Arizona News & Analysis

  • New administration will bring big changes to DOL

    The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will see significant changes under a Biden administration. The nature and degree of the changes, however, will depend heavily on how President-elect Joe Biden fills senior roles not only at the agency but also in the White House's domestic policy counsel. Nonetheless, many changes will take time because rescinding regulations and putting new policies in place are huge tasks for any administration.

  • Oregon OSHA issues extensive COVID-19 rule

    A temporary COVID-19 rule issued by the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) creates new requirements for employers in the state.

  • WA Supreme Court grants overtime protections to dairy workers

    In a split decision, the Washington Supreme Court recently ruled dairy employees are entitled to overtime pay under state law if they work more than 40 hours a week. The 5-4 ruling nullified an exemption to the Washington Minimum Wage Act's (MWA) overtime requirement as applied to dairy and other agricultural workers. The court found the state's constitution created a fundamental right to health and safety protections for dairy workers and that the legislature lacked reasonable grounds to grant their employers a privilege or immunity from providing the overtime pay. The court narrowly couched its ruling to apply to dairy workers, but the same reasoning may extend to other agricultural employees who work in similarly hazardous conditions.

  • Employers weighing whether to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations

    A limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine will become available before the end of 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently predicted. While that would be good news for those of us who look forward to returning to our favorite prepandemic activities, it presents difficult questions for employers: Can you require employees to be vaccinated? Should you do so? Like most things in 2020, the answer isn't easy.

  • Another potential COVID-19 casualty: workplace collaboration

    The year 2020 has been a challenging one for our nation and the world. In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States has faced heightened racial tensions and a deep political divide culminating in a contested presidential election. Emotions have been running high, and fear seems to rule the day. Through it all, our workplaces unfortunately haven't been spared from the turmoil. Millions lost their jobs, and millions of others are working from home, often in physical isolation from their colleagues. If the health crisis doesn't end soon so we can get back together, I worry about the unavoidable loss of collaboration and trust that helped many employers and employees to weather the first round of the outbreak.

  • Civil rights groups sue to halt Trump's order on race, sex stereotyping

    Several civil rights groups have sued the Trump administration to block a recent Executive Order (EO) prohibiting federal contractors and others from covering certain so-called "race and sex stereotyping" topics during diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training.

  • Promoting workplace diversity: What's legal and what works

    Motivated by a summer of protests as well as a recognition of inequality in their ranks, a number of high-profile corporations recently committed to make their workforces—especially their leadership—more diverse. But those efforts raised red flags after President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order (EO) in September that questioned the legality of some of those commitments. Lawsuits aimed at quashing the order soon followed. Even if the order survives court challenges, there's little doubt that as president, Joe Biden will rescind it. But the order, which affected federal employers and private-sector employers that do business with the federal government, left many employers wondering how to best accomplish their diversity goals in a politicized environment.

  • As retaliation claims rise, employers need to be on guard

    A recent report from the National Women's Law Center (NWLC) includes a startling statistic about how often employees say they experience retaliation after reporting instances of sexual harassment. The organization found that 72% of workers who experienced sexual harassment said they also faced retaliation. That should be a warning to employers to make sure managers know the seriousness of retaliation charges and how to avoid them.

  • Cutting-Edge HR

    Research firm finds change fatigue taking a toll. HR research firm Gartner, Inc., announced at a virtual conference in October that the amount of change the average employee can absorb without becoming fatigued in 2020 has been cut in half compared to 2019. Amid worries about the economy, job security, their health, and the health of their loved ones, employees capacity to take on change in the workplace has plunged significantly. The amount of change employees can absorb without fatiguenegative reactions to change such as burnout, frustration, or apathyhas plummeted at a time when more change is precisely what organizations need in order to reset, Jessica Knight, vice president in the Gartner HR practice, said. Gartner says to help employees absorb change, organizations need to transform how they lead change. Rather than leading change from the top down, progressive organizations have adopted an approach to change management that actively engages employees in all facets of the process.

  • Federal Watch

    Microsoft responds to OFCCP question on diversity initiative. Microsoft announced in a company blog post in October that the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) had questioned the computer giant about its commitment announced in June to double the number of black and African-American senior leaders in its U.S. workforce by 2025. Microsoft said a letter from the OFCCP suggested the companys initiative appears to imply that employment action may be taken on the basis of race. The blog post said the OFCCP asked for proof the companys actions arent illegal race-based decisions. Microsoft noted its obligated as a company serving the federal government to continue to increase the diversity of its workforce, and it takes those obligations seriously. One thing remains true of all our programs, the blog post continued. We hire and promote the most qualified person. And nothing we announced in June changes that. Instead, our continued focus is to work hard to consider and develop the broadest range of qualified candidates for opportunities.