Obviously it’s too early to say with any certainty what a second Obama term means for employment and labor law at the federal level, but I took a look at some of the employment law blogs and am happy to suggest these three as a starting place:
Verdict still out, but look to the federal agencies
Law professor Paul Secunda (Marquette) writes on Workplace Prof blog:
First, I think the verdict is still very much out on whether there will be any significant changes regarding labor and employment legal initiatives in President Obama’s second term. It is interesting that the President did not spend too much time during the campaign, or in his victory speech last night, discussing worker rights or unions.
While Paul doesn’t expect much in the way of new legislation, he anticipates “the most important developments happening through federal agency adjudications and rulemaking,” especially via the National Labor Relations Board (addressing labor and collective bargaining) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (addressing employment discrimination).
Not much, if you treat your workers fairly
As the votes were still being counted and Ohio remained up for grabs, management employment lawyer Jon Hyman noted on his Ohio Employer’s Law Blog that while “(t)he President has a large impact on labor and employment policy in this country,” employers who treat their workers fairly won’t have to do anything very different:
And yet, whether we have President Obama or President Romney for the next four years shouldn’t make a lick of difference on how you manage your employees. You should still follow the golden rule. You should still treat employees with dignity and respect. You should still pay employees for all the hours they work. You should still avoid discrimination, and harassment, and retaliation.
No huge changes, but several items to watch
Management employment lawyer Daniel Schwartz, writing for the Connecticut Employment Law Blog, cautions against expecting huge changes:
But the impact for employers will probably be far less than was suggested during the campaign season. Much will depend on the level of compromise that comes out of Washington.
However, he does flag four items to watch: The implementation of health care reform, more pro-employee actions by the National Labor Relations Board, possible extension of federal employment discrimination law to cover sexual orientation, and possibly greater attention to gender pay equity issues.