Federal News & Analysis

  • Workplace law 2020: what has—and will—affect your workplace

    Every employer was affected by several decisions made, regulations and orders issued, or laws passed by the three branches of the federal government in 2019. In what follows, we will review the most significant of those actions and look at anticipated actions in 2020. As eventful as 2019 was, 2020—even without an electionpromises to be more so.

  • DOL issues joint-employer rule: Employer liability narrowed

    The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued its long-awaited rule on joint employment. The bottom line is that the agency has opted to reestablish the understanding that had been in place for decades—i.e., routine, direct control of the terms and conditions of employment will be the measure of joint employment. The new rule will become effective March 16. A result of the new rule is that liability for many workplace laws is more constricted than that proposed by the Obama administration.

  • It was Christmas at the NLRB for employers

    Perhaps the most consequential ruling issued by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) was that in Apogee Retail. This ruling returns to employers the right to require that witnesses in workplace investigations keep their testimony confidential during the investigation. The prior ruling, Banner Health System, issued in the name of not infringing on workers' rights, was widely criticized as "chilling" witnesses and hamstringing investigations, especially into matters of sexual harassment. Apogee is an important "plank" in the Board's evolving stance on balancing Title VII rights with those of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

  • SECURE Act's impact on 401(k) plan sponsors

    Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (SECURE Act) was enacted on December 20, 2019, as part of a larger spending package, the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020, and many of its provisions took effect January 1, 2020. The SECURE Act will require 401(k) plan sponsors to make significant plan and operational changes, including the following:

  • EEOC again asks to close Component 2 pay portal

    On December 19, 2019, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) renewed its request that a federal district court allow it to close its Component 2 pay data portal. Specifically, the agency argued that because the data collection is costing it $150,000 for each week after the September 30 deadline, the court should either deem its obligation to collect the data satisfied or provide clarification "regarding the response rate at which [it] will deem the [data] collection to be complete."

  • Citigroup releases updated wage gap data

    One year ago, Citigroup became the first major U.S. company to disclose raw, unadjusted data regarding its median pay gaps on a global level, and in January 2020, it released updated data revealing the progress it has made in narrowing those gaps.

  • Citigroup releases updated wage gap data

    One year ago, Citigroup became the first major U.S. company to disclose raw, unadjusted data regarding its median pay gaps on a global level, and in January 2020, it released updated data revealing the progress it has made in narrowing those gaps.

  • OFCCP's proposed rule makes it easier to pursue discrimination claims against contractors

    The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) recently published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the "Nondiscrimination Obligations of Federal Contractors and Subcontractors: Procedures to Resolve Potential Employment Discrimination." The proposed rule defines the criteria and procedures the OFCCP will follow during audits to resolve potential employment discrimination and other material violations of the laws it enforces.

    Under the NPRM, once the OFCCP has made a preliminary finding of discrimination during a review, it will consider (1) whether the unexplained disparity is both practically and statistically significant and (2) if relevant, whether nonstatistical evidence demonstrates an intent to discriminate. Following that review, if the OFCCP finds statistical evidence of discrimination that's more than two and less than three standard deviations as well as corroborating nonstatistical evidence (e.g., anecdotal evidence), the agency will issue a predetermination notice (PDN).

  • OFCCP's proposed rule makes it easier to pursue discrimination claims against contractors

    The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) recently published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register titled "Nondiscrimination Obligations of Federal Contractors and Subcontractors: Procedures to Resolve Potential Employment Discrimination." The proposed rule defines the criteria and procedures the OFCCP will follow during audits to resolve potential employment discrimination and other material violations of the laws it enforces.

  • DOL issues final rule clarifying what's in the 'regular rate'

    On December 12, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a final rule clarifying what employers may exclude from employees' "regular rate" of pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)—i.e., the base pay rate used to compute overtime. The DOL's new FLSA regulation makes clear that employers may exclude the following from the regular rate of pay: