Rep. Mimi Walters to Association's Spring Labor Conference: "More and More People Are Wanting Flexibility"

May 11, 2018

Representative Mimi Walters (R-CA) addressed the Association's Spring Labor and Employment Relations Conference regarding her "Workflex in the 21st Century Act," which would create a voluntary national framework for employers to provide uniform paid leave benefits and flexible work arrangements to their employees along the lines of our Workplace 2020 proposal.

Rep. Walters noted: "We want to give the opportunity for companies to have as much flexibility as possible so they can meet the needs of their employees."  

John Steele, Chair of HR Policy’s Labor Relations Advisory Board and Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer at HCA Healthcare, said:  “While it is taking time to restore balance to workplace regulation—or try at least—the good news is there have been little if any new workplace regulatory initiatives coming from the federal government this past year.  But unfortunately that’s not the end of the story.  Last year, there were approximately 2,400 bills introduced at the state and local level, with 195 enacted at the state level and 95 at the local level.  This creates a huge web of compliance issues for those of us operating in multiple states.” 

New NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb addressed the conference on a wide variety of issues, including the recusal of Board member Bill Emanuel from the Browning-Ferris case.  Mr. Robb stated: "The recusal issue is not going away... we are all acutely aware there are factions out there that are just trying to hold things up."  Mr. Robb was joined on the panel, which was moderated by HR Policy Senior Labor and Employment Counsel Roger King, by former NLRB member Charles Cohen and immediate past chairman Philip Miscimarra. 

Johnna Torsone, Chair of the Association's Employment Rights Committee and Chief Human Resources Officer at Pitney Bowes Inc., led a panel on the #MeToo movement and workplace sexual harassment policy, noting the challenges companies face in the often-varying definitions of sexual harassment. 

Jim Paretti, Chief of Staff and Senior Counsel to Acting EEOC Chair Victoria Lipnic, led the conference in a review of EEOC activities and priorities. 

  • On wage reporting, he examined the impact of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that prior salary history does not justify a wage gap between men and women, asking, "How far in an employee's past do you reach to hold an employer accountable for setting discriminatory wage level?" 

Election issues and strategies were discussed by Seth Borden, Attorney at McGuireWoods LLP, Brian Easley, Partner at Jones Day, and Jim Trivisonno, President of IRI Consultants.