Arthur R. Lehman, L.L.C.

What changes to employment law are in store for 2016?

Both employers and employees in New York and across the country should be paying attention to the upcoming changes in store for employment law in 2016. Workers are increasingly receiving legal rights and protections that raise their pay, give them the ability to pursue employment litigation, and make certain that employment regulations are adhered to. Employers need to be cognizant of how to protect from lawsuits for certain actions they may have taken in the course of doing business.

The Department of Labor has amended the Fair Labor Standards Act when it comes to wages and overtime. Expected to come into effect in the early part of the new year, the changes are designed to counter inflation. Federal contractors will also have a new minimum wage. That law went into effect at the start of the new year. They will receive $10.15 every hour. It also sets the stage for incremental increases at certain junctures. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is designed to help workers who are expecting a child. New enforcement guidelines are being planned and the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission is sifting through various laws to do so. Employers are expected to be required to accommodate for pregnant workers during and after the pregnancy. The expected date of the passage of this law is undetermined.

The Occupational Safety and Health Commission will have the ability to raise the fines it levies for violations by as much as 80 percent starting in August. This is designed to deter violations that employers might previously have committed when the fines were not so expensive. Finally, the "ban the box" law has been introduced. Known as the Federal Fair Chance Act, this law is meant to protect prospective employees from having a previous conviction hinder their chances to get a job. This law is also expected to be passed at some point in 2016.

These laws that are being proposed or have already been passed can be keys to a business being able to function and an employee making certain his or her rights under employment law are being adhered to. When there is an issue at work that an employee believes was a violation or an employer is being accused of and needs to defend against, it is important to have experienced employer and employee representation to plan a legal case.

Source: business2community.com, "5 Employment Law Changes Which US Employers Should Expect In 2016," Brett McIntyre, Jan. 12, 2016

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