In a post Friday, Walter Olson over at Overlaywered posed this question, “If I could press a button and instantly vaporize one sector of employment law…” (His suggestion? Age Discrimination laws.)
Jon Hyman, at the Ohio Employer’s Law Blog, picked up on the question and posed it for his readers as well. Jon’s choice? The Fair Labor Standards Act, the Depression-Act federal wage & hour law.
Frankly, I think the question is a bit loaded because it suggests eliminating an area of employment law. That question is more of a political one. Jon has seemed to answer the question by reframing it as this — If you were rebuilding an area of employment law from scratch, what would it be?
For me, it’s the area of “leave” laws. Right now, particularly in Connecticut, there are multiple laws an employer must consider when an employee is absent, particularly for an injury on the job. Among them: ADA, CFEPA (Connecticut’s version of the ADA), FMLA, CTFMLA (Connecticut’s version of the FMLA), Connecticut Workers Compensation laws, and Connecticut’s new Paid Sick Leave law.
Not all employers qualify because each statute has a different threshold depending on the number of employees it has and the type of work the employer does. These laws also have differing (and sometimes conflicting) applications as well.
Trying to figure those out shouldn’t take a law degree, and yet, they do.
Imagine, for example, an employee who injures his back while on the job, perhaps suffering a permanent partial disability. Six laws may cover what type of leave and time off the employee is entitled to. That seems inefficient and ineffective.
Of course, this is likely a futile exercise. As I explained in a prior post, the legislature is very good at creating new laws, but bad at rescinding outdated ones.
So, readers, what do you think? What one area would you reshape, rebuild (or vaporize) in employment law?