alaska Colorado Maine Nevada Vermont*
California District of Columbia Massachusetts Oregon Washington
*Vermont’s recreational marijuana law becomes effective July 1, 2018.

COURT DECISIONS ON FEDERAL VS. STATE MARIJUANA LAWS

At least two state supreme courts have held that, because all marijuana use is illegal under the CSA, federal law protects employers from lawsuits for taking an adverse employment action against an individual based on his or her marijuana use that is legal under state law. Specifically:

  • In Ross v. Raging Wire Telecommunications, issued on Jan. 24, 2008, the California Supreme Court held that an employee did not have the right to sue his employer for terminating his employment based on off-duty medical marijuana use, which was legal under the California Compassionate Use Act (CUA). The court held that the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, under which the employee brought a disability discrimination claim, does not require employers to accommodate the use of drugs that are illegal under federal law.
  • In Coats v. Dish Network, issued on June 15, 2015, the Colorado Supreme Court held that an employee who uses marijuana in compliance with Colorado’s medical marijuana law does not have the right to sue his or her employer under a separate state law that bars employers from terminating an employee based on his or her off-duty participation in lawful activities. The court’s reasoning was that because the federal law prohibits all marijuana use in all states, the employee could not prove that his use of medical marijuana was lawful.

More recently, however, two other courts have held that federal laws do not protect employers from lawsuits for adverse employment actions based on legalized, off-duty marijuana use. Specifically:

  • In Barbuto v. Advantage Sales and Marketing, issued on July 17, 2017, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rejected an employer’s argument that the federal CSA renders an employee’s off-duty use of marijuana an “unreasonable” accommodation for her disability under the Massachusetts Anti-discrimination Act (MADA). Noting that the federal CSA does not put an employer at risk of prosecution for its employees’ possession of marijuana, the court held that because the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Act specifically allows employers to prohibit on-site marijuana use by employees, it “implicitly recognizes” that allowing off-site use “might be” a permissible accommodation for disability under the MADA.
  • In Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Co., issued on Aug. 8, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut ruled that because the federal CSA and FDCA do not regulate employment relationships nor make it illegal to employ a marijuana user, neither of these federal laws invalidated an employee’s right to sue her employer for terminating her employment based on her lawful use of marijuana. The court held that the Connecticut Palliative Use of Marijuana Act grants this right, because it specifically prohibits employers from taking any adverse employment action against an individual based on his or her status as a “qualifying patient” who is authorized to use medical marijuana.

Although courts in other states are not bound by any of these decisions, the opinions suggest that employers in states with legalized marijuana should take caution before relying solely on federal laws, such as the CSA, to justify adverse employment actions against an individual who tests positive for marijuana.

STATE MARIJUANA LAWS THAT ADDRESS OFF-DUTY USE

In some states, employers may find relatively clear guidance within the text of their applicable marijuana laws themselves. For example:

  • Maine’s recreational marijuana law prohibits employers from refusing to employ or otherwise penalizing a person who is 21 or older solely because of his or her consumption of marijuana outside of the employer’s property;
  • Arizona and Delaware’s medical marijuana laws specify that, unless compliance would result in a loss of any monetary- or licensing-related benefit under federal law or regulations, employers may not take any adverse employment action against an authorized medical marijuana user based on the fact that he or she tests positive for marijuana components or metabolites, unless the employer had reason to believe that the authorized marijuana user who tested positive had been using or was under the influence of marijuana at work;
  • Arkansasmedical marijuana law includes provisions virtually identical to those described above for Arizona and Delaware but also specifies that an employer may exclude an authorized medical marijuana user from safety-sensitive positions if it has a good faith belief that the individual currently uses marijuana; and
  • Florida and Ohio’s medical marijuana laws specify that employers have the right to establish and enforce zero-tolerance drug testing and drug use policies.

Please note that this list is not exhaustive. Employers should become familiar with their states’ marijuana laws to determine whether they address employers’ rights and obligations relating to workplace drug policies and off-duty marijuana use.

STATE MARIJUANA LAWS THAT DO NOT ADDRESS OFF-DUTY USE

Among the states where the applicable marijuana law is silent about whether employers may take adverse actions against employees solely because they test positive for marijuana, at least two supreme courts have sided with employers in disputes involving this issue. In particular:

  • In Ross (also discussed above), the California Supreme Court’s decision in favor of the employer was, in part, based on the fact that the state’s medical marijuana law (the CUA) only provides protection against criminal prosecution for marijuana use and does not address employment rights or obligations.
  • In Roe v. Teletech Customer Care Management, issued on Jan. 18, 2011, the Washington Supreme Court addressed a claim under the Washington State Medical Use of Marijuana Act (MUMA). Like California’s CUA, the MUMA is silent regarding whether qualified patients are protected from employment discrimination based on marijuana use. Because of this, the court held that the MUMA does not give employees a right to sue their employers for wrongful termination.

