One of the many powers bestowed on the Office of the President is the right to issue what are known as “executive orders.” These orders, which in many instances carry the weight of law, usually instruct federal agencies on ways to implement existing laws.
Two such orders, one issued by then-President George W. Bush and the other by President Barack Obama, will have a direct impact on the day-to-day duties of many HR professionals.
1) Mandatory Use of E-Verify for Federal Contractors
On September 8, 2009, a rule implementing a Bush-era executive order requiring that federal contractors use E-Verify for contracts issued and solicitations awarded after September 8, 2009, went into effect last week after a U.S. district court rejected SHRM’s challenge to its legality.
In December 2008, SHRM, along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Council on International Personnel, HR Policy Association, and Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc., challenged the legality of a Bush Administration executive order requiring that federal contractors use E-Verify to check the employment eligibility of all newly hired employees, as well as all current employees directly working on a contract.
SHRM and the other plaintiffs argued that the rule was neither legally justified nor practical for federal contractors to implement.
When the court rejected our arguments, SHRM and the other plaintiffs sought to delay implementation of the order while we appealed the decision. However, that request was denied causing the rule to go into effect of September 8, 2009.
To learn about rule implementation and compliance, view SHRM’s webcast available HERE. To read the final rule, click HERE. To read the court’s decision, click HERE.
2) Mandating a Notice of Employee Rights Under Federal Labor Laws for Federal Contractors
SHRM sent comments to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on September 2, 2009, in response to an executive order issued by President Obama back in January requiring that government contracts exceeding $100,000 contain a specific provision that would require contractors and subcontractor to post notices informing their employees of their rights under federal labor laws. The executive order directs the DOL to prescribe the content of the notice.
SHRM’s comments reiterated our recognition of the rights of employees to form, join, assist in or refrain from joining a union. We expressed strong objection, however, to the content of the required notice.
SHRM believes that the notice, as written, misstates federal labor law with a selective and skewed presentation of rights leading to the conclusion that unionization if preferred.
As such, the proposed notice does not reflect the neutral language of federal labor law that protects an employee’s free choice to join or not join a union or engage in concerted activities or not.
To read SHRM’s comments, click HERE.