2022 Year in Review: Employment Law
2022 delivered another year of uncertainty, thanks to the ongoing pandemic, global volatility, and economic uncertainty. With a fluctuating economy and an unsettled economic outlook for the years ahead, it’s no surprise that many large and small companies conducted layoffs and slowed down on hiring.
Let’s look at some key employment law trends from the year.
Layoffs Accelerated Toward the End of the Year
One of the first highly publicized rounds of layoffs happened at mortgage company Better.com as the company let go over 3,000 workers (amounting to 35% of its total workforce). Additional layoffs at the company have spurred many employee lawsuits, as employees alleged the company laid them off after parental leave requests or while on parental leave. The real estate industry was hit particularly hard as the booming real estate market came to a screeching halt. Many large companies cut staff and slowed hiring to adjust to a slower market.
The tech industry also made deep employment cuts, with companies like Meta, Twitter, Stripe, and Microsoft laying off portions of their staff. It’s estimated that over 105,000 jobs were also lost at private startups this year.
Effects of COVID-Related Employment Lawsuits Begin to Surface
The pandemic ushered in a wave of employment lawsuits from everything related to disability claims, safe work environments, vaccine mandates, and more. Now that we are nearly three years into the pandemic, the effects and results of those lawsuits are becoming more evident.
Cases related to wrongful death in correlation with COVID-19 have faced various challenges, especially since worker’s compensation statutes generally prevent employees from suing due to illness exposure.
A recent case accepted by the California Supreme Court will determine whether employers can be held responsible for not taking enough action to stop the spread of illness to employees’ households.
As disputes arose over employees’ ability to work remotely, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has stated that during the pandemic, employers should consider the ability to work from home when assessing the viability of remote work.
Many COVID-related cases are still working their way through the court system, so much remains to be seen. So far, results have varied, with some courts siding with employers and others with employees. We will continue to watch the impact of the pandemic on the workplace and employers’ responsibilities.
Employment Law Trends in 2022
A recent report from the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities found that the number of dismissed cases increased, while the number of reasonable cause findings increased. The report also noted a decrease in age claims, and race claims remained flat. One area that experienced an increase was religious creed claims, possibly in relation to vaccine requirements. Ninety-one claims were filed in 2021-2022 versus 50 over the previous year.
The most common employment law claims continue to be:
- Wrongful termination
- Wage disputes
While it’s impossible to predict what 2023 will hold, this year delivered a lot of uncertainty in the employment space. With a recession possibly looming, there could be additional labor impacts, which often lead to an uptick in employment litigation.
If you have any questions about employment law or wrongful termination, reach out to the McGonigle Law team. We’re always available for a conversation about your situation.
The information contained herein is for general purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
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