On September 13, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) — an agreement — to “enhance and maximize the enforcement of federal laws and regulations.”
For employers, this means that if one of the agencies comes knocking on the door, they can share what they find with the other agency.
Take, for example, the newly enacted (and currently enforced) Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA). The PWFA entitles more employees to accommodations regarding pregnancies and other related medical conditions. As a result, more employees could file claims against employers that don’t comply with the law.
If the EEOC investigates such noncompliance, they could discover other issues and share what they find with the WHD, such as policies or practices that violate the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
The new Providing Urgent Maternal Protections Act (“PUMP” Act) could also see claims, and when investigating, the WHD could share what they see with the EEOC.
As part of this agreement, the WHD and the EEOC will provide training to each agency’s staff in identifying cases and issues that may arise under the other’s jurisdiction. Therefore, the agency representatives will know what to look for.
The MOU will remain in effect until terminated by the agencies.
For reference, in addition to the FMLA, the WHD enforces:
In addition to the PWFA, the EEOC enforces:
Key to Remember: Now is the time to ensure company policies and practices comply with federal employment laws under the EEOC and WHD. Since these agencies are joining forces, a misstep under one can tip off the other agency that might discover more violations.
This article was written by Darlene M. Clabault, SHRM-CP, PHR, CLMS, of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. The content of these news items, in whole or in part, MAY NOT be copied into any other uses without consulting the originator of the content.