Rhode Island businesses face major developments in employment issues in 2013, with health care reform and labor regulations at the top of the list. Social media continues to be a challenge, with its expanding potential and its own share of annoyances.
To tackle these issues head-on, a panel of human resources, legal and health care reform experts were set to dive deeply into the pain points, politics and policies of impending concerns at the Providence Business News Summit, “[Are You Ready?] Employment Trends 2013” at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Providence-Warwick in Warwick on Dec. 13.
“We’re coming up on more of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which is going to be an issue for employers, with the re-election of the administration,” said summit panelist Bill O’Gara, a principal with the law firm of Pannone Lopes Devereaux & West.
Many issues in labor regulations are fluid and complex, O’Gara said.
“There’s a lot of activity at the National Labor Relations Board under the Obama administration, so there are a lot of things pending right now that could have implications for employers,” said O’Gara, who has more than 20 years of experience handling diverse matters before federal and state courts and administrative agencies, including the Rhode Island Commission on Human Rights and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.
“The National Labor Relations Board has branched out and is essentially trying to educate employees outside of the union context,” O’Gara said. “I think the risk for employers is that they may be dealing with complaints at the NLRB that they didn’t think were relevant to their business if they didn’t have a union.”
O’Gara said the U.S. Department of Labor has stepped up enforcement efforts overall, for example, regarding the classification of employees.
“What I see as a trend is that individual employees are much more cognizant of their rights and they’re much more prepared to bring claims,” O’Gara said.