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Union Gave Up $450 Million in Retiree Benefits in Settlement Agreement After Bankruptcy of GM

Did General Motors, LLC manage to get rid of $450 million in liability to retirees of the shuttered Delphi auto parts plant shortly after the auto giant’s own bailout from bankruptcy by U.S. taxpayers in 2009?


Will Internships Start 'Paying Off' In More Ways Than One?

The traditional image evoked by the word “intern” is of the person in the office building who buys the coffee, picks up the dry cleaning and does all of the daily menial tasks for the company higher-ups who don’t have time to do it themselves. However, as most millennials can attest, those days are long gone.


EEO Roundup: Does But-For Cause Standard Limit Alternative Claims?

May a worker who believes he’s been subjected to age discrimination, disability bias and job retaliation still assert claims on all three bases under federal law?


Deflategate Update: Will He Arbitrate?

What about that penalty? Let’s see the instant replay!


Public Sector Roundup: Congress Leaves Federal Employee Provisions Out of FY 2016 Budget Blueprint

People usually pay attention to what’s included in measures passed by Congress, not what’s left out. But in the case of a concurrent budget resolution for fiscal year 2016 recently passed by both chambers, the issue for federal employees is what’s not in the final version.


Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Law on Invisible Disability Disclosure

Reports of the Germanwings plane crash, a tragedy caused by a pilot with a history of depression, have sparked discussion regarding mental health issues in the workplace.


Inspirational Posters Support First Amendment Retaliation Claim by Police Officers

A federal court in Oregon finds hanging “inspirational” posters in restrooms was evidence of retaliation against police officers who complained of corruption.


EEO Roundup: State and Local Legislatures Spring Into Action

April proves to be a busy month for state and local legislatures in terms of trying to rid the workplace of employment bias.


Will Supreme Court Gay Marriage Ruling Spark Congress to Act on Same-Sex Bias?

As the justices today hear arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges, expected to be a landmark gay marriage case, the immediate implications are clear. There are two specific questions that the high court will consider: Do same sex couples have a constitutional right to marry? And are states required to legally recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states?


Immigration Roundup: Could Litigation Derail Obama’s Executive Action?

Despite congressional hoopla over President Obama’s executive action on immigration, including a standoff that almost closed the Homeland Security Department, lawmakers haven’t stopped the various programs. But the courts seem to be chipping away at them.


Court Doesn’t Buy Racketeering Claims Based on Union’s ‘Corporate Campaign’

When might a union’s prolonged “corporate campaign,” aimed at organizing workers and pressuring an employer in bargaining, cross the line into racketeering? A federal district court in California recently gave some clues.


Independent Contractor Business Model Uncertain in ''On-Demand'' Economy

Will two upcoming jury trials on the independent contractor/employee status of drivers for the on-demand ride services Uber and Lyft provide greater clarity regarding the test for an employment relationship? What effect could they have on the business model for all kinds of technology-driven “on demand” businesses?


Q&A: SHRM Policy Counsel States Position on OFCCP’s Proposal to Update Gender Bias Rules

Some employer-advocacy groups, including the Society for Human Resource Management, are urging the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs not to overreach its statutory authority as it revises decades-old sex discrimination guidelines.


NLRB Update: Let’s Talk About Wages – Or Not?

Some fast food workers have been protesting wages that they say are too low only to be told by their bosses that they are violating a company rule against talking about their wages. Are such rules legal?


Job Applicant Screening: Is Social Media Fair Game?

Those who’ve grown up in the age of social media are warned that self-expression can come with a cost if they act carelessly. Photos and videos of youthful indiscretion can reflect badly on personal reputations, and, if seen by the wrong person, can lead to a person not getting a coveted job.


April Fools: All Fun & Games Until Someone Gets Fired

Did you hear the one about the employee who pranked his supervisor by claiming he had run over two people, fatally injuring one of them, with the company vehicle?


Q&A: How to Use Your Company’s Intranet to Bolster Compliance with New Federal Requirements on Employing Workers with Disabilities

HR personnel have long relied on their employers’ intranet sites to streamline standard functions such as receiving requests from employees and notifying employees of policy changes, but such sites also can support a federal contractor’s affirmative action and nondiscrimination obligations toward individuals with disabilities.


Public Sector Roundup: Women More Likely to Be Executives in Federal Agencies Than in Private Sector, OPM Says

Women working for federal agencies are more likely than their private sector counterparts to hold executive positions, a recent report from the Office of Personnel Management says.


EEO Roundup: Will U.S. Government Change View on ADA’s Coverage of Transgender Population?

The U.S. government has been granted more time to decide whether to intervene in a transgender former Cabela’s employee’s case challenging as unconstitutional the ADA’s exclusion of gender identity disorders from coverage under the statute.  Might federal authorities be planning a further show of support for LGBT workplace rights?


Vote-a-Rama: Despite the Drama, We Learned Nothing About the Chances for Paid Sick Leave and Pregnancy Discrimination Laws

A marathon voting session in the Senate last week yielded successful votes on measures related to paid sick leave and discrimination protections for pregnant workers. But the votes tell us very little about whether various bills to address these issues actually have a chance of passing.


Immigration Roundup: The L-1B Guidance Is Finally Here. Now What?

Considering that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services had been promising new L-1B guidance for about three years, there was quite a bit of hoopla surrounding its release last week. But is the new guidance a boon or a letdown for employers?


Q&A: Timing Is Everything When It Comes to EPLI Claims

Employers covered under an employment practices liability insurance policy need to recognize that late reporting of claims alleging discrimination or an adverse employment action could jeopardize, or even negate, coverage under the policy.


Subsidized Child-care Providers Test Limits of Association Rights

A federal court threw out claims that Massachusetts is forcing child-care providers to associate with a union. Does the First Amendment protect them from being exclusively represented in bargaining over government vouchers?


“Your Job or Your Daughter?”

Supervisors are one of an employer’s biggest risks for losing employment law suits. What they say when dealing with performance issues can turn a poor performer into a winning plaintiff.


Court 'Unfriends' Social Media Notice of FLSA Suit

Will the use of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn become an approved method of providing notice to a class or to potential opt-in plaintiffs in an employment action? A recent federal court decision indicates that social media may no longer be off-limits, provided that plaintiffs observe certain boundaries.


NLRB Update: Divided Board Declines to Blur Line Between Sign Display and Picketing

When is the display of a picket sign not picketing? An arbitrator said that just having the sign in your car is in fact picketing. The NLRB rejects that idea, saying it’s not picketing unless somebody holds the sign, opening the door to a confrontation.


Q&A: In-House Counsel Offers Inside View on Employment Practices Liability Insurance

Corporate counsel who are unfamiliar with negotiating the company’s employment practices liability insurance coverage eventually will discover that not all claims are created equal in the eyes of an insurer.


A 'Tip' for Restaurant Employers: Be Kind to Your Servers

We’ve all heard the phrase “That’s above my pay grade,” when someone explains that a particular task or duty is handled by someone who is higher up on the organizational food chain, and therefore also usually paid more.


Public Sector Roundup: Federal Employees Have Greater `Financial Well-Being’ Than Other Workers, Gallup Says

Federal government employees have greater “financial well-being” than the rest of the nation's workforce, according to recent survey results from Gallup that no doubt will fuel the ongoing debate over whether or not federal sector employees are paid more than their private sector counterparts.


Playing by the Rules On and Off the Field

The vacatur of the arbitration award that affirmed running back Adrian Peterson’s discipline by the NFL serves as a reminder that playing by the rules matters both on, and in this case, off the football field.


Posner and Seventh Circuit Shrug At ALJs’ Challenge to New Quotas

Seventh Circuit affirms that the Social Security Administration was entitled to dismissal of a union’s challenge to a new production “goal” for the ALJs who decide disability cases.


EEO Roundup: Can You Smack Your Harasser Under Title VII?

Can an employee fired for striking a co-worker who was harassing her still sue her employer for retaliation under Title VII? It may depend on the “context.”


Immigration Roundup: Working While Waiting

While the deferred action portions of the president’s executive action on immigration are on hold because of a federal court order, an important piece of the action is moving forward: the Department of Homeland Security has issued a final rule allowing H-4 dependent spouses of certain H-1B highly skilled guestworkers to obtain employment authorization documents.


Perception is Not Reality: Public Employees and ''Perceived Speech''

The First Amendment protects most public employees from being disciplined because of their political speech or affiliation. However, in an odd twist, a federal court recently upheld the firing of a policeman who was mistakenly accused of being involved with a local political campaign, with the court noting that the Constitution does not protect “perceived speech.”


Tap into JAN to Sidestep Federal Disability Law Claims

With the rising tide of disability harassment claims, the prevalence of mental health issues in the workplace and reports of substantial EEOC settlements on behalf of disabled workers, employers may want to scrutinize their employment policies and practices and seek compliance assistance to avoid potential claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act.


When in Doubt, Delay: Why Congress Will Probably Kick the Can on Immigration and Homeland Security Funding

There’s no end in sight to the ongoing dispute over White House immigration policy, a battle that threatens to cost the Department of Homeland Security its funding. Here’s why the most likely solution is to put off a solution for a few more months.


Workers Becoming a Hot Commodity and Making Employers Pay Up

Wal-Mart’s announcement that it’s giving raises to some 500,000 workers and making work schedules more predictable may be only the tip of the economic iceberg. The strong job market and other indicators, such as Bloomberg BNA’s latest Wage Trend Indicator™, are signaling that many workers will see better wage growth this year.


Congratulations on Your Retirement – Why Are You Suing Me?

No good deed goes unpunished. It is an axiom that sometimes applies in employment law. You may think you are softening the blow for an employee caught in a downsizing to suggest it is a good opportunity to kick back and retire.


Social Media: The New Big Tool for Union Organizing?

Quick mass organizing through social media has become synonymous with the term “flash mob,” so could “flash union organizing” by labor unions be the next logical step?


Strippers Need Not Reveal All in Independent Contractor Misclassification Suit

Are exotic dancers bringing wage-hour independent contractor misclassification suits entitled to use pseudonyms, or should they be required to disclose their real names? A recent federal decision from the Northern District of California provides a look at an emerging tactical battleground in these actions and rules that the dancers may proceed anonymously with their suit.


It's Valentine's Day & Labor Arbitration Is In the Air

A look at some of the most interesting labor arbitration stories of all time to remind us that love isn’t the only thing in the air this Valentine’s Day. 


Public Sector Roundup: Chaffetz Supports Federal Pay Raise But Isn't Sure `What the Right Number Is'

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told reporters recently that a pay raise for federal employees next year is “warranted,” but that he isn't sure yet “what the right number is.”


EEO Roundup: Does the ADA Deny Transgender Workers Equal Protection?

Does the ADA’s exclusion of gender identity disorders not resulting from a physical impairment violate the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause?  According to LGBT advocates and a transgender former Cabela’s employee, it does.