Even if an applicable marijuana law does not explicitly address employment issues relating to off-duty  marijuana use, employers should be aware that state marijuana laws, especially those governing medical use, may still affect their rights and obligations under other applicable laws.

OTHER STATE and FEDERAL LAWS

As illustrated by the Massachusetts and Connecticut cases discussed above, employers in some states with legalized marijuana may face lawsuits and potential liability under state disability laws for adverse actions taken against authorized, off-duty marijuana users. Therefore, in states where a marijuana law does not address workplace drug policies and off-duty use, employers should consider either accommodating a disabled employee’s state-authorized, off-duty marijuana use or at least engaging in an interactive process with the employee to determine whether other reasonable accommodations may be suitable.

In addition, employers should become familiar with any applicable laws that specifically address workplace drug testing. For example, some states have drug testing-specific laws that require employers to have written policies and certain testing protocols in place before they may even conduct an employee drug test. Similarly, some state workers’ compensation laws prohibit claim denials or adverse employment actions based solely on positive drug tests unless certain requirements are met.

Finally, regardless of whether a state marijuana law applies, certain employers may be subject to federal drug testing requirements. For example, federal contractors may be subject to the federal Drug-Free Workplace Act, and commercial transportation operators may be subject to U.S. Department of Transportation regulations. Employers should become familiar with all applicable laws and regulations to determine their obligations.

07Jun 2018

Hotel Safety Tips

Hotels provide a home away from home whenever you travel. However, hotels aren’t always safe, and vacationers are at risk of things like break-ins, fires and natural disasters.

The following are some general hotel safety tips to keep in mind to protect yourself from a variety of risks:

  • Check reviews for security concerns. Guest reviews can provide information on the area’s crime level and steps the hotel takes to protect guests.
  • Use hotels that restrict access to guest floors.
  • Check your room lock to confirm it’s working properly. Make sure that the door has a deadbolt and keep it locked whenever you’re in the room.
  • Lock away valuable items you won’t be carrying with you in the room’s safe. This can include things like money, jewelry, laptops or other electronics.
  • Be wary of people that come to the door claiming to be hotel staff.
05Jun 2018

TECHNOLOGY FOR EMPLOYEE SAFETY

In 2016, 1 in 5 worker deaths were in the construction industry, highlighting the need for safety and procedural enhancements in construction. The following technology is likely to become more common at construction sites in an effort to improve worker safety:

  • Exoskeletons—Workers can wear exoskeletons to transfer weight from repetitive tasks and use less energy when moving objects. The result is a reduced risk of injuries as well as increased strength, dexterity and productivity.
  • Virtual reality—This technology replicates physical environments and presents training opportunities for employees. It also allows workers to simulate hazardous tasks and identify safety needs. More benefits are expected as technology matures.
  • Wearables—Wearable devices offer real-time monitoring of workers’ vital signs and can alert workers to the presence of environmental dangers. They can also cut health care costs by reducing health risks such as respiratory problems, cancer, dermatitis and hearing damage.

Off-site construction refers to any building process that takes place away from the ultimate point of installation. The term includes prefabrication and modular construction, which can help contractors accelerate schedules and use less labor on-site, as well as:OFF-SITE CONSTRUCTION BENEFITS

  • Reduce safety risks—There’s less chance of workers falling from heights, such as off scaffolding, because construction tends to take place on a single-level factory floor.
  • Eliminate weather delays—Work doesn’t have to stop because of inclement weather when construction takes place indoors.
  • Ensure consistent quality—Working in a centralized location allows for more supervision and quality control.
29May 2018

Whether it happens at the car dealership, the front desk of a hotel, an establishment that offers alcohol, a financial institution or in the process of hiring a new employee, it is vital to recognize the differences between fake identification documents and genuine documentation. Although it is not necessary for establishments to be document experts, it is important to practice reasonable care in the event of suspicious documents and take steps to avoid accepting unauthorized patrons or employees.

Detecting Fake Documentation for New Hires

In the process of hiring new employees, the use of fake identification may occur when an employee completes the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, you should accept the documentation as valid if it appears to be reasonably genuine and is on the list of acceptable documents, which includes the following:

  • List “A” documents: These are documents that establish both identity and employment authorization. If employees present a valid List “A” document, do not ask them to present any other identification document.
  • S. passport or passport card
  • Permanent resident card or alien registration receipt card (Form I-551)
  • Employment authorization document card (Form I-766)
  • Foreign passport with Form I-94 or Form I-94A with arrival-departure record and an endorsement to work
  • Passport from the Federated States of Micronesia or the Republic of the Marshall Islands with Form I-94 or I-94A
  • Foreign passport with a Form I-551 stamp or Form I-551 printed notation
  • List “B” documents: These are documents that establish identity only. If employees present a valid List “B” document, you are permitted to ask for a document containing employment authorization as well.
  • Driver’s license
  • ID card issued by a federal, state or local government entity (with a photograph)
  • List “C” documents: These are documents that establish employment authorization only. If employees present a valid List “C” document, you are permitted to ask for a document that establishes identity.
  • S. Social Security card
  • Consular report of birth abroad (Form FS-240)
  • Certification of birth abroad issued by the U.S. Department of State

