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AMRRP Law Enforcement Assistance Program Announces its own App https://www.amrrp.org/Lists/News Feed/NewsFeedItem.aspx?ID=69AMRRP Law Enforcement Assistance Program Announces its own App <div>Click on the Image to download LEAP App </div><div><strong></strong> </div><div><strong>Contributed by Jim Jellison, Jellison Law</strong></div><div>Many medium to large law enforcement agencies have their own police legal advisor. These highly qualified, educated, and experienced attorneys are available to guide their agencies through legal and operational decisions, large and small. AMRRP recognizes that not every Member Law Enforcement Agency has the resources to hire a dedicated police legal advisor.</div><div>That’s one of the reasons AMRRP has launched its Law Enforcement Assistance Program (LEAP). AMRRP’s LEAP attorney is not only experienced in addressing these same legal and operational issues but has also, based on his representation of our Member Agencies, been accepted as an Associate Member of the Arizona Law Enforcement Legal Advisors Association (ALELAA). Through this connection, LEAP counsel can get your questions answered, and, where necessary, present those more difficult questions to the group of ALELAA police legal advisors through the ALELAA email exchange, or one of the quarterly ALELAA meetings.</div><div>This is just one way that AMRRP partners with its Members in support of best police practices, and Officer and Citizen safety. While this service is not meant to substitute for the advice of your City or Town Attorney, your own dedicated police legal advisor, or the advice of the County Attorneys’ Offices on criminal case matters, AMRRP is committed to providing service with the belief that no AMRRP Member should have an important law enforcement question that goes unanswered.</div>
Avoiding Sexual Harassment Claimshttps://www.amrrp.org/Lists/News Feed/NewsFeedItem.aspx?ID=66Avoiding Sexual Harassment Claims<div><strong><font size="2">AVOIDING SEXUAL HARASSMENT CLAIMS</font></strong><br><em>By Justin Pierce - Pierce Coleman, PLLC</em></div><div><br>In the last few months we’ve seen a flurry of harassment and sexual assault allegations, resignations, investigations, and news reports of all of these things that have dominated the headlines. It’s a good time to remind employers of their obligations and best practices when it comes to these issues in order to minimize, or avoid altogether, liability associated with such claims.<br>Well-established United States Supreme Court case law makes clear that an employer who receives information about a potential harassment situation in the workplace can avoid liability if the employer promptly investigates and takes prompt and appropriate action to eliminate the harassment. The following are key points to keep in mind:<br>1. If supervisors have reason to believe there is a harassment situation occurring, whether there has been a formal complaint or not, the duty to act begins.<br>Often, we hear that the victim or witness haven’t yet filed a formal complaint, or haven’t reduced the complaint to writing, and so employers think they can wait until such things happen. Even if your policy requires a formal or written complaint, the duty to act begins when you know, or have enough information to have a reasonably good idea, that harassment may be occurring.<br>Don’t act alone; the AMRRP’s Personnel Assistance Lifeline (PAL) is a free service to members and will allow you to consult with employment law counsel on the process.<br>2. Investigate.<br>Sometimes the allegations are such that an outside investigator is warranted. However, in most situations this is an investigation that can be performed internally. Things to consider in the investigation are whether there is competent evidence that there has been verbal, physical, or visual conduct that would be offensive to a reasonable person, and based on sex. Note, however, that any protected category – including things such as race, religion, disability, and age – can serve as a basis for a harassment claim if the offensive conduct is severe or pervasive enough. Among other things, examples of verbal conduct are:<br>• Demands for sexual favors<br>• Sexually-graphic statements<br>• Demeaning jokes of a sexual nature<br>• The description of an employee’s anatomy or body in direct sexual or sexually-suggestive terms<br>• Dirty jokes<br>• Describing sexual experiences and preferences<br>Among others, some examples of physical conduct are:<br>• Unwanted touching<br>• Touching a body part, particularly in an area that cannot be explained as inadvertent<br>• Encroaching upon an individual’s physical space<br>• Blocking an individual’s movement<br>• Massages<br>And a non-exhaustive list of visual conduct are things like:<br>• Pornography<br>• Sexually-suggestive e-mails or screen savers on computers<br>• Cartoons or pictures that depict either sex in a demeaning way<br>• Other individuals engaged in potentially offensive sexual behavior, even of a non-graphic nature<br>3. Make findings of fact.<br>Determine whether the evidence supports that the type of conduct noted above has occurred. Importantly, do not conclude based on your findings that unlawful harassment has in fact occurred. That is a legal determination. Keep your findings to whether the conduct occurred and at most, whether the conduct violates the employer’s policies.<br>4. Take action based on the findings.<br>The victim needs to be made aware of the findings so that the victim (and the other employees for that matter) know that you took the allegations seriously. If the findings demonstrate that violations of the policies have occurred, the employer needs to take action to make sure the conduct doesn’t happen again. That usually means disciplining the employee or employees who engaged in the harassment (up to, and including, termination).<br>5. Train your supervisors and employees.<br>Supervisors and employees should be trained on their duties and responsibilities with regard to preventing harassment in the workplace. Specifically, the EEOC has issued guidance on certain types of trainings that should be done with regard to retaliation in the midst of a harassment complaint. In addition to the PAL program offered by AMRRP, members also have the benefit of engaging employment counsel to conduct specialized trainings for their employees and supervisors at a reduced flat fee of $1,500.</div><div><br>Justin S. Pierce<br>4711 E. Falcon Dr., Suite 111<br>Mesa, AZ 85215<br>Office: 602-772-5507<br>Mobile: 480-776-9343<br><a href="mailto:Justin@PierceColeman.com">Justin@PierceColeman.com</a><br><a href="http://www.PierceColeman.com">http://www.PierceColeman.com</a></div>
Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) - Globally Harmonized System (GHS) - Safety Data Sheets (SDS)https://www.amrrp.org/Lists/News Feed/NewsFeedItem.aspx?ID=64Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) - Globally Harmonized System (GHS) - Safety Data Sheets (SDS)<p align="left" dir="ltr"><strong><font size="2">Hazard Communication Standard (HCS)<strong> <strong>- Globally Harmonized System (GHS) - Safety Data Sheets (SDS)</strong></strong></font></strong></p><p align="left" dir="ltr"> Dear AMRRP Members: </p><p>Due to a number of recent requests, please note the following information and associated link to answer questions regarding the new HCS, GHS & SDS requirements, which replace the old Hazard Communication/MSDS format. </p><p> <strong><u>Overview</u></strong></p><p> The new Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is now aligned with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). This update to the Hazard Communication Standard will provide a common and coherent approach to classifying chemicals and communicating hazard information on labels and safety data sheets (SDS). </p><p> <strong><u>Timeline</u></strong></p><p> This required program was introduced worldwide in 2012 with five date-deadlines to compliance. The final deadline was June 1, 2016. Full compliance is now required. Various steps to compliance included employee training, updating your old hazard communication plan as necessary to reflect new chemical label design and SDS formats, and/or (recommended) establishing a new GHS - Hazard Communication program and relabeling of all older chemical containers, tanks, etc. to meet the new SDS standard. </p><p></p> Compliance will be enforced by ADOSH/OSHA. <p></p> For additional information and Frequently Asked Questions, please visit the following OSHA link. https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/hazcom-faq.html<p></p> Please contact your AMRRP Loss Control representative if you have any additional questions. <p></p>
