Monday, December 7, 2009

Fall 2009 Regulatory Agendas Released

Dol Eeoc The Fall 2009 regulatory agendas (click on the link: The Regulatory Plan - Current Agency Statements of Regulatory Priorities) are out for federal agencies including the Department of Labor and the EEOC. Agencies issue these priority-setting documents twice a year.

From the DOL's statement, these priorities are highlighted:
The Department of Labor's (DOL) mission is to protect workers by improving working conditions, advancing opportunities for employment, protecting retirement and health care benefits, helping employers find workers, and strengthening collective bargaining. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis' vision is that the work of the Labor Department will ensure there are good jobs for everyone.

To achieve this broad vision, the Secretary has established a series of 12 specific strategic outcomes, which span across all of the Department's agencies. These outcomes are:
  • Increasing workers' incomes and narrowing wage and income inequality.
  • Securing safe and healthy workplaces, wages and overtime, particularly in high-risk industries.
  • Assuring skills and knowledge that prepare workers to succeed in a knowledge-based economy, including in high-growth and emerging industry sectors like "green" jobs.
  • Breaking down barriers to fair and diverse work places so that every worker's contribution is respected.
  • Improving health benefits and retirement security for all workers.
  • Providing work place flexibility for family and personal care-giving.
  • Facilitating return to work for workers experiencing work place injuries or illnesses who are able to work and sufficient income and medical care for those who are unable to work.
  • Income support when work is impossible or unavailable.
  • Helping workers who are in low-wage jobs or out of the labor market find a path into middle class jobs.
  • Ensuring workers have a voice in the work place.
  • Assuring that global markets are governed by fair market rules that protect vulnerable people, including women and children, and provide workers a fair share of their productivity and voice in their work lives.
  • Helping middle-class families remain in the middle class.
Critical to this vision is ensuring these outcomes achieve good jobs for everyone. This includes vulnerable workers, workers in traditionally less safe industry sectors, farmworkers, health care workers and seniors, and those facing barriers to good employment.

The Secretary has directed each agency to ensure that all priority regulatory projects support achievement of one or more of the strategic outcomes that support the good jobs for everyone vision. The DOL Fall 2009 Regulatory Plan reflects this direction.
This should sound familiar for those of us who attended this year's labor and employment law colloquium and heard Deputy Secretary Seth Harris speak. There is a lot more info for the main agencies within the DOL on their regulatory priorities, so check it out if you're interested.

The EEOC's statement is less comprehensive:

The first item in this Regulatory Plan is titled "Regulations To Implement the Equal Employment Provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act Amendments Act." On September 25, 2008, the President signed the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 ("ADA Amendments Act" or "Act"). The Act makes important changes to the definition of the term "disability" by rejecting the holdings in several Supreme Court decisions and portions of EEOC's ADA regulations. The Act retains the ADA's basic definition of "disability" as an impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment. However, it changes the way that these statutory terms should be interpreted in several ways.

The second item in this Regulatory Plan is titled "Reasonable Factors Other Than Age Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act". In March 2008, the EEOC published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) concerning disparate impact under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. 73 FR 16807 (March 31, 2008). In this NPRM, the Commission asked whether EEOC regulations should provide more information on the meaning of "reasonable factors other than age" (RFOA) and if so, what the regulations should say. After consideration of the public comments, and in light of the Supreme Court decisions in Smith v. City of Jackson, 544 U.S. 228 (2005), and Meacham v. Knolls Atomic Power Lab., 554 U.S. ___, 128 S. Ct. 2395 (2008), the Commission believes it is appropriate to issue a new NPRM to address the scope of the RFOA defense. Accordingly, before finalizing its regulations concerning disparate impact under the ADEA, the Commission intends to publish a new NPRM proposing to amend its regulations concerning RFOA.

Hat tip: Pat Schaeffer


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This is timely. I've been preparing my Administrative Law course for next semester, and I'm looking for a good subject for a regulatory-drafting project. I think this should work well.

Posted by: Eric Fink | Dec 8, 2009 10:01:10 AM

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