Immigration Roundup: J-1 Waiver Fees, to Cover or Not to Cover Them? That Is the Question

The U.S. high court recently dodged an immigration question with possible implications for the medical community: Must employers cover the fees associated with obtaining a J-1 waiver?


No Hat Tip to NLRB in Workplace Cap Dispute

A recent decision of the D.C. Circuit raises new questions, at the intersection of employees’ collective rights and workplace safety rules, in a dispute over baseball caps.


McDonalds Lawsuit Warning: Supervisors May Pose Employment Risks

McDonald’s Corp. was recently sued by ten African American and Hispanic workers alleging that their firing by a local franchisee from three restaurants in Virginia constituted race discrimination in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (Betts v. McDonald's Corp., W.D. Va., No. 15-2, complaint filed 1/22/14).


Slowing Down the NLRB ‘Quickie’ Election Rule: a Preview of Congressional Review

Lawmakers are looking to a relatively obscure congressional tool to attack a recent National Labor Relations Board rule that tinkers with union representation election procedures. They won’t be able to stop the rule from taking effect, but they should be able to slow it down a bit.


You Can (Maybe) Arbitrate That: Arbitration and the Dodd-Frank Act

Employers may compel workers to arbitrate their whistle-blower retaliation claims under the Dodd-Frank Act, according to a recent decision from the Third Circuit. This stands in contrast to the explicit ban on mandatory arbitration that Dodd-Frank has added to other federal whistle-blower laws, including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.


NLRB Update: Union Representation and Adjunct Faculty

 The National Labor Relations Board recently issued a decision asserting jurisdiction in a case involving adjunct faculty at Pacific Lutheran University, finding that the adjuncts were not held out as having a role in maintaining a religious educational environment and were not managerial employees.

 


Q&A: Why Is `Ban the Box’ State Legislation Growing in Popularity?

One of the biggest emerging issues in employment discrimination law today is the issue of employers running criminal background checks on job applicants or asking them upfront about their arrest record.


Wage Hikes Will Grow, but Modestly for Most Workers

Employers are widely expected to raise wages and salaries more in 2015 than they have in recent years, but the amount of the increase probably will be modest. The latest Bloomberg BNA’s Wage Trend Indicator™ predicts wage that growth likely will improve further by the middle of the year.


Be Careful What You Bargain For: Arbitrability

A cautionary tale of labor arbitration brings to the forefront the real, and often unanticipated effects of bargaining. From drafting the clause, to dealing with its consequences, we consider arbitrability, one bargain at a time.


Q&A: Another Reason to Focus on OFCCP’s Pay Transparency Efforts

There’s more at stake than failed compliance for federal contractors if anticipated final rules on pay secrecy  policies and employee compensation data mirror the 2014 proposals issued by the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, a management attorney with Ballard Spahr  LLP told Bloomberg BNA.


Public Sector Roundup: Baby, It’s Cold Back Here!

The federal government no longer has a blanket policy requiring agencies to award excused absences to employees who are on pre-approved leave when the government closes because of weather events or other emergencies, according to new guidance from the Office of Personnel Management.


Q&A: Plaintiffs' Counsel Reflects on EEOC’s 2014 and Ponders Year Ahead

Kalpana Kotagal, a partner with plaintiffs' class action law firm Cohen, Milstein , Sellers & Toll in Washington, tells Bloomberg BNA what’s on her radar for 2015 in terms of legal developments and enforcement activity involving the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and shares her 2014 noteworthy EEOC moments.


Immigration Roundup: And the H-2B Saga Continues

Perhaps one day the rules employers must follow to participate in the H-2B low-skilled, nonagricultural guestworker program will be settled. But we’re not there yet.


Immigration Roundup: DAPA Could Lead to Green Cards

Despite administration assurances that beneficiaries under the new deferred action program don't have access to legal status or citizenship, employers may be able to sponsor workers for green cards under a Department of Homeland Security memorandum on advance parole.


EEO Roundup: Should More Job Bias Litigants Explore Reinstatement Offers?

Offers of reinstatement may be worth pursuing in job bias cases-although it's a less practical remedy and the rule of evidence generally bars the admission of settlement discussions at trial. 


Q&A: Don’t Quarantine Yourself From Employment Law During an Ebola Outbreak

Employers need to ensure that their efforts to protect their employees and workplaces from Ebola don't run afoul of relevant employment law considerations.


Immigration Roundup: Obama Went Big

By now everyone's heard about President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration, but you may not have heard about the parts that are directly tied to the employment-based immigration system.


Management Attorney Sends SOS for Wage-Hour Guidance

Linda M. Doyle, partner of McDermott Will & Emery and member of the firm's employment practice, calls for DOL guidance and education to stem worker misclassification.


You Heard It Here First ... or at Least Well in Advance

Businesses have finally started giving bigger raises to workers, something Bloomberg BNA’s Wage Trend Indicator™ has predicted for the past year. The latest WTI forecasts that wage growth likely will improve further by the middle of 2015.


Immigration Roundup: OCAHO Can, and Will, Come Down Hard on Repeat Offenders

Durable Inc. is paying-literally-for its litany of I-9 violations after the Justice Department's chief administrative hearing officer Oct. 23 affirmed a more than $300,000 penalty against the Chicago-area manufacturer.


Immigration Roundup: The Big Executive Action Question

President Barack Obama's decision to delay taking executive action on immigration until after the November midterm elections has only given interested parties time to speculate about what that action might look like. But the signs seem to be pointing more toward some kind of affirmative relief for undocumented immigrants, not unlike the deferred action for childhood arrivals program.  

 


EEO Roundup: Can the Amount of Time Spent on a Job Task Dictate Whether It’s Essential?

A pair of Seventh Circuit judges debate whether the amount of time spent on a job function can dictate whether the task is "essential" for purposes of the Americans with Disabilities Act.


Attorney’s Second Circuit Appeal Refutes Applicability of OT Exemption to Doc Reviewers

Law firms and legal staffing providers no doubt will be watching the outcome of Fair Labor Standards Act litigation that Manhattan firm Joseph & Kirschenbaum LLP is pursuing against the legal giant Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Tower Legal Staffing, Inc. The plaintiffs' firm represents contract attorney David Lola and claims the legal industry for years has been exploiting document reviewers who are paid low hourly rates and no overtime compensation for working long hours on short-term projects.


Workers May Finally Defeat the Boogeyman of Labor Market Slack

Any day now, American workers should start to break out of a long rut of low wage growth, according to Bloomberg BNA's Wage Trend Indicator . By early 2015, annual wage and salary increases in the private sector are expected to consistently exceed 2 percent for the first time since the early part of the recession.


EEO Roundup: Novel Transgender Bias Cases Among EEOC’s 60-Plus Year-End Filings

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed at least 60 new cases in September to close its fiscal year, the most noteworthy being a pair of novel lawsuits filed in Michigan and Florida under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act alleging discrimination by private sector employers against male-to-female transsexual workers.

 


Public Sector Roundup: OPM Seeking Input as It Works to Update SES Onboarding Guidance

The Office of Personnel Management is seeking input as it works to update guidance it issued in October 2011 on "onboarding" new members of the Senior Executive Service at federal agencies.


Immigration Roundup: Don't Sit on Your Trafficking Claims

A formerly undocumented landscaping worker recently had his human trafficking case dismissed by a federal court in Minnesota on timeliness grounds, in part because he stood up to his employer.


Businesses Feeling Pressure to Give Better Pay Raises

Wage and salary increases in the private sector will improve by early 2015, Bloomberg BNA's Wage Trend Indicator forecasts. The rate of  annual wage growth is expected to consistently exceed 2 percent.

 


EEO Roundup: EEOC ‘Walking a Fine Line’ With First ADA Wellness Plan Lawsuit

The EEOC's first Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuit directly challenging a corporate wellness plan raises questions regarding how companies can implement such programs and induce employee participation without running afoul of the ADA and other laws.

 


Public Sector Roundup: Greeting Card Industry Wishes Speedy Recovery for USPS

Rather than insisting on legislation to overhaul the U.S. Postal Service, the USPS should consider backing a less ambitious measure that might have a better chance of being approved by Congress during the current legislative session, Rafe Morrissey, vice president of postal affairs at the Greeting Card Association, told Bloomberg BNA in an interview earlier this summer.


Q&A: Academia’s Juggling Act With OFCCP Compliance, SCOTUS’s Affirmative Action Rulings

Representatives from the American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity discuss academic institutions as OFCCP-regulated federal contractors, as well as an affirmative action case that may make a second trip to the Supreme Court. (AAAED was formerly the American Association for Affirmative Action.)


Pay Gains Predicted to Exceed 2 Percent by Year’s End

Annual wage and salary increases in the private sector will improve by the end of 2014, Bloomberg BNA’s Wage Trend Indicator™ forecasts. The overall rate of wage growth is expected to consistently exceed 2 percent.


EEO Roundup: How Specific Does an Accommodation Request Need to Be?

An intellectually impaired employee’s request for a job accommodation to help manage his condition must specify the particular work rule violation or other problem for which it’s sought in order to trigger the Americans with Disabilities Act’s interactive process.


EEO Roundup: Pregnancy Bias--Two Under-the-Radar Rulings You Might Have Missed

The Supreme Court's grant of certiorari in a pregnancy accommodation case and the EEOC's new enforcement guidance on pregnancy bias grab the spotlight, but two district court rulings involving expectant and new mothers also deserve attention.


Q&A: Contractors Have No Scapegoat in Third-Party Providers

More federal contractors will start paying closer attention to the services of third-party vendors that assist them with recruitment efforts because of the new hiring requirements established by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs for veterans and people with disabilities, Rathin Sinha, president of America's Job Exchange Inc., told Bloomberg BNA.


Public Sector Roundup: Civil Service System Needs Overhaul, House Panel Told

House lawmakers, administration witnesses and a former director of the Office of Personnel Management agreed during a recent hearing that the General Schedule pay system for federal employees is broken, but they disagreed on what needs to be fixed.


Long-Awaited, Bigger Pay Raises Are Coming for Most Workers

Workers will see bigger pay raises this year, Bloomberg BNA’s Wage Trend Indicator™ predicts, but the large number of unemployed job-seekers eases the pressure on businesses to boost wages to keep and attract employees.


Q&A: Statistical Proof of Discrimination Isn't Static

W. Carter Younger of McGuireWoods LLP tells Bloomberg BNA why a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit on statistical significance may signal a shift in how the courts interpret statistical proof of employment discrimination.


EEO Roundup: Are Intellectual Disabilities the Next Big Issue Under the ADAAA?

Bloomberg BNA looks back at the first five years under the 2008 law, and gets the views of several civil rights enforcement officials and employment law practitioners regarding emerging issues


Q&A: Self-Audits of Compensation Require Team With the Right Stuff

Before initiating a self-audit on compensation practices and systems, federal contractors should first pull together a pay analysis team, Valerie Hoffman, a partner with Seyfarth Shaw in Chicago, told Bloomberg BNA during this Q&A.


