When it comes to labor law, it is a changing landscape for area businesses, proven by Jackson Lewis’s recent year-ahead review. The 2019: Year Ahead for Employers, published recently by the nationwide law firm, sheds light on a range of pressing issues for companies both in and out of the 914.
“The Year Ahead is a compilation of the issues, trends, cases, and legislative and regulatory activity impacting the workplace. The report gives readers a road map of both opportunities and potential pitfalls allowing for a proactive, well-informed and strategic approach to decision-making, enabling readers to get up to speed on the issues they confront daily,” says Susan Corcoran, principal at Jackson Lewis. “Additionally, the report provides an opportunity for readers to look outside of their everyday lane and gain a deeper understanding of how related issues are impacting other parts of the organization, connecting the dots and promoting organizational efficiency.”
So what are some of the things business owners may need to adapt to? “Minimum-wage changes, medical-marijuana progress, and paid leave statutes continue to be the trend,” explains Corcoran. “Employers of all sizes need to understand how to navigate the leave laws, and how to engage in the interactive dialogue to ensure accommodations are provided when appropriate. In addition, with the growing use of medical marijuana, employers will have to understand its impact on workplace drug-testing, and other related issues.”
According to Corcoran, smaller, more nimble companies may be able to adapt to this changing environment more quickly than larger entities that do not avail themselves of evolving trends. “Proactive small employers, creating positive work environments, will be able to more successfully keep up with the new legal developments than employers that are not keeping pace with the changes,” she says. “[New sexual harassment regulations] will only complicate employers who are not well educated, and do not spend time training their managers on how, among other things, to remove any barriers to a person’s success in the workplace.”
Beyond marijuana and sexual harassment laws, other notable findings from the report include the fact that paid-leave statutes will gain momentum in the states and trend away from local laws. Corcoran adds that local employers should note Westchester’s Earned Sick Leave Law goes into effect this month. The report also states that federal agencies involved in the immigration process are increasing workplace audits, workplace raids, as well as deportations and that many localities’ minimum wages have surpassed the federal minimum.
To produce the Year Ahead, Jackson Lewis tapped authorities from the leaders of the firm’s practice groups for an assessment of both day-to-day and future issues the firm and its clients may face. The data is then summarized into easy-to-read segments.