Bodman Releases Annual Survey of Workplace Law Concerns for Employers
A Workplace Law Client Alert
Bodman’s Workplace Law Group has released its annual survey of top legal concerns for employers for 2014.
The survey results indicate that 2014 was no less challenging for employers than the year before.
“2014 was subtly different from 2013 as employers faced the mixed messaging of a more positive economy still burdened with uncertain government regulations affecting the workplace,” said Workplace Law Group Chair Maureen Rouse-Ayoub. For the first time since 2000, gone from the top hot button issues are the recession indicators. But growing are the many and varied regulations spewing out of government which make a productive workplace more difficult to attain. “The response of employers is to focus on doing more with less, setting and maintaining higher standards for new hires and existing employees. At the same time, employers must deal with the broader reach of workplace laws and regulations, such as EEOC control of criminal background checks and NLRB expansion of union friendly rules, including faster union organizing elections,” added Rouse-Ayoub.
Steve Fishman, a senior member and former chair of the Workplace Law Group, compiled and interpreted the 2014 survey. “Social and economic issues impacting the neighborhoods around the workplace become the drivers of issues in the workplace,” Fishman noted.
As the disability population expands, disability management took over the top spot from wage and hour and overtime concerns, which dropped to number 3. Jumping 2 spots from 4 to 2 are various concerns about discipline and discharge, as employers drive for improved performance. Policy issues dropped slightly from 3 to 4 as employers continue to wrestle with health care compliance and cost effective plan designs. Pre-hire concerns remained steady at number 5 reflecting the need for better qualified new hires. Moving up a notch from 7 to 6 are privacy concerns as employers seek to better control the workplace, eliminate non-performers, and comply with new privacy protection laws. Moving up 2 spots from 9 to 7 are concerns about substance abuse and testing details, consistent with the performance driver. Discrimination and harassment remained steady at number 8. Concerns about unions remained constant at number 9 as employers avoided unions and improved the success of bargaining.
According to the survey, the top legal concerns faced by employers in 2014 included the following:
1. Application of ADA, FMLA, and workers’ compensation laws
2. Discipline and termination
3. Wage/hour, overtime, and payroll issues
4. Creation/administration of employment policies, handbooks, and fringe benefits
5. Pre-employment screening, interviewing, and hiring practices
6. Privacy, surveillance, right to review personnel file
7. Drugs, alcohol, and substance abuse testing
8. Discrimination and harassment
9. Union organizing, labor contract negotiation and administration
Bodman’s survey is based on calls for assistance received from employers through seven “workplace law hot lines” that the firm maintains for various employer groups, including the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. Attorneys in Bodman’s Workplace Law Group have compiled an annual hot button list of employer legal concerns since 1997, a practice which increases Bodman’s value as a resource for employers facing cutting edge problems.
Please contact any member of the Workplace Law Group for more information about the survey or to discuss solutions to any of your workplace legal concerns.