From labor disputes cases to labor and employment publications, for your research, you’ll find solutions on Bloomberg Law®. Protect your clients by developing strategies based on Litigation...
July 13 — Employers are worried about the potential for increased litigation from employees in 2016, whether because of changing overtime regulations, a lack of LGBT protections in the workplace or pay disparities among employees, according to Littler Mendelson's fifth annual Executive Employer Survey released July 12.
The vast majority of respondents to this year’s survey (82 percent) expect Department of Labor enforcement to have an impact on their workplace over the next 12 months, with 31 percent anticipating a significant impact (up from 18 percent in the 2015 survey), Littler found.
Employers are extremely concerned because that is a “huge bread basket” of regulations that will affect organizations across industries and could bring wage and hour cases to the forefront, Michael Lotito, co-chair of Littler Mendelson's Workplace Policy Institute, told Bloomberg BNA July 13.
“There are an enormous number of practical considerations that have to be taken into account in addition to the policy issues and this is not something that can be done overnight,” Lotito said.
Employers will need to make fundamental policy decisions on how to approach the overtime rule, and economic decisions as well, he said.
Employers also will need to figure out a communication strategy with employees affected by the changes and test run these changes made in payroll to ensure that mistakes are minimized, he said.
The overtime regulations increase the salary threshold below which workers are automatically eligible for overtime pay. The new cutoff is $47,476, effective Dec. 1. Although respondents completed the survey in the weeks before the release of the final rule, 65 percent had already conducted audits to identify affected employees, Littler said.
The survey is based on responses from 844 in-house counsel, human resources professionals and C-suite executives during April and May of 2016.
The greatest year-over-year change in the survey results was in the area of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforcement, Littler said.
Specifically, Littler found there was a dramatic rise in the expectation of discrimination claims over the next year related to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers (31 percent in 2015 to 74 percent in 2016) and equal pay among employees (34 percent in 2015 to 61 percent in 2016).
“The EEOC has sent a clear signal that it will continue to prioritize rooting out discrimination based on sexual orientation and equal pay, so employers’ instincts that claims in this area will likely rise are right on the mark,” Barry Hartstein, co-chair of Littler’s EEO & Diversity practice, said in a press release. “As LGBT rights and the gender pay gap continue to be in the headlines and topics of discussion among the general public, employers can expect to face increased pressure to address these issues in the workplace.”
As these workplace issues become more known and are pushed out to the broader workforce, people who have experienced discrimination for decades now have a tool to address it through the EEOC, Sarah Warbelow, legal director for the Human Rights Campaign, told Bloomberg BNA July 13. “It’s not that there’s a rise in this kind of discrimination, but rather what we are seeing is people taking advantage of an opportunity to address the discrimination,” she said.
Given the changing legal landscape and decisions by federal courts, state laws and city laws, there’s no reason for employers to wait to adopt a nondiscrimination policy for sexual orientation and gender identity, Warbelow said.
HR must create “very clear” instructions for managers and employees about what discrimination looks like and how to address it, including giving employees real life examples of discrimination, such as refusing to use the changing names of transitioning individuals or commenting on employees’ sex practices, to make it clear in practice, she said.
In light of the impending presidential election in November, survey respondents also addressed issues that they thought could be the focus of the parties.
The majority of respondents (75 percent) said income inequality—in terms of the overtime rules, state equal pay or minimum wage laws—would be a significant priority of the Democratic candidate, while only 4 percent felt income inequality would be a significant priority of the Republican candidate.
Respondents also expect the Democratic candidate to address union rights and immigration reform, while they believe the Republican candidate will likely address job creation, health-care reform and immigration reform as well, the survey found.
Diving more deeply into the expectations of the Republican platform, however, the majority of respondents (66 percent) stated they did not anticipate a complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act under a Republican administration.
To contact the reporter on this story: Genevieve Douglas in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tony Harris in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
The survey is available at http://www.littler.com/files/2016_littler_executive_employer_survey.pdf.
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)