Monday, August 4, 2014

That is SO last week

Last week, the General Counsel at the National Labor Relations Board upended the traditional joint-employer analysis by holding that McDonald’s could be liable for labor violations that occur at a franchise location.   While House Speaker John Boehner called the General Counsel’s announcement the NLRB’s “latest radical overreach,” big labor celebrated.
 
But what does it all mean?  First off, McDonald’s (and other franchisors) are not going to be unionized overnight.  Second, the General Counsel’s ruling is very preliminary.  There are many, many more steps that will have to occur before McDonald’s will be held liable for any labor violations or be forced to collectively bargain with any of the unions purported to represent employees.  And remember that the decisions of the NLRB General Counsel are not legal precedent.  They may be persuasive in many contexts, but they do not carry the same weight that court decisions do.  The decision will have an impact, but expect business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to take action and remember to watch what legislatures and courts do on this issue.
 
In other developments:
 
Discrimination
  • A male employee sued his employer for gender discrimination when his supervisor gave a female co-worker better work assignments and bonuses when she allegedly had an affair with the supervisor.  The Tenth Circuit threw out his case, ruling that the supervisor’s favoritism disadvantaged men and women equally.
  • The EEOC sued Harold Washington College for age discrimination after the college passed over a 66-year-old adjunct for a full-time faculty position.
  • While the law doesn’t prohibit discrimination based on attractiveness, Michael Haberman discusses the issue and reminds us that the focus should be ability and job-related skills, not looks.
 
Technology
 
Wage & Hour
  • With the rise of telecommuting and consultants, is the future of work piecework and independent contractors?
  • The Department of Labor found that Department of Veteran’s Affairs contractor failed to properly pay 52 employees – totaling $616,187 in unpaid wages.
 
Other Developments
  • Jeff Nowak posited that FMLA leave for headaches causes both consternation and liability.
  • The White House issued another new Executive Order establishing limits on federal contractors. It prohibits arbitration agreements, requires reporting of employment and labor law violations, and requires detailed paychecks.
Posted by: Kate Bischoff