What Is “What Really Mattered”?

Welcome to our new blog installation–What Really Mattered.

There is no shortage of news pumped out to the HR world, with vendors of all types looking to be relevant.  From our perspective, most of what is published is a cross between a scare tactic and a mountain being made of a molehill.

Here is our remedy: a quick review of what we think is the single most important happening for employment law in the prior week–a case that was decided, an initiative by a government agency, maybe a recent cultural event.   One thing from last week.  Easily digestible, without fluff.

So, welcome to What Really Mattered!

This past week, what really mattered was the election result.  While November 3 was actually TWO weeks ago, the outcome was in limbo until last week.   Trump out, Biden in.  Eventually.

Who serves as President matters to employment law not so much because new laws will be passed by Congress.  In fact, these days Congress is stalled and will remain so for any major employment law initiatives if the Republicans win one of the two Senate run-offs in Georgia.  Instead, the Executive Branch sets significant policy within the Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board, and to a lesser extent the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration.  Look for policies that are more pro-worker, with pressure to increase the minimum wage, to decrease the use of independent contractors in place of employees, and to guard access to healthcare.  The Trump Administration’s agency policies were very, very favorable to business; Biden’s will focus more on middle and low-wage earners.

So, yes, we already knew that what mattered last week was The Election (That Felt Like the Election to End All Elections), making this week’s pick easy.  For a fractured and divided country, little has ever mattered as much as this particular outcome.  For HR, the change in who occupies the White House will bring a new emphasis on workers’ rights–in ways that we will watch play out over the next four years.