SURVIVAL IN THE THICKENING JUNGLE OF REGULATORY MANDATES
FACED WITH NEW BROADENED BATTLEGROUNDS BY GOVERNMENT AGENCIES WHO PROPOSE
ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS FOR SUPPORT AND EDUCATION ON EMPLOYMENT COMPLIANCE
FALLS SHORT OF DELIVERING PROMISES...
world is no longer only concerned with counting widgets or trying to stay
ahead of the competition, but must now implement survival protocols in
the employment practices arena. Employers are in a constant battle with
the Department of Labor’s ever increasing implementation of regulations
and compliance mandates for employers. However, employers have limited
resources for guidance. The insurance industry is touting Employers Practices
Liability Insurance (EPLI) brings a financial security blanket for employment-related
lawsuits. It is still unclear, however, whether these policies will pay
or can pay when Public Policy prevents them from providing coverage for
intentional acts of an employer/manager/supervisor.
According to "The
Fact Finding Report (Chapter IV, pp. 105-137)", a study requested
by the House Commission on Education and Labor in June, 1994, the report
presented an account of the rapid growth of federal and state employment
legislation, thereby creating individual rights for workers. Enforcement
of these employment laws, against employers for non-compliance, requires
litigation in federal or state courts or administrative proceedings before
a regulatory agency. Employment law cases filed in the federal district
courts have increased more than four fold from 1971 to 1991 and wrongful
dismissal or discrimination has increased 2,200% in state courts.
Accounting Office (GAO) stated in their June, 1994 "Report on Workplace
Regulation" a finding that even larger employers they surveyed were
not confident that they knew all of the rules that applied to their business
operations. The Commission stated the DOL needs to provide clearer guidance
as to what and how one might, best comply. Such guidance is particularly
important since so many business establishments are small to medium sized
(employing fewer than 250 employees) with limited resources to follow
the complexities of federal regulations. The Commission believes a major
step that the DOL can take to promote compliance and reduce regulatory
disputes is to provide the business and labor communities, as well as
the general public, with clear and comprehensive information on regulatory
requirements. (The National Federation of Independent Business and Wells
Fargo in-depth-study, done in 1995, discovered the DOL’s numbers
of new-business startups for 1995 of 770,000 was inaccurate, and indicated
the correct number to be 3.5 million.)
In the 1960s and
1970s, The Wage and Hour Division attempted to operate a voluntary self-audit
program named "Compliance Utilizing Education" or the "CUE"
program. Approximately 100 large firms participated in this program under
which the DOL conducted training seminars for personnel officials of the
company who then audited their firm’s compliance with wage an hour
regulations. The employers who participated did so to reduce their liabilities
of violations. Despite its success, the CUE program was terminated because
of the perception that the Wage and Hour Division was abandoning its enforcement
obligations. In short, how can any Government Agency successfully promote
and implement any form of educational program when the Agency itself is
unclear of its internal operations and duties, combined with the tremendous
overload of cases filed. The average case load for an EEOC investigator
has increased from 51.3 in 1990 to 122 in 1994, creating frustration,
delays and backlogs. The DOL is responsible for administering 180 statutes.
Presently there are approximately 20 major adjudication procedures and
a considerable number of minor procedures in operation at the Department.
In 1994, OSHA initiated 39,723 investigation, which took an average of
48 days each, and 29, 189 citations were issued.
lawsuits and regulatory cases filed have forced employers to learn the
hard way, which is very costly as the average employment lawsuit legal
cost prior to trial or settlement is $50,000. This is a costs which small
to medium size businesses are not prepared for and in most cases do not
have the cash reserves available to fight, even if the case is without
merit, thus forcing a settlement. The average settlement for employment
cases is $20,000 according to an article in Inc. Magazine’s Online.
The settlement is additional to the legal costs, thereby totaling $70,000
for the average case.
Risk Solutions, Inc., Dallas, Texas, recognizing the need of the small
to medium sized employer, has created a comprehensive, user friendly,
Federal Employment & Labor Law compliance software program, Compliance
Pro*. The program provides an employer, manager, line supervisor or human
resources professional instant access to a comprehensive and easily understood
interpretation of Federal Employment Laws and employment-related solutions
from A to Z.
In addition to
employment law guidance, Compliance ProTM provides all necessary employment-related
forms; an Employee Policy Manual; Safety policies and procedures current
under OSHA mandates, including job stress and workplace violence prevention;
employee training materials, including biomechanics of movement and ergonomic
graphics; and employee health/wellness materials which are normally overlooked
by the typical safety manuals; and a systematic, pro-active guide for
the prevention of occupational injuries, and litigation from arising out
of their employment practices. More detailed information on Compliance
Pro * is available at their web site, http://www.getyers.com, including
a free Demo which can be downloaded for review of the operating features
of the Program and contents. The Program has an affordable one-time purchase
price of $679.00 and $269.00 for their annual subscription for automatic
updates to maintain compliance.
information on Your Employment Risk Solutions, Inc., Compliance ProTM
, and other products, please feel free to contact Maryah Sautter at the
above address, telephone number or by E-mail. We sincerely appreciate
your time in the review and consideration of covering the aforementioned
issues in your publication. It is our intent to assist in bringing valuable,
informative and educational information to the employers in this country.
Sadly, the small to medium sized businesses are not aware of all of the
employment pitfalls which apply to them, their potential employment practices
liabilities, and the financial costs and potential devastation one employment
lawsuit could bring. Even the DOL states there is a need for education
and guidance in how to comply under all their statutes, as mentioned in