Uncertainty is a common theme among employers this year thanks,in part, to new technologies, anunpredictable Trump administration and a web of newcompliance standards on every government level, accordingto an annual survey from the law firm LittlerMendelson.


The survey, which queries more than 1,200 U.S. employers,including in-house counsel, human resources professionals andexecutives, found that whatever change is to come in Washington hascreated “unprecedented” uncertainty in the workplace. This was thesixth annual survey conducted by the firm, which boasts one of thelargest labor and employment practices in the country.


“With the profound changes in Washington, D.C., it may beinitially surprising that respondents do not anticipate more of anear-term impact on their businesses,” Michael Lotito, co-chairmanof Littler's Workplace Policy Institute, said. “However, given thegeneral climate of uncertainty and delays in appointments togovernment agencies, employers likely expect it to take time beforethey start to see how the president's agenda is carried out andpersonally feel an impact in their workplaces.”


Here are some of the findings from the 2017 survey:

What employers want from Trump

Employers expect a lot from the new Republican leader. So far,expectations are tempered. They hope to see reformed health care,employee benefits law and immigration policies in 2017. As far asregulations put in place under the Obama administration, employersare less optimistic that there will be quick change, including withthe Affordable Care Act (85% in 2016 to 83% in 2017), enforcementby the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (78% to 76%),National Labor Relations Board (56% to 55%) and Department of Labor(82% to 81%).

Compliance challenges

Labor and employment requirements are popping up at the stateand local levels throughout the country, creating a fragmentedlandscape when it comes to paid leave mandates, background checksand minimum wage increases, the survey found. About 80% of therespondents said this has become a problem. Internal audits, newtrainings and updated policies are common.

Confusion over health care

Even with Republicans controlling the White House and Congress,more than a quarter of employers surveyed were uncertain about whatwould happen with the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate.Another 28% said they expected no change or impact. Only 4% ofrespondents anticipate dropping coverage for some full-timeemployees if they are relieved of the ACA's employer mandate, but18% said they would allow more employees to work more than 30 hoursa week.

EEOC expectations

Survey respondents believe that there will be an increase indiscrimination claims over the next year because of hiringpractices (51%), LGBT rights (46%) and equal pay (46%).

Breaches on the brain

Data breaches that stem from employees are a concern to 63% ofrespondents and have sparked work on new security policies by HRand IT departments. More than half said new employees are receivingnew training and some (29%) say they are using “cyber-incidentresponse plans,” whle others (23%) are updating employee contractsto cover confidentiality obligations.



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