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In a historic and hard-fought election, Senator Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States earlier this month. President-elect Obama will be the first African-American president in the country’s history.

The 2008 elections may have historic ramifications for employers as well. In the employment law arena, a pent-up agenda is likely to be unleashed in Congress over: eliminating the statute of limitations in pay discrimination litigation; lifting the $300,000 cap on damage awards in employment discrimination litigation; and mandated paid family and medical leave, including paid sick leave – just to name a few.

The Obama-Biden support for the union agenda is unquestioned – specifically their endorsement of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). The EFCA would replace most secret ballot union representation elections with a process of union-solicited employee signatures on authorization cards (“card check”). It also would authorize federally-appointed arbitrators to mandate wages, benefits and other terms of employment, binding for two years, if the parties cannot agree on a first collective bargaining agreement.

Note: This article was published in the November/December 2008 issue of The Employment Law Authority.

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Ogletree Deakins’ employment lawyers are experienced in all aspects of employment law, from day-to-day advice to complex employment litigation.

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