• Posts by Kurt G. Larkin
    Posts by Kurt G. Larkin
    Partner

    Kurt has a national practice focused on complex labor and employment matters and related litigation. Kurt helps businesses of all sizes solve their complex labor and employment challenges. He counsels clients on all aspects of ...

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On April 23, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Starbucks Corp. v. McKinney, a case which examines what test the federal courts should apply when considering whether to grant preliminary injunctions under Section 10(j) of the National Labor Relations Act. Here’s what employers need to know while waiting for the Court to issue their opinion.

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Update: On March 8, 2024, the Eastern District of Texas granted summary judgment in favor of the Chamber of Commerce and struck down the NLRB’s new final joint employer rule. The opinion conducts a thorough review of the history of the joint employer standard and ultimately concludes that the Final Rule is contrary to the common law. The opinion critiques the Board’s rulemaking stating they failed to adequately address the disruptive effects of the new rule, resolve ambiguities, or explain how it will not cause piece-meal bargaining.  The opinion then leaves the previous rule from ...

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The NRLB has hit another roadblock in its implementation of a new final joint employer rule (the “Final Rule”) as a Texas federal judge delayed its implementation until March 11. The Final Rule, which was supposed to take effect on February 26, would have made organizations liable for violations of the NLRA if they had direct or indirect control over the terms and conditions of employment of another firm’s employees. This change increases the potential of liability from franchising or contracting with third parties. To see more information on the implications of the Final Rule, see our previous articles here and here.

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In an historic development for the financial services industry, a group of employees at a Wells Fargo branch bank in Albuquerque, New Mexico voted this week to join Wells Fargo Workers United, a grassroots labor union backed by the Communications Workers of America.  The successful vote marks the first time in memory that employees at a major U.S. bank have elected to unionize.  Workers at Wells Fargo branches in California and Florida have also filed for union elections in the past month alone. 

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As we previously reported here, the National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) upended years of settled law in Tesla, Inc., 370 NLRB No. 131 (2022), when it held that employers cannot restrict employees from displaying union insignia (e.g., buttons, clothing, pins, and stickers) on their clothing at work, absent a showing of “special circumstances”—a nearly impossible standard for employers to meet.

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This fall, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) published its case processing data for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY2023) – revealing a significant uptick in Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) Charge filings and union petitions since FY2022. Specifically, the NLRB saw a 10% increase in ULP Charges filed since FY2022. This year over year increase is significant, as there was a 19% increase in ULP Charges in FY2022 itself. The agency received just 15,082 ULP Charges in FY2021 while in FY2023, employees filed nearly 20,000 ULP Charges. This surge in ULP Charges during the last few years illustrates the increased scrutiny on employers’ compliance with the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

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Several prominent business groups filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court of the United States on July 24 urging the Court to reform its standard on agency deference and highlighting the unpredictability caused by the National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB”) current application of the lenient standard.

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The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB or the “Board”) Office of General Counsel (“GC”) released an internal advice memorandum on February 27, 2023, which indicates that the NLRB will seek to enforce the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA or the “Act”) against employers that allegedly retaliate against employees for having workplace discussions about racism. The memorandum—which concerned employment actions the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine, Inc. (the “Tyson Medical School”) took with respect to a faculty member/physician following various discussions about race in the workplace—sets forth an expansive interpretation of conduct that constitutes protected concerted activity under Section 7 of the Act so as to include general discussions “working to end systemic racism, including its impact at the [e]mployer.”

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Dozens of business groups submitted comments on December 7 to oppose the National Labor Relations Board’s proposed joint employer rule, arguing it would interfere with business-to-business contracting and needlessly entangle companies in collective bargaining negotiations related to employees they do not control.

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Yesterday, the National Labor Relations Board (“Board” or “NLRB”) in American Steel Construction, Inc., 372 NLRB No. 23 (2022) decided that employers must meet a heightened burden to expand a voting unit sought by a union in a union election. The decision is a significant development because it makes it easier for unions to organize workforces. And it marks yet another reversal of precedent by the Board to the benefit of unions. (We’ve discussed prior reversals here and here.)

