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Utah Compliance Connection - July 2023

July 1, 2023

Federal Compliance Update

Supreme Court Heightens Protections for Religious Accommodations

In a decision issued on June 29, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act (Title VII) requires employers to meet a heightened standard for undue hardship, making it more difficult to deny requests for religious accommodations.

Title VII Background

Title VII prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating against employees and job applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. It also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for an individual’s religious observance or practice unless an employer is “unable” to do so “without undue hardship” on the conduct of its business.

Undue Hardship Standard

Lower federal courts previously held that Title VII’s undue hardship standard for denying religious accommodations only requires an employer to show that any accommodation would cause the employer to bear “more than a de minimis cost.” The Supreme Court’s decision in Groff v. Dejoy reverses those decisions, holding that if an employer denies religious accommodations, it must show that the burden of granting an accommodation would result in “substantial increased costs in relation to the conduct of its particular business.” This requires employers to take all relevant factors of a particular situation into account, including the specific accommodations at issue and their practical impact in light of the nature, size, and operating cost of employer.

The Court also clarified that this standard for undue hardship is different from the standard used when denying accommodations for disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In general, the ADA’s undue hardship standard only requires employers to show “significant hardship and expense.”

Actions for Employers

Employers subject to Title VII should become familiar with the new decision. They may also need to review their employment policies and practices to ensure that they can meet the heightened undue hardship standard outlined in the decision for any denials of their employees’ or applicants’ requests for religious accommodations.

In addition, all employers should be aware that state laws may have different employee count thresholds, require religious accommodations, and may have different undue hardship standards for denying religious accommodations. Employers that are subject to both federal and state laws on religious discrimination must follow the one that is more protective of employees and applicants.

Federal: DOL Exchange Notice Updated

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires employers to notify all workers, regardless of their benefits eligibility status, about the availability of the Health Insurance Marketplaces. All employers, with limited exceptions, are required to distribute the

notice to new employees within 14 days of hire. The Department of Labor (DOL) provides customizable model notices to inform workers of their health insurance coverage options.

The DOL published updated model notices as follows:

The model notices have an expiration date of July 31, 2023. The previous versions expired on June 30, 2023.

Federal: OSHA Requires Electronic Submission of Forms 300 and 301

Beginning January 1, 2024, establishments with 100 or more employees in certain high hazard industries must electronically submit their Form 300, Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, and Form 301, Injury and Illness Incident Report, annually to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) with their legal company name included. They must also continue to electronically submit their Form 300A, Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. According to pre-existing rules, the following must submit the Form 300A info electronically:

  • Establishments with 20 –249 employees in certain high-hazard industries; and
  • Establishments with 250 or more employees in industries that must routinely keep OSHA injury and illness records.

More information is available on the OSHA website and its Injury and Illness Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements page.

(Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses Final Rule is scheduled to be published July 21, 2023)

New Form I-9 Available Aug. 1, 2023, With a Remote Verification Option for E-Verify Users

On July 21, 2023, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a new version of Form I-9, also known as the Employment Eligibility Verification form. Employers are required to use this form to verify that their employees are authorized to work in the United States. Employers can begin using the new form Aug. 1, 2023.

Form Updates

As explained by USCIS, the new Form I-9:

  • Reduces Sections 1 and 2 to a single-sided sheet;
  • Is designed to be a fillable form on tablets and mobile devices;
  • Moves the Section 1, Preparer/Translator Certification, area to a separate, standalone supplement that employers can provide to employees when necessary;
  • Moves Section 3, Reverification and Rehire, to a standalone supplement that employers can print if or when rehire occurs or reverification is required;
  • Revises the Lists of Acceptable Documents page to include some acceptable receipts as well as guidance and links to information on automatic extensions of employment authorization documentation;
  • Reduces form instructions from 15 pages to eight pages; and
  • Includes a checkbox allowing employers to indicate they examined Form I-9 documentation remotely under a Department of Homeland Security (DHS)-authorized alternative procedure rather than via physical examination.

The agency announcement also explains that the revised Form I-9 (edition date Aug. 1, 2023) will be published on uscis.gov on Aug. 1, 2023. Employers can use the current Form I-9 (edition date Oct. 21, 2019) through Oct. 31, 2023. Starting Nov. 1, 2023, all employers must use the new Form I-9.

