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Employment Law Trends For 2016

We’re just four months into 2016, and already this year is shaping up to be a landmark year for labor and employment law. The federal government is more involved than ever in labor and employment matters, and many of the federal agencies have bigger budgets and more investigators now than during any other point in history. Not only that, but many of these agencies are now being more aggressive in their enforcement and investigation tactics than ever before.

So what are some of the top things employers should be aware of or keep an eye on for the rest of 2016?

  • Systemic investigations. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has increasingly been looking for broader policy or practices issues when investigating individual claims. This means it’s more and more likely for an individual claim to turn into system-wide investigations and/or class action lawsuits.
  • Accommodations for pregnant employees. Pregnancy is protected by a number of laws, including the Family Medical Leave Act, Americans with Disabilities Act and Pregnancy Discrimination Act. But in the light of the decision of Young v. UPS and the subsequent case law, accommodations for pregnant workers (light duty, lactation) has become a hot-button issue for the EEOC.
  • Overhaul of the FLSA’s overtime regulations. There has been extensive coverage of the proposed rule updating the FLSA’s overtime regulations over the past few months, but the reality is that these regulations are coming (even if it’s not clear when exactly they will go into effect), and employers need to seriously start thinking about what they’re going to do to comply with them.
  • Union encroachment into non-union workplaces. Employers that don’t have unionized operations have largely ignored the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in the past. In recent years, however, unions and the NLRB have shifted their focus from unionized workplaces to non-union workplaces. The result? Employees in non-union workplaces now have union-style protections and rights, and employers and industries who have historically never had to deal with unions can no longer ignore them.

Of course, these points are just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.  For a more robust review of what’s trending in labor and employment law, make sure to check out the recap of G&A Partners’ most recent webinar: “What’s Going On In Labor And Employment Law: 2016 And Beyond,” hosted by Alexis C. Knapp, an experienced attorney with labor and employment law firm Littler. Click here to watch the recorded webinar.

This article is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice.

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