New federal regulations could affect your workplace

Posted On June 26, 2024

Regardless of whether you own a business or just work for one, you need to know about changes in federal laws and regulations will affect your workplace.

Our guest in the latest episode of “What’s Working with Cam Marston” filled us in on some of those changes. Windy Bitzer, an attorney with the Mobile firm of Hand Arendall Harrison Sale, said there are three changes, in particular, that will change how many workplaces operate.

The first is a ban on non-compete agreements. Come September, companies won’t be able to bar an employee who leaves from working for a competitor for a certain period of time. While there are some limited exceptions to his ban, Bitzer said the Federal Trade Commission estimated that about 30 million workers – about 1 in 5 Americans – are currently subject to non-compete agreements.

“The rationale that the Federal Trade Commission has stated is that they’re an unfair method of competition,” Bitzer said. “They believe the ban will promote competition, increase innovation, protect workers’ abilities to change jobs, and foster new business formation. They also say non-compete agreements keep wages low and suppress new ideas and new business growth.

“Opponents to the rule … assert they’re necessary to encourage business investment and that non-compete agreements are already heavily regulated under state laws with appropriate limitations and safeguards.”

The second new regulation is an increase in the overtime exemption threshold from just over $35,000 to, eventually, over $58,000. This means millions of employees once considered salaried will now qualify for time-and-a-half overtime pay when they work over 40 hours in a week.

“The salary threshold … has not increased in years,” Bitzer said.

Both regulations are already being challenged in court, so we’ll have to keep an eye on when – and whether – they’re actually enacted.

The third new regulation Bitzer cited is already in effect however — new workplace protections for pregnant employees and new mothers. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, enacted last year, requires employers with more than 15 employees to provide reasonable accommodations to workers who have complications related to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.

This means these employees can be temporarily relieved of certain job duties, and it provides for certain workplace accommodations, such as:

  • Allowing them to keep water nearby to drink as needed.
  • Allowing an employee whose work requires standing to sit instead.
  • Allowing more frequent restroom breaks.

You can visit or ask an attorney to see how the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act affects you or your business.


Categories: Blog, What's Working with Cam Marston, Workplace