Mid-term election results mean the potential for more workplace rights and protections

In Minnesota and across the nation, progressive and other pro-employee candidates won many of the elections at the Local, State, and even Federal levels. That outcome could mean more workplace fairness – whether through agency enforcement actions, class actions, collective actions, or individual cases – for 2 main reasons.

First, the creative and expansive efforts to enhance workplace protections and related enforcement mechanisms will likely broaden around the country as a result of the election. The paid sick leave and pay equity ordinances already adopted by Local governments across the nation provide good examples of the types of more pro-employee legislation that should be forthcoming. In addition, State authorities – such as the Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, and the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General – will likely escalate enforcement efforts as Federal authorities – such as the United States Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board – retreat from vigorous enforcement of the law and even attempt to roll back workplace protections.

Second, and bolstered by the progressive leadership in many parts of the country at the State and Local levels, the growing presence of progressive representatives at the Federal level means that the largely anti-employee policies previously sailing through Congress may cease to do so. In a symbolic but still telling development, for example, the Congressional House Committee on Education and the Workforce has been renamed the House Committee on Education and Labor. More to the point, the Trump Administration’s efforts should stop being so effective regarding making it more difficult for employees to hold corporations accountable for wage theft, employee misclassification, overtime abuses, retaliation, harassment, and other civil rights violations.