Government policies and proposals

Bill to Reform Mexico's Federal Labor Law Is One Step Closer to Passage

By Oscar De la Vega, Liliana Hernández, and Eduardo Arrocha

On Friday, September 28, 2012, Mexico's House of Representatives submitted a Proposed Decree for the Senate's approval. The Proposed Decree seeks to reform the Federal Labor Law (FLL) in important areas, including hiring practices, new termination grounds, outsourcing, and limitation on back wages as compensatory damages. While accepting much of the content of a bill initially introduced by President Calderon, the Proposed Decree rejected some key measures which would have reformed union-related laws within the context of strikes and union accountability.

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Legislative Update for the Week of September 24, 2012

Leg Roundup Image 132 by 140.jpgLittler Shareholder Walter Hunter Testifies at Joint Congressional Hearing on NLRB Developments Affecting Higher Education
Testifying before the House Subcommittees on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) and Higher Education and Workforce Training, Hunter discussed various NLRB decisions and initiatives that he said are particularly problematic for the unique settings of our colleges and universities. Read the full post here. (September 28)

Pregnancy Reasonable Accommodation Bill Introduced in Senate
Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (S. 3565), a bill that would require employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees and job applicants as well as those with limitations related to childbirth. Read the full post here (September 28)

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Legislative Update for the Week of September 17, 2012

Leg Roundup Image 132 by 140.jpgSenate Panel Discusses Ways to Improve Pension Structure
The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions conducted a roundtable discussion on the problems facing pension plans and ways to improve pension plan structure and administration. Read the full post here. (September 21)

New Whistleblower Bills Target Private Sector
Members of the House of Representatives introduced two measures that would expand and strengthen whistleblower protections in the private sector. One bill would extend whistleblower protections to non-federal government contractors and subcontractors who disclose information about the misuse of federal funds; the other seeks to expand and streamline the administration of whistleblower protections for private-sector employees. Read the full post here. (September 18)

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El Gobierno de México Demuestra la Intención de Combatir el Acoso Sexual en el Lugar de Trabajo

El 6 de septiembre de 2012, la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación de México publicó un acuerdo general interno que prohíbe expresamente el acoso laboral y sexual y establece los lineamientos para investigar y sancionar dicha conducta. Por otro frente, y lo que podría representar un paso importante hacia una reforma en este tema, el presidente Felipe Calderón presentó una iniciativa para reformar los artículos 47 y 51 de la Ley Federal de Trabajo (LFT) para incluir acoso sexual como causal de rescisión. Aunque las normas de la Suprema Corte se aplican solamente a sus empleados, se considera que éstas son una guía para los patrones en el sector privado de cómo prevenir y eliminar el acoso laboral y sexual en el lugar de trabajo y señala un cambio en cómo la Legislatura probablemente reforme la LFT para regular dichos comportamientos en el lugar de trabajo en México.

Para mayor información sobre la manera en que las acciones recientes del gobierno mexicano para combatir el acoso laboral pueden impactar a los patrones, continúe leyendo la nota de Actualidad Laboral de Littler, México toma medidas para enfrentar seriamente el acoso sexual en el lugar de trabajo (ved aquí para la versión en inglés), escrito por Javiera Medina Reza y Matthew Capelle.

Mexico's Government Signals Intent to Combat Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

On September 6, 2012, the Mexican Federal Supreme Court promulgated internal rules that explicitly prohibit harassment in the workplace and establish guidelines for investigating and punishing such conduct. On another front, and in what represents a significant step towards reform in this area, on September 1, 2012, President Felipe Calderon proposed an amendment to Articles 47 and 51 of the Mexican Federal Labor Law (FLL) to include sexual harassment as new grounds for termination with cause. Although the Supreme Court rules are applicable to employees of that institution only, they are considered a guidepost to private sector employers on how to prevent and eliminate sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace and signal a shift in how the Legislature will likely reform the FLL to regulate these behaviors in the workplace in Mexico.

For more information on how the Mexican government's recent actions to combat workplace harassment may impact employers, continue reading Littler's ASAP, Mexico Develops Steps to Take Seriously Sexual Harassment in the Workplace (click here for Spanish version), by Javiera Medina Reza and Matthew Capelle.