TriageNow Workers’ Compensation Risk Management Programhttps://www.amrrp.org/Lists/News Feed/NewsFeedItem.aspx?ID=63TriageNow Workers’ Compensation Risk Management Program<strong>AMRRP’s TriageNow Workers’ Compensation Risk Management Program </strong>provides employees with the right level of care, while saving Members thousands in Workers’ Compensation expenses.<br> <p>Regardless of how comprehensive your municipality’s safety program is; workplace injuries still occur. It is human nature that things happen to cause injuries in the workplace despite ample training and precautions. When injuries happen, many employees do not feel comfortable having a Manager or Human Resources determine what is medically necessary and may insist on Urgent or Emergency Care. Additionally, the municipality may not want the liability of medical decision making, and routinely leave the decision in the hands of the employee.</p> <p>Statistics in a recent study from the Workers’ Compensation industry show that over 70% of all workplace injuries are minor and do not need clinical intervention to resolve. A large majority of these injuries are sprains and bruises and First Aid or Self Care will help resolve the injury and facilitate return to work. With TriageNow, a Registered Nurse is available 24/7 and with a simple phone call, an RN will assess the workplace injury at the time of the incident and quickly recommend the best level of care. This can reduce your municipality’s overall claim volume by 44% or more! </p> <p>Budget considerations are key to public entities, and the opportunity to reduce overall costs while improving the care of workers is particularly beneficial. Every dollar not spent on unnecessary clinic visits and increasing Workers’ Compensation costs is money that supports the budget. With TriageNow, your City or Town will experience fewer claims overall, reducing the costs associated with Worker’s Compensation and unnecessary medical treatment. </p> <p>To access TriageNow benefits, Members can call Lori Bosken at (480) 822-0322 or email lbosken@triagenow.com to initiate the onboarding process. Please visit http://www.triagenow.net/ for more information.</p> <p>TriageNow—“Because injured employees deserve the appropriate level of care, and the company shouldn’t pay more than necessary for this care.” </p>
Webinar Replay!https://www.amrrp.org/Lists/News Feed/NewsFeedItem.aspx?ID=60Webinar Replay!Did you miss the recent AMRRP Webinar event? Did you attend, but want to share the valuable information you received with your co-workers and employees? </p> Click <a href="https://youtu.be/cbP9T-ftGYg"> <u>HERE</u></a> to access a recording of the Webinar, which contains presentations and discussion on a variety of topics, including e-mods and how they affect your premium; loss control solutions; and claims information.</p> <i>Be sure to check the News Feed regularly for invites to future Webinar events!</i>
Intergovernmental Agreement Review Programhttps://www.amrrp.org/Lists/News Feed/NewsFeedItem.aspx?ID=49Intergovernmental Agreement Review ProgramOver the past several years, the AMRRP Board of Trustees has engaged in discussions about the impact of intergovernmental agreements, including mutual and automatic aid agreements, on member liability. The topic gained significant focus in the aftermath of the Yarnell Hill tragedy. Early in 2014, the Board approved a project to assist in identifying the scope of the IGA issue, asking member cities and towns to submit their existing IGAs for a limited review of liability concerns, including indemnity language and insurance requirements. Part of the evaluation process included informational presentations at the Arizona City Attorneys’ Association annual conference, and at the 2014 Annual League of Cities and Towns conference. Out of the project came the structure for a new program to be added to the review and assistance programs already available to members (PAL, LUAL, PSAP) which was formally approved by the Board of Trustees in November.</p> Lessons we learned in the review project that can be applied going forward:</p> <ol><li>For those IGAs where a city/town must indemnify another agency for that agency’s negligence (usually ADOT), changes in state law are necessary. In cooperation with the League, legislation has been prepared that will give cities and towns protection by making contracts illegal that require one party to an IGA to indemnify another party for that party’s negligence. The League is taking the lead in working to pass that legislation. <li>There is language that may already be in your ADOT IGAs that will take advantage of the new legislation, if passed. If not, attached is language that you should require going forward. ADOT has agreed to this language. <li>ADOT has already agreed to language for some cities and towns that all municipalities should require. <ul><li> If ADOT requires your city/town to indemnify ADOT for its subcontractors’ negligence, your city/town should obtain indemnity protection from ADOT’s subcontractors. ADOT has agreed to language that will give you that protection. That language is attached and you should insist on it. Under this language, even though your city/town may have to indemnify ADOT for its subcontractors’ negligence, with this ADOT-approved language you can tender the defense to ADOT’s subcontractors. <li> ADOT has drafted indemnity provisions that greatly limit ADOT’s ability to enforce the indemnity. Attached is an example. This language should only be used in agreements where the city/town is seeking to avoid indemnity liability. <li> You likely have many other joint agreements with other agencies (often times called Mutual Aid or Automatic Aid Agreements). There are specific posting requirements under the workers’ compensation statutes that a city/town must satisfy to preserve protections afforded by the statutes (the language is specified in the statutes). Attached is language that you can use in these agreements.</ol></p> The review also led to the development of a checklist that can be used by city/town attorneys to review existing IGAs. Ultimately, the checklist for existing agreements as well as the Key Provisions for future IGAs do not replace your city/town attorney, but rather provide additional resources for him/her to assist you in limiting potential liability and creating leverage when negotiating with other agencies that have a tendency to be unaccommodating when negotiating IGAs.</p> Starting on January 1, 2015, member cities and towns will be able to submit proposed IGAs and Mutual and Automatic Aid Agreements for review prior to consideration and approval. The informational flyer for this new Program is also attached.</p> We hope you will take advantage of all of the programs and value-added features of your membership in the Arizona Municipal Risk Retention Pool. And as always, you can contact our Pool Administrator, Southwest Risk Services, with any questions or assistance needs.
