With the election under wraps, employers should be mindful of the following employment and labor issues:
The Future of the National Labor Relations Board
Unions have not forgotten the promises that President Obama made to them in his first campaign. And while the President has had to focus on pressing issues concerning the economy, it is likely he will refocus on unions in the second term. That will involve a continuation of the NLRB's pro-union stance. Congress may well revisit the Employee Free Choice Act and its emphasis on time periods for union elections and employee notifications.
Title VII Legislative Activity and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Enforcement Priorities
With President Obama remaining in power, it is likely that there will be a move to add sexual orientation as a protected category under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC will also continue to strengthen its initiative targeting systemic discrimination.
A Growing Public Sector Workforce
In light of Superstorm Sandy, areas like New Jersey and New York will see an uptick in public works projects. In fact, there will likely be an emphasis on public infrastructure projects (buildings, tunnels, roads) across the country. Since these projects will employ a large public sector workforce, it is likely there will be a need to revisit laws and regulations dealing with the construction and government contractor issues.
Wage and Hour Issues
In President Obama's second term, we should expect to see even more vigorous enforcement of the wage and hour laws. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to an aggressive approach with employers that seeks to maximize recovery of backpay and other monetary remedies. We can also expect to see more DOL regulatory initiatives.
Pension Challenges for our Aging Population
President Obama will have to deal with our nation's aging population in the second term. This means addressing unfunded, rehabilitating and critical status pension plans. Employers should expect modification of pension laws across the board.
The Roll Out of Healthcare Reform
With the re-election of President Obama, employers should be prepared for the wide range of healthcare changes that will be put into place and will certainly impact their workforce.