Monday, January 28, 2008

Congress introduces the Civil Rights Act of 2008

20 Democratic Senators (including Clinton and Obama) have sponsored the Civil Rights Act of 2008. It's basically a laundry list of pro-employee changes to virtually every federal employment statute. For example, it proposes to:

  • eliminate damage caps under Title VII and the ADA.
  • limit the "bona fide factor other than sex" defense under the Equal Pay Act.
  • add compensatory and punitive damages to FLSA claims.
  • amend the Federal Arbitration Act to prohibit clauses requiring arbitration of federal statutory claims.
  • allow winning plaintiffs to recover expert fees.
  • give the NLRB authority to award back pay to undocumented workers.
  • require that ADEA disparate impact claims be analyzed the same as Title VII claims.
  • condition states' receipts of federal funds on waivers of sovereign immunity under various federal employment statutes.

This bill has zero chance of becoming law under the current administration. It gives insight, however, into the labor and employment platform of whomever becomes the Democratic candidate for President. These changes would potentially be devastating for businesses litigating employment claims, and is one issue to keep in mind as you go the polls now and in November. [Hat tip: Workplace Prof Blog]