With gridlock in Congress, expect the judicial branch to be the branch of government where the most action takes place regarding changes in employment law, Andy Zandy, a labor and employment law attorney with Ford & Harrison LLP, said Monday at the CUNA Human Resources & Organizational Development Council Conference Monday in Anaheim, Calif.
The federal court system is slowly taking on a conservative shift, he says. The Trump Administration has appointed two judges to the U.S. Supreme Court and has more than doubled the number of judges it confirmed to the Federal Appeals Courts in 2018.
That exceeds the pace of the last five presidents, Zandy says. The 12 U.S. Circuit Courts are now composed of more than 25% Trump-appointed judges.
While Democrats control the House and Republicans the Senate, expect gridlock to continue in the legislative branch.
While Zandy doesn’t expect much legislation to pass, he believes there will be many discussions about minimum wage, overtime rules, wellness regulations, paid sick leave, and joint employment (shared employees among two or more companies).
Employees filed fewer discrimination charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in the last fiscal year than they have in more than a decade, Zandy says, despite the surge in sexual harassment reports the #MeToo movement spurred.
EEOC received 76,418 complaints in 2018, with retaliation, sex, disability, and race discrimination cases topping the list. Sexual harassment made up less than one third of sex discrimination charges.
The Department of Labor (DOL) issued a replacement of the Obama Administration’s overtime rule, raising the minimum salary threshold to $35,308 per year. That’s $12,000 less than the what amount the Obama Administration proposed.
The DOL says the proposed rule will increase the number of overtime-eligible employees by more than one million.
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