Public Sector Roundup: Report Says State and Local Outsourcing Costs Communities as Contractors Cut Pay and Benefits

State and local governments need to consider the full cost of outsourcing public sector jobs--including the expense of providing government assistance to a larger number of citizens--when contractors offer lower wages and reduced benefits to their employees, according to a new report.


Public Sector Roundup: OMB Asked to Forgo `Back Retirement Taxes' From New Federal Workers Due to Software Delay

The president of the American Federation of Government Employees asks the Office of Management and Budget not to collect “back retirement taxes” from new federal employees, to avoid placing a large financial burden on them.


EEO Roundup: To Graze or Not to Graze, and a Hair Case With a Twist

In the past few weeks, federal district courts addressed new or rare situations or arguments in lawsuits involving employee hairstyles, disabilities, sexual preferences and marital relations.


Q&A: The Talk Federal Contractors Need to Initiate

The disability self-identification form issued by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs comes with a steep learning curve for federal contractors, says employment law attorney Mark P.A. Hudson of Shuttleworth & Ingersoll. "We have been taught in human resources to never ask the question about disability to job applicants and employees. We now are asking the question three times," Hudson said during this Q&A.


EEO Roundup: Are Federal Lawsuits That Claim Workplace Bias on the Wane?

The number of new federal court filings claiming employment discrimination dipped below 1,000 for the first two months of the year for the first time since 2006. Is this an indication of a true trend?


Public Sector Roundup: More Private Sector Than Public Sector Workers Represented by Unions, Report Says

More private sector than public sector employees were covered by collective bargaining agreements in 2013, a reversal from four years earlier, according to a new Congressional Research Service report.

 


EEO Roundup: Worker Background Check Issue Heats Up Again as Sixth Circuit Hears Oral Argument

Oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit March 20 and other recent developments show that the use of criminal and other employee background checks is still much on the minds of EEOC representatives and employer advocates.


Q&A: All Eyes on EEOC’s Lawsuit Challenging Severance Agreement

A recent lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against CVS Pharmacy Inc. over provisions in a severance agreement has probably garnered the attention of employers who normally don't  pay close attention to EEOC litigation, says Philip K. Miles of McQuaide Blasko Law Offices.


Labor Stats and Facts: In Labor v. the South, the Numbers Are on the South's Side

In the wake of its Volkswagen loss, union leaders have vowed to organize workers in Southern states. But statistically speaking, the South is the least union-friendly spot on the U.S. map.


Public Sector Roundup: EEOC Seeks Comment on Draft Proposal to Revise Federal Sector Complaint Process

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in a draft copy issued Feb. 24 is seeking public comment on what it called "significant revisions" to EEOC Management Directive 110 - guidance on the federal sector complaint process that first became effective in November 1999.

 


EEO Roundup: Is Friendship a Basis for a Title VII Retaliation Claim?

Is an employee's friendship with a co-worker who allegedly was subjected to discrimination or harassment and who complained to their employer, grounds for a retaliation claim under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act?


Q&A: Rethinking Veterans’ Employment for OFCCP Compliance

Understanding how military skills can transfer over to the civilian workplace may help federal contractors meet new hiring benchmarks in the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs' regulations under the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act, says Lisa Rosser, chief executive officer and founder of Value of a Veteran, a human resources consulting firm.  


EEO Roundup: Federal Bill on Unemployment Status Bias Headlines Spate of Legislative Activity

Legislatures at the federal, state and local levels in the past few weeks enacted or proposed new laws aimed at further protecting employees from workplace discrimination


Q&A: Plaintiffs’ Counsel Muses on Employment Class Action Trends, Strategies

Attorney Andrew Melzer  of Sanford Heisler LLP in New York discusses plaintiff-side tactics emerging in employment class action litigation, and explains why the plaintiffs' class action bar is still confident in the class certification process when pursuing discrimination cases.


EEO Roundup: Enforcement Agencies Signal Aspects of Their Agendas

Officials from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs recently offered some insights into the federal government’s EEO enforcement plans for 2014.


Public Sector Roundup: OPM Proposes Changing Career Tenure Rule to Eliminate Mandate for Continuous Service

The Office of Personnel Management is proposing to change its current regulations on creditable service for career tenure for federal employees, the OPM said in a recent Federal Register notice outlining the proposed rule.

 


Q&A: The EEOC Mediator Said What?

Colorado-based attorney Merrily Archer explains why she launched a national survey asking employers whether mediators in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) programs made certain comments and statements during the mediation process.


EEO Roundup: Might EEOC Conciliation Issue Be Headed to Supreme Court?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's recent big win regarding the agency's presuit conciliation requirements may mean the issue is ticketed for eventual U.S. Supreme Court review.


Q&A: Year-End Thoughts on EEOC Enforcement, Social Media Trends

Daniel A. Schwartz, an attorney at Shipman & Goodwin in Hartford, Conn., recaps his 2013 noteworthy moments in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforcement, and discusses how new and not-so-new mobile apps and social media sites are redefining the employment law landscape.


Labor Stats and Facts: September Is for Steelworkers, and Other Observations for 2014

2014 is shaping up to be a lively negotiating year, but some unions will be busier than others. Here’s a preview of who will be brushing up on their bargaining skills for each month.


EEO Roundup: Better 'Curb Your Enthusiasm,' at Least When Swatting Flies in the Workplace

Is an employer justified in firing an employee for swatting a fly too enthusiastically?  That's just one of the questions potentially posed by an unusual case involving a Texas apartment leasing manager that recently made its way to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.


Q&A: A Quick Reality Check on HIV Employment Discrimination

Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, the legal director of the Center for HIV Law & Policy (CHLP), tells Bloomberg BNA that the Americans with Disabilities Act plays a major role in protecting the rights of people with HIV because "employment discrimination against them is a continuing problem."


Public Sector Roundup: Sequestration Will Be Worse in FY 2014, Center for American Progress Report Says

Sequestration, if it is allowed to continue through fiscal year 2014, will be even more damaging than it was in FY 2013, according to a recent report from the Center for American Progress.


Labor Stats and Facts: Unionization Is Up in 2013, For One Very Big Reason

At first glance, it looks as if 2013 is shaping up to be a banner year for unions. More workers have been organized through NLRB-sanctioned elections in the first half of the year than over the entire course of 2012. But there’s more to this than meets the eye, because there's one single, gigantic outlier involved.


Q&A: Do Tougher Pleading Standards Affect Plaintiffs’ Summary Judgment Results?

Professor Jonah B. Gelbach of the University of Pennsylvania Law School talks about research that shows the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly  and Ashcroft v. Iqbal  have had little effect on plaintiffs' win rates in summary judgment motions in employment discrimination cases.


Public Sector Roundup: Federal Workers in D.C. Can Participate in Certain Political Activities, OPM Says

Federal employees living in the District of Columbia will be able to participate in certain types of local political activities under a recently issued final rule from the Office of Personnel Management.

 


EEO Roundup: Background Checks Still Front Page News

The issue of employee background screening took center stage again earlier this month when the state of Texas sued in federal court, seeking to invalidate and bar the enforcement of 2012 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidance on employers' review of arrest and conviction records.


Public Sector Roundup: OMB Beginning 120-Day Review of Federal Clearance Process

The Office of Management and Budget is heading a 120-day review of the federal government's security clearance process, including the fitness of federal contractors for conducting such clearances.


EEO Roundup: But for “But-For”--The Impact of a Causation Standard

It is fair to say that the U.S. Supreme Court's June decision in University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar , which established that workers alleging retaliation under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act are subject to a heightened "but-for" standard of proof, agitated the plaintiffs' bar.  It may also be fair to say that their agitation was justified.


Public Sector Roundup: Federal Workers Are to Accrue Benefits for Shutdown Period, OPM Memo Says

In addition to receiving retroactive pay for the period of the 16-day partial government shutdown that began Oct. 1, federal civilian employees-whether or not they were told to report to work during the shutdown-will accrue annual and sick leave, retirement credit and other benefits for the shutdown period, according to the Office of Personnel Management.


EEO Roundup: State Law Developments Lead the Way

The past few weeks delivered a comparative flurry of key state law changes or near changes, including notable developments and potential developments in New York, California and Massachusetts.


Q&A: Responding to an EEOC Charge Is Like Playing Chess

Bloomberg BNA spoke with Michael Petkovich, a partner, and Amanda Vaccaro, an associate , in Jackson Lewis LLP's Washington, D.C. area office after they presented a session at a firm-sponsored workplace law symposium on handling a charge issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.


EEO Roundup: EEOC Hits Fiscal Bottom Running

With the partial government shutdown, the end of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's fiscal year Sept. 30 in most ways couldn't have come at a more inconvenient time. However, the agency still managed to round off the year with its usual flurry of new lawsuit filings.

 


Q&A: A Glimpse Into Defending Workers’ Discrimination Claims

Avi Kumin, a partner at Katz, Marshall and Banks in Washington, discusses the world of plaintiff-side employment law post- Nassar , judicial reviews of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's conciliation efforts, and other topics affecting employment rights litigation.


Public Sector Roundup: Administration Told to Insist on Back Pay for Federal Workers If Shutdown Occurs

If the Obama administration and Congress are unable to agree on a plan for funding the government past the Sept. 30 end of the current fiscal year, the White House should fight to ensure that federal employees who are idled for the period of any partial government shutdown get back pay, a federal employee union official said in a recent letter.


Q&A: U.S. Multinationals Must Understand Local EEO Issues

It's not a small world after all when it comes to crafting anti-discrimination policies and practices for a global workforce,  Donald C. Dowling Jr. tells BNA. Dowling is an employment law attorney who advises U.S.-based multinational employers on human resources policies.


EEO Roundup: Obesity as a Disability—EEOC’s Feldblum Comments

EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum reveals that the commission currently has no plans to revisit the issue of the coverage of obese and overweight workers under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

 


Public Sector Roundup: Proposed Rule Would Allow Compensatory Time Off for Religious Observances

Federal employees would be permitted to earn compensatory time off for religious observances within 26 pay periods (52 weeks) of taking the time off under a new proposed rule from the Office of Personnel Management.


Public Sector Roundup: Countdown to a Government Shutdown?

President Obama and congressional Republicans are no closer to a broad agreement on budget issues than they were six months ago, but the Sept. 30 end of fiscal year 2013 - and the mid-October date on which the U.S. government is expected to exhaust its ability to borrow funds - are approaching rapidly.


EEO Roundup: A Reawakening of Religious Bias Claims?

If it seems that we are seeing more and more workplace religious discrimination claims lately, the facts bear that out. Although dipping slightly last year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has experienced a significant increase in yearly religious bias charge filings from 1997 to 2012-rising from 1,709 in 1997 to 4,151 in 2012.


