Seyfarth Policy Matters Newsletter - January 2020 #3

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PRO Act to Hit the Floor. The “Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2019” (H.R. 2474) is headed to the House Floor next week. Amendments must be filed with the Rules Committee on Monday. As you know, the bill constitutes organized labor’s wish list of items it expects will ease organizing efforts. The list is far too long to include here, but it is safe to say the PRO Act makes the so-called Employee Free Choice Act of lore almost look reasonable. It appears that only the old bills on “double breasting” were left out. With 218 co-sponsors, passage is assured in the House; the bill has no chance in the Senate and there is no indication whatsoever that the unions are looking to compromise--no surprise. In many ways, the bill appears to be intended as a set of talking points for the campaign trail. Still, it is important to be aware of, as it may have legs in the future . . . beyond the elections. Next week’s vote may lock Members in. We commend the thorough Minority Views in the Committee Report for your review.

Credit Reporting Restrictions Pass the House. Earlier this week, the House passed a compilation of six bills, by a vote of 221-189, which would impose a variety of new requirements related to the use of credit reports and scores. Collected under the bill number of H.R. 3621, the "Student Borrower Credit Improvement Act," the omnibus bill, now entitled the “Comprehensive CREDIT Act of 2020,” imposes many requirements on credit reporting, and also restricts the use of credit reports for employment actions. The latter provision is drawn from H.R. 3614, the “Restricting Credit Checks for Employment Decisions Act.” The provisions generally would restrict credit reporting companies from providing credit reports for employment purposes, albeit with some exemptions. Before using a credit report for adverse employment actions, employers would be required to notify consumers of the credit reporting company that provided the report and the specific factors involved. Employers could not require individuals to provide the credit information as a condition of employment and individuals could not waive the ban. Sources tell us that the bill has little hope in the Senate; in any event the Administration has issued a veto threat.

The Future of Work is Now. As issues related to work technologies, the gig economy, and job displacement continue to garner front-page coverage, a bipartisan group of lawmakers kicked off the Congressional Future of Work Caucus. For more detailed coverage, see Seyfarth’s Employment Law Lookout blog.

House to Hold Another Hearing on Future of Work. The House Education and Labor Committee has announced another in its Future of Work series. This time, the subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services will be addressing the topic of “Protecting Workers’ Civil Rights in the Digital Age.” Witnesses have not yet been announced; we will report out after the hearing next week.

Watching Weed. Along with ban-the-box, non-competes, and the attempted elimination of independent contractors, state legislatures have been focused on the treatment of cannabis in the context of employment. Colorado may be joining the fray, with the recent introduction of a bill that would clarify the state’s prohibition on termination of employment for lawful, off-duty activities. Specifically, the bill would clarify that illegality under federal law does not change the analysis for activities that are legal under state law, which would thus extend to the use of recreational or medical cannabis. For more, see Seyfarth’s The Blunt Truth blog.

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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