In what has been deemed a victory for many non-traditional families, on June 22, 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued an opinion clarifying the definition of “son or daughter” under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).  Now, according to the Administrator’s Interpretation Letter No. 2010-3, any employee who “intends to assume the responsibilities of a parent with regard to a child” and has either “day-to-day” responsibilities for, or “financially supports” that child, is entitled to leave under the Act — even if that employee does not have a traditional biological or legal relationship with the child.

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In a move sure to draw fire from Republican lawmakers and segments of the business community, President Obama on Saturday issued recess appointments to place controversial candidates on the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”).  Presidents have constitutional authority to fill vacancies without the advice and consent of the Senate when Congress is in recess, as it is now.

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Late last week the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its numbers concerning the levels of union membership in 2009. As in past years, the number of union members in the private sector has declined, now down to 7.2% from 7.6% in 2008. In December 2009, the NLRB’s General Counsel released the Agency’s numbers regarding the number of initial union representation elections in FY 2009. Once again, the number of elections initiated by unions has declined, this time by a whopping 19% in just one year.


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The Obama Administration recently proposed requirements to ensure that U.S. companies keep more extensive records of repetitive stress and other types of workplace injuries.  This is one of several signs that employers will face more regulation related to “ergonomics,” or the design and functioning of work spaces, equipment, and tasks in such a manner as to avoid such injuries.


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