Naomi Soldon works as an attorney with a focus on subrogation, employee benefits, labor, and employment law. In the following article, Naomi Soldon discusses how failing to comply with these new regulations can result in legal and financial consequences and damage a company’s reputation.
Employers must keep track of an overwhelming number of legal regulations for how they manage their employees, from safety standards to regulations governing acceptable work hours. To make matters worse, frequent regulation changes make it hard for many employers to keep up.
It is essential for businesses to stay informed and up to date on the latest labor laws and regulations, and to proactively implement necessary changes to their policies and practices in order to remain compliant and competitive in the marketplace.
Especially with many recent changes in employment law occurring due to COVID-19, employers understand now more than ever the need to learn how to adjust to new regulations that previously never existed. This requires a willingness to ask for advice, although the Department of Labor fortunately provides free resources for those in need.
Even with available resources, Naomi Soldon says that navigating the changing landscape of employment law can prove difficult at times. It therefore helps to begin by discussing a few recent changes many employers have found themselves grappling with.
Recent Changes in Employment Law
When COVID-19 made waves across the globe, employment laws quickly changed to accommodate an unusual situation. For instance, California passed a new regulation allowing employees with a sick family member to take up to three months off for their loved one’s care.
Meanwhile, Naomi Soldon reports that federal courts required employers who mandated vaccinations for COVID-19 to consider reasonable accommodations to those who refused to get them, particularly those who did so for health-related or religious reasons.
These changes in employment law already demanded that employers accommodate a situation they were only just adjusting to in their own personal lives. Around the same time, several other new laws and regulations popped up that employers had to consider. For instance:
• Labor force reductions demanded employers know termination procedures inside and out.
• Midterm elections reminded employers to review guidelines for giving employees time off to vote.
• Several states including California increased the amount of permissible time off.
• Numerous states legally allowed recreational marijuana, changing employers’ drug testing standards.
• The overturn of Roe v. Wade limited time off for women to pursue reproductive healthcare.
Adjusting to Changing Regulations
Naomi Soldon says that one important factor to note is that not all of the changes mentioned above involve changes to employment law itself. Rather, some involve changes to other regulations or to the world at large that necessitated looking at the law through a new pair of lenses. Proper protocol for handling certain situations became uncertain for many.
When adding this to the new regulations passed either federally or by state, employers found themselves looking at both new sets of labor laws in addition to pre-existing ones that had changed nature due to unforeseeable circumstances completely out of their control. Since most employers are not legal experts by trade, the challenge became unwieldy.
As long as the world turns, employers will always find themselves in similar situations. The first trick they must learn is to practice patience and adaptability. Naomi Soldon reports that employers beset by new legal protocols cannot afford to resist change, particularly when it could mean facing litigation. They must enact new office protocols to accommodate the situation.
However, employers should also not feel as if they are doing this on their own. Several resources exist to provide advice and guidance to keep them from stepping outside of their legal bounds in uncertain times. Fortunately, those in the United States will find that the Department of Labor provides many of these resources themselves.
Resources for Employers
Naomi Soldon explains that the Department of Labor exists for the benefit of employees, so it stands to reason they would want to provide employers with all the access they need to information and advice on upholding new labor regulations. Just a few of the resources they provide include:
- The DOL National Call Center – Employers can contact the Department directly with any questions or concerns they may have by simply dialing I-866-ODEP-DOL (1-866-633-7365) and stating their inquiry.
- elaws Advisors – Short for Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses, this set of online advice tools includes FirstStep, which enables employers to look up information themselves while narrowing their search by which laws apply to their particular business.
- Job Accommodation Network – JAN focuses particularly on labor laws and regulations related to disabilities. They can be reached by calling one of two numbers: 1-800-ADA-WORK (1-800-232-9675) or 1-800-526-7234.
Naomi Soldon says that while constantly changing labor laws might mean headaches for employers, they fortunately do not have to pay excessive legal fees to rely on advice from attorneys. The Department of Labor provides enough free resources that any employer can answer their concerns easily. They must simply remember to remain patient, understanding and, most importantly, adaptable.