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Idaho Employment Law October 19, 2013 Newsletter

7 Effects the Federal Government Shutdown Had on Labor and Employment

The government shutdown that began October 1 ended on October 16 before the US defaulted on its debt and caused financial calamity around the world. Economists at Standard and Poor’s estimate that the cost of the 16-day shutdown cost $24 billion. The shutdown closed operations across the country, including federal buildings, national parks, and monuments. More than 800,000 federal employees on furlough were uncertain of their financial future as they waited for Congressional negotiations to end the shutdown. It also affected much of the legal machinery that governs the relationship between federal departments and US workers. For example, the National Labor Relations Board operated with just 11 employees, while the other 1,600 had been sent home. At the Department of Labor, normally staffed by 16,000 employees, only 3,000 were considered essential and remained working. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission did not process any new FOIA requests and no staff was available to answer questions or respond to correspondence. And while the shutdown has ended, the current agreement only funds the government through January 15, 2014 in place of an annual budget while the debt limit is lifted until February 7, 2014.

Below are 7 more government services that were impacted by the shutdown:

  1. America’s national parks and monuments, from Yosemite to the Smithsonian to the Statue of Liberty, were closed.
  2. New applications for small business loans and loan guarantees were halted.
  3. The government system that allows companies to check the legal status of employees, e-Verify, was shut down.
  4. Some work to protect consumers, ranging from child product safety to financial security to the safety of hazardous waste facilities, ceased. The EPA halted non-essential inspections of chemical facilities and drinking water systems—93% of the EPA staff was not working.
  5. Permits and reviews for planned energy and transportation projects stopped, preventing companies from working on these projects. Loans to rural communities were halted by the USDA.
  6. With the IRS shuttered, federal tax documents required for state programs that help people pay their mortgage were unavailable.
  7. Hundreds of thousands of Federal employees considered essential, including many charged with protecting us from terrorist threats, defending our borders, inspecting our food, and keeping our skies safe, worked without pay until the shutdown ended.

 


Why We Encourage Resolution Before Litigation

Employment litigation has spiraled in the last two decades. The expansion of federal and state discrimination laws and the growth in common law and statutory protection against wrongful dismissal have provided employees with a broader array of tools with which to challenge employer behavior in court. In the federal courts alone, the number of suits filed concerning employment grievances grew over 400 percent in the last two decades. Complaints lodged with administrative agencies have risen at a similar rate.

Employment litigation is a costly option for both employers and employees. Further, while the prospective costs of court awards do serve to deter employers from illegal actions, it is not clear that litigation protects all kinds of employees equally well. The pursuit of a legal claim through litigation often proves stressful and unsatisfying. Overburdened federal and state judicial dockets mean that years often pass before an aggrieved employee is able to present his or her claim in court.

Settlement is the least costly option in most case types, as shown by the same figure. That’s why Idaho Employment Law Solutions will always recommend settling the dispute when the settlement offer is reasonable. Enlisting experienced, knowledgeable legal counsel that knows how to settle a case and will make every effort to do so saves you time, money, and emotional energy. We know that to a small business owner the threat of litigation can be daunting. That’s why we’re here to help you avoid it. Hiring a lawyer to help guide you through the beginning stages of starting a business or entering discrimination proceedings will pay off hugely in the long run. Contact Idaho Employment Law Solutions for an initial consultation if you need assistance structuring an effective legal solution for your business.

 


Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs

The purpose of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is to enforce, for the benefit of job seekers and wage earners, the contractual promise of affirmative action and equal employment opportunity required of those who do business with the Federal government. If you receive an OFCCP review document, immediately call Idaho Employment Law Solutions for help with your OFCCP audit, compliance and training.

In carrying out its responsibilities, the OFCCP uses the following enforcement procedures:

  • Offers technical assistance to federal contractors and subcontractors to help them understand the regulatory requirements and review process.
  • Conducts compliance evaluations and complaint investigations of federal contractors and subcontractors personnel policies and procedures.
  • Obtains Conciliation Agreements from contractors and subcontractors who are in violation of regulatory requirements.
  • Monitors contractors and subcontractors progress in fulfilling the terms of their agreements through periodic compliance reports.
  • Forms linkage agreements between contractors and Labor Department job training programs to help employers identify and recruit qualified workers.
  • Recommends enforcement actions to the Solicitor of Labor.
  • The ultimate sanction for violations is debarment - the loss of a company's federal contracts. Other forms of relief to victims of discrimination may also be available, including back pay for lost wages.

In his previous capacity as Equal Employment Opportunity Manager for Boise Cascade Corporation, attorney, Ron Coulter was responsible for responding to, and coordinating all functions relevant to the OFCCP; and as a result, gained extensive experience in handling compliance evaluations of all types. Ron developed, managed, and was responsible for the corporate auditing of Boise Cascade’s establishments for EEO/OFCCP compliance. Ron was responsible for ensuring that all (124) affirmative action programs were completed and implemented in full compliance with all regulatory requirements including compensation analysis. Ron’s expertise allows Idaho Employment Law Solutions to provide the following services to its clients:

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This Week in Labor History

One of the first labor unions in what would become the United States was formed in 1648. On October 18 the "Shoemakers of Boston" was authorized by the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

 


 

 

Past Newsletters

October 3, 2013 Newsletter

September 19, 2013 Newsletter

September 4, 2013 Newsletter

August 15, 2013 Newsletter

August 7, 2013 Newsletter

July 23, 2013 Newsletter

July 2, 2013 Newsletter