Employment Law Changes U.S. Employers Should Expect in 2016

“If you own or operate a business, it does not matter whether you have one employee or 100 employees— every business is required to operate in compliance with federal and state employment laws.  Fewer employees may mean fewer federal or state laws that your business is required to comply with; however, you are not off the hook or in the clear when a Federal Agency (DOL, EEOC, IRS, NLRB, OSHA, USCIS) comes knocking at your door.”

Here are some that are major “Hot Buttons” and ones that federal agencies are really cracking down on.


  • DOL says final rule will be published in July 2016 and be effective within 60 days

  Rule’s Impact

  • Minimum Salary Threshold increase from $455/week ($23,660/yr) to $970/week ($50,440/yr)

What employers must do now to Be Prepared?

  1. Review current salaries for all exempt employees.
  1. Determine which employee salaries you can raise to retain exempt status and which you can’t based on your company’s labor budget.
  1.  Analyze how many hours exempt employees now work and what it would cost if their current salary is converted to an hourly figure and they continue to work the same number of hours.
  2. Decide whether you will lower the hourly rate when you convert from exempt to                                                          hourly status so that total earnings remain the same.
  3. Don’t forget to consider morale if you plan to slash that hourly rate.

# 2  NLRB Handbook rule changes

Independent Federal Agency vested with the power to safeguard employees’ rights to  organize and to determine whether to have unions as their bargaining representative.  Oversees compliance with the NLRA and acts to prevent and remedy unfair labor practices committed by Union and Non-Union  employers

 Rules Regarding

  • Confidentiality
  • Conduct toward the Company and Supervisors
  • Conduct towards Coworkers
  • Employee Interaction with Third Parties
  • Restricting Use of Company Logos, Copyrights, and Trademarks
  • Photography and Recording
  • Employees Leaving Work
  • Conflict -of-Interest Rules

# 3 E-Verify for federal contractors and subcontractors

E-Verify is an internet-based system that compares information from an employee’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration to confirm employment eligibility

  • Voluntary for Most Employers
  • Mandatory for Employers with federal contracts or subcontracts that contain the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause
  • State specific legislation mandates the use of E-Verify for some or all Employers

# 4  Form I-9

  • Set to expire – 3/31/16
  • USCIS working on a new “Smart” I-9 Form

# 5 DOL Misclassification of Independent contractor

Employer improperly classifies a worker as an independent contractor when the worker should be classified as an employee, thereby allowing the employer to avoid the employment expenses associated with employees.

# 6 Medical Marijuana

  • Twenty-three States and the District of Columbia
  • Four states and DC have legalized for recreational use

# 7 Ban the Box

Ban the box refers to the check box on employment applications asking whether the candidate has ever been convicted of a crime. Ban-the-box laws require hiring managers to put off asking about a candidate’s criminal history until after an interview has been conducted or a provisional job offer has been extended.

# 8 Mandatory Paid Sick Leave

# 9 EEO-1 Reporting

  • EEOC collects workforce data from employers with more than 100 employees (lower thresholds for federal contractors)
  • Due Annually – September 30, 20XX
  • EEOC announces proposed addition of PAY DATA to Annual EEO-1 Reports
  • Beginning September 2017

# 10  EEOC Charge statistics

U.S. 2015 Total Charges:  89,385

  • #1 Retaliation: 39,757 or 44.5%
  • #2 Race: 31,027 or 34.7%


  • U.S. 2014 Total Charges: 88,778
  • #1 Retaliation: 37,955 or 42.8%
  • #2 Race: 31,073 or 35.0%


  • ARKANSAS 2014: 1,339 or 1.5% U.S Total
  • #1 Race: 566 or 42.3%/U.S. 1.8%
  • #2 Retaliation: 445 or 33.2%/U.S. 1.2%


For more information and resources, contact:

SPMI My HR Professionals