DHS Promulgates Public Charge Rule to “Promote Self-Sufficiency,” Penalize Reliance on Public Benefits

On August 14, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published the final version of its public charge rule in the Federal Register. According to a statement by DHS, the rule is intended to formalize the way in which the agency determines if an individual applying for a nonimmigrant visa or adjustment of status (to obtain a green card) is likely to become a public charge—a determination that would generally make the person inadmissible to the United States.

DOL’s WHD Regulatory Reforms in the Home Stretch

If you are a sports fan, then you might consider the regulatory agenda of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in general, and the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) in particular, as winding down to the end of the third quarter of a football game or moving into the latter innings of a baseball game. In both sports, time and opportunity become critical for the team that wants to win but is not ahead. Regardless of your preferred game, as the November 3, 2020, elections draw closer (less than 440 days away), the WHD has been very busy in the regulatory realm under Wage and Hour Administrator Cheryl Stanton and Acting Secretary of Labor Patrick Pizzella.

California’s New Hairstyle Antidiscrimination Law May Signal the Beginning of a National Trend

Signaling a growing movement to align culturally inclusive practices with legal protections, California has become the first state to expressly ban discrimination based on hairstyle and hair texture associated with a person’s race. On July 3, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsome signed into law Senate Bill No. 188, the Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair Act (CROWN Act).

California Pay Equity Data Collection Legislation Closer to Passing

Currently, certain employers are required under federal law to file annual Employer Information Reports (EEO-1) with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. These EEO-1s must contain data regarding demographics of the employer’s workforce. Accordingly, employers covered by federal EEO-1 reporting requirements were required to file EEO-1 Component 1 data from 2018 by May 31, 2019, and must still submit Component 2 EEO-1 (pay and hours worked) data for their workforces by September 30, 2019. Not to be outdone, the State of California is poised to impose a similar requirement on employers.

Employers Beware: New Jersey Enacts One of the Toughest “Wage Theft” Laws in the Country

On August 6, 2019, Acting Governor Sheila Oliver signed the New Jersey Wage Theft Act (WTA) into law. The law has been touted by proponents as the toughest wage theft statute in the country. Notwithstanding its name, the WTA goes far beyond attempting to prevent and punish intentional “wage theft” by significantly expanding the liability even the best-intentioned employers will face for state wage law violations.

Minneapolis Wage Theft Ordinance to Go Into Effect on January 1, 2020

Joining a chorus of cities and states addressing concerns involving employers’ failure to properly calculate employees’ pay, or to pay them at all, allowing employees to work “off the clock,” or take unauthorized or illegal deductions, on August 8, 2019, the City of Minneapolis enacted an ordinance prohibiting “wage theft,” which will go into effect on January 1, 2020.

Fifth Circuit Rules that Courts, Not Arbitrators, Decide “Gateway Issue” of Class Arbitrability

In 20/20 Communications, Inc. v. Crawford, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently ruled that the question of whether a dispute can be arbitrated on a class-wide basis is a threshold issue that is presumptively for a court, not an arbitrator, to decide. This is the latest in a series of decisions by the Supreme Court of the United States and courts of appeals in favor of arbitration agreements that waive class procedures.

OFCCP’s Busy Friday: A New Ombudsman and Contractor Assistance Portal

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced on Friday, August 9, 2019, the appointment of Marcus Stergio to fill the ombudsman role in the agency’s national office. Stergio has varied experienced in dispute resolution and holds both a master’s degree in conflict resolution from the University of Massachusetts Boston and participated in Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation. Stergio’s role with the agency is to facilitate the resolution of disputes raised by contractors and other stakeholders, in conjunction with regional and district OFCCP offices.

Mexico’s New Requirements to Validate Existing Collective Bargaining Agreements: What Employers Need to Know

On July 31, 2019, Mexico’s Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare or Secretaría del Trabajo y Previsión Social (STPS) published in the Official Gazette of the Federation (Diario Oficial de la Federación) (DOF) the protocol to legitimize currently existing collective bargaining agreements (CBAs).