The H-1B season is off and running! Though United States Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS) has not specified the dates the online lottery will be open this year, we know it will occur in March. I recommend that all petitions be ready for submission by March 1.

2022 is now “in the books” and organized labor has to be reeling seeing the latest news. Despite all of those sensational headlines involving a few high profile employers facing union organizing drives last year, the union membership rate dropped to a new historic low in 2022.

On December 29, 2022, President Biden signed an omnibus appropriations bill into law that includes expanded protections for pregnant and nursing employees through two new acts: The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) and the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (PUMP).

The long-awaited SECURE 2.0 Act of 2022 (“SECURE 2.0”), containing sweeping changes to workplace retirement plans, was signed into law on December 29, 2022 as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023. SECURE 2.0 builds on the revisions to retirement plan rules enacted by the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (the original SECURE Act), and makes even more aggressive changes. 

While we continue to absorb the impact of the National Labor Relations Board’s recent expansion of its authority to include awards for consequential damages in unfair labor practice (ULP) cases, there are  other significant pro-union decisions and directives that need to be on your radar. 

Non-compete agreements – contract clauses, usually in employment agreements, that ban an employee from working in a certain industry, or in a certain geographic area for a period of time following termination of employment – have been under increasing scrutiny by state legislatures over the last several years. Many states, including Illinois, have banned their use for workers below certain income thresholds, for example. 

On December 21, 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law a statewide pay transparency bill, Senate Bill S9427A, that will take effect September 17, 2023. New York’s Pay Transparency Law requires employers with four or more employees to disclose compensation or range of compensation to applicants and employees when posting any opportunities for hire, promotion, or transfer. The law defines “range of compensation” as the minimum and maximum annual salary or hourly range of compensation for a job, promotion, or transfer opportunity that the employer in good faith believes to be accurate at the time of the positing of an advertisement.

As labor unions continue to target banks and credit unions – employers that, as mentioned in our previous blog, unions historically avoided – employers in the financial industry must be aware of labor law developments.  It is critical that employers know and understand the rules of engagement in traditional labor law --- particularly as the law develops under the current administration.  What now will trigger an unfair labor practice charge or the ire of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is much different than a few years ago.  Additionally, the rules and procedures surrounding a union organizing drive is changing dramatically and evolving into a very pro-union process.

On November 21, 2022, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul signed Assembly Bill 8092B, amending the state's labor law to clarify that employers cannot retaliate against employees for “any legally protected absence pursuant to federal, local or state law.” 

To strengthen enforcement and improve compliance with workplace safety standards and reduce worker injuries and illnesses, the U.S. Department of Labor is expanding the criteria for placement in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program (“SVEP”).

Welcome to the Labor and Employment Law Update where attorneys from Amundsen Davis blog about management side labor and employment issues. 

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