Stoel Rives World of Employment's Top Predictions for 2014

by Stoel Rives LLP
Contact

As 2013 draws to a close, our Labor and Employment group put its collective head together to come up with our top predictions, from the cautious to the audacious, for what the new year will bring.  Stay tuned in 2014 to see how we do!  In the meantime, happy holidays!  Here goes:

1.  Cost and morale pressures will lead more and more employers to adopt policies that allow (or require!) employees to use their own cell phones, tablets, and other mobile devices at work (i.e., Bring Your Own Device, or “BYOD,” policies). Implementation of these policies will require close coordination between HR and IT functions, as well as revision of policies on confidential information, time keeping, discrimination/harassment, and other policies to ensure compliance in various legal areas.

2.  Employers will increase their use of mobile applications to engage with employees, track their attendance, manage their benefits, monitor their productivity, and help them do their jobs.  Employers will need to be sure that use of these apps complies with various laws, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”), the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (“GINA”), and others. 

 

3.  Our Seattle office predicts the Seahawks will win the Super Bowl! Employers in the Pacific Northwest will struggle with record levels of absenteeism the following day.

 

 4.  On the immigration law front, employers will continue to see an unsettled landscape as Congress grapples with comprehensive immigration reform and impatience in the states leads to experimentation and increased regulation.

5.  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”), and Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) will continue to increase their enforcement efforts, especially since another federal government shutdown, which slowed enforcement activity for a time in 2013, now appears unlikely in 2014. 

6.  The Department of Labor will issue its final rule on the advice exception under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. Stand back and watch management-side employment lawyers howl—you know it is bad when the ABA agrees. Then watch as several lawsuits are filed and implementation of the rule is quickly stayed.

7.  The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) will continue to rigidly and unrealistically apply the almost 80-year-old National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) to the 21st Century workplace, leaving employers scratching their heads on rulings curtailing common HR policies related to social media, confidentiality, electronic communication systems, solicitation and discipline. 

8.  Speaking of which, the NLRB will move forward with a new version of its “ambush” quickie election rules. Having just withdrawn its appeal of a court ruling that blocked the Obama Board’s first attempt (on purely procedural grounds) it is likely the Board will re-issue the ambush election rules, if not adopt even more onerous changes.  

9.  While the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) remains stalled at the federal level, similar measures will continue to be enacted at the state and local level. Why? Because it is increasingly seen as just the right thing to do and all politics are local.

10.  De facto unions in the form of worker centers will continue to populate certain industries. How these entities will be regulated, if at all, remains to be decided. 

11.  More jurisdictions will follow the lead of San Francisco and SeaTac, WA and consider—and some will adopt—high “living wage” ordinances, spurring debate of an increase in the minimum wage on a national level. Seattle will be among the first cities to adopt a new “living wage” law. 

12.  The U.S. Supreme Court will lay to rest questions about the viability of the presidential recess appointment process when it decides NLRB v. Noel Canning this term, with significant impact on the current state of labor law in the process.   

13.  More cities around the country will follow the lead of San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, and Washington, D.C. by passing local laws requiring employers to provide paid sick leave or paid time off (“PTO”). Some state legislatures will try to beat them to the punch, either by passing state-wide sick leave laws or banning cities within the state from doing so.

14.  Employers will incorporate more arbitration agreements with class-action waivers into their employment contracts in an effort to shield themselves from expensive class action litigation, especially wage and hour lawsuits. But class action filings will continue to increase as class action plaintiff firms try to get their licks in while they still can.

15.  Our Portland office predicts the Portland Trail Blazers will win an NBA championship in 2014, defeating Greg Oden and the Miami Heat in the finals. It could happen!  

16.  The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Harris v. Quinnwill continue the expansion of union members’ rights to object to how unions spend dues money on political or other advocacy activities.

17.  The courts will continue to reject the EEOC’s campaign to turn people with a criminal history into another protected class. At the same time, more jurisdictions will place roadblocks on employers’ efforts to consider an applicant’s criminal history. 

18.  OSHA’s on-line complaint process will increase the number of whistle-blower complaints to which employers must respond. 

19.  The ability of employers to use pre-hire credit checks will continue to be curtailed, as state legislatures and Congress consider further restrictions, or outright bans, of this practice.

20.  Bullying will continue to garner significant media attention and employers will increasingly find themselves responding to workplace complaints between employees that are not within the protection of existing civil rights statutes. The identification and prevention of such behavior should be a part of the training regimen provided to all levels of personnel. 

21.  The EEOC’s intractable practice of accepting only full-relief offers during the conciliation process will continue to be mired in controversy as employers rightly protest this practice. 

22.  We will continue to see an increase in age discrimination filings at both the EEOC level and in the courts as baby boomers start to more rapidly (and, in many cases, involuntarily) leave the workforce.

23.  State agency audits of employers’ use of “independent contractor” designations will continue to increase. Employers should understand what law applies and rigorously evaluate their classifications of workers. 

24.  Our Salt Lake City office predicts, with a heavy heart, that the Utah Jazz will be the worst team in the NBA this season. On the upside, based on that performance Utah will win the #1 draft pick in the 2014 draft and will win an NBA championship in the near future with … Andrew Wiggins?

25.  The Affordable Care Act (or “Obamacare”) will continue to perplex almost everyone, including employers trying to control rising health care costs. Interesting times are ahead for any unionized employer seeking to negotiate out of a Taft-Hartley plan, as well as for unions seeking to protect such plans while claiming to want to “partner” with employers for truly affordable care.

26.  The demand for use of service animals at work will increase—“therapy dogs” at work, anyone?—continuing to make the accommodation analysis under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) even more difficult than it already is.

 

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.

© Stoel Rives LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Stoel Rives LLP
Contact
more
less

Stoel Rives LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.