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Monday, February 26, 2018

My 2018 Predictions

Okay, okay. So I've been promising these for awhile. It has taken me a bit to wrap my head around things that have happened so far since the presidential election. The good news is that the GOP remains the party that couldn't shoot straight (no pun intended). So far, little has been done against employees on the legislative front. It's mostly been done by executive order.

So what can we expect for the rest of 2018? Here are my predictions:

Sexual harassment: Despite all the brouhaha on #MeToo and sexual harassment, no new legislation will pass and we'll see some judicial and jury decisions penalizing sexual harassment victims. There will be backlash, and lots of it.

Agcncy paralysis: With cuts to EEOC, DOJ and NLRB, these agencies will develop backlogs and go into paralysis. Employees can expect little help from the feds this year. The one hopeful thing I see is that EEOC mediations are still going strong. The EEOC mediators, at least down here, are some of the best I've ever seen, government or private. We will still see cases resolved in EEOC mediations unless the mediation program is cut too.

Guns at work: Thanks to high school students down here, we may start to see states revisiting those idiotic guns at work laws that have been all the rage. On the other hand, the orange one is pressing to arm teachers in classrooms. What could possibly go wrong? I think we will actually see some baby steps on common sense gun control for the first time in this country in a long time. It will take awhile, probably years, but there will probably ultimately be a drop in workplace shootings if these laws pass.

Immigration raids: We've already started to see employers being raided to round up illegal immigrants and arrest the bosses for hiring them. We're also seeing traffic stops to round up immigrants. That will continue. Employers  and employees beware.

Antitrust: The Department of Justice has announced it will start cracking down on no-poach agreements between employers. That's a ray of sunshine in what will be an awful year for employees. I would caution employers who threaten to sue competitors for hiring former employees, then quietly settle with a no-poach agreement. The government will come after you as well as my colleagues and me for these illegal arrangements.

LGBT rights: The courts will continue to battle over whether or not Title VII'a sex discrimination prohibition covers sexual orientation. I don't think the Supremes will get to the issue this year, so we'll have a split among circuits on this. So far, the 2nd and 7th Circuits say it's covered. The 11th, which covers my home state of Florida, says no.

Marijuana crackdowns: I've been predicting for awhile that the feds will start cracking down on legal marijuana use. It's still illegal on the federal level, no matter what your state says. That handy-dandy card allowing you to buy will be a nice tool for the feds to use to claim probable cause to search your house. They'll probably go after growers and dispensaries first, but if people don't rise up and resist, they'll come after individuals next. I'm guessing the crackdown this year will be on the businesses, not on individuals.

Overall, this won't be a good year for employee rights. But then, you knew that already. Resistance is not futile.

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I appreciate your comments and general questions but this isn't the place to ask confidential legal questions. If you need an employee-side employment lawyer, try http://exchange.nela.org/findalawyer to locate one in your state.