Category Archives: Labor Laws & Rights

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The NLRB/EEOC Landmine – When Does Offensive Speech Amount to Protected Activity?

Employers need to be on the lookout for instances of offensive employee speech, which may put them between a rock and a hard place as they navigate potential claims under either anti-discrimination laws or federal labor laws. You have probably heard that Google terminated an employee earlier this month for saying (among other things) that … Continue Reading

WELCOME (?) BACK! DOL Reinstates Wage and Hour Opinion Letters – Should it Matter to You?

The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced that it will revive its practice of publishing opinion letters to provide guidance to employers and employees on wage and hour issues. This change (after a seven-year hiatus) reopens the door for employers and employees to gain clarity on important issues affecting the workplace. What’s an opinion letter? … Continue Reading

Parting of the Joint Employers: Trump DOL Withdraws Past Guidance on Independent Contractor Standards and Joint Employment

Yesterday the U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced the Department of Labor’s withdrawal of guidance on independent contractors and joint employer liability issued in 2015 and 2016 by the Obama administration DOL. Generally, the guidance made more people employees rather than independent contractors. In particular, this guidance sought to (1) define more rigidly the situations … Continue Reading

Blacklisting Executive Order Blacklisted

President Obama and his EO’s Remember the Blacklisting Order that required federal contractors to provide a rap sheet with a proposal? No? Well, President Obama issued 275 Executive Orders during his two terms on various subject matters, some of which were fairly controversial, the Blacklisting Order included. Back in 2014, he issued several high-profile executive … Continue Reading

Son of Noel Canning? Worst Blog Title Ever? Supreme Court Takes Another Shot at NLRB Vacancy History

How important are the titles “temporary” or “permanent” when it comes to an appointee to run a federal agency? Apparently, very important. On March 21, the U.S. Supreme Court waded back into the messy timeline of President Obama’s attempts to appoint members of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Why Are We Talking About President Obama’s Appointments? … Continue Reading

Class Warfare: Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Cases on Arbitration Class Action Waivers

The NLRB wants to stop class action waivers in employment arbitration agreements, arguing they violate the National Labor Relations Act. This issue has been raging for several years and divided federal courts. As reported in our November 2, 2015, blog post, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a class action waiver in the important Murphy Oil … Continue Reading

President Trump—How Will He Change the Courts and What Does that Mean for Employers? (3rd in a 3 Part Series)

In this final post in a three-part series on what employers can expect from the new Trump administration, we consider possible Supreme Court nominees and future rulings affecting labor and employment law. Judicial Appointments President Trump’s election injects uncertainty into the Supreme Court’s makeup and future rulings, including employment-related cases. Because the Senate did not … Continue Reading

Shock the Monkey: Police Officer Photo Post on Social Media Costs Him His Job

When is a “joke” so not funny that you lose your job? The Mississippi Court of Appeals gave some direction on that question, affirming the City of Meridian’s termination of a police officer for an inappropriate (arguably racist) Facebook posting. While on duty (but on a break), Officer Meador posted to his public Facebook page a … Continue Reading

What Employers Can Expect from the New Administration – Part 1: Executive Orders & Administrative Actions

What will a Trump administration do to the labor and employment law landscape? While we can’t predict for certain, we figure we can at least provide better insight than the pollsters who have spent the last year following the campaigns—so here is the first in a three-part blog series. First, here are some Executive Orders … Continue Reading

Texas Federal Judge Rules DOL “Persuader Rule” Unlawful

The Department of Labor’s (DOL) controversial “Persuader Rule” is off the table—at least for now. U.S. District Judge Cummings in the Northern District of Texas granted summary judgment to 10 states, including Texas, and numerous business trade groups, and barred the DOL from enforcing the rule that would have required an employer to inform the … Continue Reading

Employers Hold Up on the Hand Out Policies: 11th Circuit Classifies Company Non-Solicitation Policy as Overbroad

You know that short non-solicitation policy in your handbook that says don’t handout stuff at work that doesn’t have to do with work that you think is clearly legal? Think again. A recent Eleventh Circuit decision agreed with a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) opinion that found a one line non-solicitation policy to violate employees’ … Continue Reading

West Coast—Time to Check Your Employment Agreements: Ninth Circuit Negates No-Class Action Clause in Arbitration Agreements

This week, the Ninth Circuit held that Ernst & Young’s (E&Y) arbitration agreement that prohibited its employees from filing class actions violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). E&Y required as a condition of employment that its employees sign an agreement stating that they could not bring any class action or concerted claim regarding wages, … Continue Reading

Vive Les Email Liberte! French Law Locks Down Weekend Communications with Employees

In an effort to combat work-related burnout, the French government has a new labor law requiring employers with at least 50 employees to adopt written policies restricting the hours during which employees can send or receive emails, text messages, or any other digital, work-related communication. The goal is to cut the electronic leash that constantly … Continue Reading

Bring on the Chain Mail: NLRB Strikes Down Another Facially Neutral Email Use Policy

A National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) judge has struck down Caesar’s Entertainment Corporation’s policy that prohibited employees’ using the company email system to distribute “nonbusiness” information. Why, you ask? According to the judge, the policy infringes on employees’ rights to form a union. Why does this matter to you if you don’t have a union? … Continue Reading

What’s Union Membership Got to Do with It? Nothing, According to a Proposed Alabama Constitutional Amendment

Republican state legislators recently introduced parallel bills that would amend the Alabama Constitution and reiterate Alabama’s status as a right to work state. Right to work states recognize and protect an employee’s right to choose whether to join or financially support a union. Although Alabama is already a right to work state, and has been … Continue Reading

Employees vs. Independent Contractors: The DOL Weighs in on Worker Misclassification

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued an Administrator’s Interpretation that provides some important new guidance on the standard for classifying workers—as employees or independent contractors—under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). And make no mistake: This guidance clearly intends to make it more difficult than ever for employers to classify their workers as … Continue Reading

DOL Proposes Rules For Compliance With Obama’s Fair Pay And Safe Workplaces Executive Order

Last summer, President Obama signed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, which requires government contractors hoping to secure contracts of over $500,000 to disclose state and federal labor law violations from the past three years. This week, the U.S. Department of Labor issued proposed rules defining exactly what “federal law violations” must be … Continue Reading

Former JSU Women’s Basketball Coach Receives Additional Award in Wrongful Termination Suit

In August, a judge awarded former Jackson State University (JSU) head coach, Denise Taylor, $200,000 in damages for “emotional pain and suffering” she endured during her employment. Taylor was the head women’s basketball coach at JSU for 10 seasons before she was fired in 2011. She filed the lawsuit against the university on January 24, … Continue Reading

President Obama Strikes (Signs) Again with the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Order

Employers will have to report previous labor law violations to bid for federal government work beginning soon. On the heels of President Obama’s executive order prohibiting LBGT discrimination by federal contractors, the President signed yet another executive order—this one requiring disclosure of labor and employment violations from the previous three years. Areas included are: wage … Continue Reading
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