Legislative and Regulatory News for the Week of March 15, 2009

The following is a summary of the legislative and regulatory news for the week of March 15, 2009:

Agency Changes

President Obama has nominated Linda Puchala to hold a seat on the National Mediation Board (NMB).  In the Labor Department, Obama has nominated T. Michael Kerr to be the assistant labor secretary for administration and management, and M. Patricia Smith to be the labor solicitor.

Discrimination in the Workplace

The Servicemembers Access to Justice Act of 2009 (H.R. 1474) was introduced. This bill would amend several provisions of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).

The Common Sense English Act (H.R. 1588) would allow employers to implement English-only policies in the workplace.

In agency news, the Department of Labor (DOL) has made available to employers a database of job candidates with disabilities.  Additionally, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued a discussion letter advising that mandatory employee health risk assessments for obtaining health insurance coverage would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

EFCA/Labor-Management Relations

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Council for International Business have written a letter to congressional leaders claiming that the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) is inconsistent with international law.

The Teaching and Research Assistant Collective Bargaining Rights Act (H.R. 1461) was introduced. This bill would allow private university students who serve as teaching and research assistants to form or join a union.

The DOL is seeking comment on a proposed delay of the effective and applicability dates for a rule regarding LM-2/LM-3 union financial disclosure forms.

Employee Benefits

The Department of Labor has made available model COBRA notices for employers.  Meanwhile, the Preexisting Condition Patient Protection Act of 2009 (H.R. 1558, S. 623), a bill that would prohibit preexisting condition exclusions in health insurance policies, was introduced in both the House and Senate.


The Border Control and Contractor Accountability Act of 2009 (H.R. 1555) would debar or suspend contractors from federal contracting if they employ undocumented workers.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.