Workplace challenges likely to continue in 2022 as employers and employees navigate a year that may look disturbingly similar to 2021 and 2020
Labor and employment attorneys look at 5 employer focus areas
For more than 10 years, Detroit-based labor and employment law firm Nemeth Law, P.C. has been doing a “look ahead” each January to identify emerging legal issues and anticipated trends impacting employers during the coming year, and 2022 does not promise any near-term relief from the challenges employers faced in 2020 and 2021.
“The pandemic has put the traditional workplace under a microscope. Every work schedule, office opening or closing, vaccine policy and hiring or firing method, is being explored, publicized and emulated or tossed,” Nemeth Law Co-Managing Partner Deborah Brouwer said. “Employers are desperate to find solutions that turn the myriad problems spawned by the pandemic into opportunities for improvement.”
Employees and employers want certainty, Brouwer said, but we are operating in very uncertain times. Functioning well in an uncertain environment requires flexibility - and employers are focusing on five key areas in the employment space:
- Keeping staff on board by offering as much flexibility as possible with onsite/hybrid/remote working arrangements and improving work-life balance in general.
- Hiring new staff that will comply with the employer’s health and safety policies and procedures while understanding that many jobs simply cannot be done remotely.
- Creating and enforcing health and safety policies that meet the employer’s specific and unique needs while remaining flexible enough to quickly change to comply with constantly evolving federal, state, and local requirements and recommendations (which includes efficiently and effectively managing requests for accommodation from employees unable to comply).
- Balancing the demand for increased wages and bonuses with the financial realities of the company.
- Managing stress among employees caused not only by the pandemic but by issues outside the workplace, such as school shootings, inflation and political divisiveness.
In a December 2020 press release, Nemeth Law Co-Managing Partner Terry Bonnette, who typically fields more than 50 calls a week from clients seeking counseling on a variety of employment topics, said, “…2020 may be over, but all of the workplace challenges it created are not……it is hard for employers to keep track of all the moving pieces.” Bonnette said the quote is still applicable today.
“It’s a bit like the movie Groundhog’s Day. As the pandemic stretches on, the questions are all variations on a theme – almost all involving some sort of Covid-19 variable,” Bonnette said.
About Nemeth Law, P.C.
Nemeth Law specializes in employment litigation, traditional labor law, management consultation, arbitration, mediation, and workplace investigation for private and public sector employers. It is the largest woman-owned law firm in Michigan to exclusively represent management in the prevention, resolution and litigation of labor and employment disputes.