Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, introduced two bills on September 10 aimed at curbing the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s authority.
Articles About The Federal Government’s Employment, Benefits And Immigration Agencies.
A day after the House of Representatives voted in favor of filing a lawsuit against the President for allegedly overstepping his executive authority, the White House has announced there will be yet another Executive Order (E.O) aimed at federal contractors.
In December 2013, in EEOC v. Mach Mining, LLC, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit became the first federal circuit to foreclose an employer’s ability to use the implied affirmative defense that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) failed to conciliate prior to bringing suit. The Seventh Circuit held that, based on the conciliation language in Title VII and Seventh Circuit precedent, the EEOC’s approach to conciliation during the administrative charge process is not judicially reviewable and not an affirmative defense to be used against the agency. The Seventh Circuit’s holding is contrary to every other circuit that has evaluated this issue.
The Department of Labor has issued a proposed rule to implement the new Executive Order (E.O) 13658 – Establishing a Minimum Wage for Contractors – which raises the minimum wage of certain federal contractors to $10.10 per hour starting January 1, 2015. Issued in February, the E.O. covers federal contracts and contract-like instruments that are the result of solicitations issued on or after January 1, 2015. Contractors, in turn, are required to incorporate the E.O. minimum wage clause in their lower-tier subcontracts. Read the full post here. (June 12, 2014)
Rules Governing Overtime, Reportable “Persuader” Information, to be Released this Year According to Federal Spring 2014 Regulatory Agendas
Minimum Wage Bill Fails to Advance in Senate.
Recently, the Chicago District Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued CVS Pharmacy, Inc. because CVS required employees to sign a release that the EEOC claims was “overly broad, misleading, and unenforceable” due to provisions in the release which allegedly infringed on the employees’ rights to file charges of discrimination and participate in EEOC investigations.1 On April 30, 2014, the Phoenix District Office of the EEOC sued CollegeAmerica Denver, Inc. in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, making similar allegations.2 All employers should carefully review their form release agreements in light of these actions by the EEOC, which we expect will continue.
The Senate voted narrowly on Monday to confirm David Weil as administrator of the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD). The narrow 51-42 majority followed a similarly narrow 12-10 party-line committee vote in December. The WHD is the DOL division that, among other duties, implements and enforces the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations and oversees various worker misclassification initiatives we have reported on previously. The Senate had not confirmed a WHD administrator since 2001, and since 2004 the position has been filled by acting leaders and a recess appointee. President Obama controversially nominated Dr. Weil, a respected Boston University professor, Harvard researcher, and DOL advisor, to fill the position in September 2013. Weil was the administration’s third nominee for the position.
The revised Senate rule allowing certain presidential nominations to be confirmed with a simple majority vote – previously ridiculed as the “nuclear option” – enabled the Senate on Monday to confirm David Weil as the next administrator of the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD). The vote was 51-42 in favor of his nomination.
Although unlikely to be passed in its current form, President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget request to Congress allocates an additional $2 million of the Department of Labor’s requested $1.8 billion budget so that the Department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ) can hire additional personnel primarily to deal with a massive backlog of cases.
Because the House of Representatives is not expected to consider the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 2199) this term, President Obama will reportedly implement provisions of this measure applicable to federal contractors via Executive actions on Tuesday. The move will coincide with Equal Pay Day, and is the latest in a series of recent Presidential actions designed to implement employment law reform by bypassing Congress. Read the full post here. (April 7, 2014)
House lawmakers raised pointed questions concerning the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Wage and Hour Division during an appropriations subcommittee hearing on the Department of Labor’s FY 2015 budget request. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez responded to numerous inquiries as the sole witness during the exchange. A similar hearing was conducted last week by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, during which many of the same issues were highlighted. The tone of Wednesday’s appropriations hearing, however, was markedly more contentious.
Perhaps due to the increased scrutiny business advocacy groups have placed on the implications of the DOL’s anticipated revisions to the “persuader” regulations, the agency has said it is once again delaying the final rule’s release.
Last month, the EEOC recently updated its charge statistics for 2013. This information comes at the heels of an updated enforcement plan released late last year. With the benefit of a little time, a deeper look at these numbers reveals some important messages for organizations looking to focus their compliance efforts.
On Tuesday, the White House released its $3.9 trillion budget proposal for FY 2015. While such proposals are more aspirational than anything else, they do provide insight into the programs and initiatives the Administration deems priorities for the coming year. The budget for the Department of Labor (DOL) is notable because it reflects the Agency’s continued emphasis on enforcement. The proposal would grant the DOL$11.8 billion in discretionary funding, much of which would support the enforcement of wage and hour, worker misclassification, whistleblower, and employment safety laws. The budget is expected to face criticism from Congress, where a number of proposals are likely to be rejected or modified. However, the budget request confirms that employers can expect aggressive enforcement of federal employment and labor laws to continue. Highlights from the proposal are as follows….