Labor Stats and Facts: Strike Recession Continues, With No Recovery in Sight

Many labor and employment indicators are climbing their way up from the rock-bottom levels of the recession, but union strike activity doesn’t appear to be one of them.


Public Sector Roundup: Interagency Cooperation Should Be Rule, Not Exception, Partnership Says in Report

The federal government needs to encourage interagency cooperation on a regular basis and not just when it is faced with emergencies, according to a new report from the Partnership for Public Service and management consultant Booz Allen Hamilton.


EEO Roundup: Wal-Mart, CRST Headline Employers’ Banner Run in Courts

Wal-Mart Stores and trucking company CRST Van Expedited were among the big winners in what was a successful stretch for employers in defending against workplace bias claims.


Public Sector Roundup: Sen. Coburn to Block OPM Director Nomination Over ACA's Treatment of Legislative Branch

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has announced his intent to put a hold on President Obama's nominee for the position of director of the Office of Personnel Management until the administration provides more details regarding the status of members of Congress and their staffs under the 2010 Affordable Care Act.


EEO Roundup: EEOC Nixes Further Furloughs, Cautions Against Use of Criminal Records in Hiring

In a busy few weeks for EEOC, the agency decided that it would not be imposing additional furloughs on its employees, and commission attorneys warned employers about the perils of using criminal background checks and social media information in hiring and other decisions.


Labor Stats and Facts: Experts' Employment Predictions for 2013-14

When Bloomberg BNA recently asked 19 prominent economists to predict the near future of the U.S. economy, they predicted that job growth will continue to help strengthening the economy through 2013 and into 2014.


Public Sector Roundup: Obama Plan for Modifying Federal Employees' Compensation Act Benefits Aired at Hearing

The Obama administration's proposal for modifying the Federal Employees' Compensation Act program faced a somewhat chilly reception during a recent hearing, with Democrats on a House panel and some hearing witnesses criticizing provisions that would reduce workers' compensation benefits for injured federal and postal employees with dependents.


Q&A: Some Tricky Aspects of Anti-Harassment Training, Retaliation Claims

Margaret M. DiBianca, an attorney with Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, explains how employers can improve their anti-harassment training sessions for employees and pinpoints the Achilles' heel of most training sessions. She also offers practical advice for employers on avoiding retaliation claims.


EEO Roundup: Nassar, Vance, Windsor Provide Fodder for Employment Law Seminars

The U.S. Supreme Court's recent rulings on workplace retaliation, who is a "supervisor" under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and gay marriage have provided legal talking heads with a summertime bounty for enlightening discourse.


Congressional Roundup: A Busy Month Ahead

Congress returned July 8 from its week-long recess for the July Fourth holiday, and already a number of labor- and employment-related issues are cropping up on Capitol Hill. With the two chambers set to take a month off in August, lawmakers will certainly stay busy through July. 


Public Sector Roundup: Pay Bill Would Equalize Treatment of Hourly, Salaried Federal Workers in Same Location

Blue-collar Federal Wage System employees working in the same locations as their white-collar federal General Schedule counterparts would be treated as being in the same locality pay areas under legislation introduced by Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.).


Q&A: Mid-Year Snapshot on EEOC Activity

Proskauer Rose attorney Leslie E. Silverman shares her views on how 2013 is shaping up, so far, for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and its stakeholders. The Washington, D.C.-based lawyer served as the vice chair of EEOC and a commissioner from 2002 to 2008.


EEO Roundup: Justices Grab Headlines, but Lower Court Watch Still Essential

While the U.S. Supreme Court issued significant decisions that likely will change the legal landscape for employment discrimination attorneys and their clients, there is the risk that important lower federal court rulings may fly under the radar.


Public Sector Roundup: White House Suspends Awards Program for Top Federal Employees for FY 2013

The Presidential Rank Awards Program, which provides monetary awards for federal career executives, has been suspended for fiscal year 2013, an administration official said last week.


Q&A: Practitioner’s Mid-Year Outlook on OFCCP Enforcement

Attorney Shafeeqa Watkins Giarratani of Norton Rose Fulbright tells Bloomberg BNA what she thinks are key developments to emerge in 2013 from the Office of Federal Compliance Programs. She also discusses OFCCP's budget justification for fiscal year 2014, which outlines the agency's funding proposals and enforcement priorities.


Q&A: Five Areas of Employment Discrimination Law Sparking Scholarly Interest

Legal scholarship sometimes gets a bad rap for being too theoretical to address the complexities of modern society, but this isn't the case for legal scholarship on employment discrimination law, explains law professor Paul M. Secunda.


Labor Stats and Facts: Union Workers' Benefits Don't Outpace Nonunion Benefits; They Lap Them

I recently suggested that the long-established gap between the wages earned by union workers and those earned by nonunion workers may be narrowing a bit. BLS has just released a report indicating that the gap in benefits, on the other hand, is showing no such sign of diminishing.


EEO Roundup: Justices Decide One Case With Employment Law Implications, Pass on Two Others

The U.S. Supreme Court was a lead player the past two weeks in shaping the legal landscape for employment discrimination lawyers and their clients, issuing a decision in the ultra-hot area of class arbitration that carries clear implications for employers and employees, and declining to review a pair of employment discrimination cases that presented weighty questions seemingly warranting further consideration.


Public Sector Roundup: OPM Issues `Phased Retirement' Proposal to Allow Part-Time Work for Future Federal Retirees

Federal employees who are retirement-eligible would be able to transition from full-time to part-time status, while continuing to earn additional retirement benefits, under a new proposed rule from the Office of Personnel Management.

 


EEO Roundup: EEOC Nomination, House Testimony

Let's catch up with the significant developments out of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over the past few weeks, including testimony before a House subcommittee, the nomination of Feldblum to a new five-year term, and the filing of a class action suit under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.


Labor Stats and Facts: Seven Surprising Facts About Health Care Bargaining

A new Bloomberg BNA special report,  Collective Bargaining in the Health Care Industry , has just been released. As I edited the report I found a lot of interesting facts. Here are some of my favorites.


Public Sector Roundup: Legislation to Require OPM to Track Union 'Official Time' Approved by House Panel

Legislation (H.R. 568) that would require the Office of Personnel Management to provide annual reports to Congress on the use of "official time" by federal employees who also serve as union officers was approved by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee by voice vote.


EEO Roundup: Valuing Employment Discrimination Claims

A common issue in employment discrimination cases is what value should be placed on the plaintiff's claim. Bloomberg BNA's enhanced Employment Discrimination Verdicts & Settlements Navigator can help.


Labor Stats and Facts: Decertifications Are Down, but Unions Shouldn't Celebrate

The gradual, decades-old decline in the ranks of union workers is typically discussed in terms of attrition. But what about the more overt and abrupt act of decertification?  How often does a unit of already-unionized workers actually decide to say goodbye to their union—and is it happening more often now than in the past?


Congressional Roundup: Republican Comp Time Bill Gets a Vote

While the Senate has been busy focusing on comprehensive immigration legislation, the House on Wednesday passed an employment-related bill that garnered a bit less attention. 


Public Sector Roundup: Will Sequestration Continue Into Fiscal Year 2014?

Federal employees in many agencies are facing furloughs--or the possibility of furloughs--in fiscal year 2013 due to sequestration. What's ahead in FY 2014?


Q&A: When Does an OFCCP Audit Become Litigation Worthy?

David S. Fortney, a management lawyer with Fortney & Scott in Washington, D.C., talks about the pros and cons of commencing litigation against the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs because of a compliance review.

 


EEO Roundup: The Continuing Development of Anti-Retaliation Law

As the Supreme Court considers yet another retaliation case, companies should again be reminded of the continued prevalence—and relative success—of such claims by employees, as well as their obligation as employers to protect workers against the retaliatory acts of managers.


Labor Stats and Facts: A Closer Look at the Union-Nonunion Pay Gap

One of the most basic maxims in labor relations is that union members earn more than nonunion members. That was true again in 2012 .   But within that fact are some interesting exceptions and trends that are worth examining more closely.


Public Sector Roundup: Thrift Board Considers Making Lifestyle Fund New Default Investment for Federal Workers

The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board during a joint meeting with its Employee Thrift Advisory Council, which represents federal employee unions and managers' groups, explored the idea of changing to a new default fund in the Thrift Savings Plan.

 


Q&A: Implicit Bias Effect on Asian American Workers

Marita Etcubañez, director of programs at the Asian American Justice Center, discusses how implicit bias and stereotypes of Asian Americans can hinder their career advancement in the workplace.


EEO Roundup: Retaliation Burden Higher for Supervisors Under ‘Manager Rule’

Is it the intent of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to make it more difficult for managers and supervisors, than for rank-and-file employees, to prove protected activity?


Public Sector Roundup: Obama Budget Proposal Calls for 1 Percent Federal Pay Raise, Increased Pension Contributions

President Obama in his fiscal year 2014 budget request proposed a 1 percent pay increase for federal employees, but also called on federal workers hired prior to Jan. 1, 2013, to contribute an additional 1.2 percent of their salaries toward their retirements.


Labor Stats and Facts: Employer Bargaining Objectives for 2013

Bloomberg BNA has polled 110 employers whose contracts are set to expire this year, asking them about their plans and expectations for their upcoming negotiations. Here are some highlights.


EEO Roundup: The Class Arbitration Fight Goes On

Legal issues surrounding whether and when class claims may be arbitrated has only added to the longstanding fight between employers and employees over the mandatory arbitration of employment discrimination claims. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is the latest court to weigh in on the hot topic of class arbitration.


Q&A: Hiring Practices on the NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s Radar

ReNika C. Moore, a director at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc., offers an overview of pending litigation and hiring policies that have gained the attention of the legal advocacy group.


Immigration Roundup: An Immigration Bill Is on Its Way

Congress has been away from Washington for the past week and a half for its annual spring recess coinciding with Easter and Passover. But despite the legislative slowdown, a major milestone was reached this week in the ongoing immigration debate: the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reached an agreement in principle on a contentious part of a potential immigration overhaul. 


Public Sector Roundup: Tax-Delinquent Federal Workers Would Face Firing Under Bill OK’d by Panel

Federal government employees with "seriously delinquent tax debt" could be fired by their agencies and federal job applicants forced to withdraw their applications under legislation (H.R. 249) approved by voice vote March 20 by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

 


EEO Roundup: Are Employers Required to Distinguish Between Disabilities?

A recent decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey raises the question of whether the Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to distinguish between disabled workers.


Q&A: Some Brief Thoughts on Pay Equity Enforcement

Jones Day attorney Alison B.Marshall weighs in on the renewed focus by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to combat pay discrimination based on race, gender, and ethnicity.


EEO Roundup: What Did They Say About Getting It in Writing?

Everyone has heard the saying "Make sure you get it in writing." While not the strict legal requirement, medical device manufacturer Teleflex may be wishing one of its executives had lived by those words in deciding that a subordinate employee had resigned.


