Category Archives: Labor Relations

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New NLRB General Counsel Sets New Tone For The "Trump Board"

NLRB
We are now almost a year into the Trump presidency, but we are still grappling with how the administration will address many issues throughout the country. To a certain extent we can never be sure of a clear path, as President Trump has not always taken consistent positions on policy issues. However, from time to … Continue reading this entry

Labor Department Proposes A Reversal Of Its Current Tip-Pooling Rules

Department
On December 5, the Department of Labor published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to reverse its 2011 rule prohibiting employers from sharing tips obtained by service workers with non-tipped staff. The proposed rule would allow employers who pay at least minimum wage (without taking a tip credit) to share tips through a tip pool with … Continue reading this entry

Another Joint Employment Development, And Still More Uncertainty

Joint
For the last several years, “joint employment” (whatever that now means legally) has been anything but the gift that keeps on giving for employers. First, joint employment became a tool that the previous Administration locked onto in seeking to expand wage and hour liabilities and to open up potential union organizing opportunities and labor relations … Continue reading this entry

The Trump Board is All Aboard: EEOC Still at the Station

EEOC
On September 25 the U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of William Emanuel to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). This quickly followed the previous confirmation of Marvin Kaplan, thus bringing a full complement to the five-member panel. More significantly for employers, and consistent with long-standing precedent, the sitting president of the United States appoints three … Continue reading this entry

Ninth Circuit Deviates from Guidance and Other Authority on Tip Credits

Tip
We have previously discussed how the Department of Labor (DOL) often issues guidance to assist employers in applying and complying with the DOL’s various regulations. The federal courts generally follow this guidance when analyzing the related regulations, but they are not obligated to do so, as is evident from a recent ruling by the United … Continue reading this entry

Overtime Exemption Increases: Not Now, But (Probably) Soon

Overtime
As our readers are aware, we have devoted a good amount of space to discussing the status of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) final rule on exemptions from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). After a topsy-turvy year-and-a-half, in which multiple courts’ issues opined on the status of that rule, we recently asked … Continue reading this entry

NLRB’s New Joint Employment Rules Fail . . . But Live to Fight Another Day

NLRB
No matter your political persuasion, there is little argument that during the second term of the previous administration, multiple federal agencies made landscape-altering changes to federal labor policy. These changes included rewriting guidance on independent contractor standards and accelerating the speed at which union organizing elections would occur following the filing of a representation petition.  … Continue reading this entry

NLRB: Employer Should Not Have Asked an Employee How Things Were Going During a Union Campaign

Campaign
Employers must tread carefully when communicating with employees during union organizing campaigns. A seemingly innocuous question can violate the National Labor Relations Act’s (NLRA) prohibition on employers soliciting grievances during a union organizational campaign and accompanying the solicitation with a promise, express or implied, to remedy such grievances.  However, it is not always clear what … Continue reading this entry

Trump Department of Justice Reverses Course on Class Action Waivers

FCRA
On June 16, 2017, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) changed its position with respect to the enforceability of class action waivers in the labor and employment context. The move came via the DOJ’s filing of an amicus curiae brief in three consolidated cases pending before the Supreme Court (National Labor Relations Board v. … Continue reading this entry

What Ever Happened to the Department of Labor’s New Overtime Rule?

Overtime
As our readers may recall, last year we devoted a good amount of time addressing the Department of Labor’s (DOL) final rule on overtime exemptions. Under that rule, which was supposed to go into effect on December 1, 2016, the minimum salary required to be exempt from overtime requirements under the certain Fair Labor Standards … Continue reading this entry

In Pro-Employer Move, Trump Administration Withdraws DOL Guidance Letters

Guidance Letters
President Trump’s reputation as a no-holds-barred businessman was one of the pillars of his campaign. Six months into office, Trump’s administration is showing its pro-business (or pro-employer) tendencies through recent Department of Labor (DOL) guidance.  In this instance, it is the recent withdrawal of Obama administration guidance, rather than the issuance of new guidance, that … Continue reading this entry

NLRB: Nonunion Employees Do Not Have A Right To A Co-Worker’s Presence During Investigatory Interviews