Preventing Vehicle Backing Accidentshttps://www.amrrp.org/Lists/News Feed/NewsFeedItem.aspx?ID=56Preventing Vehicle Backing Accidents<p><strong><font size="2">Preventing Vehicle Backing Accidents</font></strong></p><p>Backing a vehicle is something we all probably do several times a day without giving it a whole lot of thought. But according to the national statistics on backing accidents, it is something we need to pay very close attention to from a loss control standpoint. </p><p></p> To give you an idea of the scope of this issue, here are some alarming statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):<br> <ul><li>Each year there are at least 500,000 backing accidents of some type. <li>Of the half million accidents, 15,000 included some sort of injury. <li>Approximately 210 people are killed annually from backing accidents, mostly children under the age of 5 (31 percent of all fatalities)<p></p> <p align="LEFT">Now consider the fact that we all drive thousands of miles going forward each year but probably only one or two miles in reverse!</p> Backing is not an easy maneuver, further complicated by the fact that the driver’s seat faces forward; larger, longer, and taller vehicles have larger blind spots; mirrors can distort images; and <i>then</i> you have to factor in distractions, low visibility conditions and physical barriers that make it difficult to see. With all of these factors at play, there are ways we can work to reduce the risk.<p></p> There are recognized best practices that any organization can employ to reduce the risk of backing accidents. Check out the Texas Department of Insurance's <a href="http://www.tdi.texas.gov/pubs/videoresource/fsvehiclebackin.pdf">Vehicle Backing Safety Factsheet</a> for a guide on how your organization can practice safe vehicle backing.<p></p> For questions on preventing backing accidents or other safety concerns, please contact a member of AMRRP's Loss Control team:<p></p> <p align="center"><u>Luis Nieves</u><br> (602) 368-6653 / lnieves@berkleyrisk.com<br><u>Jon Stewart</u><br> (602) 368-6626 / jostewart@berkleyrisk.com<br><u>Carl Young</u><br> (602) 368-6625 / cyoung@berkleyrisk.com</p></li></ul>
Changes in the Credit Card Industry - What You Need to Knowhttps://www.amrrp.org/Lists/News Feed/NewsFeedItem.aspx?ID=55Changes in the Credit Card Industry - What You Need to KnowThe United States is far behind the rest of the world in transitioning to EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) credit cards & readers. EMV cards became the standard in the European Union ten years ago, and they boast the lowest level of credit card fraud in the world. Conversely, Barclays reports the US accounted for 47.3 percent of worldwide payment card fraud losses, while producing only 23.5 percent of total volume. EMV cards offer much higher security protection from counterfeit, lost, or stolen cards due to the use of an embedded integrated circuit chip in the card. </p> The most commonly available EMV cards are “contact” smart cards, which require the cardholder to insert the card into an EMV terminal. Most EMV terminals are compatible with traditional magnetic stripe cards and with NFC (Near Field Communications) devices (i.e. mobile devices with non-contact radio communication payment capabilities), such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet.</p> <b>The October 1, 2015 Liability Shift:</b><br> Today, if an in-store transaction is conducted using a counterfeit, stolen or otherwise compromised card, consumer losses from that transaction fall back on the payment processor or issuing bank, depending on the card's terms and conditions. After Oct. 1, 2015 (a deadline created by major U.S. credit card issuers MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express), the liability for card-present fraud will shift to whichever party is the least EMV-compliant in a fraudulent transaction. Otherwise stated, if you are using a non-EMV terminal and your entity processes a counterfeit transaction from an EMV card, <i>your entity will bear the liability</i> for that transaction.</p> <b>Actions:</b><br> Although EMV cards do not protect against all forms of fraud, now is the time to consider replacing credit card terminals with EMV compatible readers to avoid potential losses after the October shift in policy. </p> <p align="center"><i>Evaluations and comments referenced herein are provided for loss control purposes only in conjunction with the AMRRP insurance program. They are not made for the purpose of complying with the requirements of any law, rule or regulation. We do not infer or imply in the making of these evaluations and comments that all material facts were reviewed or that all possible hazards were noted. The final responsibility for conducting safety, loss control and risk management programs must rest with the Member.</i>
