As employers navigate the ever-evolving landscape of labor and employment law, it’s crucial to understand the key legal issues that are likely to arise not only in 2023 but beyond. These issues include the ongoing impact of COVID-19, a focus on diversity and inclusion, changes in labor laws and regulations, and the continuing importance of data privacy and cybersecurity.
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the workplace, and its impact will be felt for years to come. Employers need to focus on key challenges brought on by the pandemic, such as workplace safety, vaccination policies and accommodation requests from workers who are incapable of being vaccinated. Employers may need to balance the civil liberties of individual employees with the collective safety of all employees, customers and patrons.
Diversity and Inclusion
The demand for increased diversity and inclusion in the workplace is reaching fever pitch, fueled by social movements and a desire for change. Employers must be prepared to tackle the issue of diversity and inclusion head-on, not only to meet legal requirements but also to protect their brand and reputation.
Labor Laws and Regulations
The changes to labor laws and regulations are significantly impacting employers. The most notable updates in labor law is the Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2021, which will make appreciable changes to the National Labor Relations Act. The Pro Act is highly contentious and will likely attract litigation. The Biden administration has promised a number of updates to labor laws, including potential changes to worker classification rules – an issue that has been highly litigated in recent years regarding gig workers.
Data Privacy and Cybersecurity
Data privacy continues to be a critical issue for employers in 2021 and beyond. As technology continues to evolve and become increasingly complex, data privacy breaches continue to occur. Employers need to be mindful of their obligations under current data privacy laws, as well as new laws that may be introduced, that will further tighten the rules surrounding the collection, storage, and use of personal data. Employers should keep as much data as possible on secured sites and with encryption that is appropriate.
In short, employers must remain diligent in their efforts to stay abreast of new legal issues, such as those identified above, that can impact business operations. Employers need to be proactive in addressing these changes, taking action to put policies and practices in place that are aligned with their business strategy and minimize risk. By working closely with legal, human resources, and IT professionals, employers can create strategies that help mitigate the risk of unexpected, but certainly legally challenging circumstances.