My labor and employment watchlist for 2014 includes compliance with wage and hour issues and projected FLSA rulemaking, practices and policies involving LGBT individuals, and new OFCCP regulations involving the employment of veterans and individuals with disabilities.
PAYROLL PRACTICES AND WAGE AND HOUR EXPOSURE
Wage and hour issues are still on the watch list for manufacturers and the U.S. Department of Labor means business this year. Its 2014 targeted regulatory actions are centered on two broad themes – Plan/Prevent/Protect, and Openness and Transparency. In a recent web chat the Department clarified that:
WHD [Wage Hour Division] intends to publish a proposed rule updating the recordkeeping regulation issued under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to assist employers in planning to protect workers’ entitlement to wages that they have earned and bring greater transparency and openness to the workplace. The proposed rule would address notification of workers’ status as employees or some other status such as independent contractors, and whether that worker is entitled to the protections of the FLSA. The proposed rulemaking would also explore requiring employers to provide a wage statement each pay period to their employees.
The Department anticipates publication of the proposed rulemaking in April 2014.
Of note, the WHD and the American Bar Association have announced an unprecedented collaboration providing for an Attorney Referral System. When FLSA or FMLA complainants are informed that the Wage and Hour Division is declining to pursue their complaints, they may also be given a toll-free number to contact the newly created ABA-Approved Attorney Referral System. In addition, WHD will also provide prompt relevant information and, where available, documents on the case may be provided to complainants and representing attorneys. It goes without saying the plaintiffs’ attorneys have already signed up!
EQUALITY IN THE WORKPLACE FOR LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDERED INDIVIDUALS
To the extent manufacturers have not already put in place policies and practices that incorporate workplace equality for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) individuals, now is the time. There have been numerous court rulings addressing these issues, changes in state laws to incorporate protections for these individuals, and there is a big push in Congress to pass a federal law, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), this year. If passed, this federal legislation would prohibit discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and to all civilian, non-religious employers with at least 15 employees. Out and Equal provides a wealth of information on LGBT workplace issues.
NEW OFCCP FEDERAL CONTRACTOR REQUIREMENTS
Federal contractors should gear up to implement the new OFCCP hiring benchmarks and increased recordkeeping regarding the employment of veterans and individuals with disabilities. My previous post contains the details. The record keeping, notice and posting requirements are effective as of March 24, 2014, and other requirements are effective thereafter based on a contractor’s first “AAP plan year.” To assist with compliance, manufacturers may wish to consult the recently published revised Federal Contract Compliance Manual (FCCM).