NLRB
As we have frequently reminded our readers, even non-unionized employers need to pay close attention to the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) rulings and opinions as to employees’ rights under applicable labor law. For example, the NLRB has focused on employee handbook provisions – applicable to both union and non-union employers, which it considers to … Continue reading this entry

Expanded Joint Employer Standard Under Attack; What Employers Should Do in the Meantime

Joint Employer
It appears that the days of expanded joint employer liability may be numbered, as the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) 2015 Browning-Ferris decision comes under attack on multiple fronts.… Continue reading this entry

Through Rain, Sleet, or Snow: The USPS Delivers a Helpful Example of Well-Executed Employment-Related Internal Investigations

Background
Remember when the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) conjured up images of disgruntled employees engaging in workplace violence? Those days of incidents, often sparked by employee discontent over unresolved labor grievances and employment-related complaints, are apparently over.  The USPS has learned from the violent incidents of the 1980s and is now considered a go-to source for … Continue reading this entry

Another Joint Employer Test Makes Its Debut

On January 25, 2017, a federal appeals court that covers Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and North and South Carolina was the latest to craft a joint employer test, holding that a Maryland general contractor was the joint employer of its drywall subcontractor’s employees. As a result, the contractor was responsible for unpaid wages, including overtime, … Continue reading this entry

Happy New Year, Employers — Things are Likely to Improve at the NLRB

As every employer knows, the Obama era has not been kind from a labor law perspective. The five-member National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which has had a Democratic majority during recent years, has issued a host of pro-union decisions over the past eight years. Along with new rules that speed up the union election process, those … Continue reading this entry

The Revised Persuader Rule — An Obituary

EEOC Developments
The “Persuader Rule” — Brief Background After several years of review and public comment, on March 24, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued its new interpretation of the so-called “Persuader Rule.” The new interpretation changed more than 50 years of DOL policy under which employers and consultants had no duty to report “persuasive … Continue reading this entry

Class Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements: Proceed with Caution

Class action waivers in arbitration agreements exist in a legal gray zone, with the federal appellate courts split on their enforceability. Many employers believe that by forcing employees who sue them to do so only individually, they can avoid the prospect of very large judgements. The Ninth Circuit and Seventh Circuit have held that class action waivers … Continue reading this entry

Joint Employer Rule: Is Guidance on the Way?

As we have previously discussed, in its 2015 “Browning Ferris” decision, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) set a new standard for determining whether two entities are joint employers under federal labor law.  Since then, employers have faced a rocky road in trying to understand the implications of this standard.  Long-awaited guidance may finally be … Continue reading this entry

The “Persuader Rule” Permanently Enjoined

As we have previously reported, in March of 2016, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a reinterpretation of the Persuader Activities Rule (The “Revised Rule”). This Revised Rule required that: employers must annually report agreements that have the object of dissuading employees from supporting unions (“persuader activities agreements”); consultants must report such persuader activities agreements … Continue reading this entry

What Will Happen When the Smoke Clears? Post-Election HR Strategies for 2017 and Beyond

Trade Secrets
The long and contentious presidential campaign is over.  So, now what?  What does President-elect Trump’s victory mean for employers? To explore this question, Foley and Lardner LLP’s Labor & Employment Practice group hosted a webinar titled “What Will Happen When the Smoke Clears? HR Strategies for 2017 and Beyond” on November 10, 2016.  The team … Continue reading this entry

Have a Management Rights Clause? It May Not Save You from Bargaining with the Union

Many union employers insist on strong management clauses in their labor agreements. Such clauses contain language reserving for the employer the right to adopt new rules and regulations.  A reasonable employer may assume that this language gives the company the right to adopt rules and regulations without first bargaining with its union. A recent decision … Continue reading this entry

What Past Practice?? NLRB Overhauls Back Pay Formula

Joint Employer
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has done it again. Over the last few years, the NLRB has provided no shortage of topics for us to discuss, because it has made no secret of its aggressive agenda to expand employee protections under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), making rules and issuing decisions in furtherance … Continue reading this entry

Employer Handbook Policies Violate the National Labor Relations Act

As we recently noted, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is laser-like focused on scrutinizing employer personnel policies.  In yet another example of this ongoing campaign, a recent administrative law judge (ALJ) decision highlights how some common employer’s handbook policies can be found to be unlawful.… Continue reading this entry