Corporate Counsel Say Election Will Impact Employment Law


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Corporate Counsel Say Election Will Impact Employment Law

  1. 1. Corporate Counsel Say Election Will Impact Employment Law Joint Survey of Employment & Labor Attorneys by the Association of Corporate Counsel and Jackson Lewis Reveals In-House Counsel See Post-Election Changes, Including Increased Costs For Health Benefits and Mandatory Paid Sick Days Six out of ten corporate counsel expect this year's presidential elections to have an impact on labor and employment laws at their companies, according to a survey of workplace issues released today from the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), with the assistance of Jackson Lewis LLP, one of the country's leading workplace law firms and sponsor of ACC's Employment and Labor Law Committee. Despite worries about the economy, the quot;In-House Counsel Workplacequot; survey of nearly 400 corporate counsel from ACC's Employment and Labor Law Committee conducted in August, showed that more than half of their companies were not instituting a reduction in workforce and most of those did not expect to do so over the next 12 months. quot;With this year's election right around the corner, ACC and its Employment and Labor Law Committee felt it was timely to survey our members to determine what employment issues are at the forefront of concern so as to be better prepared,quot; explained Deborah House, ACC's Vice President and Deputy General Counsel. quot;The results provide a snapshot of anticipated changes, as well as issues labor and employment attorneys will be focused on in the coming year.quot; On day-to-day challenges, corporate counsel cited workplace discrimination as the most time-consuming employment issue, followed by family and medical leave, wages and hours, and employee benefits. The most demanding issue for corporate legal department was cited as harassment/discrimination prevention and compliance, followed by Family and Medical Leave Act compliance and wage and hour compliance. Compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and Sarbanes-Oxley rounded out the top five. quot;The results of the Survey illustrate that employment issues are among the chief concerns in corporate America,quot; adds Patrick L. Vaccaro, firm-wide Managing Partner of Jackson Lewis. quot;Change is in the air and our clients are gearing-up to face the challenges ahead.quot; Specific findings from the ACC/Jackson Lewis quot;In-House Counsel Workplacequot; survey include: Presidential Ballot to Impact Labor and Employment Law Looking forward to this year's presidential election, 60.5 percent of the committee member respondents believed the election outcome would affect labor and employment laws, while 39.5 percent said they did not expect the November ballot to have an impact. Among the potential changes cited by respondents were the possibility of increased costs for health benefits and mandatory paid sick days; a resurgence of workplace regulation generally; and passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, which would eliminate secret ballots in union organizing drives and strengthen labor's hand in negotiations over union representation. Discrimination Claims a Top Concern In addition, nearly three-quarters of corporate counsel surveyed said their companies had faced employment- related litigation over the past three years, with discrimination complaints being the most frequent. According to the survey, 73.5 percent of the corporate counsel said their companies had been a defendant in employment-related litigation over the last three years. More than half of those, or 52.6 percent, said they had
  2. 2. faced discrimination complaints, with wage and hour complaints being the second most frequent at 27.0 percent. As to the number of discrimination complaints, 42.4 percent of respondents said they had remained steady over the past three years, while 27.2 percent had seen an increase and 11.1 percent had seen a decrease. E-Discovery Rules Prove Costly The new federal rules on electronic discovery, adopted in December 2006, are clearly having an impact on corporate counsel. The survey showed that more than half of the corporate counsel, 57.4 percent, had instituted new procedures for e-discovery over the last two years to comply with the amended Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Just over a quarter of respondents said the rule changes had made litigation management more expensive; 23.6 percent said it had made litigation management more difficult, and 20.4 percent said it had required significant changes in the way their companies handle electronic records and data. Most Companies Not Cutting Workers As for workforce levels, more than half of the respondents, 52.8 percent, said their companies were not instituting reductions- in-force in any of their operations, while 47.2 percent said they were. Of those not instituting reductions-in-force, exactly three-quarters said there was no reasonable likelihood of a workforce cut in the next 12 months. Just over seven in ten of respondents, 71.3 percent, said they were not anticipating an increase in the number of jobs being outsourced. Corporate Legal Departments For their own staffs, 49.5 percent of respondents said their corporate legal department had increased its professional staff in the last three years; 41.1 percent said staffing had remained the same; while only 9.4 percent had seen a decrease. About ACC The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) serves the professional needs of attorneys who practice in the legal departments of corporations and private sector organizations worldwide by promoting the common interests of its members, contributing to their continuing education and providing a voice on issues of national importance. With nearly 25,000 members in over 80 countries, employed by over 10,000 organizations, ACC's community connects its members to the people and resources necessary for both personal and professional growth. With nearly 6,000 members, ACC's Employment & Labor Law Committee (ELLC) is the central voice and resource for ACC members on employment, labor and benefits law- related matters. Along with efforts in advocating for ELLC members on important nationally focused employment, benefits and labor law issues, the ELLC is actively involved in keeping its in-house members informed on current legal issues and developments through solid educational programs at ACC's Annual Meeting, monthly legal updates, regular Webcasts, an active member-to-member information communication network, in-depth topical white papers, and published articles in its member publication, the ACC Docket. About Jackson Lewis LLP
  3. 3. Founded in 1958, Jackson Lewis LLP is dedicated to representing management exclusively in workplace law. With offices in 39 cities and over 500 attorneys, Jackson Lewis has developed a specialized expertise in every aspect of employment, labor, benefits and immigration law. Jackson Lewis has sponsored ACC's Employment and Labor Law Committee since its inception in 1998. Additional information about Jackson Lewis LLP can be found at Source: Jackson Lewis LLP