OFCCP to Open Contractor Portal to Certify Affirmative Action Program Compliance on March 31, 2023

On March 20, 2023, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced that it will open its online Contractor Portal tool on March 31, 2023, for federal contractors and subcontractors to certify their compliance with Affirmative Action Program (AAP) requirements. Existing contractors must certify compliance through the portal by June 29, 2023.

Bill in U.K. Parliament Would Facilitate Certain Types of Data Processing by Redefining ‘Personal Data’ Parameters

On March 8, 2023, the Data Protection and Digital Information (No. 2) Bill was introduced to the UK Parliament by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology. If enacted, the Bill will make changes to the UK General Data Protection Regulation, the Data Protection Act 2018, and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations. The Bill would facilitate certain types of data processing by redefining the parameters of what constitutes “personal data,” removing certain requirements and prohibitions, applying exemptions, and creating greater legal certainty regarding the permissibility of certain forms of personal data processing.

Is March Madness a Concern for Employers? You Can Bet On It!

March Madness and the annual National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men’s and Women’s Division I Basketball Tournaments routinely trigger countless office bracket contests and big distractions for workers. While March Madness can be an opportunity to boost employee engagement and workplace morale, it can also be a point of frustration for employers with the potential for lost productivity. The spread of legalized sports wagering has only added fuel to the potential flame of distraction, and created additional concerns for employers. As the tournament games tip-off, here are some issues employers may want to consider.

The Practical NLRB Advisor: Winter 2023

Ogletree Deakins’ Traditional Labor Relations Practice Group is pleased to announce the publication of the Winter 2023 issue of the Practical NLRB Advisor. This issue provides an overview of a host of controversial decisions and sharply divided opinions issued by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) resulting from the mid-December 2022 departure of Republican Board member John F. Ring.

New California Bill Aims to Require Cal/OSHA to Adopt General Industry Workplace Violence Prevention Regulations

Workplace violence is a serious concern for California employers in all industries, but the state’s workplace violence prevention regulations are currently applicable only to the healthcare industry. A bill recently introduced in the California Legislature would require the state’s occupational safety and health regulator to broaden the scope of workplace violence prevention regulations.

Legitimation of Collective Bargaining Agreements in Mexico: What Employers Need to Know Now

On July 31, 2019, Mexico’s Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare (Secretaria del Trabajo y Previsión Social (STPS)) published in the Official Gazette of the Federation (Diario Oficial de la Federación, or DOF) the protocol for the legitimation of a currently existing collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in compliance with Transitory Article Eleven of the official decree published in the DOF on May 1, 2019. The objective of the legitimation process is to provide certainty to unionized employees, making sure they know the terms of the applicable CBA and their union.

Equal Pay Day: Addressing Potential Gender-Based Pay Disparities in the Workplace

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has expressed a renewed intention to enforce federal laws prohibiting discrimination in pay amid a reported persistent “pay gap” between women and men in the United States workforce. The effort comes as “Equal Pay Day” is being recognized in the United States on Tuesday, March 14, 2023, a date that is meant to symbolize how far into the next year women reportedly must work to earn what their male counterparts made in the previous year. Given these events, here are some action items that employers may want to consider.

German Federal Labor Court: Employers May No Longer Cite ‘Better Negotiating Skills’ as an Argument for Unequal Pay

A recent decision of the German Federal Labor Court considerably restricts the objective, gender-neutral criteria that can justify different pay for the same work or equal work. Negotiating skills are now ruled out as a justification for a higher salary. However, differences in qualifications or professional experience continue to be recognized as objective criteria that may justify a compensation differential.

California Pushes Employers to Make Drinking Water More Easily Available to Workers

On February 6, 2023, California’s Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board held that employers must provide their outdoor workers with drinking water at a location “as close as practicable,” effectively creating a new precedent for interpreting the state’s requirements related to the proximity of drinking water.

Michigan House Passes Bills to Repeal State’s Right-to-Work Law, Debate Moves to Michigan Senate

On March 8, 2023, the Michigan House of Representatives passed two bills that would repeal Michigan’s current right-to-work law. The two bills, House Bill (HB) 4004 and HB 4005, passed 56–53 along party lines. HB 4004 relates specifically to right to work in the public sector; HB 4005 relates to right to work in the private sector.

Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Mandates Reasonable Accommodations

The recently passed Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), set to go into effect on June 27, 2023, will require employers to provide a reasonable accommodation to workers for known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. The requirement will apply to employers with 15 or more employees, unless the accommodation would cause the employer an undue hardship.

USCIS Updates O-1 Guidance for Extraordinary Ability in Arts and Motion Picture Industries

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently updated its policy guidance related to O-1B nonimmigrants of extraordinary ability in the arts and motion picture or television industry. The updated guidance, effective immediately, is intended to clarify how USCIS evaluates evidence submitted by employers seeking to sponsor foreign national employees under the O-1B visa category.

Employee Benefits and Rights in Puerto Rico: What to Know Now That Law 41-2022 Has Been Declared Null and Void

On March 3, 2023, the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico issued a decision declaring Law 41-2022 null and void, effectively reinstating the prior state of many of Puerto Rico’s employment statutory entitlements. The decision will impact employees’ statutory benefits and rights, including vacation pay and sick leave, meal periods, holiday bonuses, and statutory severance pay.

Manhattan District Attorney Sets Sights on Allegations of Employer Wage Theft

On February 16, 2023, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg Jr. announced the creation of a special unit to “investigate and prosecute” wage theft, harassment, and exploitation of workers.  He also announced the establishment, in partnership with the New York State Department of Labor, of a fund to repay victims of such crimes. D.A. Bragg and his office further declared support for a proposed bill in the New York state legislature that would expand the existing crime of larceny to include wage theft.

DOL Clarifies Telework Eligibility Under FMLA and ADAAA, Including Reduced Schedule Leave for ‘Serious Health Conditions’

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) recently released informal guidance to address some issues arising under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that commonly challenge employers. Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) No. 2023-1 addresses points such as how to count the number of eligible employees for FMLA and FLSA purposes when taking into account teleworkers, and the interaction of the FMLA with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA).

Los Angeles Wage Office Shifts Interpretation of New Fair Work Week Ordinance

Part of a recently passed pay predictability ordinance in Los Angeles is already causing some confusion for employers over a provision requiring retail employers to pay workers a premium for working a second shift within ten hours of the first shift. Such tightly scheduled shifts often occur when a worker is needed to close and then open the next day, referred to as “clopening” shifts.

NLRB Judge’s Decision Tees Up Reconsideration of Test for Religious Exemption

On February 23, 2023, an administrative law judge for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that a Catholic university in Florida is exempt from the Board’s jurisdiction as a religious institution. But the case tees up the test for the religious institution exemption to be overturned by the full Board—which could open up more religious educational institutions to Board jurisdiction.

New Jersey Court Says Employee Discharged for Discipline Not Entitled to Payment for Accrued PTO

On February 22, 2023, the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division ruled that a hospital employee discharged for disciplinary reasons was not entitled to payment of accrued paid time off (PTO) because the hospital had an express policy that PTO would not be paid out after a disciplinary discharge.

Is an OSHA Workplace Violence Standard for the Healthcare Industry on the Way?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified violence in healthcare settings as a significant occupational risk, and a new workplace violence standard for the healthcare industry could be on the horizon.

OSHA Activates U and T Nonimmigrant Visas—‘Law Enforcement Visas’—as New Tool in Agency’s Investigation Toolbox

On February 13, 2023, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh and Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker had signed a memorandum giving OSHA new authority to issue certifications supporting applications for U nonimmigrant status and T nonimmigrant status visas.

H-2B Cap for Fiscal Year 2023 Is Met: A Supplemental Cap Increase Summary

On March 2, 2023, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) notified the public that the 33,000 H-2B cap positions within the second half of the fiscal year had been reached. DHS indicated that the number of positions for which DHS had received petitions surpassed the number of total H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas available for fiscal year (FY) 2023. On March 1, 2023, DHS performed a computer-generated random selection process of the petitions that were received on February 27, 2023, assigning the selected petitions receipt numbers and beginning premium processing services.

Is It Compensable? Federally Recognized Holidays

February 20, 2023, was Presidents’ Day, one of several federal holidays occurring throughout the year in the United States. Private-sector employers are not required by federal law to give employees any federal holidays off. Nevertheless, many private companies provide at least some federal holidays off for their employees. Are those private-sector employers that choose to provide their employees with holidays off required to pay employees for that time?