Q&A: Hitting the Refresh Button on Contractors’ Affirmative Action Placement Goals

Beth A. Ronnenburg, president of Berkshire Associates Inc., discusses how updated data on the U.S. workforce issued by the Census Bureau will affect federal contractors establishing placement goals for women and minorities and what contractors need to understand about the goals.


Public Sector Roundup: Labor Department Furloughs to Vary, From None to Up to 10 for Some Agencies

Unionized employees at Labor Department agencies have received notices regarding the number of proposed furlough days their agency expects them to take during the remainder of fiscal year 2013, with the number of proposed days varying widely by agency.


Labor Stats and Facts: Some Unions Have Been Shrink-Proof for 60 Years

The AFL-CIO has reported that 25 affiliate unions lost members in 2012, while 16 gained members. Are there any affiliates that have never had so much as a dip in their membership in almost 60 years? Actually, there are three.


Immigration Debate Heats Up on the Hill

Even with all the talk of sequestration and other fiscal matters, there are still lots of other issues getting attention on Capitol Hill. Foremost among them: immigration. Last week saw not one but two House subcommittee hearings on immigration matters, and a third is slated for this week. And there were signs of agreement among various witnesses and members of Congress.


Labor Stats and Facts: How Long Does Labor Arbitration Take?

Arbitration issues have been in the news this week, so let's answer the question of how long a labor arbitration typically takes, from grievance to arbitration award.


Public Sector Roundup: Union Expects Federal Agencies to Bargain Over Sequestration’s Impact

The National Treasury Employees Union is expecting federal agencies to bargain over the impact and implementation of sequestration if the across-the-board federal spending cuts begin as expected March 1, NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley said Feb. 26 during the union's annual legislative conference.

 


EEO Roundup: Senators, Civil Rights Groups Call for Protections for LGBT Workers

Over the past two weeks, momentum has begun to build toward a long-sought expansion of federal employment rights law: protections from workplace discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers.


Editor's Note: Top Labor and Employment Issues in 2013, Part Two

Let's take a look at this year's five hottest labor and employment law issues.


Public Sector Roundup: House to Vote on Bill to Extend Federal Pay Freeze

The House is preparing to vote as early as Feb. 15 on legislation (H.R. 273) that would freeze federal pay for the remainder of calendar year 2013.

 


Congress, DOL Mark FMLA Anniversary

It's not every day that Congress marks the anniversary of a 20-year-old law. And it's even less frequent that the same anniversary is celebrated by the administration and public policy advocates, too. But this week was an exception. Twenty years ago this week, on February 5, 1993, President Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act into law.


EEO Roundup: Tide Rising on Pay Equity Issue?

Momentum may be building toward further federal legislation on the issue of equal pay, if activity at the state level is any indication.


Labor Stats and Facts: Wages Are Up All Over

New data from 2012 contracts suggest that union employers have finally started loosening their purse strings during wage negotiations. What's more, big bargaining units appear to be on the leading edge of this upward trend.


Public Sector Roundup: Operating With One Member, FLRA Cannot Issue Final Decisions

The Federal Labor Relations Authority is currently operating with one member, Ernest DuBester, who is now the authority's chairman, FLRA said in an undated posting on its website, explaining that the authority cannot issue final decisions without a quorum of at least two members.


EEO Roundup: EEOC, Employers Still Fighting Over Unidentified Claimants

The pitched battle between the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the defense bar over whether the commission is permitted to sue on behalf of alleged victims of discrimination who are not identified by the agency during its investigation or conciliation of the underlying administrative charge continues.


Labor Stats and Facts: The Dwindling of Deferred Wages

The best way to sum up the latest trends in deferred wage increases is to quote Yogi Berra: The future ain’t what it used to be.


Q&A: SHRM Expert Makes the Case for Diversity and Inclusion Standards

Bloomberg BNA caught up with Shirley A. Davis Sheppard, Ph.D., vice president of diversity and inclusion at the Society for Human Resource Management, to discuss the organization's efforts to develop standards for measuring the performance of corporate D&I programs.


Public Sector Roundup: Agencies Told to Prepare for Cuts Through Furloughs, Early Outs, Hiring Freezes

In case federal employees did not have enough to worry about already, a Jan. 14 memorandum from the Office of Management and Budget calls on federal agency heads to prepare for possible budget cuts due to sequestration or the expiration of the six-month continuing resolution currently funding the government by considering hiring freezes, early retirement incentives, and furloughs.


Labor Stats and Facts: Major Negotiations in 2013

Unlike last year, when settlements covering more than 10,000 workers were being negotiated in what seemed like every industry, most of the large contracts expiring in 2013 are confined to three types of workplaces.


Q&A: Key Takeaways From EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan

Bloomberg BNA spoke with Eric B. Meyer, a partner at Dilworth Paxson's Philadelphia office, to find out if the four-year strategic enforcement plan approved by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission signals a major shift in the commission's enforcement agenda.


Congressional Roundup: What's on the Agenda for the 113th Congress?

It was, of course, a busy week in Congress this week, between final passage of a deal averting the so-called fiscal cliff--which included a one-year extension of emergency unemployment insurance benefits--and the beginning of the 113 th  Congress. But what comes next?


EEO Roundup: Lucasfilm Not at Fault in Showing Concern for Pregnant Worker and Her Unborn Child

It's been a good past few months for George Lucas, whose recent successes include a win by his company Lucasfilm in its bid to overturn a $1.27 million pregnancy discrimination judgment against the company. The case poses many interesting questions, including the relevance of an employer's expressed concern for a pregnant worker and her unborn child to the issue of discrimination.

 


Public Sector Roundup: Fiscal Cliff Deal Offers Only Brief Reprieve From Sequestration Threat

Federal employees may have expected a number of different outcomes to the year-end drama of the fiscal cliff negotiations, but a mere two-month reprieve from the threat of sequestration--the across-the-board cuts to federal agencies called for by the 2011 Budget Control Act if Congress can’t agree on alternative cuts--probably wasn’t one of them.


Congressional Roundup: Bangladesh Spotlighted

While Congress is focusing mostly on the so-called fiscal cliff, lawmakers have also recently taken notice of labor issues. House Democrats, for example, sent a letter to Ron Kirk, the U.S. Trade Representative, about labor conditions in Bangladesh. 


Labor Stats and Facts: Does Right-to-Work Affect Union Wages?

In the wake of Michigan’s addition to the ranks of right-to-work states, we ask: Can right-to-work’s effect be seen in how much union and nonunion workers earn in a given state?


Q&A: 'But-For' Standard Keeps Plaintiffs' Lawyers on Their Toes

R. Scott Oswald, a managing principal at The Employment Law Group, weighs in on legal developments affecting plaintiffs' attorneys who represent employees in Age Discrimination in Employment Act litigation.


EEO Roundup: Is the “Protected Activity” Standard Different for In-House Counsel?

Is the standard for determining whether an employee has engaged in protected activity under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act the same for in-house lawyers as it is for other employees?


Labor Stats and Facts: Union Strength in Right-to-Work States

Michigan has become the 24th “right-to-work” state in the union, making it the most heavily unionized state—by far—to enact such a law. How does a state’s union situation change after a decade of right-to-work?


Congressional Roundup: UI, Immigration as the Year Winds Down

Washington is looking forward to January, when a new Congress will be seated and President Obama will be sworn in for a second term. But that doesn't mean there's nothing going on in December. 


Public Sector Roundup: OPM Seeks Telework Agreements Specifying Work Goes on During Emergencies

The Office of Personnel Management is asking federal agencies to specify in written agreements with employees who telework that such employees are required to work during emergencies that cause federal offices to close.


EEO Roundup: Workplace Accommodations Based on Disability, Religion, and Pregnancy

A sometimes overlooked nuance of current job accommodation requirements was highlighted by a recent U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit decision: an employee or job applicant seeking accommodation based on a disability or a religious conviction is only entitled to a reasonable accommodation, not necessarily the accommodation of his or her choosing.


Labor Stats and Facts: Election-Year Winners and Losers, Part 2

In my last post, I identified some unions and employers that have been enjoying a successful year in the organizing arena. But, for every winner, there is a loser. Here is a list of parties that have not fared as well.


Q&A: Finding Common Ground in Consent Decrees with EEOC

Labor mediator Amy L. Lieberman shares her experience with counseling employers in negotiations with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over consent decrees, especially provisions on anti-harassment and non-discrimination training for employees and managers.


Public Sector Roundup: Federal Pay System Safe for Now, Opponents Say

The political will to make changes to the federal General Schedule pay system may be lacking at a time when the government is facing a difficult budget environment, panelists critical of the GS system agreed during a recent forum on federal pay.


Q&A: Slowly But Surely, OFCCP Will Pursue Major Reforms

Matthew J. Camardella, a partner at Jackson Lewis, LLP, talks about the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs under an Obama Administration's second term, pre-employment tests, potential effects of the Census Bureau's data tool on affirmative action planning.


EEO Roundup: Obama’s Reelection and the Continuing Enforcement Struggle

Back in May, we outlined the battle between the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and employers over a number of EEO enforcement issues, including the scope of EEOC’s investigatory authority in class and other prospective cases. An interesting question for employment law practitioners is how last week’s election results impact that fight.


Labor Stats and Facts: Who Else Is Having a Good Election Year?

Hope you’re not too tired of election talk, because our semiannual report on NLRB election statistics is almost here. And I've noticed that some unions and employers have been enjoying a very good year so far.


Labor Roundup: Election's Over, Here Comes the Fiscal Cliff

The big news this week, of course, was the election. And while attention is now turning to the nation's fiscal situation and the so-called fiscal cliff that looms if Congress fails to strike a deal averting automatic tax increases and spending cuts, labor unions took some time on November 7 to talk about their contributions to the election results. 


Labor Stats and Facts: Lockouts Last Longer Than Strikes

As the lockout rate for 2012 continues to climb, I thought I should expand on two claims that I referred to in my previous post: first, that lockouts tend to affect more workers than strikes; and second, that lockouts tend to be longer than strikes.


Public Sector Roundup: Post-Election Congress Not Well Positioned to Respond to Fiscal Cliff

Now that the 2012 national elections have been resolved, federal lawmakers' attention will shift to dealing with the so-called fiscal cliff. But Jim Nussle, the former Office of Management and Budget director and long-time House member, believes the "lame-duck" Congress that will return to Washington, D.C., will not be in a strong position to resolve the budget issues necessary to avoid sequestration.

 


EEO Roundup: GINA Cases in the Forecast?

Since the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act took effect Nov. 21, 2009, there hasn’t been as much litigation activity under the employment provisions of the statute as some may have anticipated. That could be about to change, with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission leading the way.


