Other Trouble Spots

This article accompanies Facing Up to Obama.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010
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While the Obama administration's impact on employers can perhaps most clearly be seen in the area of pay, management attorneys cite other areas of concern for HR. Here are the two most commonly cited after pay:


Although the Employee Free Choice Act has been stalled in Congress, some attorneys say President Obama will likely continue to push for some version of the bill, which would make it easier for workers to unionize.

"HR still needs to think about what it can do to proactively keep unions out," says Mike Delikat, a partner in the New York office of Orrick.

In addition, Obama's two new appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, labor lawyers Craig Becker and Mark Pearce, suggest the board will be more worker-friendly, attorneys say. For example, says Theodore O. Rogers Jr., a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York, the board has indicated it may reconsider a Bush-era ruling that employers don't have to allow their e-mail systems to be used for union organizing.

Mandatory Arbitration

In the past year, Obama has signed into law two bills that restrict employers' mandatory arbitration policies -- affecting defense contractors and companies that receive stimulus funds -- and attorneys say the administration will continue to push for a wider ban.

Delikat recommends that HR prepare for this possibility by examining other dispute-resolution programs that might not be binding, but that will keep down their litigation exposure.

Examples include mediation, ombudsman programs and informal grievance procedures.

See also:

Facing Up to Obama

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