Before the November 2012 election, Congress adjourned early and went home to campaign. However, as I write this article, www.regulations.gov lists 5,785 new or revised federal regulations posted within the last 90 days. That's 64 regulations per day. So much for a slowdown in D.C.

Now that voters returned President Obama to office, what changes in employment law can the poultry industry expect from a second-term Obama presidency? The following are some of the issues facing the poultry industry, excerpted from materials prepared by Jackson Lewis LLP.

More active OSHA

Employers may see a more active OSHA. From a regulatory perspective, there are a number of rules about to be proposed or published in final form that could impact employers. Some of the specific regulatory initiatives primed to move forward include the Injury and Illness Prevention Program and stricter Injury and Illness reporting requirements. From an enforcement perspective, employers should expect to see the same high level of OSHA enforcement. 

Disability restrictions

Similarly, the Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs proposed added disability-related restrictions on federal contractors and subcontractors. These include requiring employers to request the disability status of applicants and new hires, set disability goals in areas of underutilization, make online application systems technologically accessible to individuals with disabilities, and allow disabled employees to provide their own accommodations. 

Equal employment opportunity

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission likely will continue its enforcement agenda.  This may include implementing components of its Draft Strategic Enforcement Plan, released on September 4, 2012. The plan lists eliminating systemic barriers in recruiting and hiring discrimination as its first priority, followed by protecting immigrant and migrant workers from discrimination.

Healthcare

The hallmark of President Obama's first term, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is here to stay.  The government agencies primarily charged with enforcement of the health care reform law are moving quickly to promulgate regulations. Companies must ensure they are in compliance with the new law's requirements.

Labor relations

During President Obama's first term, the National Labor Relations Board's decisions and rulemaking have favored organized labor by taking action both through adjudication and administrative agency rulemaking that broaden the National Labor Relations Act's impact and make it easier for unions to organize workers.

USPOULTRY works closely with an industry-wide human resources committee and will strive to help keep the industry informed and in compliance with the increasing regulatory burden placed on employers.