Monday, November 24, 2008

Expected Legislative Changes in Employment Law

Is it right to say that we lack laws when a situation does not favor us? Or do we simply lack implementation of existing laws that we feel the need to enact some more?

Whatever we say about new laws, we are about to see some major changes in the coming days as more legislative acts are expected to bring these changes to the present employment laws.

Some of these laws are mentioned in the article “More Political Predictions”, which was posted on October 31, 2008. According to the article, the next Congress is about to pass into law a set of employment laws that will eventually affect both employers and employees.

Among these laws, I believe three of them bear significance to of employees in relation to the present employment conditions.

For one, the proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act is expected to complement the ADA and other state anti-discriminatory laws but will deal with the issue of sexual orientation and the more controversial, sexual identity.

Another law that will have impact on the workers and employees is the Arbitration Fairness Act, which would “ban requiring an employee to agree to resolve employment related claims by arbitration as a condition of employment”.

I believe this act will help improve the employees’ conditions, as it will eliminate binding arbitration as a means to avoid jury trials in many employment cases.

The Protecting America's Workers Act, another employment law that is deemed important, is expected to toughen Occupational Safety and Health Administration's whistleblower provisions. The law also increases the penalties, both civil and criminal, and expands the coverage to the public sector.

Now, the question on whether these proposed bills will be enacted into law or not will depend much on the next Congress who can be expected to take into consideration the present economic crisis, its impact on federal, state and local governments and the cost on employers when changes are finally implemented.