With the beginning of President Obama’s second term in office, U.S. employers can expect a continued focus at the Federal and possibly state and local levels on compliance with fair employment laws. For example, the U.S. Department of Labor, and other federal agencies with regulatory authority over employment matters, have signaled that they will continue efforts to address pay equity. In addition, on December 18, 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced that it approved its Strategic Enforcement Plan, the culmination of a multi-pronged project aimed at enhancing enforcement across the broad spectrum of non-discrimination issues.
In this enforcement-oriented regulatory environment, employers should take pro-active measure to assess their workplace policies, compensation structures, and related pay practices. Even as the economy recovers and unemployment decreases, there is still sufficient pressure in the workforce to yield a continued stream of employee claims and law suits. Moreover, trends in recent case law suggest an expansion of who can sue whom and for what.