Well it’s that time of year again, Election Time.  That’s both good and bad.  It’s good in that very few federal laws will be moved through Congress and it’s bad because we will have to hear thousands of campaign commercials, from now until November.  So from a federal perspective these are bills that may have legs in 2020: 

To listen to the full podcast, click below:

Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act

This bill amends the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 to establish an unlawful employment practice when the complaining party demonstrates that age or participation in investigations, proceedings, or litigation was a motivating factor for any unlawful employment practice, even though other factors also motivated the practice (thereby allowing what are commonly known as “mixed motive” claims). This is significant because the current requirement in such cases is that a complainant prove that age was the “but-for” cause for the employer’s decision. The bill applies the same standard of proof to other employment discrimination and retaliation claims, including claims under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

This bill prohibits employment practices that discriminate against making reasonable accommodations for job applicants or employees affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Specifically, the bill declares that it is an unlawful employment practice to (1) fail to make reasonable accommodations to known limitations of such job applicants or employees, unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on an entity’s business operation; (2) deny employment opportunities based on the need of the entity to make such reasonable accommodations to an applicant or employee; (3) require such job applicants or employees to accept an accommodation that they do not want, if such accommodation is unnecessary to perform the job; (4) require such employees to take paid or unpaid leave if another reasonable accommodation can be provided to their known limitations; or (5) take adverse action in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment against an employee requesting or using such reasonable accommodations.

Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act

This bill requires the Department of Labor to address workplace violence in the health care and social service sectors. Specifically, Labor must promulgate an occupational safety and health standard that requires certain employers in the health care and social service sectors, as well as employers in sectors that conduct activities similar to the activities in the health care and social service sectors, to develop and implement a comprehensive plan for protecting health care workers, social service workers, and other personnel from workplace violence.

In addition, those employers must

  • investigate workplace violence incidents, risks, or hazards as soon as practicable;
  • provide training and education to employees who may be exposed to workplace violence hazards and risks;
  • meet record keeping requirements; and
  • prohibit acts of discrimination or retaliation against employees for reporting workplace violence incidents, threats, or concerns.

From a South Carolina perspective, I believe you should watch:

 Criminal Record Disclosure S 220

This bill would prohibit an employer from inquiring, considering, or requiring disclosure of the criminal record, or criminal history, of an applicant for employment until the applicant is selected for interview, or before a conditional offer of employment is made to the applicant.

Ok, there are other bills pending in both the federal and state legislatures dealing with a multitude of other items, like minimum wage, unionization, pay equity etc., but I don’t want to waste your time with them as I doubt they will move very far in an election year.  The ones I have mentioned go along with large voting populations, like older workers, women and prior offenders.  While I know it is hard to believe, laws are often passed to win favor with certain segments of the voting population.  Those I’ve discussed here are not overly contentious and ones that most would not fine objectionable.  Perfect for those seeking re-election to show they have done something for their constituents, giving cause for folks to vote for them again.

Enjoy the campaign ads and thanks for listening to Survive HR!


Photo by Suliman Sallehi from Pexels

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Steve Nail is currently the Dean, College of Business, at Anderson University. He is a labor and employment attorney who began his career with the National Labor Relations Board. Thereafter, he served as Assistant General Counsel for Michelin, including two stints in France, where he worked on the structuring of the European Economic Community and served in the HR and Legal Departments. Later he served as the Vice President of Labor and Employee Relations before moving on to Hubbell where he served as the Vice President of Human Resources. Steve was appointed by Governor Nikki Haley to serve on the SC Healthcare Planning Committee and was reappointed by Governor McMaster in 2018. Steve was named the 2012 South Carolina HR Professional of the Year and awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016, by the Greenville SHRM chapter. He is a frequent speaker, a published author, and mentor to many in the HR profession. He often coaches individuals and consults organizations on strategic matters. He is a Register Corporate Coach, certified by the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches and holds SPHR and SHRM-SCP certifications.