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2012 Employment Law and Legislative Conference 
 

November Elections/Workplace Public Policy Issues the Focus of Washington Conference 
3/16/2012   
 
 

SHRM’s 2012 Employment Law & Legislative Conference attracted nearly 600 HR professionals to Washington, D.C. The program reflected a balance of Democratic, Republican and non-partisan experts. Attendees heard a rich variety of perspectives on health care reform, workplace flexibility, employment-related immigration issues, the federal deficit and debt, and other policy and political issues that can affect HR.

Among the presenters were Democratic and Republic pollsters Peter Hart and Neil Newhouse [pictured at right with SHRM President and CEO Henry G. (Hank) Jackson], PBS NewsHour Host Ray Suarez FOX News political analyst Kirsten Powers and a lineup of six (6) members of Congress [including Rep. Charlie Gonzales (R-TX) pictured below left with SHRM Board Chair Jose A. Berrios];  who focused their remarks on the current political climate in Washington, the major challenges confronting Congress and the nation, as well as current HR public policy issues involving union organizing activities, employer-provided benefits and health care reform. (See related article.)

  • During the conference, SHRM released its updated 2012 public policy handbook. It summarizes the Society’s positions on HR public policy issues likely to be considered by the 112th Congress, the federal agencies and the courts.  You can download a copy of the handbook by clicking HERE. Other conference highlights included:
    1. Two Federal Agency Update Sessions – Representatives from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Federal Contracts Compliance Programs participated in breakout sessions advising attendees of recent agency activities relating to the implementation of/case law developments in the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act and the Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act.  Other issues discussed during these sessions included barriers to employment (e.g. use of credit checks, discrimination against older workers/unemployed, etc.).  In addition, members of the National Equal Pay Task Force shared with participants their insights into compensation discrimination and pay equity issues.
    2. HR Goes to the Hill – The conference ended on March 7, with the annual Capitol Hill Advocacy Day. Over 200 HR professionals from 42 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and the District of Columbia trekked to more than 200 congressional offices to advocate in support of Section 127 employer-provided educational assistance, as well as support for a House and Senate joint resolution designed to rescind the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB’s) ‘quick election’ rule, scheduled to become effective April 30.  In their meetings with legislators and/or their staff, our members shared their first-hand workplace perspectives on both of these HR issues in the House and Senate.
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