Labor Day Musings

Eric Paltell
Eric Paltell
09/05/2016
Twenty-nine years ago this week, on September 8, 1987, I began my legal career at the law firm then known as Venable, Baetjer & Howard. The late Sam Cook,  Chairman of the firm's Labor & Employment Department asked me if I had enjoyed my "Management Day" holiday the preceding day. Even since, I've had a special affinity for the first Monday in September, and today I offer some thoughts on a couple of trending topics in the world of labor...
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Yale Graduate Assistants Seek Union Elections in Ten Departments

Eric Paltell
Eric Paltell
09/01/2016
Less than a week after the National Labor Relations Board ruled that teaching assistants at private universities are employees under the National Labor Relations Act,  graduate assistants  in 10 Yale academic departments filed separate petitions for union elections with the Board.  The union seeking to represent the graduate assistants, UNITE HERE Local 33, is asking for separate elections under the NLRB's 2011 Specialty Healthcare decision, which...
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Colleges and Universities on Labor Board’s Hit Parade This Week

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
08/25/2016
School is nearly back in session. But rather than be satisfied with some new pens and notebooks, the NLRB’s “back to school list” is huge.  First, there was announcement of the Board’s decision in Columbia University, 364 NLRB No. 90 (Aug. 23, 2016) that graduate students are employees and can form unions.    The Board’s 3-1 decision reversed a 2004 decision that held just the opposite. Second, the Board released decisions in Seattle...
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Social Media Policy Violates NLRA, But Hold the Guacamole

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
08/22/2016
Company restrictions of employee commentary on social media continue to be a problem in the eyes of the National Labor Relations Board.  In Chipotle Services, LLC, 362 N.L.R.B. No. 72 (August 18, 2016) the Board held that the company’s policy telling employees to be careful not to post “incomplete, confidential or inaccurate information” was an unfair labor practice.  This result should not surprise anyone who has been paying attention to...
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NLRB Issues Guidance on New Federal Contractor Reporting Obligations

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
07/21/2016
In the aftermath of the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, which President Obama signed on July 31, 2014, the NLRB Office of General Counsel has issued guidance to its regions concerning the collection of additional information and reporting of certain federal contractors. Federal contractors and employment lawyers may recall that the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order requires the EEOC, DOL and NLRB to collect and provide to...
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Court Strikes Down DOL's New Persuader Rule

Eric Paltell
Eric Paltell
06/30/2016
On June 27, 2016, in National Federation of Independent Business et al. v. Perez, et al., the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas (Lubbock Division) issued a nationwide injunction preventing the  U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) from implementing  its revised "Persuader Rule," which had been set to take effect on July 1, 2016. The Court found that NFIB and other plaintiffs  established a substantial likelihood of success on...
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Seventh Circuit Sides with NLRB on Arbitration Agreements, Creates Circuit Split

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
06/02/2016
In a surprising decision for atypically business-friendly appellate court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has sided with the National Labor Relations Board’s position that a mandatory agreement requiring employees to waive the right to bring a class or collective action in arbitration violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).  Lewis v. Epic Systems Corporation, No. 15-2997 (7th Cir. May 26, 2016). Epic...
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NLRB Strikes Down Yet Another Employee Misconduct Rule

Clifford Geiger
Clifford Geiger
04/16/2016
In  William Beaumont Hospital, 363 N.L.R.B. No. 162, 4/13/16,  the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently examined William Beaumont Hospital’s “Code of Conduct for Surgical Services and Perianesthesia.”  The Code read, in relevant part: It is the intention of Beaumont Hospitals to foster effective working relationships among all hospital employees and physicians in order to provide and maintain high quality and safe patient care....
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We Only Part to Meet Again: NLRB Judge Finds Routine Separation Agreement Terms Violate the NLRA

Bernadette Hunton
Bernadette Hunton
04/01/2016
Many employers use severance agreements as a tool to reduce legal exposure surrounding an employee separation.  Such agreements typically involve a broad release of claims by the employee in exchange for severance from the employer.    Employers also generally include terms to clarify post-separation obligations and ensure that once the employee and employer part ways, they will not meet again.  Unfortunately, a recent decision by an NLRB judge...
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8th Circuit Finds Employees’ Sick Ad Campaign is Protected Activity Under the NLRA

Bernadette Hunton
Bernadette Hunton
03/29/2016
Sick of having to find coverage when ill, Jimmy John’s employees who took their message public soon found themselves on permanent leave.  In this 2-1 decision, the Eighth Circuit backed a National Labor Relations Board (“Board”) ruling that a franchisee unlawfully discharged employees for publicizing information suggesting the company’s sick leave policy posed food safety risks to consumers. MikLin Enterprises, Inc. v. NLRB, No. 14-3099 (8th...
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