Retaliation Claims Top EEOC's List in 2014https://www.amrrp.org/Lists/News Feed/NewsFeedItem.aspx?ID=54Retaliation Claims Top EEOC's List in 2014Claims of retaliation by an employer against an employee for pursuing discrimination claims are number one on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission “hit parade”, according to statistics released by the EEOC for the federal fiscal year ending September 30, 2014. Although these statistics reflect charges filed in the private sector, data for public-sector charges would be expected to be similar.</p> More than 2 in 5 of the charges received by the EEOC in 2014 (42.8 percent) alleged some form of retaliation and for the fifth year running, retribution accounted for the largest percentage of all discrimination charges, outdistancing race, sex, age and disability discrimination. And the 2013/14 statistics for Arizona are similar to the national number, with 45.6% of all charges filed with the EEOC in Arizona alleging retaliation.</p> Nationally, charges of retaliation overtook race as the most frequently filed charge in fiscal year 2010, thus establishing the four-year trend. Since it’s not uncommon for an individual to make multiple allegations when filing a charge with the EEOC, retaliation charges can also include allegations of discrimination based on other factors as well.</p> The strong message to our AMRRP Members is to make sure supervisors and managers are aware of their actions and what they say to or about employees who file discrimination complaints with the EEOC (or the Arizona Civil Rights Division). Exposure risk includes turning a charge that has absolutely no basis in fact into a valid retaliation case based on saying or doing the wrong thing. The Pool's Personnel Assistance Lifeline (PAL) program is always available to assist Members with employment-related questions, and our EEOC/ACRD response program provides for specialized legal counsel to develop the required employer answers to discrimination charges.
New Injured Worker Reporting Requirements; Mandatory Postingshttps://www.amrrp.org/Lists/News Feed/NewsFeedItem.aspx?ID=50New Injured Worker Reporting Requirements; Mandatory PostingsAs of January 1, 2015, there is a change to what employers are required to report to the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH). Employers are now required to report all work-related fatalities within eight hours and all in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, and losses of an eye within 24 hours of learning about the incident.</p> Employers have three options for reporting these severe incidents. They can contact ADOSH at (602) 542-5795 or toll-free at (855) 268-5251; call the 24-hour federal OSHA hotline at 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742); or report online beginning in late January. For more information on the updated reporting requirements, visit OSHA's web page at www.osha.gov.</p> In addition to adhering to injury reporting requirements, the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) requires employers to post several mandatory notices and forms: <ul> <li>Minimum Wage Poster- effective January 1, 2015, Arizona’s minimum wage has increased to $8.05 per hour. Every employer covered under the <i>Raise the Arizona Minimum Wage for Working Arizonans Act</i> (2007) is now required to pay each employee wages not less than this amount. Be sure your posting reflects the current minimum wage. <li>Notice to Employees (Workers’ Compensation) - this posting notifies employees of their basic workers’ compensation coverage and acknowledgement of said coverage (unless waived in writing by the employee). The ICA requires this notice be posted in both English and Spanish and contain the employer’s workers’ compensation policy number in the top right corner. <li>Work Exposure Notices- the ICA requires these posters to be displayed in both English and Spanish, and also mandates the posters be displayed “immediately next to” the Notice to Employees (Workers’ Compensation). The two required work exposure posters are:<br> <ul><li>Work Exposure to Bodily Fluids (HIV, AIDS, Hepatitis “C”) <li>Work Exposure to MRSA, Spinal Meningitis, or Tuberculosis (TB)</ul> <li>Employee Safety and Health Protection- This posting is designed to inform employees of the workplace health and safety rights granted and enforced by ADOSH. This poster must be written in both English and Spanish and printed on 8 ½” X 14” paper.</ul> The Industrial Commission of Arizona offers each of these notices, free of charge, for download and printing. They can be accessed via the Commission’s website at www.azica.gov. Additionally, these postings are widely available for purchase online in a single, laminated poster format; however, be certain that all information contained in the postings is up-to-date.</p> In addition to mandatory labor posters, each employer is required to keep and maintain the OSHA 300 Log, which records all workplace injuries for each calendar year. The information from the 300 Log, which contains personal information in regard to injured employees, must be transferred to the OSHA 300A Log, which is a summary of the previous year’s workplace injuries and does not contain any sensitive information. Your municipality’s 2014 OSHA 300A Log must be displayed in a prominent location, accessible to employees, by February 1, 2015, and must remain posted until April 30, 2015. As an added Member benefit, the OSHA 300 and 300A Logs are available through the Customer E-tools program. To utilize this feature, your municipality’s E-tools designee should access your account and click on the Workers’ Compensation tab.</p> For questions regarding mandatory postings in your workplace, contact Anthony Acosta at (602)368-6606 or aacosta@berkleyrisk.com.
