The past year has been marked by major changes in employment law and intense regulatory enforcement efforts, including:
- Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
- COBRA subsidy
- Implementation of E-Verify system
- Expansion of FMLA
- Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA)
- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) won a record high of $294 million from employers in 2009
- The EEOC had a net gain of 155 new employees to help investigate charges and litigate cases in Fiscal Year 2009
- President Obama established the National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force and Equal Pay Initiative to enforce equal pay laws in February 2010
- U.S. Department of Labor budget includes $25 million and the addition of 100 enforcement personnel to identify and penalize employers who improperly misclassify employees as independent contractors.
- U.S.D.O.L. budget includes a $67 million increase for worker protection agencies, including $14 million more to OSHA to add 60 enforcement staff and conduct 9 percent more inspections.
- The EEOC budget includes an $18 million increase that will be used in part to hire 100 new investigators. Those additions come on top of the EEOC’s 2009 expansion.
- OSHA has announced that they plan to increase the average fine for a serious violation from $1,000 to $3,000-$4,000.
- The U.S.D.O.L. Wage and Hour Division launched its “We Can Help” campaign earlier this year. It essentially presents any employee who is unhappy with their pay with a forum for a nothing-to-lose wage complaint that can be submitted online or through a hotline.
In addition, the number of wage and hour lawsuits filed by employees against employers increased by 44 percent in 2009 over 2008, healthcare reform passed and President Obama recently appointed Craig Becker and Mark Pearce to the National Labor Relations Board, tilting the board very much in a pro-labor way.
To help North Carolina employers understand what these developments mean and how they will ultimately be affected, CAI is hosting its annual Employment and Labor Law Update on May 12 and13, 2010 at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh. CAI experts and experienced attorneys from Ogletree Deakins will discuss all of the recent changes and help companies understand what they need to worry about now and what they can move down the priority list.
For additional information, please go to www.capital.org/lawupdate.
If you are participating in the conference and would like to tweet your thoughts, we invite you to do so using the hashtag #10ELLU.
Photo Credit: CAI