Partner Heidi Reavis Quoted on the Employment Law Obstacles the Biden Administration Will Face

On December 15, Business Insurance published an article entitled, “Biden Administration Faces Obstacles to Revising Employment Laws” and reached out to Partner Heidi Reavis for comment.

Given that U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) are semi-independent agencies with a majority of Republican Commissioners appointed by President Trump, President-elect Joe Biden will have a difficult time bringing his ambitious plans for employment law to fruition.  The composition of the conservative EEOC Commissioners – who don’t rotate until July 2022 – will be a major obstacle to employment-related initiatives addressing class actions, the gig economy, overtime and pay equity, EEOC funding and the agencies’ policy on vaccines. One major issue the EEOC will be facing next year is whether employers should mandate COVID-19 vaccines. In 2009, in connection with the swine-flu, the agency did not require vaccination but mandated employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees to get vaccinated.  It remains to be seen what will be decided in connection with COVID-19.

Partner Heidi Reavis states the Biden administration will focus on “trying too reverse some of the practical impediments that exist at the EEOC” resulting from many years of hiring freezes and attrition at the EEOC.  She commented that, despite this year seeing a tremendous increase in EEOC claims due to COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement, only half as many Investigators remain at the EEOC as compared to recent years.  By just restoring the EEOC’s personnel and infrastructure, Biden can make a quick mark on employment justice.

The article continues to discuss the actions the Biden-Harris administrations will likely take in the coming year.

To learn more, read the full article here.