Week In Review

September 14, 2015

New Executive Order requires federal contractors to grant paid sick leave
On September 7, 2015, President Obama issued an Executive Order (EO) requiring federal contractors (and subcontractors, including lower-tier subcontracts) to offer their employees up to 7 days of paid sick leave per year. Under the EO, employees of federal contractors and subcontractors will earn a minimum of one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. A contractor may not limit annual paid sick leave accrual at less than 56 hours. Employees may use the paid sick leave to care for themselves or a family member, or for absences resulting from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The EO directs the Secretary of Labor to issue regulations enforcing the EO by September 30, 2016, including setting forth exclusions from the requirements where appropriate, as well as recordkeeping requirements as needed to enforce the provision.

Bicameral bills to roll back NLRB’s joint employer standard introduced
On September 8, 2015, both houses of Congress introduced legislation that would roll back a recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling and reaffirm that an employer must have “actual, direct and immediate” control over an employee to be considered a joint employer.
This proposed legislation is being introduced based on the decision of the NLRB in the Browning-Ferris Industries decision. For approximately 40 years, federal labor policies held that two separate employers are “joint employers” if both employers have direct and immediate control over employment terms and working conditions, such as being responsible for tasks like hiring and firing, setting work hours, issuing direction to employees, determining compensation, and handling day-to-day recordkeeping. Under the new standard, the 3-2 NLRB said that “indirect control” or even “unexercised potential” to control working conditions will now make two separate employers joint employers.

Manufacturing company to pay $1.6M and offer jobs to settle background check suit
A South Carolina manufacturing company will pay $1.6 million and provide job offers to alleged victims of race discrimination to resolve an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) suit. The EEOC alleged that the employer unlawfully excluded African-American logistics workers from employment at a disproportionate rate when employer’s new logistics contractor applied criminal conviction records guidelines to incumbent employees. The employer brought in a new contractor in 2008 to handle logistics at a production facility. The employer required the new contractor to perform a criminal background screen on all existing logistics employees who reapplied to continue working in their positions under the new contractor. At that time, the employer’s criminal conviction records guidelines excluded from employment all persons with convictions in certain categories of crime, regardless of how long ago the employee had been convicted or whether the conviction was for a misdemeanor or felony. Approximately 100 incumbent logistics workers at the facility, including employees who had worked there for several years, did not pass the screen – 80 percent of whom were African-American. EEOC regulations provide that, while a company may choose to use criminal history as a screening device in employment, Title VII requires that when a criminal background screen results in the disproportionate exclusion of African-Americans from job opportunities, the employer must evaluate whether the policy is job related and consistent with a business necessity.

SESCO recommends that clients review all applicable policy and practices to ensure compliance. For assistance, contact us at 423-764-4127 or by email at sesco@sescomgt.com