Federal Legislative Director Update 11/13/17

Below is a brief Federal Legislative update:

· Sexual Harassment: Based on recent reports, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updated its sexual harassment guidelines. The recently updated guidelines were approved by the Commission on November 7th and, following approval from the Office of Management and Budget, will be released to the public. We will keep you updated once these become public.

· Sexual Harassment: In 1986, more than 20 years after the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court in Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson first recognized workplace sexual harassment as a form of unlawful sex discrimination. In 2017, more than 30 years after that landmark decision, claims of sexual harassment are grabbing headlines again, at a pace and intensity like never before. We have prepared an article that discusses the history of the “speak out” evolution, the EEOC’s position and recommendations and the next steps employers should consider taking now to ensure they have practices in place to prevent and address harassment in the workplace. You can read the article here: Link

· Sexual Harassment: Lawmakers in Congress are also introducing legislation to address the growing allegations of harassment in Congress. Lawmakers are introducing the “Member and Employee Training and Oversight on Congress (ME TOO Congress) Act this week aimed to improve the sexual harassment policies on Capitol Hill. In addition, there are a growing number of local ordinances and bills being introduced to address this growing issue. For example, in New York, a bill was introduced on October 25 entitled “The Models Harassment Protection Act” and in Chicago, the city council passed on October 11th the “Hands Off Pants On” ordinance.

· NLRB: On October 31, 2017, the NLRB General Counsel Richard Griffin’s term expired. On November 1st, the NLRB announced Jennifer Abruzzo as the Acting General Counsel. On November 2, 2017 a cloture motion was filed on Peter Robb’s nomination as General Counsel to the NLRB. Recently, the U.S. Senate confirmed Peter Robb as General Counsel to the NLRB.

· The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the “Save Local Business Act” (H.R. 3441) which would add a new, narrow definition of “employer” to the NLRB (and the FLSA) and which clarifies the definition of joint employment under both federal statutes. It is unlikely HR 3441 will garner enough Democratic support to pass in the Senate. Nevertheless, HR 3441 signals keen Congressional interest in rolling back (or attempting to roll back) a standard that was put in place under the previous Administration. In addition, even if the bill does not become law, when and if presented with an appropriate case, the newly constituted pro-business NLRB may overturn the underlining decision entitled Browning-Ferris and return to the prior TLI standard.