There will be many new legal challenges for employers in 2022. Nobody wants to deal with litigation and liabilities, but these inconveniences will unfortunately continue into the new year. It’s more important than ever for companies to be proactive in their hiring practices and remain compliant with all local and federal regulations. Still, doing this cannot eliminate the risk of legal challenges, so employers should be prepared for any issues that may emerge. Employers can protect their interests and assets by staying up to date on employment law trends such as the following.
New Definitions at Play
One of the most important aspects of employment law is the acknowledgment of a “protected class” based on their age, race, nationality, or gender. Other characteristics such as disability and sexual orientation are also typically covered. Recently, though, the definition of “protected class” has been expanded to include people who are “associated” with a person with disabilities. This shift has only occurred in North Carolina and Oregon thus far, but it may be indicative of a bigger trend that might affect employers’ liability considerations.
More Class Action Suits
There may also be a rise in class action suits targeting employers in 2022. This is due to the emergence of new pay equity legislation that can be tricky for employers to navigate. It’s important to note that female employees are not the only potential plaintiffs to consider. Many pay equity class action suits are also based on alleged underpayment to employees in the aforementioned protected classes. In order to combat these claims, companies should invest in EPLI coverage that includes costs of litigation.
It comes as no surprise that COVID-related litigation will continue to rage on in 2022. There are several major litigation trends related to COVID, including alleged violations of the vaccine mandate and discriminatory implementation of the vaccine mandate, too. Some employers are even facing legal action as a result of their masking requirements. It’s important for companies to anticipate these liabilities and collaborate with staff to develop policies that work. Thankfully, as COVID rates continue to decline, there will likely be fewer COVID-related cases targeting employers.
Many employers implement a mandatory arbitration clause as a condition of employment. In recent years, though, these clauses have received negative attention for their alleged unfairness to employees. As a result, some litigation has emerged in California which aims to outlaw mandatory arbitration between employers and employees. If the case is successful, it could set a precedent for employers everywhere and spell out the end of mandatory arbitration. Even if it does not become illegal, though, employers should consider moving away from a mandatory arbitration model and ensure their EPLI coverage is current.
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