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Employment Law

NLRB flexes muscle with reinstatement order

The National Labor Relations Board, which enforces the National Labor Relations Act, is aggressively pursuing reinstatement as a remedy when it finds an employer has committed an unfair labor practice. That means more employers these days may have to take back workers they already fired. Ordering an employee’s reinstatement is an unusual step, but it could become more common.

Cost of an unwanted birthday party: $450,000

Pro tip for managers: Listen to your employees! It generally makes for a more harmonious and productive workplace. In the following case, it could have prevented an unforced error that wound up costing an employer a six-figure jury award.

Snapshot: Retaliation nation

The number of EEOC complaints alleging retaliation has increased by almost 20 percentage points in 10 years.

A rebirth for unions? Grassroots victories and NLRB’s push create new labor risk

Only 10.3% of American workers belong to a union, and those numbers have fallen steadily over the past few decades. But organized labor has racked up some notable successes lately, often with just the local employees leading the way.

‘Don’t say pay’ policy violates federal labor law

Last month, a Kentucky fitness center went viral after a photo circulated of a breakroom wall notice that read, “Effective immediately, conversing about wages (both on and off duty) is strictly forbidden … If you are overheard speaking (or listening to!!) a conversation in which wages are discussed, you will receive disciplinary action.”

There’s no free lunch … or free work

The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that you pay at least minimum wage for all hours worked by employees. In almost all cases, “free” work is illegal, and you can’t just get around that requirement by citing “noncompensation” in a job ad, or by having an employee sign away their rights to compensation.

Abide by all OSHA rules regarding sick, tired drivers

OSHA enforces the whistleblower protections written into the Surface Transportation Assistance Act. The law says drivers who file OSHA complaints alleging employer violations of safety rules may be entitled to damages. Recently, OSHA ordered damages for drivers who reported being forced to drive while sick or tired.

Is misclassification an unfair labor practice?

Employers struggling to correctly classify independent contractors already have to worry about complying with Department of Labor and Internal Revenue Service rules. They may soon have to add the National Labor Relations Board to the list of federal agencies looking over their shoulders.

Using AI in hiring? Beware liability for bias

Employers increasingly rely on artificial intelligence-based software to manage the hiring process. But critics of AI software claim discrimination may be baked into the algorithms.

Document all accommodation conversations

Here’s the best way to prevent (or win) a lawsuit claiming you failed to follow the ADA’s interactive accommodations rules: Document every conversation, email, text or phone call related to disability accommodations. Create a chronological log showing what the employee requested, when and how you responded.