Wage & Hour Division Issues Anticipated Joint
Employment Rule. As the Kansas City Chiefs staged their
epic comeback, the Wage & Hour Division put out its Final Rule
clarifying the standard for joint employment under the Fair Labor
Standards Act in a rare (for labor agencies) Sunday afternoon announcement. For more on the Final Rule's
regulatory revisions, see Seyfarth's Wage & Hour Litigation
PWFA Update. The House Committee on Education and Labor approved on Tuesday an amended version of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (H.R. 2694), incorporating several improvements. These included requiring that the employee be able to perform the essential functions of the job, with or without reasonable accommodation; did not have a veto over which accommodation was acceptable; and must make known to the employer the condition in question. Other changes strengthened the interactive process to determine the appropriate accommodation (as under the ADA), clarified that good faith on the part of the employer during the accommodation process would limit damages, and specified that the legislation applied to employers with 15 or more employers.
Late in the process, however, questions came up in regard to possible requirements imposed by the bill on faith-based employers. This issue was not resolved, resulting in all but two Republican committee members opposing the bill. Nevertheless, Ranking Member Foxx made clear that she was otherwise supportive of the compromise reflected in the revised bill. Whether or not the religious exemption issue can be worked out before House Floor consideration or in the Senate remains to be seen. Seyfarth testified on the original legislation on October 22, helping to lay the ground work for improvements.
POWADA Passes House. The House also approved late Wednesday the Protecting Older Workers from Discrimination Act (H.R. 1230), 261-155 with 34 Republicans voting Yes. Note that the Senate counterpart (S.485) has bipartisan support with Senators Grassley (R-IA) and Collins (R-ME) as sponsors. The Administration has issued a veto threat. Stay tuned. Seyfarth also submitted an analysis of this legislation on June 4 to the Committee.
Bill Seeking Expanded Nursing Mother Accommodations Introduced. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) this week introduced the "Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act" (H.R. 5592). The bill would eliminate the application of many FLSA exemptions (including the exemption for executive, administrative, and professional employees) to the existing nursing mother provisions. It would apparently require application of the nursing mother provisions to employment outside the United States. And it would provide additional remedies for violations of the provisions. The bill would also apply by statute the Wage & Hour Division's existing requirement that an employee be "completely relieved from duty" for the break to be noncompensable.
Grand Rapids Limits Employment Screening. As we've seen over the past few years, state and local governments continue to jump into the labor and employment space. Grand Rapids, Michigan just joined the fray, with amendments to its Human Rights Ordinance that place restrictions on users and providers of background screening reports. For more information, see Seyfarth's Legal Update, prepared by the Background Checking & Drug Testing team.
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