Today brings us to the end of our countdown, and the top two labor and employment law stories of the year. Each of these stories will have far reaching implications into 2009:
2. The economic downturn and the proliferation of layoffs and shutdowns: It’s no secret that our economy is in the toilet, and will continue to be at least in the short term. Companies have been and will continue to shed employees and operations as they try to stay afloat or fail. Unemployment insurance systems will continue to be stressed to the max. As employers continue to feel economic pressure, acronyms like OWBPA and WARN will continue to be on the tips of their tongues and at the core of employees’ fears. This story very well could climb to number in 2009 as the economy is predicted to continue to suffer, and employment lawsuits are expected to continue to rise.
1. The election of President Obama: In the last two years, the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate have proposed a cornucopia of new labor and employment laws – Employee Free Choice Act, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Arbitration Fairness Act, Working Families Flexibility Act, Independent Contractor Proper Classification Act, RESPECT Act, Equal Remedies Act, Civil Rights Act of 2008, and the Health Families Act. While jump starting the economy should preoccupy the new administration, we cannot overlook that Senator Obama sponsored most if not all of these bills. With the Democrats in charge of the White House and Capitol Hill for the first time in 14 years, there is a real chance that we will see the most sweeping changes to our nation’s labor and employment laws in decades. This story is number one in 2008, and very well could repeat as the top story of 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and beyond.