Employment Law Predictions for 2019

In 2018, President Trump’s pro-business outlook was marked by a rollback of Obama-era employment initiatives, such as a ban on transgender discrimination in the workplace and the threshold increase to the white-collar minimum salary requirements. In reaction, many state and local governments took the opposite approach, and strengthened their own employment laws, which included increasing the minimum wage, passing predictive work-week legislation, and increasing the threshold for their own white-collar exemptions.

Additionally, the past 12 months brought a swarm of public attention to harassment, inequality and accommodations. These issues will continue and employers will need to find ways to get through. However, it’s not just about compliance with the law, but creating the right culture within an organization that focuses on such issues.

Moving forward, the effects of the #MeToo movement will persist.  The laws have generally been the same and companies already know what constitutes harassment. Organizational policies need to be clear, and they need to inform employees. Investigations need to be an area of focus and it should be stated that employees will not face retaliation for reporting harassment.

Continued pushes for equity, equality at work, should be expected. There will be a continued emphasis on reducing inequality between male and female workers as well as between workers of different socioeconomic backgrounds in many areas., including wages and advancement opportunities.

Lastly, there are particular difficulties employers face when trying to accommodate workers with disabilities. Perhaps most difficult is getting around the idea that persists in other areas of compliance, namely the idea of “treating everyone the same.” However, you may have to treat someone differently in order to level the playing field and allow them to perform the essential functions of their job.  A growing form of accommodation is remote work, and thanks to new technologies and ways of performing work this accommodation can be applied to an increasing number of jobs.

If you have questions about the laws in Texas surrounding these types of issues, give my firm a call.