Workplace Equity

March 9th Regulatory Roundup

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

Registration Opens for H-1B Visas

On March 1, USCIS officially opened its initial H-1B visa registration process. The initial registration period closes March 20. SHRM actively engaged with the agency for two years to ensure that its new electronic H-1B registration process would be as user-friendly, efficient and reliable as possible for employers seeking authorization to employ H-1B workers subject to the cap.

If you are experiencing a problem with the H-1B registration tool, please raise it directly through the agency’s public engagement inbox at [email protected].

Additionally, SHRM is working in close coordination with USCIS and the CIS Ombudsman’s office to address member concerns. You may alert us to any of your concerns by contacting Keia Johnson at [email protected]. .

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Compensation Data Collection Ends-for Now

On Feb. 10, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia approved the EEOC’s request to deem its retrospective collection of compensation data for calendar years 2017 and 2018 completed, ending (at least for now) the federal government’s first-ever collection of pay data. Employers’ obligations with respect to filing calendar year 2019 demographic data remain unclear.

U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)

Webcast Series on Fiduciary Responsibilities

EBSA has announced a new compliance assistance webcast series, Getting It Right—Know Your Fiduciary Responsibilities. The webcast schedule is as follows:

• March 11—Basic fiduciary responsibilities when operating an employer-sponsored retirement plan, and prohibited transaction provisions and exemptions under ERISA.
• March 12—Reporting and disclosure requirements for employer-sponsored retirement plans, and the Department of Labor’s voluntary correction programs.
• March 17—Basic fiduciary responsibilities when operating an employer-sponsored group health plan, reporting and disclosure provisions under ERISA, and Qualified Medical Child Support Orders.

Each webcast will begin at 2 p.m. ET. Register and learn more.


U.S. Supreme Court Boosts States’ Rights in Immigration Prosecution

In a 5-4 decision in Kansas v. Garcia, the U.S. Supreme Court held that states can prosecute undocumented immigrants for fraud and identity theft when they provide false Social Security numbers or other information on job applications. Some experts caution that the decision could have broader implications for employers at the state and local levels.

“HR professionals and employers could face similar prosecution, particularly in states that are eager to leverage state law legal authority and enforcement resources to combat employment of undocumented individuals,” wrote Leon Rodriguez and Dawn Lurie, immigration compliance and enforcement attorneys with Seyfarth Shaw LLP.

To learn more about the steps employers should take to protect themselves from potential liability, read Rodriguez and Lurie’s full article, “Supreme Court Says OK for States to Prosecute for False Statements on I-9s: Why That Matters to HR Professionals and Employers,” here.