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Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius

The 10th United States Circuit Court of Appeals has recently made a decision pertaining to one of the branches of litigation sprung from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.  The Court found that for-profit corporations may be exempt from providing contraception coverage to employees, as is required by Obamacare.  This is because of the first amendment’s freedom of religion clause.  The Court rationed that if corporations are protected and capable of donating as much money to political campaigns as they wish under the free speech clause, then they must also be protected under the freedom of religion clause.  Previously, this protection was only extended to not-for-profit corporations.  The case is Hobby Lobby Stores Inc v. Sebelius, 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 12-6294.

(Reuters Legal)

OSHA and the NOAA Weather Service are teaming up again to prevent heat-related deaths and illnesses. Record-breaking heat the past two years has exacerbated heat-related injuries and fatalities in outdoor workers. With the peak of summer heat beginning, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels and NOAA’s National Weather Service Director Dr. Louis Uccellini are reminding employers that heat-related illnesses can be prevented.

“Each year, thousands of workers across the country suffer from serious heat-related illnesses,” said Michaels. “This can easily be prevented with water, rest, and shade. If outdoor workers take these precautions, it can mean the difference between life and death.”

In 2011, 4,420 workers experienced heat illnesses and 61 workers died according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data. To help prevent heat related deaths and illness among workers, NOAA will continue to include the following language in its excessive heat warnings that are sent across the country:

To reduce risk during outdoor work, OSHA recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency – Call 911.

(From OSHA)

OSHA’s Chicago area offices partnered with the Builders Association, Construction Safety Council, the Chicago Area Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust, construction contractors and other safety and health organizations to sponsor safety stand down on June 12. At 70 construction sites across the Chicago area, 1,500 workers ceased work for about 30 minutes to receive focused training on how falls from ladders, scaffolds and roofs can be prevented by planning ahead and using the right safety equipment.

To learn more about OSHA’s Fall Prevention campaign, visit www.osha.gov/stopfalls.

(From OSHA)

The Senate has approved immigration reform legislation (S. 744) that, though positive in many ways, effectively excludes construction employers from participating in a new temporary worker program created by the bill. The Senate bill restricts the number of visas allocated to the construction industry to a maximum of 15,000 annually nationwide; employers in other industries face no similar restriction.

House members will attempt to draft an alternative immigration reform bill in July, and NRCA asks all members to contact their representatives and urge support for immigration legislation that meets the needs of the roofing industry. NRCA supports a temporary worker program that is governed by market forces, protects U.S. workers and enables employers to legally obtain the workers needed to meet business demands.

NRCA has posted an Action Alert urging members to communicate the roofing industry’s views and concerns to House members regarding immigration reform legislation. To view the Action Alert, click here.

(From NRCA Newsletter)

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced a new national emphasis program (NEP) to protect workers from serious health effects caused by occupational exposure to isocyanates.
OSHA develops NEPs to focus outreach efforts and inspections on specific hazards in an industry for a three-year period. Through this NEP, OSHA will make efforts to reduce occupational illnesses and deaths by focusing on workplaces in general, construction and maritime industries that use isocyanate compounds.

Isocyanates are chemicals used in materials such as paints, varnishes, auto body repair and building insulation and can cause occupational asthma; irritation of the skin, eyes, nose and throat; and cancer. Deaths have occurred because of asthma and hypersensitivity pneumonitis from isocyanate exposure. Respiratory illnesses also can be caused by isocyanate exposure to the skin. Jobs that involve exposure to isocyanates include spray-on polyurethane manufacturing of products such as mattresses and car seats, as well as protective coatings for truck beds, boats and decks.

“Workers exposed to isocyanates can suffer debilitating health problems for months or even years after exposure,” says David Michaels, OSHA’s assistant secretary of labor. “Through this program, OSHA will strengthen protections for workers exposed to isocyanates.”

OSHA’s Web page regarding isocyanates provides additional information about recognizing potential hazards, as well as OSHA standards that address isocyanates in the general, construction and maritime industries.

(From NRCA Newsletter)

NRCA has released a statement commending the Senate’s recent approval of the bipartisan Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744).

NRCA supports a temporary worker program that is governed by market forces, protects U.S. workers and enables employers to obtain the workers needed to grow their businesses. NRCA believes the basic construct of the new W-Visa program is sound and generally meets the needs of U.S. employers and workers.

However, NRCA has serious concerns that S. 744 in its current form will not fully resolve key problems that currently plague our immigration system.

To read NRCA’s statement, click here.

(From NRCA Newsletter)

Suzlon Energy v. Ventus De Nicaragua, S. A., 38 Fla. L. Weekly D1369a, Case No. 3D11-1087, filed June 19, 2013: Granting a Motion for Rehearing, the appellate court WITHDEW its earlier opinion reported at 38 Fla. L. Weekly D304a, and affirmed the trial court’s order confirming the arbitration award in favor of Venus.

(From RPPTL Subcommittee)

The Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing will hold a free webinar, Scoring RoofPoint Projects, July 25 at 1 p.m. EST. The webinar is the second in a two-part series presented by RoofPoint; the first part, Submitting RoofPoint Projects, will be held July 18.

Scoring RoofPoint Projects will provide a detailed review of the RoofPoint project rating system and scoring process, including tips for rating and scoring RoofPoint projects.

You will learn the key intents and standards behind the RoofPoint credit requirements; specific requirements for each RoofPoint credit; how to assign “Meets Requirements,” “Exceeds Requirements” and “Meets Intent” scores to each credit; the minimum project rating for RoofPoint registration; and where to find additional information about RoofPoint credits, requirements and scoring.

To register for the webinar, click here.

(From NRCA Newsletter)

GMT Construction, Inc. and Ronald A. Smith v. Gulfside Supply, Inc., 38 Fla. L. Weekly D1315a, Case No. 3D12-732, filed June 12, 2013: Summary judgment entered in favor of roofing supplier against roofing contractor was REVERSED and REMANDED based on disputed evidence of materials facts regarding supplier’s manager knowledge that contractor was unaware of purchase, and orally told contractor that contractor’s supervisor was personally liable for the purchases when contractor objected to invoice.

(From RPPTL Subcommittee)

Minimal progress has been made in recent years about an issue clearly important to the roofing industry – immigration.  Roofing workers are scarce, and without a reliable source of workers, many contractors are faced with the risks of hiring undocumented workers.

The Immigration reform and Control Act requires employers to verify employees’’ identities and employment eligibility; the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 is the primary means of documenting this verification.  Employers who fail to properly complete I-9 forms are subject to civil fines ranging from $110 to $1,100 per paperwork error violation.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently announced it conducted the highest number of I-9 audits during fiscal year 2012.  ICE indicated I-9 audits of employers increased from 250 in fiscal year 2007 to more than 3,000 in fiscal year 2012.  Expect this trend to continue.  With an understanding of how the audit process works and how you can prepare for it, your business will be in a better position to avoid any fines or penalties at the conclusion of an audit process.

(From NRCA)