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December Update - The Impact of the 2016 Election Results

Posted By Governmental Affairs Committee, Thursday, December 1, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, November 30, 2016

For those of you who have been living under a rock the past year, we had a little thing earlier this month called an election, for both the national and state governments.  After the ballots were cast, the Republicans took not only the White House but both houses of Congress.  Here in Missouri, Republicans took all the State offices as well.  So what does this mean for us in the HR profession?   Well if you have any of your hair left after the past few years, let me extend congratulations, but good luck keeping what you still have.  The upcoming few years are probably going to be a bumpy ride.  We have already witnessed a taste of this with the sudden injunction delaying implementation of the new Fair Labor Standards Act overtime regulations that were to go into effect on December 1, 2016.  If you believe the promises of politicians, we are confident that we will see changes implemented on the Affordable Care Act as well.   They have promised to “repeal and replace” the ACA.  We have been provided very few clues as to what the “replace” might look like.   

Here in Missouri it is almost a certainty that we will see Right-to-Work legislation finally pass, and it will be sooner rather than later.  According to Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber President and CEO, “Governor-Elect Eric Greitens supports the business community’s top initiatives as defined in the Missouri 2030 strategic plan.  With Eric Greitens as Governor, Missouri will be poised for rapid progress on several long-needed, pro-expansion policy priorities.”   Among those priorities is right-to-work legislation, which Greitens has endorsed.  As Governor, Greitens has said he would sign right-to-work into law.  Greitens also supports badly-needed reforms to improve Missouri’s litigation climate, which is consistently ranked among the nation’s worst.  Your Governmental Affairs Committee will continue to keep you posted on all changes and new legislation as they come along. 

Here are some things we do know as of this moment:

Some of your required workplace postings must be updated.  These are:

  1.  The Labor Department revised the Employee Rights Under the Fair Labor Standards Act poster that now must be displayed by businesses.  The new version adds a section explaining the rights of nursing mothers.  The revised poster also includes information to advise laborers about tip credits and independent contractor misclassification. 

  2. The Employee Rights-Employee Polygraph Protection Act poster also has been revised.  The reference to the amount of the penalty for violation was removed, and the agency contact information was made more prominent. 

  3. Effective January 1, 2017, the Missouri minimum wage will increase from $7.65 per hour to $7.70 per hour.  This is an automatic increase due to inflation indexing built into Missouri law. 

Beginning with the 2017 EEO-1 report, which is due March 31, 2018, private enterprises with 100 or more associates now must submit summary pay and aggregate hours worked data to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  Corporations must report the total number of full and part-time staff by demographic categories in 12 pay bands for each EEO-1 job category based on W-2 wages.  Establishments also will total and report the hours worked that year by all the workers accounted for in each pay band. 

The new landmark federal law, the Defend Trade Secrets Act, creates a private federal civil cause of action for trade secret misappropriation.  The DTSA will be relevant when an employee with access to confidential, propriety and/or trade secret information either becomes employed with a competitor or begins a business that competes with his/her prior employer.  The DTSA is available to companies whose trade secrets have been stolen.  If the organization is able to show a temporary restraining order or other equitable relief would not prevent the dissemination of the trade secrets, as well as meet some additional criteria, the enterprise may be able to seize the trade secrets.  This might even include the defendants’ property, such as hard drives, cellphones, email accounts, etc., where the plaintiff’s trade secrets are located.  Corporations should update employment agreements and confidentiality policies to reflect the enactment of the DTSA and meet the requirements for all of the remedies available with the new law.     

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