Q&A: Working the Labor-Attorney Crowd in Atlanta

Stewart S. Manela, chair of the American Bar Association's Section of Labor and Employment Law tells Bloomberg BNA how his team planned the 6 th  annual membership conference that runs from Oct. 31 to Nov. 3 in Atlanta so that it appeals to the section's diverse constituency.


Labor Roundup: Lagging Contract Talks at the New York Times

Here at Daily Labor Report , we cover collective bargaining and labor-management relations issues in many different industries, including health care, transportation, and manufacturing. But this week we covered an ongoing bargaining dispute involving workers whose product is seen by millions, even though most of them probably don't know about the disagreements. I'm talking about employees of the New York Times


Public Sector Roundup: The Surprising Resurgence of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act

Legislation to strengthen whistleblower protections for federal employees has been introduced in both the House and Senate numerous times over the past 13 years, only to be left without final action from Congress. It's all the more surprising, then, that the latest version of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (S. 743) likely will be approved by federal lawmakers before the end of the turbulent 112 th  Congress and signed into law by President Obama.


Q&A: Affirmative Action Analyst Waxes on OFCCP's Hiring Proposals

Bloomberg BNA recently spoke with Stephanie R. Thomas, Ph.D., the founder and CEO of  Thomas Econometrics , a human resources firm specializing in statistical and economic consulting, about the Office of Federal Compliance Programs' proposed rules to strengthen affirmative action programs for veterans and people with disabilities. In this Q&A, Thomas outlines what she thinks federal contractors should do to prepare for the new regulations, and discusses the agency's attempt to overhaul compensation audits aimed at federal contractors.


EEO Roundup: More Dukes, and the Supreme Court’s New Term

Two weeks ago I discussed how the Supreme Court's decision in Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. overturning certification of a class totaling more than one million workers did not spell the end of the case or employment class actions in general. A few days later, at a National Employment Lawyers Association  conference I attended, the group of mostly plaintiffs' lawyers made clear that they do not view the Dukes decision to be the great loss that many supposed.

 


Labor Stats and Facts: Lockout Rates Continue to Surge

The huge plunge in union membership over the past two decades has meant a huge plunge in union-initiated strikes. Yet it hasn’t meant a huge plunge in employer-initiated lockouts. That’s interesting. Newsworthy, even.


Labor Roundup: A Walkout by Wal-Mart Workers

Wal-Mart and labor unions have long been at odds. The world's largest retail chain aggressively seeks to combat union organizing at its U.S. stores, and has inspired various labor-sponsored  campaigns  to draw attention to the company's employment, logistics, and sourcing practices. But not until now have workers at Wal-Mart stores actually walked off the job.


Public Sector Roundup: The Case of the Missing Federal Pay Increase

President Obama in February called for a 0.5 percent pay increase for federal employees to be effective in January 2013. Congress was expected to either approve or block the raise, which was included in the president's proposed budget for fiscal year 2013. But as of now, federal workers are still wondering whether the two-year pay freeze that began in January 2011 will be extended for another year.

 


Q&A: Helping Low-Wage Workers Fight Employment Discrimination

California has among the nation's toughest labor laws prohibiting discrimination, but Claudia Center, of the Legal Aid Society's Employment Law Center (LAS-ELC) in San Francisco, says her organization and its clients still need the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to pursue its current agenda.


Labor Stats and Facts: Manufacturing Unions See Wages Rebound

Manufacturing-industry unions and employers are negotiating wage increases larger than anything we’ve seen since the recession. Employees covered under these contracts are receiving pay hikes that are double what they were receiving at this time last year.


EEO Roundup: Enforcement Lawsuits Galore and the Return of Dukes

The last two weeks saw a rush of EEO activity, with a new ruling in the Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc.  case leading a group of class action decisions and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission closing its fiscal year with a flurry of new lawsuits.

 


Labor Roundup: Four Separate Contracts Rejected by Unions, Members

There's an old saying in journalism that three instances of anything make a trend. I remembered this while combing through recent issues of Daily Labor Report,  because in the past week or so there have been at least four instances of either workers rejecting proposed collective bargaining agreements or a pact that the union urged members to vote against.


Labor Stats and Facts: Which Unions Have the Longest Work Stoppages?

Work stoppages—as any pro football fan will tell you right now—have a way of dragging on and on. Today, I’ll evaluate 10 major unions based on the length of their work stoppages. Which unions have the most staying power during a labor dispute? Let’s find out.


Public Sector Roundup: 'Lame Duck' Congress Has Plenty on Its Plate

Is it accurate to call it a "lame duck" session of Congress if that's when the work will get done?


Q&A: Two 2012 Standouts from EEOC Policy, Litigation

Donald R. Livingston, a partner at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld and former general counsel at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, shares what he thinks are noteworthy developments to emerge in 2012 from EEOC policy guidance and litigation.


EEO Roundup: Active Period for EEOC Highlighted by ADA Triumph

The always active Equal Employment Opportunity Commission dominated EEO developments over the past two weeks, with the turn of events it managed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit leading the way.


Labor Stats and Facts: Six Surprising Facts About Health Care Organizing

A new Bloomberg BNA special report, Union Organizing in the Health Care Industry, has just been released. As I was editing the report, I found a lot of interesting facts. Here are some of my favorites.


Q&A: Some Brief Thoughts on EEOC Mediation

Labor attorney Jonathan A. Segal lauds the mediation program at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but notes that employers should walk into the initial mediation conference with realistic expectations about settling the discrimination charge.


EEO Roundup: The Role of EEOC Enforcement Guidance in Litigation

The weight given to enforcement or policy guidance issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission during litigation varies from court to court and case by case. For example, in Kroll v. White Lake Ambulance Authority the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently reaffirmed its view that EEOC's enforcement guidance relating to statutory interpretation of the ADA is "very persuasive authority."


Labor Roundup: Labor Issues Come to the Conventions

All eyes were on the Republican National Convention in Tampa last week, as Mitt Romney officially accepted his party's nomination for president. Going along with the convention, of course, was the unveiling of the party's 2012 platform , which contains several labor-related items that haven't gotten much press. 


Public Sector Roundup: Republican Party Platform Calls for 10 Percent Reduction in Federal Workforce

The Republican Party's national platform as approved by convention delegates in Tampa, Fla., Aug. 28 calls for a 10 percent reduction in the federal workforce through attrition along with a more performance-oriented federal pay system.

 


Q&A: Cover All the Bases on Tracking Job Applicants

In this Bloomberg BNA Q&A, HR consultant Carla Irwin advises federal contractors that smart compliance with the internet applicant rule enforced by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs starts with identifying all the ways in which the company recruits and screens job applicants.


EEO Roundup: The Continuing Evolution of Title VII’s Sex Stereotyping Theory

Since the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 2004 first recognized as viable a claim under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act a transsexual employee alleging discrimination based on the failure to conform to gender stereotypes in Smith v. Salem , the gender nonconformance or "sex stereotyping" theory has spawned a variety of uses in federal employment discrimination cases.


Labor Stats and Facts: Comparing the National Conventions' States

With the political convention season upon us, I decided to browse through some of Bloomberg BNA’s reports, databases, and news articles to compare the labor situations in the two host states, Florida and North Carolina.


Labor Roundup: Houston Janitors End Strike

Most people don't think of Texas being very union-friendly--it is, after all, a right-to-work state where only 6.3 percent of workers are represented by unions, far below the nationwide union representation rate of 13 percent. So it's all the more noteworthy that this past week, commercial office building janitors in Houston, after staging a month-long strike, ratified a collective bargaining agreement providing for a $1 raise over four years.


Q&A: Jury Is Still Out on EEOC's Criminal Check Guidance

Mark Toth, chief legal officer at ManpowerGroup North America, discusses the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's release of updated enforcement guidance on employers' use of individuals' arrest and conviction records to make hiring decisions. He also weighs in on conducting social media background checks on job applicants.


Public Sector Roundup: Could Sequestration Really Happen?

When President Obama signed the Budget Control Act in August 2011, ending a congressional standoff over increasing the debt limit, the January 2013 deadline for Congress to agree on a way to reduce the federal budget deficit--and thus avoid the across-the-board cuts to federal agencies called for by the BCA's sequestration process--seemed to be comfortably in the future. But as time runs out for Congress to act, could sequestration really happen?


EEO Roundup: Anti-Bias Protections for Public-Sector Workers

Several recent case developments and regulatory actions have brought into sharp focus the difference between anti-bias protections for public employees and those for private-sector workers.

 


Labor Stats and Facts: ‘Zero-or-Below’ Wage Settlements, Revisited

In April, I analyzed contracts from the past six years that called for either a net wage decrease or, at the least, no wage increases over term. I found an explosion in the use of these "zero-or-below" contracts since 2008, and wondered whether it represented a long-term trend or just a temporary phenomenon. At a reader's request, I'm checking to see if the figures from 2012, so far, are pointing toward either conclusion. 


Labor Roundup: Another Step in the United-Continental Merger

If you've been watching NBC's broadcast of the Olympics over the past week and a half, you've no doubt seen lots of commercials for United Airlines, the Chicago-based carrier that in its latest ad campaign says it's been flying U.S. Olympians around the world for years. But few people who see those Olympic commercials probably realize that now, even two years later, United employees still largely fall into two groups: those who previously worked for United, and those who worked at Continental Airlines, which merged with United in 2010.


Immigration Roundup: Deferred Action, Work Authorization Process Announced

On Aug. 15, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will begin accepting a new form requesting deferred action in conjunction with a form requesting work authorization under the Department of Homeland Security's new deferred action policy, USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas announced.


Public Sector Roundup: When a $5.5 Billion Tree Falls in the Forest, Does it Count if No One Is Paying Attention?

You wouldn't know it by looking at the House's schedule, but the U.S. Postal Service is scheduled to default Aug. 1 (as in today) on a federally required $5.5 billion retiree health prefunding payment.

 


EEO Roundup: The Essential Role of “Essential Functions”

An issue that seems to be at the forefront of more and more Americans with Disabilities Act cases is whether the the plaintiff was able to perform the essential functions of the job in question, with or without reasonable accommodation.


Labor Stats and Facts: Which Unions Have the Biggest Work Stoppages?

As the scope of Houston’s janitors’ strike extends to other cities nationwide, let’s take a look at how SEIU compares with other major unions when it comes to the number of employees involved per work stoppage.


Labor Roundup: NLRB Rules on Flu Prevention For Nurses

The heat of July may not seem like the most appropriate time for a blog post about flu vaccination, but a recent National Labor Relations Board decision brought the issue of mandatory vaccinations for health care workers back to the fore of the labor world. The board recently ruled that a hospital did not violate the law when it implemented a flu-prevention program without bargaining with the nurses' union.


Public Sector Roundup: Is Time Running Out for the U.S. Postal Service?

If you've been wondering exactly how much money the U.S. Postal Service has been losing lately, go to a website established by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the House Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, and Federal Services, which has oversight over USPS.

