Employment Law Alert

Employment Law Alert

News and Updates on Employment Law

Tag Archives: Collective Bargaining

New Jersey Appellate Division Requires Arbitration Provisions to Include Specific Waiver of Right to Sue in Court

Posted in Policies/Handbooks
Two recent New Jersey Appellate Division decisions have serious implications for employers utilizing or contemplating arbitration provisions. In both decisions – Kelly v. Beverage Works NY Inc., decided on November 26, 2014, and Dispenziere v. Kushner Cos., decided on November 21, 2014 – the Appellate Division relied on the New Jersey Supreme Court’s September decision in Atalese v. U.S. Legal Services Group, which held that an arbitration provision was unenforceable because it lacked “clear and unambiguous language” that the party signing the agreement is waiving its right to sue in court… Continue Reading

College Football Players Can Unionize Says NLRB Regional Director

Posted in Labor
Did you know that college football players are not “primarily students”? Well, not if the students are football players on regimented schedules, who receive grant-in-aid scholarships to play football from which their school profits, according to a Regional Director at the National Labor Relations Board. In a decision issued yesterday, the Regional Director concluded that Northwestern University football players who receive scholarships are statutory employees under the National Labor Relations Act, and, therefore, directed an election for the players to decide whether to unionize in light of a petition a union recently filed to represent them. The Regional Director relied upon the common law definition of an employee in rendering his decision, finding that: the school’s interest in the students initially stems from their football talents; letters the University sends them offering scholarships to play football (called tenders) are contracts; the school controls the players through rules and regimented workout and playing schedules; and the scholarships the players receive are compensation that cover living expenses. The Regional Director distinguished the case from Board precedent finding that graduate students are not statutory employees, by reasoning that football is unrelated to the students’ academics unlike the case involving the graduate students… Continue Reading

NLRB to Revisit “Quickie” Election Rule

Posted in Labor
As if the groundhog's recent proclamation of six more weeks of winter were not bad enough, the National Labor Relations Board announced yesterday that it again is proposing a rule that could expedite the union election process. The proposed "quickie" election rule is identical to a rule the Board proposed in June 2011 and (once again) is open to a 60-day public comment period. The Board will consider comments to the prior rule in addition to those it receives by April 7, 2014. Replies to the comments are due a week later on April 14, … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Clarifies Meaning of “Changing Clothes” Under FLSA

Posted in Wage & Hour
On January 27, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion in Sandifer v. United States Steel Corp., which clarified what it means for an employee to be "changing clothes" under Section 3(o) of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"). The Court's decision will affect unionized workplaces, where employees change in and out of (or "don and doff") protective or sanitary clothing in connection with their jobs… Continue Reading

NLRB Has Five Board Members for First Time in a Decade

Posted in Labor
On Monday, the National Labor Relations Board announced that the Senate has filled all five of its Board Member seats for the first time since August 21, 2003. Moving forward, this ends the debate as to whether the Board has the constitutional authority to take action, such as issuing decisions, so long as three of these Senate-confirmed members are present when the Board takes action… Continue Reading

NLRB to Ask Supreme Court if Board Members Were Lawfully Appointed

Posted in Labor
Earlier this week, the National Labor Relations Board (the "Board" or the "NLRB") announced it will petition the United States Supreme Court to review Canning v. NLRB, No. 12-1115 (D.C. Cir. Jan. 25, 2013). As previously reported, in Canning the Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia held that three appointments of officers to the NLRB by President Obama were unconstitutional because they lacked the "Advice and Consent" of the Senate and were not authorized by the Constitution's so-called Recess Appointments Clause… Continue Reading

A Friendly Reminder that the NLRB Workplace Posting Requirement Has Been Postponed Indefinitely

Posted in Labor
Now well over a year ago, the National Labor Relations Board (the "Board" or "NLRB") issued a rule requiring most private sector employers to post a notice of employee rights to unionize in their workplaces. The posting requirement was initially to take effect on November 14, 2011. The requirement was postponed, first, until January 31, 2012, and, then again, until April 30, 2012 in light of legal challenges to the rule. Prior to the April 2012 "effective date," the NLRB announced that it would once again postpone the rule--this time indefinitely "until the legal issues are resolved." As recently reported, the Board's great laid plans may go further awry in light of a federal appellate court decision challenging the NLRB's ability to take any further action until at least one more Board Member is lawfully appointed. For answers to questions regarding the posting, or the Boards's current state of affairs, please feel free to contact an attorney in the Gibbons Employment & Labor Law Department… Continue Reading

Federal Appellate Court Deems NLRB Appointments Unconstitutional

Posted in Labor
In a groundbreaking opinion, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals has ruled that three appointments of officers to the National Labor Relations Board (the "Board" or the "NLRB") by President Barrack Obama were unconstitutional because they lacked the "Advice and Consent" of the Senate and were not authorized by the Constitution's so-called Recess Appointments Clause. As a result, the Court vacated the underlying Board decision that gave rise to the appeal, concluding that the NLRB had no authority to issue the decision because only two of its five members were validly appointed. Thus the Board lacked the quorum necessary for it to take action. The ruling has widespread implications for the NLRB as well as the President's overall "recess appointment" powers… Continue Reading

NLRB ALJ Strikes (Employer Policies) Again!

