The Beltway Buzz is a weekly update summarizing labor and employment news from inside the Beltway and clarifying how what’s happening in Washington, D.C., could impact your business.
The October 2023 Visa Bulletin has been released by the U.S. Department of State and shows some encouraging movement forward from last month, with the exception of the filing date for EB-3 worldwide, which will retrogress four months.
A recent ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts in a restrictive covenant case, Ascend Learning, LLC v. Bryan and SPIN-Learning, LLC, No. 22-cv-11978 (August 16, 2023), has implications for the “material change” doctrine under Massachusetts law, the state’s prohibition against noncompetition covenants for registered nurses, and personal jurisdiction over corporate entities.
Just days before New York State’s pay transparency law went into effect, the state labor department unveiled new proposed regulations that seek to clarify employers’ obligations under the new law.
The U.S. Department of State recently announced that it is developing the capability to issue digital visa authorizations (DVA) instead of the traditional visas that are printed and placed in applicants’ passports. This development would streamline the travel authorization process by automating the transfer of data from visa application, to airline verification, to border inspection, and U.S. admission.
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia recently rejected a school principal’s argument that remote work was a reasonable accommodation for her asthma and restrictive lung disease that she claimed were exacerbated by the poor condition of the school building in which she worked.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced that it is working to update and improve the protections available to H-2A workers. The proposed changes would include both worker protection measures and compliance and enforcement enhancements.
All receipts for payment of Machine-Readable Visa (MRV) fees issued prior to October 1, 2022, are set to expire on September 30, 2023, the U.S. Department of State recently announced.
On September 6, 2023, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed a law that prohibits employers from requiring employees to attend employer-sponsored meetings the “primary purpose” of which is to communicate the employer’s opinions on religious or political matters, including relating to joining a labor organization. The new law, which took immediate effect, comes amid a wider push against so-called “captive audience” meetings.
The impact of a federal government shutdown come October 1, 2023, will vary among agencies, including those responsible for immigration-related matters, based on whether the agencies are fee generating (among other factors), though it is expected that certain government functions would continue.
The New York state law requiring employers to disclose expected compensation ranges in advertisements for jobs, promotions, and transfers takes effect on September 17, 2023. The law requires employers with four or more employees to disclose the minimum and maximum annual salary or hourly wage in advertisements for jobs, promotions, and transfers, including in electronic job postings.
On August 14, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit issued a decision—Marcus v. American Contract Bridge League—clarifying and applying the standards for determining whether an employee qualifies for the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) administrative exemption, and thus whether the employee is entitled to overtime payments under the FLSA.
Luis Rubiales resigned as the president of the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) amid controversy over his kissing a women’s national team player without her consent following the team’s 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup win. The situation has sent shockwaves across the sports world and may serve as a reminder for employers in the United States of the persistent dangers of ignoring sexual harassment in the workplace.
A New Jersey federal court has ruled that a company’s self-disclosure of potential Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations did not render the company a state actor, allowing evidence obtained by its internal investigation to be used against two former employees alleged to have engaged in misconduct.
California is one step closer to becoming the first state to enact legislation banning caste-based discrimination. Senate Bill No. 403 adds caste to the list of characteristics protected by the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, the Unruh Civil Rights Act, and the California Education Code.
On August 25, 2023, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued an Office of Management and Budget-approved, revised Supply and Service Scheduling Letter and Itemized Listing, which is effective through August 31, 2026. OFCCP also issued a new round of Corporate Scheduling Announcement Letters for 1,000 federal contractors two weeks later on September 8, 2023.
Many employers with at least fifty employees in the six-county Chicago area will have to provide their full-time employees with pre-tax public transit benefits starting January 1, 2024, under a new Illinois law.
On August 30, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) released two decisions that will make it more difficult for employers to implement past practices during a break in bargaining or at an impasse, opening the door for unions to hold employers hostage by dragging out collective bargaining.
The city of Evanston, Illinois, recently enacted the Fair Workweek Ordinance (24-O-23), expanding hourly workers’ rights to predictable scheduling across multiple industries, including hospitality, food service and restaurants, retail, warehouse services, manufacturing, and building services.
On September 1, 2023, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill (SB) 699 into law, prohibiting employers from entering into or attempting to enforce noncompete agreements, which are void under state law. Meanwhile, another bill, Assembly Bill (AB) 1076, which would reinforce the state’s broad ban on noncompete agreements, nears passage in the state legislature. Together, the bills come amid a nationwide push to ban noncompete agreements and other restrictive covenants in employment and further California’s leading public policy stance against such agreements.
As the September 14, 2023, deadline to pass bills during the current session of the California Legislature fast approaches, the California Senate and Assembly are considering several employment law bills. Many are likely to pass. Below is a summary of some of the more significant bills.
While many employers tout the flexibility of work-from-home as a benefit for employees, managing a remote workforce can raise a number of multistate compliance challenges. In particular, remote and hybrid work has significant implications for employers’ state and local tax withholding and unemployment insurance contribution obligations.
To the relief of plan sponsors everywhere, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued Notice 2023-62, which provides guidance on the requirements of Section 603 of the SECURE Act 2.0 of 2022 relating to catch-up contributions. Specifically, Section 603 otherwise requires that catch-up contributions for certain highly compensated individuals be made on a Roth basis, effective January 1, 2024. This article summarizes the key provisions of Section 603, and discusses the relief provided by the notice.
On August 28, 2023, California State Senator Dave Cortese (D-15) announced last-minute amendments to Senate Bill (SB) No. 553. SB 553, if enacted, would require virtually every employer in California to adopt comprehensive workplace violence prevention plans, starting on July 1, 2024.
The 2022 EEO-1 filing platform will open on October 31, 2023, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced on September 1, 2023. The deadline for all filings will be December 5, 2023.
Missouri’s Siddens Bening Hands Free Law went into effect on August 28, 2023. The new law prohibits the use of cell phones and other handheld devices while driving on any highway or public roadway in Missouri.
On August 30, 2023, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a proposed rule that would change the scope of who would be allowed to participate in walkarounds conducted as part of OSHA inspections. Specifically, the proposed rule would modify 29 C.F.R. § 1903.8(c) to expand the definition of what types of “third parties,” such as community activists and union representatives, may accompany a Compliance Safety and Health Officer (CSHO) during an OSHA inspection. The public comment period for the proposed rule ends on October 30, 2023.”