 


Q&A: Ensuring Contractors’ Buy-In, OFCCP Reforms Are on Same Page

Valerie J. Vickers, board chair of the National Industry Liaison Group, asserts that federal contractors deserve a prominent seat at the table as the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs aims to overhaul regulations to ensure contractors are not discriminating against applicants and workers based on race, sex, disability and veteran status.


EEO Roundup: A Weighty Decision? Considering the Impact of State Court Decisions

A question I’ve frequently considered in deciding which cases to report on is what value, if any, do state court decisions hold for employment discrimination lawyers in other jurisdictions?


Labor Stats and Facts: When Workers File ULPs Against Their Own Unions

Employers aren't the only ones that get hit with unfair labor practice charges. Unions also can be a target. Sometimes, these charges come from the employer. But most ULP charges leveled against unions come from a source that might surprise you: the unions’ own members.


Labor Roundup: California Court OKs Prevailing Wage Exemptions

The Supreme Court wrapped up its term last week, with the release of the long-awaited decision on President Obama's health care overhaul law. But at the state level, the California Supreme Court this week released a decision that will have ramifications throughout the nation's most popular state.The issue? Whether cities are obligated to pay construction workers prevailing wages on municipal projects.


Public Sector Roundup: Scrutiny of Federal Conferences Likely to Continue

Mind readers and bicycle building exercises likely will never again be featured at a federal training conference in the wake of the scandal involving the General Services Administration's 2010 Western Regional Conference, where a Las Vegas conference for approximately 300 GSA employees cost more than $822,000.

 


Q&A: EPLI's Got Your Back

Employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) has been on the market for over 20 years, but a slow economic recovery and increased enforcement activity by federal civil rights agencies have produced new trends affecting claims covered by EPLI, says Thomas P. Hams, EPLI practice leader for Aon Risk Solutions.


EEO Roundup: Did NLRB Decision Pump New Life Into Class Arbitration Debate?

What is the impact of  D.R. Horton , or  Dukes  and  Concepcion ? Only time will tell, but the recent developments in the longstanding battle between employee advocates and employers over the fairness of arbitration clauses and class action waivers, which was once thought to have been settled largely in favor of employers, rages on.


Labor Roundup: Supreme Court Weighs in on Union Dues

While the nation eagerly awaits the Supreme Court's decision any day now determining the fate of President Obama's health care overhaul law, other decisions are trickling out, including in one lower-profile case this week that represents a new element of what Justice Stephen Breyer, in a dissent, called "an ongoing, intense public debate" about collective bargaining and union membership in both the public and private sectors. 


Public Sector Roundup: Are Federal Employees Paid Too Much?

At a recent event held at the Partnership for Public Service's Washington, D.C., headquarters, representatives of the American Enterprise Institute, the Federal Salary Council, and the Congressional Budget Office offered very different views on whether or not federal employees are paid too much.


Q&A: Former Head of OFCCP Sheds Light on Reforms

Bloomberg BNA recently spoke with Shirley J. Wilcher, who oversaw the Office of Federal Compliance Programs during the Clinton Administration, about the underlying factors that drive regulatory reforms to ensure federal contractors meet their affirmative action obligations.


EEO Roundup: What Did He Just Say? The Effect of a Single Comment

Can a single discriminatory remark by an employee about a co-worker by itself create a hostile work environment under federal or state law? Should it? Can discriminatory actions occurring outside of the workplace be considered part of a hostile work environment? Should they be?


Labor Stats and Facts: Has Change to Win Out-Organized AFL-CIO?

In the six years since breaking away from the AFL-CIO, how has Change to Win stacked up in the race to organize workers? Representation statistics from the National Labor Relations Board tell a rather balanced story.


Labor Roundup: Unions Face a Loss in Wisconsin

Supporters of organized labor were dealt a major blow this week, when a largely union-funded effort to unseat Wisconsin's Republican governor, Scott Walker, failed in a recall election . In a vote widely seen as a referendum on Walker's anti-union policies, voters kept him in office by a margin of 7 percentage points over his Democratic challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. 


Labor Stats and Facts: What's the Most Unionized City in the Nation?

In  my last post , I analyzed statistics from the 2012 edition of Bloomberg BNA's U nion Membership and Earnings Data Book to find the state with the largest percentage of union members among its population. This time, using the same source, I'm looking for the city that holds the same distinction. Which of the country's 100 largest metropolitan areas has the greatest union density?


Public Sector Roundup: Would More Sunlight Have Helped GSA?

For an agency with the seemingly humdrum role of helping the federal government with its real estate, space planning, office equipment, and transportation needs, the General Services Administration in recent months seems to be involved in a lot of scandals.


Q&A: Plaintiffs' Lawyer Group Sizes Up EEOC Class Actions

Terisa E. Chaw, executive director of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), discusses why her organization is closely monitoring the Eighth Circuit's EEOC v. CRST Van Expedited Inc. case and class action strategies post- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. v. Dukes .


EEO Roundup: Federal Courts Continue to Grapple With Causation Standard Issues

Recently, the issue of "but-for" evidence in discrimination cases has returned to forefront. The Supreme Court's 2009 decision Gross v. FBL Financial Services Inc. , seems to have brought a renewed focus on the issue of causation in cases litigated under the various federal employment discrimination statutes. Recent decisions by the D.C. and Sixth circuits lead this EEO roundup.


Q&A: Affirmative Action in the Workplace Must Stay on Track

Gregory T. Chambers, president of the American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA), explains why corporate America and the federal government need to stay committed to affirmative action programs. AAAA, founded in 1974, represents professionals who manage affirmative action, equal opportunity, diversity inclusion and human resource programs in the private and public sectors.


Public Sector Roundup: Hatching a Hatch Act Overhaul

Several times during a House subcommittee hearing  last week on overhauling the Hatch Act--which restricts federal, state, and local government employees' ability to engage in political activities--Republicans and Democrats on the panel seemed surprised to be agreeing on the issues.


EEO Roundup: EEOC, Employer Community Continue to Battle

Is the seeming rise in cases involving challenges to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s enforcement authority more of a sign of an overaggressive agency ( at least Seyfarth Shaw...


Labor Stats and Facts: What's the Most Unionized State in the Union?

The 2012 edition of Bloomberg BNA’s Union Membership and Earnings Data Book has been published, and it has the latest breakdowns of U.S. Census data on union density rates—the percentage of a...


Immigration Roundup: NLRB Issues Casehandling Instructions on Immigration Issues

National Labor Relations Board Associate General Counsel Anne Purcell issues casehandling instructions for regional office employees handling immigration issues in unfair labor practice compliance proceedings. 

 


Labor Roundup: Unions Face Employers in Bankruptcy Court

Companies under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection often find themselves at odds with unions representing their workers, who want to make sure employees don't get short shrift as an employer reorganizes to gain financial solvency. This interplay was recently on full display at two household-name employers currently in bankruptcy proceedings--providing a good look at the role unions can play in the face of an employer's financial difficulties. 


Public Sector Roundup: Working Apart to Save the Postal Service

Everyone agrees the Postal Service is in serious financial trouble, but there's very little agreement on how to go about saving it.


Q&A: For Now, Medical Providers Breathe a Sigh of Relief

John Piatt , a director of equal employment opportunity at the Biddle Consulting Group, isn't convinced that the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is finished with efforts to...


Labor Stats and Facts: A 'Perfect Storm' of a Low-Wage Pressure System

Three factors in the collective bargaining atmosphere have created a kind of “perfect storm” that kept wage increases at levels lower than we’ve ever seen in 2011, and perhaps lower than we’ll see again for some time.


Labor Roundup: Anti-NLRB Resolution Fails in Senate

Congressional wrangling over the National Labor Relations Board was back in the news this week, as the Senate voted not to advance debate on a resolution disapproving of the agency's proposed rule that would speed up the representation election process, which is scheduled to take effect April 30. 


Labor Stats and Facts: In 2011 CBAs, the First Year Was the Worst Year

How drastically did employers put the brakes on first-year wage increases last year? Consider this: Among the nearly 1,000 contracts we added to our database for 2011, 41 percent called for a first-year wage freeze, up from 7 percent just three years earlier.


Immigration Roundup: The Entrepreneurs in Residence Tactical Team Gets to Work

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services already is hard at work on its Entrepreneurs in Residence initiative and has announced  the members of its EIR Tactical Team. The team is working to streamline the immigration process for foreign entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, Immigration and Customs Enforcement's prosecutorial discretion pilot program moves to seven additional cities: Detroit; New Orleans; Orlando, Fla.; Seattle; New York; San Francisco; and Los Angeles.


Labor Roundup: AFL-CIO Super PAC Looks to November

With the announcement this week that Rick Santorum was dropping out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, all eyes are turning to the general election fight between President Obama and Mitt Romney - and the super PACs that are supporting each of them. But what may have gone less noticed this week was that the AFL-CIO officially unveiled a super PAC of its own. 


Labor Stats and Facts: Wage Stagnation and Decreases

In the three years since the 2008 financial collapse, there were 395 contracts calling for wage changes of zero percent or lower. That’s more than 10 times as many contracts as there were in the three years leading up to it.


Q&A: Will OFCCP's Proposed Regs Spur Legal Challenges?

Celia M. Joseph, an attorney in the Philadelphia office of Fisher & Phillips LLP, talks about legal battles that may surface because of proposed reforms to strengthen federal contractors' nondiscrimination and affirmative action obligations for veterans and people with disabilities. She also discusses the legal avenues available for challenging newly minted regulations.


Immigration Roundup: A Safe Haven for Syrians

Deteriorating conditions in Syria, with the government "violently repressing and killing thousands of its own civilians," lead the Department of Homeland Security to extend  temporary protected status (TPS) to Syrian nationals currently in the United States. Syrians can apply for TPS and employment authorization between March 29 and Sept. 25, which would let them stay and work in the U.S. until Sept. 30, 2013.


Labor Roundup: NLRB Inspector General Alleges Wrongdoing by Board Member

There was more partisan wrangling over the National Labor Relations Board this week, when a report emerged from the agency's inspector general alleging that Board Member Terence F. Flynn (R), who was recess appointed by President Obama in January, had improperly shared internal NLRB information with former board members now working in private practice. 


Q&A: It Pays to Read the Fine Print

Cara Yates Crotty, a partner at the law firm Constangy Brooks and Smith, LLP., explains why some companies that are awarded federal contractors may fail to realize they have to comply with nondiscrimination and affirmative action regulations enforced by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.


Labor Stats and Facts: A Not-So-Warm Welcome for New Hires

In an analysis of manufacturing industry contracts over the past decade, I found a decisive trend away from new hire friendly pay practices and toward practices that stagger the compensation structure and limit new employees’ ability to earn as much as their co-workers.


