May 26, 2022

Volume XII, Number 146

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Labor Agencies Pursue Aggressive Agendas in 2022

Executive Order 12866 requires federal agencies to publish an agenda of regulations they plan to propose, promulgate, or review in the coming one-year period.  The Department of Labor’s regulatory agenda showed ambitious goals for its agencies in 2022, as does President Biden’s Build Back Better Framework. Employers should brace themselves for increased enforcement activity from agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”), and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”).

“As we enter 2022, the Department of Labor is continuing our efforts to empower workers morning, noon and night,” said Raj Nayak, U.S. Department of Labor Assistant Secretary, in a press release.  Under the current Democratic administration, federal agencies have been bolstered by increased budgets and much-needed additions to staff.  And, though Congress’ debate over the Build Back Better Act places the amount of extra enforcement funding in question, a push for workplace reform will continue.

Some of the announced priorities for the DOL this year include:  creating more ladders to the middle class, increasing equity in the workforce, and ensuring safe and healthy workplaces.  Enforcement agencies plan to effectuate these goals via a variety of initiatives.  The EEOC, for instance, will continue its focus on systemic discrimination, and will investigate bias stemming from the use of artificial intelligence (“AI”) and algorithms in employment decisions.  The OFCCP is similarly focused on systemic discrimination, in hiring and pay, and continues to refine its use of statistics in pay equity audits.  As OFCCP noted in its fiscal year 2022 Congressional Budget Justification, “OFCCP’s work is more important than ever given our current economic situation. More than a year into the pandemic, millions of workers are still struggling.”  OSHA, though dealing with the Supreme Court’s recent stay of its Emergency Temporary Standard (known as the OSHA vaccine mandate, see our prior blog), maintains a robust regulatory agenda with dozens of rules in pre-rule, proposed rule, and final rule stages.

Employers should also expect to see an increase in inter-agency cooperation, such as the new joint hiring initiative of the EEOC and OFCCP called “HIRE,” the Hiring Initiative to Reimagine Equity.  HIRE is a multi-year effort to expand access to good jobs for underrepresented communities.  There will be greater information sharing between agencies also, likely resulting in more coordinated enforcement efforts and an increase in referrals for investigation.

More details about the current federal regulatory agenda are available here, with the Department of Labor’s specific agenda here.

Copyright © 2022, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 19
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About this Author

Christy Kiely Employment Lawyer Hunton Andrews Kurth Law Firm Richmond

Christy’s practice encompasses employmentlitigation, EEOC charges, #MeToo investigations, pay equity analyses, advice, training, affirmative action, and audit defense before the OFCCP.

Christy’s work focuses on pay equity analyses, affirmative action work and audit defense before the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. She also has substantial experience with employment litigation in federal and state courts, administrative practice before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and advice to business management and in-house counsel on a full range of employment...

804 788 8677
Alan Marcuis Employment Attorney Dallas Hunton AK
Partner

Alan represents management in complex labor and employment law matters, including contract, trade secret and post-employment restrictive covenants, EEO litigation, collective bargaining and labor relations.

At Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, Alan serves as co-head of the Unfair Competition & Information Task Force and Hiring Partner for the firm’s Texas offices. He is a contributing author to the the firm’s Employment & Labor Perspectives blog.

Alan is admitted to practice in the...

214 979 3060 direct
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