Quick Hits - September 13, 2023 - American Society of Employers - ASE Staff

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Quick Hits - September 13, 2023

Federal contractors be aware, new CSAL list is out: The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) published the latest Corporate Scheduling Announcement List (CSAL) for supply & service contractors, which is comprised of 1,000 federal contractors and subcontractors.  The CSAL is a courtesy notification to an establishment selected for a Compliance Review (Establishment Review), Corporate Management Compliance Evaluation, Functional Affirmative Action Program Review, or University Review.  There are 937 unique contractors and many new to the audit list.  There will be no grace period before the scheduling letters will be sent as was provided in the past. 

Why managers need training: The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit Monday alleging that a manager at GMRI, Inc., which does business as Olive Garden, asked a job candidate illegal question about his disability and declined to hire the worker because of information learned from those questions. During an interview for a busser position, the general manager allegedly asked the candidate about his use of a cane, what was “wrong with” him and how “bad” his disability was, the EEOC said. The commission has said in previous guidance that employers may ask limited pre-offer questions about reasonable accommodations if they reasonably believe that the applicant may need accommodation because of an obvious or voluntarily disclosed disability. Employers may not, however, ask questions about the nature or severity of the disability pre-offer, according to the commission.  Without training, many managers may do things that cause liability for the employer.  Source:  HR Dive 8/17/23

Looking at voluntary benefits? Try daycare for retention purposes: The national average price of daycare and preschool services rose 6% in July from a year before, the Labor Department reported recently. That was nearly double the overall inflation rate of 3.2%, which was down from its recent peak of 9.1% in June last year.  Parents could see their child-care bills climb higher this fall as providers boost tuition to cover rising costs and federal pandemic aid ceases.  “We don’t have many other options, so we just have to take the hit,” Danielle Ganje, a mother of three living in Blaine, Minn., said of recent price hikes. Daycare and preschool services are among many basic household expenses still rising briskly this year, including food (up 4.9% in July from a year earlier), electricity (up 3.0%) and motor vehicle insurance (up 17.8%).   Rising child-care tuition also shows how past inflation in many categories—such as wages, rent and utilities—ripples through the economy today as businesses reset their prices to catch up.  It’s often cheaper for a working parent not to work than to work and pay daycare expenses.  Source:  Wall Street Journal 8/17/23

New study shows employees are not ready for AI led training: Artificial intelligence (AI) has become the hottest growing technology tool. But a recent Wiley survey of 3,000 people finds that 59% of employees say they prefer to see an instructor—in-person or virtual—direct their workforce development learning, while only 7% prefer AI-directed learning.  In the Wiley Workplace Intelligence report, Artificial Intelligence in Learning and Development: Five Surprising Facts You Need to Know, 87% of respondents say they want L&D content to be developed by a subject matter expert as opposed to AI technology. Only 12% prefer AI-developed content. However, L&D professionals surveyed are optimistic about the benefits of AI. Nearly two-thirds agreed that using AI for administrative tasks will increase efficiency. Although AI led training will not take off right away, it is the trend of the future, especially for short briefs and legal updates.  Source: TD 8/22/23

Follow-up on lawyers required to attend religious training: The Texas federal judge who caused a stir by directing in-house attorneys with Southwest Airlines to attend "religious liberty training" as a sanction after losing a religious bias lawsuit has now given them a September 26 deadline to comply, rejecting Southwest's request for a stay pending appeal.  This requirement stems from an August 7 ruling that is of an unprecedented nature of a federal judge ordering a litigant to undergo "religious liberty training," according to experts, but the Judge also came under fire for the organization he chose to conduct the training: Alliance Defending Freedom, a right-wing Christian legal organization known for both its high-profile courtroom victories and its outspoken anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ stances.  In a 23-page order filed August 31, the judge dismissed all of Southwest's arguments against the requirement that held the airline in contempt and directed three of its in-house attorneys to attend religious liberty training, among other sanctions and held that the arguments are way off base. In fact, the judge stated that the airline's arguments only reinforce the need for that training.  "Southwest's lawyers misunderstand the relationship between their policies and Title VII" of the Civil Rights Act, the statute at the heart of the contempt ruling, the Judge said. "They direly need religious-liberty training."  Source:  Law360 9/1/23

Strikes do work:  More workers across industries have taken a hard stance against companies for dramatic improvements in compensation and working conditions.  More than 320,000 workers have participated in at least 230 strikes so far this year, according to data from the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations. UPS workers and airline pilots have won rich labor deals. Hollywood writers and actors as well as auto workers could be next. Strikes involving 1,000 or more workers so far amount to just 16 such work stoppages this year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That compares to a recent high of 25 recorded major work stoppages in 2019 and 23 last year.   The actions have led to more organizing efforts and greater support by Americans for organized labor. Gallup reports 71% of Americans approved of labor unions in 2022 — the highest since 1965. “It’s like this perfect storm for workers,” said Melissa Atkins, a labor and employment partner at Obermayer. “Individuals are living paycheck to paycheck, and right now they have the bargaining power.”  Source:  CNBC 8/27/2


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