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Government still pushing envelope on workplace issues: Report


Despite the change in administration, litigation filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Department of Labor have continued to manifest an aggressive “push-the-envelope” agenda, with regulatory oversight of workplace issues still a high priority, says a law firm’s annual report on workplace litigation.

While “changes to government priorities started on Inauguration Day and are ongoing, others are being carried out by new leadership at the agency level who were appointed in the fourth quarter of this past year,” says the 14th annual Workplace Class Action Litigation Report issued Wednesday by Chicago-based law firm Seyfarth Shaw L.L.P.

Key 2017 trends discussed in the report were:

-The monetary value of top workplace class action settlements rose dramatically, with the top 10 settlements in various employment-related class action categories totaling $2.27 billion, an increase of more than $970 million from 2016’s $1.75 billion.

-Evolving case law precedents and new defense approaches resulted in better outcomes for employers in opposing class certification requests.

-There was no “head-snapping pivot” in filings and settlement of government enforcement litigation despite the change in administration. In fact, government enforcement litigation increased in 2017.

-Several key U.S. Supreme Court rulings over the past year were arguably more pro-business than past year’s decisions. In last year’s report, the law firm concluded key 2016 Supreme Court decisions were more pro-plaintiff and pro-class action than business oriented or anti-class action.