New Pharmacy Vendor for Injured Workershttps://www.amrrp.org/Lists/News Feed/NewsFeedItem.aspx?ID=47New Pharmacy Vendor for Injured WorkersAMRRP has recently partnered with Healthesystems to provide pharmacy benefits to our workers’ compensation Members. Healthesystems will be our pharmacy network vendor for both retail and mail order pharmacy.</p> Beginning Tuesday, October 28, 2014, please provide the First Fill form (you can download this form by clicking the "COVERAGES" tab on the Home Page, then click "Work Comp" and find the link at the bottom of the page) to your newly injured worker to give to the pharmacist for processing first-time prescriptions. This form can be used at facilities with an on-site nurse or HR person and we have found that the use of this form greatly enhances the First Fill process. </p> Workers with existing claims who received pharmacy cards from Express Scripts or PMSI will transition automatically, and should have already received new pharmacy cards in the mail.</p> Prescriptions previously filled through Express Scripts and PMSI will be paid until 11/11/14. After that date, all prescriptions must be filled through Healthesystems.</p> The Healthesystems retail pharmacy network allows your injured workers to have their work-related medications filled at a local pharmacy with no out-of-pocket expense and at a discounted rate below fee schedule.</p> As we strive to increase our utilization of Healthesystems to include initial prescriptions, we have implemented a “First Fill” program. The First Fill program yields the following benefits:<br> <ul> <li>No out-of-pocket expenses for your injured worker <li>Minimize out-of-network pharmacies <li>Ensures the policyholder network savings on the first fill and future prescriptions</p> Dispensing of medications for a new injury frequently takes place within hours after the injury occurs and before the First Notice of Injury/101 Form has been fully processed. In these situations, Healthesystems will allow the pharmacy to provide a ten (10) day supply to the injured worker. </p> The First Fill program provides us with the ability to electronically capture, process, and adjudicate an injured worker's first prescription drug claim. If we never receive the notice of loss or we deem the claim non-compensable, Healthesystems is at risk for the cost of the ten (10) day supply.</p> If you have any questions regarding the First Fill process, please contact AMRRP Workers’ Compensation Supervisor Anthony Acosta at (602) 368-6606 or aacosta@berkleyrisk.com.
5 Ways to Keep Your Copier Data Safehttps://www.amrrp.org/Lists/News Feed/NewsFeedItem.aspx?ID=465 Ways to Keep Your Copier Data SafeWhen it comes to business security, the office photocopier may be one of the last risks you consider; however, today’s generation of office machines are networked, multi-functioning devices that can print, copy, scan, fax and email. Did you know most machines make a digital copy of every job and store it on an internal hard drive? Those hard drives hold a treasure trove of personal information and other sensitive data that in the wrong hands can facilitate identity theft and fraud. Also, copiers are often leased, returned and then re-leased or sold, putting businesses at a greater risk of a data breach.</p> AMRRP Members can protect sensitive and confidential data by including copiers in their information security plan. Follow these tips to safeguard information: </p> <b>1. Educate yourself and your employees about copier risks.</b> Be aware of the information stored on the device and the risk if that data is stolen or the device is lost. Limit storage of sensitive data on such devices.</p> <b>2. Assign responsibility.</b> Make sure copiers are managed and maintained by your municipality’s IT or information security team. Employees who secure company computers and servers should also secure the data contained in the copiers.</p> <b>3. Research and use your copier’s security features</b> or purchase extra security capabilities. Most newer models offer disk override or disk erase features that ensure each new document copy overrides the previous one; additionally, many copiers are equipped with data encryption capabilities.</p> <b>4. Secure data before returning or disposing of your municipality's copiers.</b> Review your options for securing the hard drive or internal memory with the copier manufacturer, dealer or servicing company. Some companies may handle data disposal for you. If returning to a leasing company, use easily available software to sanitize or “wipe clean” the hard drive and document the sanitization process.</p> <b>5. Consider compliance responsibilities.</b> Your city or town may be required to follow specific compliance obligations depending on the information it stores, transits and receives. Make sure you’re aware of state, federal and international requirements.</p> For more information regarding copier data security, contact AMRRP's Loss Control department at (602) 996-8810 or visit https://southwestrisk.breachresponse.com/
EEOC Releases Demanding New Pregnancy Discrimination Guidancehttps://www.amrrp.org/Lists/News Feed/NewsFeedItem.aspx?ID=44EEOC Releases Demanding New Pregnancy Discrimination GuidanceThe Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s new Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues describes the agency’s view of prohibitions on discrimination against pregnant workers and how the EEOC sees employment laws enacted in the past 30 years, such as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the 2008 ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA), apply to these workers.</p> The Guidance is the first comprehensive update on the subject since 1983 and supersedes earlier guidance (Section 626: Pregnancy, EEOC Compliance Manual, Volume II; <i>Policy Guidance on the Supreme Court Decision in International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America, UAW v. Johnson Controls, Inc.</i>) (1991)). The EEOC also released a related “Q&A” document and Fact Sheet for Small Businesses.</p> The controversial Guidance garnered the votes of only three of the Commission’s five members. In separate statements, Commissioners Constance S. Barker and Victoria A. Lipnic dissented from the agency’s adoption of the Guidance. Both noted the substance of the Guidance overstepped legal precedents and was a dramatic departure from existing law and the agency’s previous guidance. They criticized the agency for not making the Guidance available for public review and comment before the Commissioners had to vote, noting the move signaled a lack of transparency.</p> <b>Four Parts</b><br> Part One of the Guidance’s four parts discusses the prohibitions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as clarified by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA). Part Two discusses the application of the ADAAA’s accommodation and non-discrimination requirements and the definition of disability to pregnancy-related impairments. Part Three discusses other legal requirements affecting pregnant workers, including the FMLA. Part Four describes “Best Practices” for employers.