Once upon a time, employees in all states but Montana (always bucking the establishment!) were presumed to be employed at-will, absent some sort of employment agreement (e.g. individual contract for a term, a collective bargaining agreement, policies that contemplate termination for cause, etc.). That means that either the employer or the employee may terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any or even no reason (as long as it’s not illegal – like, say, discrimination or retaliation). And so our well-meaning but foolish Employer is terribly excited by that principle because they want to get rid of an Employee. But … as with all good fairy tales, there is a dark side.Continue Reading At-Will Employment Is a Fairy Tale…
Well I think we all recognize that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has created some seismic shifts in the way things can be done, including in the workplace (and I covered many of the risks and concerns of generative AI for employers in our June 2023 E-Update). Governments at all levels are taking action to try to put guardrails on the use of AI. And now, President Biden has signed an Executive Order on “Safe, Secure and Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence,” as summarized in a Fact Sheet. This is a wide-ranging EO, but one of the areas it specifically addresses is the impact on workers. Continue Reading What Impact Will President Biden’s AI Executive Order Have in the Workplace?
Apparently, emojis have become such an accepted means of communication that a Canadian court found to create an enforceable contract for $82,000 (plus interest and costs)!! Continue Reading Contract by Emoji?
Once again we are poised on the brink of another possible federal government shutdown, and employers may be wondering how it may impact them. The last time this happened in 2018, we provided a summary of the shutdown contingency plans for the major employment-related agencies – the Department of Labor (DOL) (which includes the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Wage-Hour Division (WHD) and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). So we thought we’d provide you with an updated summary of these plans, which set forth what will happen if there is an actual shutdown.Continue Reading EEOC, NLRB and DOL Shutdown Contingency Plans – The 2023 Edition
Well, my family’s favorite SEC team (Bama) is off to a discouraging start, so I am looking around for other entertainment – and the Dartmouth basketball team just came through with a pass at the National Labor Relations Board.Continue Reading It’s Football (Unionizing) Season…
One of the most shocking moments in the recent Women’s World Cup came after the final, when the head of the Spanish soccer federation kissed one of the victorious Spanish players – first on the cheeks (ok – it’s European) but then on her lips (not ok without consent – European or not). In the locker room immediately afterwards, the player said “I didn’t like it.” And this moment highlights just how much further the women soccer players have to go in terms of achieving equity with their male counterparts – on the field and off. It also provides a reminder to employers generally that equity in the workplace encompasses many things. Continue Reading Lessons from the World Cup – Gender Equity Goes Far Beyond Pay
A few years back, during the initial surge of corporate diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in response to the killing of George Floyd and the #BlackLivesMatter movement, I wrote a blog post that applauded corporations for focusing on the issue – but also cautioned them to avoid inadvertently violating anti-discrimination laws in their eagerness. Well, following the Supreme Court’s recent decision prohibiting the use of race in college admissions, my (somewhat prescient?) warnings have taken on new urgency. Continue Reading Hey CEOs – Be Careful with Those Diversity Initiatives!
In a move that surprised absolutely no one, the National Labor Relations Board has reversed course on yet another issue – the standard for determining whether an individual is an employee, who is subject to the National Labor Relations Act, or an independent contractor, who is not. The Board’s decision will once again make it harder to establish independent contractor status.Continue Reading U-Turn! NLRB’s “Modified” Independent Contractor Standard Favors Findings of Employee Status
Following my recent post on menstrual leave, I saw a New York Times article on “menopause-friendly workplaces.” Now that’s a term I had not seen before in my many years of practicing employment law. But apparently it’s a thing in Britain, and may be spreading to US companies.Continue Reading Menopause-Friendly Workplaces?
Following the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed near-total ban on non-compete agreements, which we wrote about here, and an increasing number of state laws limiting or banning such agreements, another federal agency official is piling on. On May 30, 2023, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo issued a memo expressing her position that noncompete agreements violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Specifically, GC Abruzzo asserts that noncompete agreements chill employees’ exercise of rights guaranteed by Section 7 of the NLRA unless the noncompete agreement is “narrowly tailored to address special circumstances” that justify the interference with employees’ Section 7 rights. Absent narrow tailoring to address special circumstances, GC Abruzzo contends that proffering, maintaining, or enforcing noncompete agreements violates the NLRA.Continue Reading The NLRB General Counsel Joins the War on Noncompete Agreements