The Perfect Storm

Employers in California and across the nation are facing some of the most difficult times in almost 80 years on the employment and labor front. In addition to the bad economy, employers are struggling with the new regulations already put into place by the Obama administration, such as the newly enacted Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Employers are also concerned about the looming regulations the administration said it supports, primarily the Employee Free Choice Act. Oh, and we cannot forget, the new Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, has vowed to ramp up the Department of Labor’s field audits on employers with the help of 150 new investigators it will be hiring under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

What should employers do?

First, it is not a bad time to conduct an audit of pay practices to ensure compliance with the existing regulations. If an employer is going through layoffs, there is a very good likelihood that its pay practices will be under close scrutiny. Second, employers need to understand what their obligations will be if the Employee Free Choice Act is actually enacted. With the decrease of union membership over the last few years, employers need to review what their obligations are when dealing with unionizing efforts.