</p> The Guidance’s more controversial requirements include the following:</p> (1) an employer policy of providing light duty only to employees with on-the-job injuries violates the PDA (Commissioner Lipnic noted that this position has not been adopted by any federal circuit court);</p> (2) an employer must provide accommodations to an employee with a normal and otherwise healthy pregnancy;</p> (3) certain employer inquiries, comments or discussions regarding an employee’s pregnancy or potential pregnancy are indicative of discrimination; and</p> (4) an employer health insurance plan must cover prescription contraceptives on the same basis as prescription medications that prevent medical conditions other than pregnancy.</p> <b>Light Duty, Accommodations, Inquiries</b><br> The Guidance addresses circumstances under which employers may have to provide light duty to pregnant workers. The EEOC contends an employer may not refuse a pregnant worker’s request for light duty based on a policy that makes distinctions based on the source of an employee’s limitations (e.g., a policy of providing light duty only to workers injured on the job or to workers with an ADA-covered disability). The Guidance states that workers needing light duty due to on-the-job injuries or ADA-covered disabilities are appropriate similarly situated comparators to a pregnant worker needing light duty because they are similar to the pregnant worker in the ability or inability to work. This view conflicts with the decisions of several federal courts of appeals, including the Fourth, Eleventh and Sixth Circuits, as the EEOC recognizes in its notes.</p> Until now, the PDA has been interpreted to mean pregnancy is not a disability under the ADA. However, again departing from existing law, the Guidance states that to the extent a worker’s normal, healthy pregnancy limits her ability to perform certain job duties, and to the extent an employer would accommodate an employee with similar limitations, the employer also must accommodate the pregnant worker or risk discriminating against the woman on the basis of her pregnancy.</p> The EEOC also declares that certain employer inquiries related to pregnancy or potential pregnancy are indicative of discrimination. In the Q&A document, EEOC states, “Although Title VII does not prohibit employers from asking applicants or employees about gender-related characteristics such as pregnancy, such questions are generally discouraged. The EEOC will consider the fact that an employer has asked such a question when evaluating a charge alleging pregnancy discrimination.”</p> <b>Prescription Contraceptives</b><br> The Guidance provides that employers violate Title VII by providing health insurance that excludes coverage for prescription contraceptives, regardless of whether the contraceptives are provided for birth control or medical purposes. It further explains that, to comply with Title VII, employer-provided health plans must cover prescription contraceptives on the same basis as other prescription drugs, devices, and services used to prevent the occurrence of medical conditions other than pregnancy. If an employer-provided health plan covers preventive care for vaccinations, physical examinations and prescription drugs to prevent high blood pressure or to lower cholesterol levels, then prescription contraceptives also must be covered.</p> The Guidance notes that Title VII does not require that employer-provided health plans provide coverage for abortions, except where the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term or where medical complications have arisen from an abortion.</p> The EEOC included a caveat in its Q&A document that the Guidance does not address whether certain employers might be exempt from Title VII’s requirements under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act or First Amendment of the Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in <i>Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.</i>, that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate violated the RFRA as applied to closely held family for-profit corporations whose owners had religious objections to providing certain types of contraceptives. It is unclear how a court could distinguish <i>Hobby Lobby</i> in a challenge to the Guidance’s rules around contraception, especially contraceptive methods that an employer equates to abortion, bearing in mind Title VII’s existing exception for abortion coverage.</p> In addition, the Guidance does not address its impact on other employers who are currently exempt from existing contraception requirements, such as those who maintain plans that are grandfathered under the Affordable Care Act.</p> <b>Far-Reaching Best Practices</b><br> The EEOC stated that the Guidance’s “Best Practices” suggestions, which the agency concedes “go beyond federal non-discrimination requirements,” are suggestions that may “decrease complaints of unlawful discrimination and enhance employee productivity.”</p> These recommendations include implementing a strong policy against pregnancy discrimination, training managers, responding to complaints promptly and effectively, evaluating restrictive leave policies for any disproportionate impact on pregnant workers, consulting with pregnant workers to develop a plan for covering job duties during anticipated absences, and stating explicitly that reasonable accommodation procedures are available to employees with pregnancy-related impairments. As the dissenters noted, much of the Guidance seems to impose requirements on employers that are not supported by the language of the PDA or the ADAAA; indeed, they may even contradict some court decisions.</p> <b>State and Local Laws</b><br> The Guidance points out that employers must comply with state or local provisions regarding pregnant workers unless those provisions require or permit discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.</p> <i>This is a brief summary of the Guidance. Employers should review their pregnancy, discrimination, leave and disability accommodation-related policies and practices in light of the Guidance and the Q&A document. They should consult with employment counsel to determine whether they may be affected by the Guidance, and if so, how.</p> The preceding article was reprinted with permission from Jackson Lewis, P.C.</p> For questions on this or other employment issues, please contact Kevin Buchanan at (602) 368-6654 or kbuchanan@berkleyrisk.com to access the Personnel Assistance Lifeline (PAL) program.</i>
Responding to an EEOC Discrimination Charge: Hidden Risks https://www.amrrp.org/Lists/News Feed/NewsFeedItem.aspx?ID=40Responding to an EEOC Discrimination Charge: Hidden Risks <i>By Richard S. Cohen, Jackson Lewis, P.C.</i><br> Discrimination lawsuits can be filed by a rejected applicant, current or former employee or a governmental agency charged with the responsibility of handling administrative complaints of discrimination (“charges”). Although charges in Arizona are filed simultaneously with the Arizona Civil Rights Division of the Attorney General’s Office and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), almost all of the charges are investigated by the federal agency. With limited exceptions, a private party cannot file a discrimination lawsuit without first having filed a charge. </p> For years, employers understandably have analyzed only the specific allegations made by the individual who filed the charge (“charging party”). Although any lawsuit filed by the charging party must be limited in scope to allegations that are “like or related” to those in his charge, that limitation does not apply to lawsuits filed by the government. Instead, the courts have repeatedly held that the EEOC can sue on any allegations that reasonably grew out of the agency’s investigation of the charge and were then investigated, as long as the EEOC found “reasonable cause” to believe that discrimination had occurred as to those issues.