Legislative Update for the Week of September 3, 2012

Leg Roundup Image 132 by 140.jpgEEOC Seeks Feedback on Draft Strategic Enforcement Plan
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released for public comment a draft of its Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP). The SEP is a component of the larger Strategic Plan for 2012-2016, a proposal approved in February 2012 that directed the EEOC to develop a SEP that (1) establishes priorities for the EEOC and (2) integrates all components of EEOC's private, public, and federal sector enforcement. Read the full post here. (September 6)

Report Finds Agency Plans for Compensation Data Collection Lacking
According to a new report on the collection of pay data, any increased efforts by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to gather detailed compensation information absent a more comprehensive plan for obtaining and measuring such data may increase employer burdens without providing the agency with beneficial statistics. Read the full post here. (September 5)

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Legislative Update for the Week of August 20, 2012

Leg Roundup Image 132 by 140.jpgOSHA Sets Forth Steps Employers Must Take to Be Removed from the Severe Violator Enforcement Program
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a memorandum to its regional administrators informing them of the criteria employers must meet to be removed from the agency's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which subjects employers to more significant enforcement measures and penalties for willful, repeat, and failure-to-abate violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Read the full post here. (August 24)

OSHA Issues VPP Evaluation Report
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released a report that evaluates its Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) and makes 34 recommendations for changes and improvement. VPP is a cooperative program whereby employers who pass an extensive evaluation by OSHA are exempt from OSHA programmed inspections. Read the full post here. (August 23)

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Legislative Update for the Week of August 6, 2012

Leg Roundup Image 132 by 140.jpgDOJ Creates New Whistleblower Ombudsperson Position
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced the creation of a new position dedicated exclusively to whistleblower protections. Long-time federal prosecutor Robert Storch has been named as the first Whistleblower Ombudsperson within the DOJ's Office of the Inspector General. Read the full post here. (August 10)

DOL Issues Guidance on the Applicability of WARN to Government Contractors
The U.S. Department of Labor issued Training and Employment Guidance Letter No. 3-12, offering guidance on the applicability of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act to potential layoffs among federal contractors and the defense industry. Read the full post here. (August 10)

Obama Nominates Jenny Yang to be New EEOC Member
To fill a vacancy on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, President Obama nominated Jenny R. Yang, an individual who has held various civil rights-related positions representing employees in both the private and public sectors. Read the full post here. (August 6)

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Legislative Update for the Week of July 30, 2012

Leg Roundup Image 132 by 140.jpgBill Would Apply Whistleblower Protections to Allegations of Antitrust Law Violations
The Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act (S. 3462) would amend the Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Act of 2004 by adding a new section on whistleblower protections for employees, contractors, subcontractors, and employer agents. Read the full post here. (August 3)

DOL Revises Fee Disclosure Guidance Applicable to Brokerage Windows
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued Field Assistance Bulletin 2012-02R, which contains several revised FAQs providing guidance on issues related to final regulations for participant-level retirement plan fee disclosure, superseding an earlier set of FAQs released on May 7, 2012. Read the full post here. (August 2)

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Collective Redundancy Consultation Obligations to be Relaxed

By Madeleine Jephcott

JobLossII.jpgThe Government is proposing to reduce the UK's 90-day minimum consultation period for large-scale redundancies.

While the rules governing collective redundancy consultation have remained relatively unchanged since they were introduced in the mid-1970s, the same cannot be said for the UK labour market. In an increasingly global and competitive market, the Government sees the existing redundancy consultation scheme as a barrier to competitiveness, flexibility and growth.

As a result, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has published a consultation document suggesting some changes to the legislation. (This follows an earlier call for evidence on the operation of the rules, which closed in January this year.) The main proposals are:

  • reducing the 90-day minimum consultation period for large-scale redundancies; and
  • introducing a new Code of Practice to address a number of key issues affecting redundancy consultations.

Reducing the Consultation Period

Currently, employers must consult with trade unions or employee representatives for a minimum of 30 days before the first redundancy dismissal takes effect when proposing to dismiss between 20-99 employees, and for a minimum of 90 days when proposing to dismiss 100 or more. The EU Collective Redundancies Directive does not prescribe minimum consultation periods and the Government regards the time periods in the UK legislation as unacceptable "gold plating".

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