It’s now officially public: under the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) General Counsel Peter B. Robb, unions may face greater scrutiny and a higher burden in defending against claims that they violated the duty of fair representation. Under the National Labor Relations Act, unions owe this duty to its members and can be liable under Section 8(b)(1)(A) if they represent them arbitrarily, discriminatorily, or in bad faith. Continue Reading New General Counsel Memorandum Reiterates The NLRB’s Policy of Increased Scrutiny of Unions
A memorandum recently released by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has clarified the agency’s position on whether safety incentive programs and post-accident drug testing would be considered retaliatory pursuant to its controversial recordkeeping rule published on May 12, 2016. This rule prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who report work-related injuries or instituting procedures that could chill employees from reporting work-related injuries. In the accompanying interpretative documents, OSHA specifically identified workplace safety incentive programs and post-accident drug testing policies as procedures that were likely to deter employee reporting, and therefore would be subject to increased scrutiny by the agency.
The EEOC recently released a report highlighting the Commission’s efforts to combat sexual harassment in the past year. The report, which includes preliminary data for the fiscal year ending on September 30, 2018, illustrates that the Commission has been, in the EEOC’s words, “vigorously enforcing the law” in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
The combination of a quirky procedural posture and broad language used by the Supreme Court in 1941 have left Home Depot trapped in a North Carolina state court defending against a class action, despite the removal provisions of the Class Action Fairness Act. On September 27, 2018, the Supreme Court granted certiorari to decide whether CAFA authorizes removal of class action counterclaims when its requirements are otherwise met.
According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, California has had the highest number of reported cases of human trafficking in the country over the last six years, followed by Texas and Florida. Human trafficking victims include men and women, adults and children, and foreign nationals and United States citizens. Recent studies indicate that hotels and motels are common locations for sex trafficking.
In light of these startling statistics, now is a good time for employers to become informed about new legislation associated with human trafficking crimes and to implement or update their anti-human trafficking policies and practices. Continue Reading New California Legislation Imposes Human Trafficking Training Requirements on Hotel and Transit Employers
The NLRB’s Office of the General Counsel recently issued an internal directive regarding the manner in which NLRB Regions prosecute duty of fair representation charges against unions. Under the National Labor Relations Act, unions have a duty of fair representation to the members of the bargaining unit it represents by engaging in conduct that is not arbitrary, discriminatory or in bad faith, particularly with regard to the processing of worker grievances. Board law has established (and unions typically offer as a defense) that “mere negligence” alone does not amount to arbitrary conduct that would serve to breach the duty of fair representation.
Sexual harassment is a recurring theme in the bills signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown on September 30, 2018. These new laws, which take effect on January 1, 2019, continue the trend of expanding protections for California employees.
Hush-Money – Three of the bills signed by Governor Brown on September 30 target settlement agreements that prohibit disclosure of sexual harassment claims. AB 3109 makes void and unenforceable any provision in a contract or settlement agreement that waives a party’s right to testify in an administrative, legislative, or judicial proceeding concerning alleged criminal conduct or sexual harassment. SB 820 prohibits settlement agreements from including a provision that prevents the disclosure of factual information related to claims of sexual assault and sexual harassment. However, this bill does not prohibit confidentiality of the settlement amount. SB 1300 voids any agreement in which an employee forfeits his or her right to disclose unlawful acts in the workplace, including acts of sexual harassment.
Redefining The Hostile Work Environment Standard – SB 1300 also declares that a single incident of harassing conduct could be sufficient to create a triable issue regarding the existence of a hostile work environment in certain circumstances. Continue Reading California Enacts New Sexual Harassment Laws
As we previously reported, the United States Supreme Court held this past Term in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis that class action waivers in arbitration agreements do not violate the National Labor Relations Act. In the wake of Epic Systems, courts have found that class action waivers are likewise permissible under the FLSA. These cases make clear that class action waivers are here to stay.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) issued a new “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act” (“FCRA”) (“Summary of Rights”) form on September 12, 2018. This form replaces the previous version issued on November 12, 2012, and is expected to be implemented by employers on September 21, 2018.
Hunton Andrews Kurth special counsel and former NLRB general counsel Ronald Meisburg recently wrote an article, “Navigating NLRB: Attacking Instability With APA Rulemaking”, as part of Law360’s Expert Analysis series. You can read the full article here.