Government Workplace Enforcement: Looking Back At 2016 and Ahead to 2017 – Trend #6

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While the government enforcement lawsuits brought by the DOL and EEOC in 2016 were in line with their aggressive platforms, by sheer numbers of cases, their enforcement activities were arguably limited in their effectiveness, at least when measured by lawsuit filings and recoveries compared to previous years. Settlement numbers for government enforcement litigation in 2016 decreased substantially as compared to 2015, as did the litigation dockets of the DOL and the EEOC. This trends is aptly illustrated by a comparison of settlement recoveries over the past 7 years. Settlement recoveries in 2016 were the second lowest of any year during that period.

Top 10 Government Enforcementsettlement amounts by class action type

This trend is critical to employers, as both agencies have a focus on “big impact” lawsuits against companies and “lead by example” in terms of areas that the private plaintiffs’ bar aims to pursue. The content and scope of enforcement litigation undertaken by the DOL and the EEOC in the Trump Administration remains to be seen; most believe there will be wholesale changes, which may well prompt the private plaintiffs’ class action bar to “fill the void” and expand the volume of litigation pursued against employers over the coming year.

In our sixth, and final, installment outlining the top workplace class action litigation trends from 2016, we analyze the reduced suit filings by government agencies tasked with enforcing workplace regulations, as well as their ambitious enforcement goals and the industries that are most targeted.

See the video here.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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