FRIDAY FLURRY: UPDATES ON NEWS FROM THIS WEEK

Posted in: Employment Law by Dowling Aaron on

DOL & OFCCP Hit Grand Slams
By: Adrian Hoppes

Coming off of an exciting World Series game Wednesday, there are a couple other players in town you should be looking into for next season. This week the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“DOL”) announced it had a record year in collecting from business owners who allegedly shorted employees on overtime, minimum wages and other compensation. A separate agency, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”), is also doing a lap around the bases as it reported its own grand slam this year, breaking its own record for settling job discrimination suits involving race, gender and pay bias for government contractors.

Both agencies have come under fire for being accused of suing companies rather than helping them understand the complex and ever-changing rules and regulations. Both agencies have increased outreach events to educate employers about their obligations. As technology advances, and more data is available, agencies are better able to identify where to focus their time and energy. Employers should consider being as proactive as possible in evaluating their workforce policies and practices to ensure they do not strike out if the DOL or OFCCP want to play ball.

 “If You Build It, They Will Come” – The Farm Workforce Modernization Act is Introduced into the House of Representatives This Week
By: Rebecca Schach

Accessibility to a stable labor force continues to be among the top challenges for agriculture across the country. In a bipartisan effort to respond to this challenge, Representatives Lofgren (D-CA) and Newhouse (R-WA) introduced the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 4916) this week to the House of Representatives. The Bill takes a three-prong approach to stabilizing the labor force in agriculture by: (1) providing a pathway to permanent lawful status for those currently here in the United States with temporary H-2 visas; (2) improving the existing H-2 visa program for employers to engage more temporary workers as needed while reducing costs and barriers to new applications under the program; and (3) mandating agricultural employers use E-Verify to confirm their labor force has lawful immigration status.  At this stage it is too early to say whether the proposed immigration overhaul can build a field of dreams.

Fight Over ABC Test Continues
By: Rebecca Hause- Schultz

Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash are fighting AB 5 with a $90 million dollar ballot initiative. The Companies’ “Protect App-Based Drivers and Services Act” says “an app-based driver is an independent contract and not an employee or agent with respect to his or her relationship with a network company…”

AB 5, which we reported on here, makes the “ABC Test” the law of the land in California, as that test was explained in the Dynamex case, explained here.

The ballot would be put to California voters, and includes provisions stating all tips paid by customers will go to drivers and establish a minimum pay of 120% of California’s minimum wage. The measure was already filed with the attorney general, the next step is for the campaign to collect signatures. The group says it plans to get 1 million signatures with the hope the initiative will appear on the November ballot.

You can read more about the ballot measure here.

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