Employment laws are forever going through some sort of modification. However, some trends are expanding drastically.
In 2014, we witnessed employment law trends change related to the hiring interview process and background questionnaires. Accommodation laws regarding leave and wage and hour policies also developed over time.
Let’s take few moments to look back at some of the most significant employment trends in 2014 that may still be prevalent even into the New Year:
1. Laws Relating to Social Media Access
The National Labor Relations Board developed guidelines that would tackle social media issues. There are concerns as far as employers and supervisors gaining access to their employees’ social media channels and monitoring their online activities. Most employers are worried that employees are using social media as a way of spreading personal workplace affairs. Twelve states have combated this issue by developing employment laws that would limit what employers have access to when their employees post to social media.
2. Leave Benefits and Accommodation Regulations
Certain paid and unpaid leave benefits have been given to a number of jurisdictions within the last year. California and New Jersey now provide an unpaid domestic violence leave, New York City a paid sick leave and unpaid medical leave, and Oregon an unpaid bereavement leave. Additionally, San Francisco has implemented an employment law where employees can request a flexible work schedule due to caregiving responsibilities.
3. Background Checks, Questionnaires, and Interviews
In 2014, a new law called “ban the box” was being passed in several cities and states that limited the amount of information employers obtained concerning an applicant’s criminal history. Employers were required to get rid of any questions on a job application that inquired about a person’s history. Companies were allowed to request information only after a person’s employment status had been established. During this time, many employers found themselves updating their job applications and hiring policies.
Additionally, there are a few changes or trends that employers should look forward to and be very aware of at all times in 2015:
1. An Increase in Wage and Hour Lawsuits
Federal and state lawsuits related to wage and hour issues increased by 10 percent in 2013 and are expected to get worse going into 2015. Employees are becoming more aware of the violations committed by companies and because of this are seeking legal action.
2. An Expected Upsurge in Accommodation Requests
Employment rates are looking up for the U.S. Job market, and as a result, workplace accommodations are also in high-demand. Employers should expect more requests for extended leave, paid time off benefits, compensation, and other in-office accommodations.
3. An Increase in Employment Agency Enforcement
Employers should be on the lookout for a heavier presence from government employment agencies. More investigations will soon take place by these enforcement agencies to ensure that companies are complying with current employment laws. Therefore, it would be wise to constantly be in tune with evolving federal workplace regulations.
Employers should continue to update their workplace policies as new regulations and laws develop. This will ensure that every company is in compliance with employment laws.