The U.S. government's fiscal year ended at midnight last night without congressional agreement regarding appropriations, resulting in a partial government shutdown, which will affect the federal agencies that monitor the workplace. This includes:
National Labor Relations Board (NLRB): All NLRB field offices will be shut down. Services affected include: representation and unfair labor practice charge docketing, investigations, hearings, complaints, and settlements; injunctions and enforcement actions; and administrative law judge and board decisions. Eleven employees (the five board members, the acting general counsel, and a few others who hold senior leadership positions with the agency) are the only individuals the agency currently exempted from furlough. Additional staff may be called to handle emergencies during the shutdown.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): The EEOC will continue to function with 107 (out of 2,164) staff members nationwide. During the temporary shutdown, the agency will continue to docket new charges and federal sector appeals. It will also litigate lawsuits where continuances are not granted by the court and will seek injunctive relief as necessary. While the EEOC is accepting new charges during the shutdown, it will not investigate those charges. The EEOC also will not conduct mediations or process FOIA requests during the shutdown.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): OSHA will temporarily cease all operations except for those that relate to "emergencies involving the safety of human life or protection of property." Two hundred and thirty staff members will continue to work at the agency through the shutdown and will be able to respond to safety and health complaints that involve potentially hazardous conditions that "present a high risk of death or serious physical harm."
Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (WHD): The WHD will suspend operations and will furlough all but six employees.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Employment and Training Administration (ETA): Fee-for-service activities performed by the USCIS are expected to continue, because they are funded by sources other than appropriated funds. During the temporary shutdown, USCIS expects to furlough only 353 of 12,558 employees. Consular operations run by the State Department will remain 100 percent operational only as long as there are fees to support those operations. However, E-verify temporarily will be shut down, and the ETA will not process any foreign labor certifications needed for some employment-based visas during the period of a temporary shutdown.
For links to each agency's contingency plan, please go to the Office of Management and Budget at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/contingency-plans.
On October 10, James Bowers will share his personal perspectives on the History of Slavery and Race in South Carolina at UConn School of Law.
Day Pitney Alert
Rachel Gonzalez, Mary Rogers and Patrick McCarthy wrote an article "NLRB Eases Organizing of Temporary Workers" for CBIA’s H&R Safety Newsletter on the impact of the recent decision of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
Dan Schwartz and James Leva wrote an article, "Where New Conn. Ban-The-Box Law May Be Headed," for Law360. The article outlines what employers need to know about Connecticut's recently enacted "ban-the-box" law, titled "An Act Concerning Fair Chance Employment."
Day Pitney Alert
Michael Furey was quoted in an article, "NJ Panel Grills Hospitals Over Discovery In Horizon Row," in Law360. Day Pitney is representing five New Jersey hospitals in a lawsuit against Horizon Healthcare, relating to its new, multi-tiered health plan called OMNIA. Furey advocated on behalf of the five hospitals on Wednesday before a New Jersey appeals court that Horizon should turn over a consultant's report and certain agreements relating to how Horizon categorized hospitals under its controversial OMNIA Alliance program and the impact of OMNIA on the hospitals. These Tier 2 hospitals are alleging various claims, including breach of contract and citing concerns that being ranked in the lower tier of the program will cost them business. Horizon contends the sought-after materials, including a financial analysis, strategic alliance agreements and rate agreements between the insurer and OMNIA network hospitals, contain trade secret and confidential information. "If we're going to prove our hospitals should be Tier 1 alliance members, we need the documents and the information," Furey said.
Hartford, Conn., May 26, 2016 - Day Pitney LLP is pleased to announce that Employment and Labor attorney Albert Zakarian has been chosen as a Lifetime Achievement winner of The Connecticut Law Tribune’s second annual Professional Excellence Awards 2016. The Professional Excellence Awards 2016 recognize 28 lawyers, who were chosen from over 60 nominees, as either Lawyer of the Year or Lifetime Achievement recipients, according to The Connecticut Law Tribune. The Lifetime Achievement Awards honor "attorneys who have excelled over a career."
John McLafferty was quoted in an article, "Final overtime regulations less drastic than feared," in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. In the article, McLafferty discusses how the Department of Labor’s final revised federal overtime regulation will impact businesses. "The reality is that the rule made more people eligible for overtime; it didn’t create any obligation for employers to pay more overtime," he said. McLafferty added that the regulation’s impact on employees could have a wider effect on office culture and policies, which may affect a company’s ability to attract and retain workers. In addition, he noted that employers should take this opportunity to ensure that all of their employees are properly classified for overtime purposes.
Albert Zakarian has been chosen as a winner of The Connecticut Law Tribune's second annual Professional Excellence Awards. The awards recognize two dozen lawyers for outstanding service to the profession during their long careers. The publication received more than 70 nominations. Profiles of awardees will appear in the Law Tribune in May. An event will also be held in May to recognize the winners. More about the awards can be found here.
Howard Fetner was quoted in an article, "Judge Allows Company to Withhold Benefits From Departing Employee," in The Connecticut Law Tribune. Fetner represented Community Health Center, Inc. (CHC), a statewide company that provides health care services to low-income patients, in a case in which a former CHC employee sought to recover compensation for unused paid time off. Following a trial, the court ruled in favor of CHC, reinforcing an employer's right to condition the payment of compensation for accrued fringe benefits upon an employee's giving a specified amount of advance notice of termination.