Remote Document Verification

On July 21, 2023, USCIS announced a final rule in the Federal Register that recognizes the end of temporary COVID-19 flexibilities on July 31, 2023. The final rule also provides DHS the authority to authorize optional alternatives for employers to examine Form I-9 documentation.

Under current requirements, employers must physically inspect I-9 acceptable documents to certify their employers are authorized to work in the United States. However, with the final rule, DHS also published an accompanying document in the Federal Register providing employers enrolled in E-Verify the option to remotely examine their employees’ identity and employment authorization documents under a DHS-authorized alternative procedure.

White House to Review Proposed Overtime Rule, DOL to Publish in August

On July 12, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) submitted a proposed rule to update overtime regulations under the Fair LaborStandards Act (FLSA) to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for final review. The OMB will have 10 days to make a preliminary determination of whether the proposed overtime rule is economically significant. After that, the OMB will have another 90 days to review the rule. According to the DOL’s latest regulatory agenda, the publication of the proposed overtime rule is set for August 2023.

This announcement comes after a series of delays. The DOL initially planned to release proposed rule changes in April 2022before delaying until October 2022. The agency later amended its target release date to May 2023, then announced in its spring regulatory agenda that the proposed overtime rule would be published in August 2023.

What Will the Proposed Overtime Rule Address?

The proposed rule is expected to address implementing exemptions from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements for executive, administrative and professional employees. It could also clarify classifications of exempt employees and increase their salary levels under the FLSA.

Some experts believe the DOL will create automatic annual or periodic increases to exempt employees’ salary levels by linking them to the consumer price index. This would allow exempt employees’ salary thresholds to increase without formal rulemaking.

What’s Next?

Submitting a draft overtime rule to the OMB signals that the DOL is likely to issue a proposed rule within the next 100 days. After DOL publishes a proposed rule in the Federal Register, time will be designated for the public to comment. The agency will review the comments and decide whether to proceed with publishing a final rule. If a final overtime rule is published in the Federal Register, it will likely be challenged legally.

Although employers aren’t legally obligated to change how they classify or pay employees until the DOL’s overtime rule is finalized, they should closely monitor the DOL’s rulemaking process. We will notify you of any critical changes or announcements.

State Compliance Update

Nothing new since the legislative session closed.

Compliance Calendar


08/01 – VETS-4212 Filing Open (federal contractors)


09/30 – Summary Annual Report (SAR) Deadline (calendar year plans)

09/30 – VETS-4212 Filing Deadline (federal contractors)


10/2 – QSEHRA Notice Deadline (Calendar Year Plans Only) 1014 – Medicare Part D Creditable/Noncreditable Coverage Notice 10/30 – Form 941 Filing Deadline (third quarter)


Lighthouse HR Support (LHRS) provides practical human resource information and guidance based upon our knowledge and experience in the industry and with our clients. LHRS services are not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. LHRS services are designed to provide general information to human resources and/or business professionals regarding human resource concerns commonly encountered. Given the changing nature of federal, state and local legislation and the changing nature of court decisions, LHRS cannot and will not guarantee that the information is completely current or accurate. LHRS services do not include or constitute legal, business, international, regulatory, insurance, tax or financial advice. Use of our services, whether by phone, email or in person shall indicate your acceptance of this knowledge.

Written By:

Kelly Murphy

Kelly Murphy

Senior HR Business Partner

Kelly brings a wealth of knowledge with nearly 30 years of human resource experience. She provides expertise in various human resource categories, including employee relations, performance management, HR Form creation/review (employee handbooks, job descriptions, etc.), employee/management training, workplace investigations, etc. Her human resource certifications include PHR (Professional Human Resources) and SHRM-PC (Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional). 

Kelly attended Colorado Mesa University and Waldorf University, where she earned a degree in Human Resource Management and Business Administration with Summa Cum Laude honors. She was named Western Colorado Human Resource Association Professional of the Year, 2013, and currently serves on the Board of Directors. She also is a member of the WCHRA Skills Development Committee, the WCCA Education Committee, and the Members/Events Committee. She serves as an Ambassador for both the Fruita and Palisade Chamber of Commerce.