EEOC UPDATES ITS STRATEGIC ENFORCEMENT PLAN AND SETS ITS SIGHTS ON COMPANIES RELYING ON ALTERNATIVE EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIPS
- Written by Anthony Oceguera
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recently issued an updated Strategic Enforcement Plan (“SEP”) for Fiscal Years 2017-2021, which began on October 1, 2016. The SEP serves as a de facto mission statement for the EEOC, setting forth specific substantive area priorities, as well the EEOC’s strategies for having a sustainable impact in advancing equal opportunity and discouraging discrimination in the workplace.
The updated SEP continues to prioritize the areas listed in its prior 2012 edition, such as protecting immigrant and migrant workers, eliminating barriers in recruiting and hiring and ensuring equal pay protections. Notably, a new priority identified by the SEP is addressing issues relating to “complex employment relationships and structures in the 21st century workplace,” focusing specifically on temporary workers, staffing agencies, independent contractor relationships, and the on-demand or “gig” economy, which includes services such as Uber and Lyft.
- Written by Jacquelyn E. Larson
The Department of Labor (“DOL”) is set to once again raise the standard for minimum wage rates for H-2A workers in California. Federal regulations require that the minimum wage for H-2A employees is the highest of (1) the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (“AEWR”), (2) the prevailing hourly or piece rate, (3) the agreed upon collective bargaining wage rate, if applicable, or (4) the state or federal minimum wage.
Often, the highest rate is the AEWR, a rate specifically set by the DOL for each state as the minimum to be offered to H-2A workers. The goal of the AEWR is to keep wages of similarly employed U.S. workers from being adversely affected by employers’ ability to hire labor from outside the country. The AEWR for each state is updated by the DOL every year based on a review by region of the prevailing wages of U.S. workers.