This is true in the context of existing race discrimination concerns and complaints in this particular (non-union) workplace, according to the National Labor Relations Board in a case involving Home Depot. Notably, the Board asserted that, “Insofar as BLM has become a well-known abbreviation, and the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter,’ when displayed in the workplace, could reasonably be understood as referring to issues of racial equity and equality at work, it is arguable that displaying the phrase in the workplace, standing alone, would support a mutual aid or protection finding.” However, the Board stated that it was not deciding that issue here (and we add, “yet.”).Continue Reading Display of BLM Insignia = Protected Concerted Activity

The National Labor Relations Board’s (the Board) General Counsel, Jennifer Abruzzo ,has sought stronger remedies for violations of the National Labor Relations Act. Her newest proposed remedy would, in some cases, allow a union to decide who must be hired by the employer.Continue Reading Is the NLRB Overstepping? Proposed Remedy Would Give Unions Hiring Control

On February 5, 2024, Laura Sacks, Regional Director for Region 1 of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”), ruled that players on Dartmouth’s men’s basketball team are “employees” within the meaning of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).  While this decision may not come as a surprise in light of NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo’s GC Memo 21-08 titled “Statutory Rights of Players at Academic Institutions (Student Athletes) Under the National Labor Relations Act”, this decision is likely to accelerate the transformation of college athletics that has already began with the NCAA’s suspension of name, image and likeness rules.Continue Reading March Madness in February? Unionization Heats Up College Sports Landscape

A recent New York Times article highlighted the use and, frankly, abuse of Training Repayment Agreement Provisions (TRAP – oooooh, good acronym!), also known as stay-or-pay provisions. Under a TRAP, if an employee leaves their job before a certain specific amount of time has passed, they are required to pay back monies ostensibly tied to the costs of training, or finding a replacement, or even lost profits. The use of TRAPs appears to have significantly increased in recent years, and the Biden Administration is paying attention – and it is not happy.Continue Reading “Stay-or-Pay”? A Potential TRAP for Employers!

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?

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?

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

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

A Regional Director of the National Labor Relations Board found merit to an unfair labor practice charge alleging that the University of Southern California (USC) misclassified football and basketball players as student-athletes rather than employees and maintained unlawful work rules. In addition, the Complaint will allege the Pac-12 Conference and the NCAA are joint employers of the USC athletes. The charge was filed on behalf of the athletes by the National College Players Association, a college athlete advocacy group.
Continue Reading Are College Athletes “Employees” Under Federal Labor Law? We Are About to Find Out…