</p> During the past several years, the EEOC has become increasingly aggressive in its efforts to expand the scope of the allegations in the individual party’s initial charge. To the extent possible, the EEOC will attempt to discover a policy or practice that it believes violates the law. At times, the policy or practice may be directly related to the employment action about which the charging party complained. However, based on the principle that the EEOC can investigate anything that reasonably came to its attention while it was investigating allegations in the charge, the EEOC’s ultimate findings of discrimination may have absolutely nothing to do with the allegations that were in the charge. For example, if the employer, in response to a charge of race discrimination, provides the EEOC with its entire employee handbook, and the EEOC discovers a policy in the handbook that it concludes is discriminatory, it can expand its investigation to cover that policy. As an example, the EEOC, starting with an investigation into allegations of racial harassment, can go in an entirely different direction because it believes the employer’s leave policy violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.</p> While the EEOC, pursuant to its “Systemic Initiative,” has announced that its highest priority will be to investigate and file lawsuits challenging discriminatory policies or practices, as a result of the agency’s overall increased aggressiveness, we have seen numerous instances in which the EEOC, purportedly investigating a single claim of harassment, found cause to believe that several individuals other than the charging party were harassed. With that determination in hand, the EEOC then demanded monetary payments for the additional “victims” they found during their investigation – individuals who had never filed a charge or even an internal complaint with the employer.</p> The Bottom Line: Because of the complexities of the discrimination laws and regulations, employers often have created problems for themselves when responding to narrow charges of discrimination. The risk and potential exposure of mistakes during an EEOC administrative investigation has increased dramatically, however, as the agency has become significantly more aggressive in its efforts to expand the scope of its investigations.</p> <p align="center">***</p> <p align="center"><i>All Arizona cities and towns obtaining their liability coverage from the AMRRP are eligible to use the Pool’s EEOC/ACRD Position Statement Program at no charge. The program provides Members with legal assistance in formulating an administrative response to discrimination allegations filed with the EEOC or ACRD. The specialized employment attorneys at the Jackson Lewis law firm assist AMRRP Members in effectively addressing discrimination charges at the administrative level where costly potential employment lawsuits can oftentimes be eliminated before they’re filed.</p> <p align="center"><i>For further information on the AMRRP’s EEOC/ACRD Position Statement Program, contact Kevin Buchanan at 602-368-6654 (kbuchanan@berkleyrisk.com).
Law Enforcement Bulletin: Conducting a Safer “Terry” Stophttps://www.amrrp.org/Lists/News Feed/NewsFeedItem.aspx?ID=39Law Enforcement Bulletin: Conducting a Safer “Terry” StopDuring an investigative detention, or “Terry” stop, the law enforcement officer has developed reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is occurring and has decided to detain the citizen in order to conduct further investigation. By the very nature of this type of interaction, the Terry stop is a complicated procedure with inherent threats to the officer’s safety. </p> In an article published on PoliceOne.com, Lakewood, Washington veteran police trainer Jeff Payter offers five questions every officer should consider when preparing to conduct a Terry stop:</p> <b>1. What is the nature of the crime?</b> If you believe you are contacting suspects in a crime of violence, the threat to you is elevated. Your justification for a weapons frisk is much greater.<br> <b>2. Do I think the suspect is armed, or do I KNOW that the suspect is armed?</b> If you think a suspect you are detaining may be armed, then a pat-down for weapons is prudent. If you KNOW a suspect is armed, then the interaction has morphed into a high-risk contact. You should be contacting the suspect with your sidearm at low ready, and the suspect should be handcuffed before attempts to disarm are made. There is a big difference between thinking and knowing; when you know, recognize the elevated risk to your life and act accordingly. <br> <b>3. What are the objective hazards of the contact?</b> By objective hazards, I mean hazards that are concrete (known) and measurable. Is the ratio of suspect-to-officers acceptable? Is there adequate illumination to see threats to your safety? Are you in a location in which there are additional people unfriendly to police? Is there a crime of violence involved in the contact? Use good tactics to counter objective hazards.<br> <b>4. What are the subjective hazards of the contact?</b> By subjective hazards, I’m referring to more hazards brought to the situation by the individual officer. This type of hazard varies from officer to officer. Chronic injuries; poor marksmanship; poor control and defensive tactics skills; poor communications skills; damaged or inoperative equipment; lack of physical fitness and poor geographical orientation are all examples of subjective hazards that are brought to a given incident by an officer. <br> <b>5. What type of behavior does the suspect exhibit upon contact?</b> Officers should make an assessment of potential resistance upon contact. Is the suspect preparing to flee? If they begin the “hurdler stretch” while you are introducing yourself, they may be preparing to run. Are they taking a bladed stance (or some type of stance indicating hostile intent)? Is the suspect crowding your personal space? If you are seeing problematic behavior, you should confront the behavior immediately. Don’t make the mistake of fatal rationalization. </p> <b>Use a Control Hold</b></p> When the decision to frisk is made during a Terry stop, physical control should be established prior to the commencement of the pat-down. Both hands should be secured in some type of control hold at minimum. I see many officers and trainees try to short-cut this part of the process by beginning the pat-down without establishing a control hold. I advocate the Modified Faulkner position, wherein the suspect is controlled via finger lock with their hands behind their back. Many prefer the suspect to have his hands interlaced behind his head. Whatever your technique preference, a control hold or position should be used to place the suspect at a disadvantage prior to the start of the pat-down. </p> Optimally, you should have a cover officer present at the start of the contact. Depending on the realities of staffing in your jurisdiction however, this is not always possible. </p> In the event you are beginning the pat-down alone, it is even more important to use a control hold. You may want to handcuff the suspect at the beginning of the detention; however, you must then make decisions with the Fourth Amendment issues regarding use of force and Miranda. </p> The Terry stop is a versatile tool when properly utilized by your municipality’s police force, but officers must be aware of the hazards associated with these contacts and use appropriate tactics to mitigate those risks.</p> For questions regarding this or other law enforcement issues, feel free to contact AMRRP Loss Control Manager Eric Duthie at (602) 368-6503 or eduthie@berkleyrisk.com.</p> <i>Portions of the above article originally appeared on PoliceOne, the online resource for Law Enforcement, and are reprinted by permission of the PoliceOne editorial team. Visit www.PoliceOne.com to access articles, information, and resources that help officers across the United States protect their communities and stay safe on the streets.</i>