Although it is necessary to accept documentation as valid if it appears genuine, be aware of the signs of obvious fraudulent identification, such as the following:

  • Spelling or grammar usage errors
  • Incorrect form numbers or combinations such as “1-551” rather than “I-551”
  • Incorrect permanent resident card document number or no number at all (should be three letters followed by 10 numbers)
  • Expired identification
  • Forged or copied identification

In instances where there is suspicion of fraudulent identification, you are permitted to ask for additional proof of identity. If a potential employee fails to present additional identification, this is grounds to release or terminate the employee.

Helping Employees Catch Fake Identification

In establishments that require patrons to provide identification, such as those that sell alcohol or tobacco, hotels, financial institutions or car dealerships, it is important to educate employees on how to best detect fraudulent identification.

Typically, patrons are expected to provide List “B” documentation for purchases or entry into age-restricted establishments, such as a driver’s license. To help employees detect a fraudulent driver’s license, provide the following resources:

  • An ultraviolet (UV) light source
  • A magnification source
  • The “Security Features” section of the U.S. Identification Manual

Although it can be difficult to detect a fraudulent driver’s license and employees are expected to confirm identification quickly, the following tips can help simplify the process of spotting a fake identification.

  • Unique line patterns—Many fake ID cards contain a pattern of fine lines across the card that create a web-like curve. This can be seen with the naked eye.
  • Laser perforation—Fake ID cards sometimes possess small holes across the card created by a laser beam in the process of image reproduction. These small holes can be identified either through touch or with a UV light source.
  • Overlapping data—Often times, fake ID cards attempt to discretely overlap card data, such as placing height or weight information over a signature or photo image. This can be seen with the naked eye.
  • Film overlay—Fake ID cards are sometimes sealed with an ultra-thin protective coating across the surface. This overlay can be seen either with a UV light source or by slowly tilting the card to spot lamination.
  • Tactile features—In some cases, fake ID cards contain obvious tactile features that differ from genuine documentation. By touching the card, tilting it or analyzing it with the naked eye, it is simple to detect uncharacteristic features such as decreased weight, unique textures or flexibility.
  • Opacity mark—Fake ID cards often possess a “watermark” of sorts that can be seen either when the card is tilted or with a UV light source.
  • Small changes—In certain cases, fake ID cards contain miniscule changes that are unique to the state in which the card claims to be from. By using the U.S. Identification Manual, these changes, such as an extra line or incorrect pattern, can often be detected with the naked eye.
  • The wrong person—Sometimes, patrons will use a genuine ID card, but it doesn’t belong to them. Be sure to double-check that the ID card picture matches the patron and that they can tell you the information on the card.

If an employee suspects fraudulent identification from a patron, they are permitted to ask for a second form of identification. If the patron cannot provide additional documentation, employees are permitted to refuse service.

25May 2018

Is an HDHP Right For You?

Deciding on a health plan can be a difficult decision, even for the savviest health care consumer. The decision is even harder when you’re relatively young, in good health and have no real experience with making health care choices. With all the options and plan variations available, how can you be certain the plan you choose is the right fit for your lifestyle? Here are two user stories to help provide insight into a high deductible health plan (HDHP) and a more costly alternative.

User 1: Mid-tier Health Coverage

Kyle is a 24-year-old working for a large grocery store chain. He relies on his semimonthly paychecks to keep food on the table and knows that he can’t afford to miss a shift. With this in mind, Kyle enrolls in his employer’s mid-tier health plan to ensure he can quickly overcome any illness that may arise during the year. The deductible is $2,500 and his monthly payment is $100. Kyle thinks this cost is worth the peace of mind of having good health insurance.

As the year goes on, Kyle, being a healthy young man, only ends up using his health plan one time, for an annual physical. As a result, Kyle ends up paying $1,200 over the course of a year for insurance that he only uses once.

User 2: High Deductible Health Plan

Brandon is a 27-year-old working on a general assembly line in an appliance factory. He lives alone and spends most of his free time out with friends. Brandon enjoys the outdoors and uses his extra income to buy camping gear. He knows an HDHP with a health savings account (HSA) can save him money, so he decides to enroll in the plan, freeing up more money for his hobbies. The health plan costs $30 a paycheck and has a deductible of $3,000. However, it also includes an HSA, into which Brandon’s employer contributes $10 a pay period.

Even with Brandon’s rugged hobbies, he only ends up in the doctor’s office twice—which is still more than he expected. And, as a result, he ends up paying for some medical costs out of pocket. Yet, because of his HSA, he has $240 from his employer that he can use to pay these expenses. Additionally, his own HSA contributions give him a tax credit that he can use when filing taxes. This means that Brandon still pays less overall than Kyle does, despite going to the doctor more often.