Immigration Roundup: What's New for H-2B Certification

The Labor Department is holding webinars and one in-person briefing to educate the public about the new H-2B regulations. Tune in online March 20 or March 27 at 1:30 p.m. EDT or come to DOL headquarters April 17 at 10:00 a.m. EDT to learn more about the new requirements, which go into effect for H-2B labor certification applications postmarked 12:01 a.m. April 23, 2012, and later.


Labor Roundup: AFL-CIO Endorses Obama

With primary election season well underway and the general election campaign rapidly approaching, labor unions are figuring out what role they'll take during the race. This week, the AFL-CIO officially endorsed the re-election of President Obama, and individual union endorsements of the president are starting to trickle in. 


Q&A: Reading OFCCP's Tea Leaves

Chris Lindholm, a consultant on affirmative action policies for federal contractors, discusses the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs' budget justification for fiscal year 2013 that was recently submitted to Congress. The document outlines the agency's funding proposals and enforcement priorities.


Labor Stats and Facts: Explaining the Spike in Lump-Sum Payments

When Bloomberg BNA published its annual report on negotiated first-year wage increases earlier this year, I received several calls from subscribers questioning our high figures for lump-sum payments. One even suggested that we had made a mistake. There’s no way, she said, that manufacturers in 2011 were paying out so much money up front. I assured her that the numbers were indeed accurate, but added that they didn’t tell the entire story.


Immigration Roundup: A Win for Day Laborers

A federal district court judge issues  a preliminary injunction against the portions of Arizona's S.B. 1070 banning day labor solicitation, closely following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision not to review a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruling  barring enforcement of a similar law in Redondo Beach, Calif.  Advocates are considering both developments a victory for day laborers' free speech rights.


Labor Roundup: Obama Addresses UAW

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how union issues were brought to the national spotlight by two televised events: the SAG Awards and the Super Bowl. This week, Americans got a look at the interplay between organized labor and national politics, when President Obama addressed a United Auto Workers conference. 


Q&A: EEOC, OFCCP Compliance May Steal Spotlight

This week the Equal Employment Advisory Council (EEAC) will hold its annual membership meeting in Washington, D.C., so Bloomberg BNA caught up with  Rae T. Vann , general counsel of the group, to discuss what members can expect at the three-day event. The 35-year-old employers' association represents some 300 of the largest employers in equal employment opportunity and affirmative action compliance matters.


Labor Stats and Facts: Who's Right About Strikes?

In a recent blog post about the  high rate of lockouts  in 2011, I mentioned that it was a very quiet year for labor unrest overall, with fewer work stoppages (strikes plus lockouts) than last year.  Since then, however, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has announced that there were  almost twice as many major work stoppages  last year as there were in 2010. So, is there a discrepancy here?


Labor Roundup: NLRB Election Rule Continues to Spark Controversy

The National Labor Relations Board's final rule that will speed up the representation election process continued to be attacked by Republicans in Congress this week, as NLRB officials said at a conference that implementation of the rule is a high priority for the agency. 


Immigration Roundup: Administration Promotes E-Verify Self Check

The Obama administration has reaffirmed its commitment to E-Verify, the federal government's electronic employment verification system, by expanding the program's "Self Check" feature. The Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently expanded Self Check throughout the country, and the Obama administration in its fiscal year 2013 budget request included funds to support the expansion.


Q&A: Consultant's View on OFCCP's Plan to Combat Pay Disparity

Eric M. Dunleavy, Ph.D., an industrial-organizational psychologist and principal consultant at DCI Consulting Group, says he isn't opposed to regulatory change in and of itself, but the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs needs to take a practical approach to its proposals on conducting compensation audits.


Labor Roundup: Labor Issues Take Center Stage

This week began with the sort of union activity that usually goes unnoticed taking center stage, and labor issues could be broadcast to an even wider audience this Sunday. With the potential merger of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists in the spotlight at the SAG Awards, and protests of Indiana's new right-to-work law surrounding the Super Bowl, labor issues have been front and center in the mainstream media.


Editor's Note: Proposed Changes for the FMLA

This week, first lady Michelle Obama and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis released  proposed rules  to implement and interpret two sets of 2009 amendments to the Family and Medical Leave Act  that would expand leave entitlement to military caregivers and airline flight crew employees.


Q&A: Taking the Pulse on the ADA Amendments Act

Bloomberg BNA decided to pick the brain of Judy Young, an expert on the Americans with Disabilities Act, about the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s enforcement of the ADA Amendments Act. In fiscal year 2011, EEOC filed 60 suits under ADAAA, up from nine the previous year.


Labor Stats and Facts: A Record Year for Lockouts

This week's  New York Times  front-page story  on lockouts used Bloomberg BNA's labor data to make its point-that, more than ever, employers are locking out workers to put pressure on unions during contract negotiations. I crunched the numbers for the reporter in this story, and I must say I was surprised to find that employers were much more likely to lock out workers in 2011 than in any other year since we started keeping track of work stoppages two decades ago.


Q&A: EEOC Commissioner Barker Explains the Need for a Small Business Task Force

Constance S. Barker, a commissioner at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, tells Bloomberg BNA why the EEOC is re-valuating its small business liaison efforts. An EEOC commissioner since July 2008, Barker heads a new internal task force aimed at helping small businesses comply with federal anti-discrimination laws.

 


Immigration Roundup: DHS Continues Fight Against Forced Labor

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano continues to focus on combating forced labor and human trafficking, recently holding a roundtable discussion at the White House with various public and private sector representatives and introducing additional updates to DHS’s “Blue Campaign.”


Labor Stats and Facts: Major Negotiations in 2012

It looks like 2012 will be a busy year for negotiators. BNA's  Calendar of Negotiations  tracks the major contract expirations that are coming up in the months ahead. The year-end version suggests that there are some interesting developments on the horizon.


Editor's Note: 2012 Outlook

This week, we published our 2012 Economic Outlook , which finds an economy inching toward recovery. The forecast of the 26 economists at 21 leading financial, consulting, and academic organizations across the United States calls for a small uptick in the jobless rate, as more Americans re-enter the job market to look for work. Wage gains, meanwhile, will remain small.

Meanwhile President Obama today announced his intent to recess appoint Sharon Block (D), Terence F. Flynn (R), and Richard Griffin (D) as members of the National Labor Relations Board. As of yesterday, the board had dropped to two members following the expiration of Member Craig Becker's recess appointment. Obama's move tests his authority to bypass the Senate, as Senate Republicans have been holding pro forma sessions during the congressional break in order to head off any recess appointments. Following the president's announcement, Republicans jeered and Democrats cheered , the U.S. Chamber of Commerce denounced the action, and AFL-CIO commended it.


Q&A: Employee Sexual Harassment Can Creep into Social Media Connections

More co-workers are connecting online through social-networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but that doesn't mean the company's sexual harassment policy should be ignored, explains Donna M. Ballman, a labor attorney, who recently spoke with BNA about sexual harassment and social media.



Immigration Roundup: San Diego Bakery Fined Nearly $400,000 for Hiring Undocumented Workers

Immigration and Customs Enforcement continues to focus on worksite investigations targeting companies and managers, instead of focusing only on undocumented workers. A San Diego-area bakery, its owner, and manager were each sentenced in federal court Dec. 22 on charges stemming from a four-year probe by Immigration and Customs Enforcement into hiring undocumented workers.


Public Sector Roundup: A Question of Jurisdiction

In federal employee news, MSPB's oral argument focuses more on its authority to decide if the Postal Service's violation of its own internal rules also violates federal regulations, rather than the actual answer to that question, while the president and OPM remind federal employees that there still is a pay freeze in effect. On the state and local front, a tentative deal for about 5,000 New Jersey state employees is causing a larger state employee union to question whether it now can negotiate an acceptable contract.



Q&A: Labor Assistant Secretary Kathleen Martinez on Hiring Disabled Workers

Hours before attending a forum commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Labor Department's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP),  Kathleen Martinez, assistant labor secretary, sat down with BNA to discuss ODEP's influence on public policy aimed at increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities. 

 

 


Immigration Roundup: Arizona Remains Immigration Ground Zero

Arizona continues to be the epicenter of the nation's immigration debate with two new developments this week. 

First, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review whether Arizona's controversial S.B. 1070, that among other things makes it a state criminal offense for an undocumented alien to seek employment, is preempted by federal immigration law. 

In addition, the Justice Department announced its findings in an ongoing civil rights investigation of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office in Arizona.

 


Labor Stats and Facts: Timing the Secret Ballot Process

How long does it take for the National Labor Relations Board to hold a secret ballot election? Too long, says the NLRB, which decided Nov. 30 to proceed with a rule aimed at cutting the time between a union’s request for a representation election and the election itself. Not long enough, say House Republicans, who, on the very same day, succeeded in passing a bill to set a minimum waiting time before elections can be held.


Labor News Roundup: NLRB Drops Its Case Against Boeing

There’s been a lot going on in the labor world in the past couple weeks, and the biggest story of all, announced today,  is that the National Labor Relations Board is dropping its unfair labor practice complaint against Boeing.


Editor's Note: Hitting the Reset Button on Reasonable Accommodation

So, what does the ADA Amendments Act really mean for practitioners analyzing issues pertaining to reasonable accommodations? 

This week, Daily Labor Report's Kevin McGowan covered  a webinar hosted by the  American Bar Association, where EEOC Commissioners Chai Feldblum and Victoria Lipnic shed some light on the question.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidance first issued in 1999 and updated in 2002 is still the starting point for analysis, the commissioners said. But the ADA Amendments Act, which took effect nearly two years ago, "sort of hit the reset button," Feldblum said, adding that the agency is re-evaluating its guidance, anticipating that employers and courts will have an increased focus on the issue.

 


Public Sector Roundup: No More Commut-A-Geddon (Hopefully)

In federal employee news,Washington, D.C., commuters may avoid another "commut-a-geddon" this winter season with OPM's new federal employee early dismissal tools, while the MSPB is set to hold another oral argument--this time focusing on what the Postal Service has to do when reinstating employees who are partially recovered from injuries. In state and local news, 34,000 Ohio state employees get state approval on a bargaining contract soon after voters reject a law that would have curbed public employee collective bargaining rights.


Q&A: It's Not Your Grandparents' OFCCP Enforcement

BNA recently reached out to two management-side attorneys to discuss some key moving elements in the longstanding requirement that federal contractors submit workforce data to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, as well as the implications of a recent court decision in a contractor's challenge to OFCCP's reporting requirements.


Immigration Roundup: House Proves Bipartisanship Is Possible

2011 12 02 The House of Representatives this week proved that even in the contentious area of immigration policy, there is room for bipartisan action. By a vote of 389 15 the House passed


Mid-Year NLRB Election Statistics

This is shaping up to be the quietest year for union organizing on record. Unions won fewer elections, and organized fewer workers, in the first half of 2011 than in the first half of 2010, and are on a historically slow pace this year, according to our analysis of NLRB statistics.


Public Sector Roundup

Federal Employee News   Despite cries of foul after the U.S. Postal Service...