News & Analysis

What's the magic word? There isn't one for ADA's interactive process

The U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Arkansas employers) recently reversed a district court's decision to dismiss a respiratory therapist's claim that she was unlawfully terminated because of her disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Asleep at the wheel: Court OK's trucking firm's sleep apnea test for overweight workers

The 8th Circuit recently affirmed a lower court's ruling dismissing a truck driver's claim that his employer violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by requiring a medical exam and discriminating against him on the basis of a perceived disability.

Agency Action

EEOC looks into implications of big data. The use of big dataalgorithms, data scraping of the Internet, and other means of evaluating information on individualshas the potential to reduce employment discrimination, but it also can worsen bias, Jenny R. Yang, chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), said after a public hearing on the issue in October 2016. A panel of industrial psychologists, attorneys, and labor economists told the EEOC that the use of big data is expected to grow. Yang cautioned that although innovation can reduce discrimination, it is critical that these tools are designed to promote fairness and opportunity, so that reliance on these expanding sources of data does not create new barriers to opportunity.

Workplace Trends

Survey shows employers plan to focus on retention in 2017. A new survey shows employer compensation plans for 2017 place retention ahead of a desire to control costs. Fifty-three percent of respondents in the Xerox HR Services 2017 Compensation Planning Survey report that their highest priority in the coming year is retaining top talent. The survey shows a shift from cost control to rewards for top performers. The 10th annual survey found that while pay raises are expected to remain at 3%, nearly all survey participants who plan to offer lump-sum payments in 2017 will do so to reward employees who have reached or are above their pay range maximum. In addition, 37% of employers intend to determine market pay adjustments for high-potential employees.

Union Activity

SEIU wins recognition at Seattle airport. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) announced in October 2016 that it has won recognition as the union for various workers at Seattle- Tacoma International Airport in Washington. SEIU Local 6 is representing baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, cart drivers, wheelchair agents, unaccompanied minor escorts, and lavatory and water service fillers at the airport. The SEIU notes that the Seattle airport workers were the first airport workers in the country to win a $15 minimum wage. The SEIU announcement called the Seattle airport workers pioneers in the Fight for $15 movement.

Paycheck transparency: Are you ready for January 1 implementation?

Although a Texas federal district court judge barred the implementation of the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces (FPSW) final rule, the paycheck transparency requirements of FPSW are still scheduled to become effective for federal contractors with new contracts worth more than $500,000 issued after January 1, 2017. For new contracts issued after January 1, 2017, prime contractors will need to insert the paycheck transparency requirements in all subcontracts that exceed $500,000 except for those involving commercial off-the-shelf products.

Texas judge permanently enjoins DOL's persuader rule

On November 16, 2016, U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings issued an order in National Federation of Independent Business v. Perez (N.D. Texas) granting a permanent nationwide injunction blocking the enforcement of the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) so-called persuader rule.

OSHA issues guidance on antiretaliation rule after delaying its enforcement date

On October 19, 2016—one week after delaying until December 1 its enforcement of the controversial antiretaliation provisions in its new record-keeping rule—the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a guidance memorandum explaining its interpretation of the new set of broad and vague provisions. OSHA previously provided little understanding of what it intended by the new requirement to implement "reasonable reporting" procedures for employees who inform their employers of work-related injuries or by its new enforcement authority to prevent employer "retaliation" against employees through policies that purportedly deter them from reporting workplace injuries.

Federal court puts halt to new overtime regulations

In a stunning move, a federal judge in Texas entered a nationwide preliminary injunction on November 22, 2016, that prevents the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) new overtime regulations from taking effect as scheduled on December 1.

What does a Trump presidency mean for federal contractors?

It's early days to know exactly what a President Donald Trump will mean for federal contractors, but contractors can certainly speculate on what they would like a President Trump to do.