Posted in Labor
In a recent decision, a NLRB administrative law judge (the "ALJ") found three policies in the Dish Network's nationally-distributed handbook unlawful: a social media policy, a policy that restricts contact with the media, and a policy that restricts contact with government agencies. While the challenge to the social media policy is nothing new, the decision serves as a reminder for union and non-union employers alike that no policy is safe from scrutiny by the National Labor Relations Board (the "Board" or the "NLRB")… Continue Reading

Court Applies the Brakes to “Quickie” Election Rules

Posted in Labor
As previously discussed on the Employment Law Alert, the National Labor Relations Board (the "Board" or the "NLRB") recently implemented a rule that could speed up the union election process and, in turn, leave employers with less time to communicate their positions on unions to employees. Yesterday, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia declared the rule invalid because only two Board members were "present" when the NLRB passed the rule last December. The court explained that the Board did not satisfy the National Labor Relations Act's requirement that the NLRB have a quorum (typically the presence of three Board members) to conduct business when it voted on the rule. "According to Woody Allen, eight percent of life is just showing up," wrote the court. "When it comes to satisfying a quorum requirement, though, showing up is even more important than that."… Continue Reading

“Quickie” Election Procedures Take Effect Today

Posted in Labor
On December 22, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board (the "Board" or the "NLRB") issued another "union-friendly" rule that could speed up the union election process, leaving employers with limited time to respond to a union organizing drive. A pending lawsuit challenging the legality of the new rule is outstanding. Notwithstanding, the rule applies to all newly-filed election petitions effective today as the court has not postponed the rule's effective date despite the ongoing litigation. The court will rule on the legitimacy of the rule by May 15 (before an election could take place under the new rule)… Continue Reading

NLRB Postpones Effective Date of Workplace Posting Requirement – Again

Posted in Labor
We previously reported that the National Labor Relations Board (the "Board" or "NLRB") issued a final rule requiring most private-sector employers to post a notice of employee rights to unionize in their workplaces. In a follow-up report, we explained that the Board delayed the posting's effective date from November 14, 2011 until January 31, 2012 in the wake of lawsuits filed by business and industry organizations (including the United States Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Federation of Independent Business challenging the NLRB's authority to issue such a rule. The Board recently announced that it once again is postponing the effective date of the posting -- this time until April 30, 2012 -- in order to "facilitate the resolution of the legal challenges that have been filed with respect to the rule." We continue to encourage employers to take advantage of this additional time to assess the potential impact that the required posting may have on their workplaces, and the manner in which they may want to communicate with employees regarding their positions on unions (if any). Attorneys in Gibbons Employment and Labor Law Department have extensive experience counseling both union and non-union employers regarding labor relations issues. If you have any questions regarding the impact that this rule may have on your business, please feel free to contact any of the attorneys in the Department… Continue Reading

NLRB Postpones Effective Date of Workplace Posting Requirement

Posted in Labor
As previously reported in the Employment Law Alert, the National Labor Relations Board (the "Board" or "NLRB") recently issued a final rule requiring most private-sector employers to post a notice of employee rights to unionize in their workplaces. On October 5, 2011, the Board announced that it is delaying the posting's effective date from November 14, 2011 until January 31, 2012 "in order to allow for enhanced education and outreach to employers, particularly those who operate small and medium sized businesses."… Continue Reading

Private-Sector Employers Required to Post NLRB Notice About Employee Rights to Unionize

Posted in Labor
The National Labor Relations Board (the "Board" or "NLRB") recently issued a final rule requiring most private-sector employers to post a notice of employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act (the "Act" or "NLRA") in their workplaces. (Chapter 1 of the Board's An Outline of Law and Procedure in Representation Cases details which employers fall within the Act's jurisdiction.) Business and industry associations, including the United States Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the National Federation of Independent Business have filed suits challenging the Board's authority to issue such a rule. Absent a decision by the courts that, in the words of NLRB Member Brian Hayes -- who issued a dissent to the rule (starting at page 54037) -- would "rescue the Board from itself and restore the law to where it was before the sorcerer's apprentice sent it askew," employers must post the notice by November 14, … Continue Reading

NLRB and U.S. DOL Propose New Rules Affecting Union Representation Elections and Persuader Reporting

Posted in Labor
On June 22, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") published proposed rule changes in the Federal Register, which, if enacted, will dramatically accelerate the timeframes for union representation elections. One day earlier, the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Labor-Management Standards ("DOL") published proposed rules to narrow the interpretation of the term "advice" as it pertains to the persuader reporting requirements set forth within Section 203 of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 ("LMRDA"). Together, these proposed changes create new burdens for employers who wish to communicate with employees about collective bargaining and workplace unionization. If enacted, the practical result of these proposed changes (whether intended or not) is that they will create tactical advantages for organized labor that will in turn help unions win an increased number of representation elections… Continue Reading
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