Labor and Employment Legislative Updates
ISSUE: As Congress closes out this year's legislative session and returns in 2018 following the holiday break, employers should have on their radar several labor and employment bills currently pending on Capitol Hill that could, if enacted, change the game for businesses. Earlier last month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Save Local Business Act (H.R. 3441), which would, as we previously reported, amend theNational Labor Relations Act and Fair Labor Standards Actand reverse the Obama labor board's expanded theory of joint employer liability by limiting an employer's potential liability to workplaces only under their "actual, direct and immediate control." In practical terms, this would free franchise organizations from assuming liability for their local chains, which often set their own workplace policies. A companion bill has not yet been introduced in the U.S. Senate, where Republicans will need to sway enough Democratic senators to avoid a filibuster. Close observers are optimistic that such a bill will be introduced shortly.
Employers should also be aware of two additional bills which could significantly impact labor relations. The first, the Employee Rights Act (S. 1774), was introduced in September of this year by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). It includes broad revisions of the National Labor Relations Act affecting, among other things, union access to employee information, certification elections and contributions to union political operations. The second, the National Right-to-Work Act (H.R. 785), was introduced earlier this year by Representative Steve King (R-Iowa), and would block employers and unions from including mandatory dues provisions in collective bargaining agreements, thus federalizing a trend that has already swept many states across the country. A companion bill(S. 545) has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky).
Both the Employee Rights Act and National Right-to-Work Act have been referred to Congressional committees, but it is yet to be determined whether the bills will be acted on or will die in committee as more pressing legislative concerns take precedence.
Read more Insight & Impact from December 2017:
- Immigration Compliance Changes for Employers in 2017
- Year-End Benefit Reminders
- Nomination of New OSHA Leadership and Changes to the Submission Deadline for Electronic Reporting of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses
IMPACT:We will continue to monitor the relevant legislation and provide updates of any major developments as these proposals work their way through the legislative process.
For more information on managing specific terms of employment agreements, please contact your local Quarles & Brady attorney or: