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?

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.

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.

“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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.


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.

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.

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.

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: 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.  


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.


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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.  

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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: 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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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?

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. 

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.

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.

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 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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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 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?

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.

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 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.

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 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.

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. 

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 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.”

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.

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...