Law Enforcement Bulletin: Supreme Court to Hear Cases on Cell Phone Searcheshttps://www.amrrp.org/Lists/News Feed/NewsFeedItem.aspx?ID=37Law Enforcement Bulletin: Supreme Court to Hear Cases on Cell Phone SearchesThis month, the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments on two cases—one federal (<i>U.S. v. Wurie</i>) and one state (<i>Riley v. California</i>)—involving and affecting cell phone searches by police. Both cases address the extent of authority law enforcement officers hold in obtaining information from suspects’ personal cell phones, and lower courts in each case have previously come to opposite conclusions. <p>In the following excerpt from an article published on <i>PoliceOne.com</i>, international law enforcement trainer and writer Val Van Brocklin discusses each of the cases to be heard by the Supreme Court:</p> “<b>The State Case</b><br> <p>Riley was stopped for expired tags. When police discovered loaded guns in his vehicle, they arrested Riley and searched his smart phone without a warrant. They found evidence identifying Riley as a gang member intent on killing some rival gang members. Police traced calls that pointed to Riley as a participant in a shooting at rival members. No one positively identified Riley but the jury heard the evidence from the cell phone search and convicted Riley of shooting at an occupied vehicle, attempted murder and assault with a semi-automatic weapon. He was sentenced to fifteen years to life.</p> <p>On appeal, the California Supreme Court — which had previously ruled that such searches are legal — affirmed Riley's conviction.</p> <p>In granting review, the U.S. Supreme Court said it would rule only on ‘whether evidence admitted at [his] trial was obtained in a search of [his] cellphone that violated [his] Fourth Amendment rights.’</p> <b>The Federal Case</b><br> <p>Believing they had witnessed a drug transaction between Brima Wurie and Fred Wade, police confronted Wade and found two 8-balls of cocaine. Other officers arrested Wurie. At the police station, Wurie’s cell phone rang. Police opened the phone and traced the call to an address in Boston. Police went to the address and knocked. When a woman opened the door they smelled marijuana. Police got a search warrant and recovered 215 grams of crack cocaine, a 9mm pistol, assorted ammunition, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia.</p> <p>Wurie was indicted for felony possession of a firearm and ammunition, distribution of crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school and possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute. He moved to suppress the evidence gained from his cell phone, arguing that the police had violated his Fourth Amendment rights. The trial court held that the cell phone search was incidental to Wurie’s arrest and was limited and reasonable.</p> <p>The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the search was not conducted for officer safety or to preserve destructible evidence. The Court noted that a modern cell phone is like a personal computer that can contain large amounts of highly personal information. Because searching cell phones could be a convenient way for the police to find more information relating to the suspect’s arrest or even other crimes, the Court held that police could not perform warrantless searches of cell phones unless specific exigent circumstances existed.</p> <p>In accepting <i>U.S. v. Wurie</i>, the Supreme Court said it would address the broader issue of whether the Fourth Amendment allows police to conduct a warrantless review of the call log of the cell phone belonging to a person who has been lawfully arrested. </p> <p>If the Court rules the search in <i>Wurie</i> was constitutional, law enforcement can only hope the Court goes on to give some guidance regarding searches that go beyond just a call log. It’s up to the Court whether to decide the issue narrowly on just the facts presented in <i>Wurie</i> or to issue a more sweeping decision on cell phone privacy.”</p> <p>Van Brocklin also notes while it takes an average of 14 to 16 weeks for the Supreme Court to issue a decision, 30 weeks is not uncommon.</p> <p>For questions on this or other law enforcement issues, please feel free to contact AMRRP’s Mike Branham at (602) 368-6624 or mbranham@berkleyrisk.com. </p>
OSHA: Hazardous Chemical Management Standard under Reviewhttps://www.amrrp.org/Lists/News Feed/NewsFeedItem.aspx?ID=34OSHA: Hazardous Chemical Management Standard under ReviewAs a result of the April, 2013 fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, President Obama signed Executive Order 13650, “Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security”, directing OSHA and other government agencies to improve operational coordination with state and local partners; improve federal agency coordination and information sharing; modernize policies, regulations, and standards; and identify best practices. Changes to the current OSHA standard regarding management of highly hazardous chemicals in the workplace (29 CFR Part 1910) are being fast tracked and will likely be significant.<br> <p>The purpose of the standard, whether in current or revised form, is to prevent employee exposure to catastrophic chemical release accidents. Employers must comply if certain chemicals are present on site at or above a threshold quantity (TQ). The specific chemicals and associated TQs are listed in the standard at www.osha.gov, including chlorine, ozone, anhydrous ammonia, and flammable liquids.</p> <p>Some of the changes to the standard currently under consideration are: removing the exemption for flammable liquids in tanks at atmospheric pressure; requiring that compliance self-audits be accomplished using third parties; expanding coverage to include reactive combinations of chemicals; expanding coverage to include ammonium nitrate; increased OSHA enforcement; and increased data reporting from employers.</p> <p>Because the standard is under review and changes are inevitable, the chances of an OSHA visit are likely increased. AMRRP advises all Members to review their written plan and ensure any required updates are implemented and documented. This could include training, process hazard analysis, SOP certifications and compliance self-auditing.</p> <p>For questions or help reviewing your municipality’s hazardous chemical standard operating procedure (SOP), feel free to contact AMRRP’s Nancy Graves-Green at (602) 368-6626 or ngraves-green@berkleyrisk.com.</p>

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