Federal News & Analysis

  • Blue House, red Senate: impact of 2018 midterms for employers

    With just three races still waiting for official results several weeks after the November 6, 2018, midterm elections, it's clear that the Democrats rode a blue wave into controlling the U.S. House of Representatives by the largest margin since 2008. Democrats needed to flip 23 seats to take the House majority; so far, they have flipped 40 seats. As of December 3, the latest count is 234 Democrats and 198 Republicans. Of the three races not officially called, Republicans lead in two—New York’s 27th District and North Carolina’s 9th District—and a Democrat leads in California’s 21st District.

  • Chief data officer to bring EEOC's data analytics into 21st century

    Shortly after becoming acting chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Victoria Lipnic decided the agency needed to upgrade its ability to collect and manage data. Her first step was to hire Dr. Samuel Christopher (Chris) Haffer as the EEOC's first chief data officer and director of the Office of Research, Information and Planning, now the Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics. Haffer is a 25-year veteran of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), where he led data analytics, research, research administration, measurement, performance improvement, and reporting initiatives. To learn more about the changes in the EEOC's data collection and data management, Federal Employment Law Insider interviewed Haffer.

  • Agency ‘guidances’ challenged by DOJ

    After the U.S. Supreme Court issued its 1984 decision in Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., regulations interpreting and refining statutes published by federal agencies after they went through the lengthy but required notice-and-comment period were to be given "deference" by the courts. Although the Chevron ruling itself is controversial, it has formed the bedrock of government functioning. For example, under Chevron, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) can interpret the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can refine the Clean Water Act with reduced judicial oversight.

  • EEOC holds public meeting on workplace harassment prevention

    On October 31, 2018, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) held an important public meeting, "Revamping Workplace Culture to Prevent Harassment," which focused on its efforts to address sexual harassment in the workplace. The meeting was an open discussion between the EEOC's leaders and various witnesses and experts in the field about steps employersand the community as a wholeshould take in the wake of the growing momentum of the #MeToo movement. The areas that were discussed, and offer the key points for employers' compliance efforts, include changing company culture, ensuring strong leadership and accountability, and implementing effective policies, procedures, and training.

  • Confounding expectations, OSHA enforcement is on the rise

    Based on the rhetoric from the 2016 presidential campaign trail, it was reasonable for industry to anticipate that enforcement by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) under a Trump administration would contract significantly from the aggressive enforcement model employed by President Barack Obama's OSHA. Informed by the enforcement philosophies of past Republican administrations, the expectation was that an OSHA overseen by Trump would scale back enforcement, favor compliance assistance, slash the agency's budget and staff, retire national and local emphasis enforcement programs, revise enforcement policies that inflate civil penalties, and otherwise retool its approach to ease the regulatory burden on employers.

  • Acting Director Leen says OFCCP plans more audits

    On Friday, November 2, 2018, Craig Leen, acting director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR). During his testimony and in answer to subsequent questions from the USCCR commissioners, Leen said:

  • Supreme Court update: What's ahead for labor and employment law?

    On October 1, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court began its 2018-19 term. Last term featured a number of blockbuster labor and employment cases, with the high court weighing in on a wide range of topics, including the enforceability of arbitration agreements (Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis), the overtime exemption for service advisers at auto dealerships (Encino Motorcars, LLC v. Navarro), and the ability of labor unions to collect fees from nonunion members (Janus v. AFSCME).

  • Immigration continues to be a major focus for Trump administration two years in

    As Donald Trump closes out his second year as president, it's undeniable that immigration continues to be a front-and-center issue for his administration. When the president issued his "Buy American, Hire American" Executive Order on April 18, 2017, one of the main points was to institute reforms to ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most skilled or highest-paid beneficiaries. To keep that focus, the administration has proposed several policies that are expected to be enacted in the coming months.

  • Trump administration confronts affirmative action

    As a lawsuit broughton behalf of Asian-American students challenging the admissions policies at Harvard University attracts international interest, equal attention should be given to the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) broader challenge to the last vestiges of affirmative action in college admissions nationally. The DOJ's actions may have ramifications throughout society.

  • EEOC is laser-focused on workplace harassment issues

    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) for fiscal years (FY) 2017-21 included six focus areas. Combating harassment in the workplace was number six. Shortly after the SEP was released, the Weinstein scandal hit and the #MeToo movement was born. The EEOC jumped into action.