I became the commissioner of my daughter’s county basketball league when she was nine.  No one else would “step up.”  The prior year, a player had slapped another player in the handshake line at the end of a game in retribution for rough play (by an 8-year-old girl!) and no game commissioner was there to intervene.  I decided to take on the role of cool-headed logistics manager: a non-coach who could make sure the game schedule was set, the rules were observed, and each game had a designated adult in attendance to avoid bad sports behavior (whether by players, coaches or parents).  But this “cool headed commissioner” is ripping mad at the NLRB (or, to be more precise, the NLRB majority) for concluding that junior and senior high school lacrosse referees are employees and not independent contractors entitled to unionize! Continue Reading The NLRB Thinks High School Sports Referees Can Unionize!

The issue of whether employees can be required to sign arbitration agreements that contain waivers of their right to file a class or collective action over employment-related disputes is one that has drawn much attention – and much conflict – in recent years. The Obama administration, it seemed, steadfastly opposed such waivers. Under the Trump administration, which (regardless of your politics) has had a slow and bumpy transition of federal agency leadership, the agencies do not appear to be operating from the same playbook – as evidenced by recent actions by the National Labor Relations Board, (NLRB), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB). Continue Reading The Government Seems Confused About Class Action Waivers

Earle K. Shawe, the founder of our firm, passed away on June 30, 2017, at age 104. Earle was present during the infancy of the modern labor law movement in the 1930s, and left his mark throughout the subsequent decades of his practice – truly a giant in the field of labor law.

Earle was a graduate of the University of Virginia Law School – an institution to which he remained devoted throughout his life. In 1996, he endowed the Earle K. Shawe Professorship in Employment Law at the school. Continue Reading Earle K. Shawe – The Passing of a Labor Law Pioneer

24329Of course clients call me for advice on how to handle sticky situations with employees – that’s a major part of my job. And they know that our communications are subject to the sacred attorney-client privilege. But what companies need to understand is that this privilege might be waived by its corporate management, including officers and directors. It’s fine if the client knowingly chooses to waive it, with a full understanding of the consequences of such waiver – but, unfortunately, it can also be waived unintentionally. A recent case provides an excellent warning to companies (and their attorneys) about this. Continue Reading Be Careful About Waiving the Attorney-Client Privilege

Green-baby-boy-rattle-baby-rattle-clipart-cool-LSoFao-clipartThis past week, the American Civil Liberties Union announced that it was filing a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of a male J. P. Morgan employee because the company denies fathers paid parental leave on the same terms as mothers. Now this is an issue that has been percolating for awhile – and one that is not necessarily on the radar screens of smaller employers, many of whom may offer maternity – but not paternity – leave benefits to their employees. Continue Reading Maternity/Parental Leave Policies – A Trap for the Unwary

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As we previously blogged, Shawe Rosenthal, on behalf of the Worklaw®Network, a nationwide association of independent labor and employment law firms of which we are a member, filed suit last year against the U.S. Department of Labor to block the DOL’s new interpretation of the advice exemption of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (“LMRDA”), or the “persuader rule.”  And now, on Monday, June 12, 2017, the DOL announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) that proposes to rescind that new persuader rule interpretation.  Continue Reading We Sued the Department of Labor, and Now It Has Backtracked on the Persuader Rule

DOLEmployers rejoice! The Trump administration continues to roll back the anti-business positions asserted by various federal agencies under the Obama administration, as most recently evidenced by the Department of Labor’s June 7, 2017 withdrawal of two Administrator Interpretations on joint employment and independent contractor status. Continue Reading DOL Withdraws Guidance Documents on Joint Employment and Independent Contractor Status

IMG_0095So I just heard about this official event, which has apparently existed since 1999! Granted, until 5 years ago, I didn’t have a dog and, in fact, couldn’t stand them, so this would not have been on my radar screen. Some of you may know from past posts (Sick Leave for Your Dog?,  Pet Bereavement Leave? and “Paw-ternity” Leave?) that I now adore my dog. Nonetheless, I’m not sure that I fully agree with the idea of bringing pets into a normally pet-free workplace… Continue Reading Take Your Dog to Work Day!

question-mark-xxlAs you may know, I am a die-hard management-side attorney. Typically, I cheer on federal courts that rule in favor of employers – but there are the rare occasions where I think the court gets it unquestionably, unutterably wrong. And the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit’s decision in Abdel-Ghani v. Target Corp. is one of these.

In this case, the plaintiff, a Palestinian immigrant, was employed by a third party, MarketSource, to work at a mobile phone sales kiosk at a Target store. He only worked there for about two months before he was terminated. During his employment, he did not get along with the MarketSource sales manager at that store, and at one point she supposedly told him, “Go back home, go to your country.” In addition, the plaintiff alleged that Target employees (from behind shelves) called him names such as camel jockey, Muslim, Arab, terrorist, and sand nigger, and that this occurred at least ten times during the two months of his employment. Also, he overheard another employee say, “[y]ou should be rounded up in one place and nuke[d].” He was terminated, ostensibly for issues with the sales manager, Target employees and guests. He then sued MarketSource and Target under Title VII for subjecting him to a hostile work environment and national origin discrimination, among other things. Continue Reading “Go Back to Your Country” Is Not Evidence of National Origin Discrimination?

James ComeyWhether you live in a blue state, red state, or just in the state of denial, you surely have heard by now about President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.  And whether you think the termination was “way overdue” or “bat sh–  crazy,” we can all probably agree that it was not exactly HR 101 when it comes to best practices for handling an employee termination.  So, what are some of the lessons we can draw from this situation? Continue Reading HR Lessons from the Comey Termination