Updated Age Discrimination Regulations Released

October 1, 2007

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released updated regulations for the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), taking into account a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that employers can lawfully give preference to an older worker over a younger worker when both are protected by the ADEA. The EEOC says the new rule explains that the ADEA prohibits age-based employment discrimination but doesn’t prohibit employers from favoring relatively older individuals.

One of the changes clarifies that employers aren’t required to – but may – give preference to an older applicant or employee over a younger one when both are within the protected age group (40 or over). Most important, the change doesn’t affect applicable state or local laws that prohibit those kinds of preferences. Another change clarifies that employers may use language in job advertisements that expresses a preference for older individuals, such as “over age 60,” “retirees,” or “supplement your pension.” The changes are the exact opposite of what the rule previously stated.

The ADEA applies to employers with 20 or more employees, including federal, state, and local governments. The changes to the regulations became effective July 6.

New EEO-1 Report Goes into Effect
The time has arrived! Employers had to switch over to a new EEO-1 report form starting with reports due on September 30.

Employers with 100 or more employees or those with federal government contracts of $50,000 or more and at least 50 employees must submit EEO-1 reports annually. The report is the principal form by which employers provide the federal government with a count of their workforces by ethnicity, race, and gender, divided into job categories.

The new report includes changes to the race and ethnicity categories as well as the job categories. The EEOC continues to encourage employers to resurvey their current workforce, inviting employees to self identify confidentially by using the new race and ethnicity categories. The new report doesn’t change the requirement that the information be based on employment figures from any one pay period between July and September of the survey year.

More information can be found at www.eeoc.gov/employers/eeo1survey. The EEOC strongly prefers that you submit EEO-1 data through its online filing system, which can be found on that Web site.

WERC Fee Increases
The Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC), the agency that enforces the state’s labor laws, provides a variety of labor relations services to Wisconsin employers and unions in the public and private sectors. WERC has announced plans to raise the following fees effective January 2, 2008:

  • The fee for grievance arbitration cases and mediation-type cases will increase from $500, split between the parties, to $800, split between the parties; and
  • The fee for filing an unfair labor practice or prohibited practice complaint will increase from $80 to $100

WERC will conduct public hearings in Madison and Wausau on the proposed fee increases (the dates will be publicized once they’re scheduled). Written comments can be sent to the agency by fax, mail, or e-mail.

New Minimum-Wage Posters
For the new federal minimum wage that went into effect on July 24, it’s time to visit your workplace bulletin board and make sure you have the updated minimum-wage poster displayed. The change increased the minimum wage to $5.85 per hour, with additional increases to $6.55 per hour effective July 24, 2008, and to $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. Every employer subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) must post – and keep posted – a notice explaining the FLSA’s minimum-wage requirements in all of their establishments in a conspicuous place that readily allows employees to read it.

The poster’s content has been prescribed by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. You can find an approved copy of the poster at www.dol.gov.

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Leslie Sammon
Leslie Sammon