In my blog post last week, It’s Football (Unionizing) Season…, I tackled the topic of whether football players who receive athletic scholarships to play for a private college or university might be considered employees – and then have the right to unionize under the National Labor Relations Act. As I explained, the National Labor Relations Board seems to be moving the ball towards a finding that those who receive scholarships are thus being paid to provide sports services to the school, meaning that they are employees. But, as my partner Mark Swerdlin noted in a previous blog post , this approach means that non-scholarship players are penalized because they are not being paid and therefore cannot be employees. Unless, as he suggested (with tongue firmly in cheek), they sue for unpaid wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act… Continue Reading Wait – College Football Players Really Are Suing for Pay?
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
As most of us know, Hollywood is striking (or more specifically, the members of the writers’ and actors’ unions). Some of you may have seen media reports, like this CNN article, about the unions filing unfair labor practice (ULP) charges with the National Labor Relations Board over unsafe picketing conditions. Which may cause some of you to wonder – what is an employer’s responsibility with respect to those conditions? Continue Reading Are Employers Supposed to Protect Striking Employees?
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
In (rare) good news for unionized employers, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) does not insulate a union from tort claims that it intentionally destroyed employer property during a strike.Continue Reading Supreme Court Rules that Unions May Be Sued for Strike Damage to Employer Property
Opinion letters from the U.S. Department of Labor are pretty unusual, so I get really excited when they issue one. And typically, the letter addresses an issue of some significance for employers. So I was giddy (GIDDY, I say!) when I saw a new one had just dropped – until I actually read it. Three times, because I thought I was missing something. But really, it just affirms what I already thought about the Family and Medical Leave Act and holidays. At least it’s a good reminder of how to deal with holidays under the FMLA. Continue Reading (Not Terribly Useful) Guidance from the DOL on the FMLA and Holidays
On May 18, 2023, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued guidance on the use of software, algorithms, and artificial intelligence (AI) for employment decisions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This guidance comes as part of the agency-wide initiative launched by the EEOC in 2021 to ensure that the use of software and other technologies used in hiring and other employment decisions (which the EEOC calls “selection procedures”) comply with federal civil rights laws. Continue Reading The EEOC Targets the Use of AI in Employment Decisions