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On Monday, October 31, National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo issued GC Memo 23-02, “Electronic Monitoring and Algorithmic Management of Employees Interfering with the Exercise of Section 7 Rights.”  Specifically, the Memo seeks to address the growing employer use of “a diverse set of technological tools and techniques to remotely manage workforces.”  Examples of these technologies include wearable devices, security cameras, GPS tracking devices, keyloggers, and audio recordings.

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Yesterday, a California State Assembly Committee killed a bill that would have extended collective bargaining rights to a larger group of state employees – namely, legislative staffers. Existing state law excludes certain state employees from collective bargaining. The Legislature Employer-Employee Relations Act would “provide employees of the Legislature the right to form, join, and participate in the activities of employee organizations of their own choosing for the purpose of representation on all matters of employer-employee relations.” If passed, the bill would extend collective bargaining rights to nearly 2,000 California legislative employees. California’s Public Employment and Retirement Committee rejected the bill in a 2-3 vote this Wednesday, due to unresolved “procedural, legal, and administrative problems,” according to the Committee Chair.

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The National Labor Relations Board indicated in January that it may reconsider its legal standard for assessing whether employer work rules violate the National Labor Relations Act, and invited amicus briefs on the subject.  Several business groups, including the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, filed briefs on March 8, 2022 urging the Board to maintain its existing standard under The Boeing Co., 365 NLRB No. 154 (2017).

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On July 29, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor filed a final rule rescinding the Trump-era “Joint Employer Status Under the Fair Labor Standards Act” rule (29 CFR part 791), which went into effect on March 16, 2020.

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It is early in 2021 and already the NLRB has before it ALJ determinations that employee handbook policies conflict with the NLRA. When analyzing employee handbook policies, the Board generally applies the Boeing test, whereby a handbook policy’s potential interference with employee rights under the NLRA is balanced against an employer’s legitimate justifications for the policy, when viewing the policy from the employee’s perspective. While the NLRA and the Boeing test apply to a number of employee handbook policies, confidentiality, social media, and solicitation/distribution policies are especially vulnerable.

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On December 21, 2020 the NLRB adopted an ALJ’s determination that a union’s request for information about non-bargaining unit employees was relevant. One of the issues present in the case was whether a union’s request for information about non-bargaining unit employees sought relevant information. As discussed below, the NLRB upheld the ALJ’s determination that the information was relevant solely because the employer should have known the information was relevant based on the circumstances surrounding the request.

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Last month, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York invalidated portions of the Department of Labor’s Final Rule on joint employment, holding that parts of the Final Rule conflicted with the statutory language of the FLSA and chiding the DOL for failing to adequately explain why the Final Rule departed from the DOL’s own prior interpretations.

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In a pending NLRB case, an employees’ rights advocacy group, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation (“NRTW”), filed an amicus brief supporting poultry plant workers seeking to decertify their union,  the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (“UFCW”), even though there was a collective bargaining agreement in place between the UFCW and their employer. The facts of the case are complex. But, the issue presented in the amicus brief and reply from the union is simple: should the NLRB abolish the decades-old contract bar rule that prohibits an election to oust a union with a collective bargaining agreement in effect?

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As indicated in our previous blog on this topic, on May 30, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a two page order invalidating five elements of the NLRB’s 2019 election regulation, based on Count One of the plaintiff’s complaint.  On June 7, the court issued its promised memorandum opinion further explaining that order.

The opinion makes three key points.

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On Saturday, April 11, 2020, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam officially signed the Virginia Values Act into law.  The bill’s headlining purpose—adding gender identity and sexual orientation to the list of classes protected under the Virginia Human Rights Act (VHRA)—is commendable and has garnered widespread support.  However, other, more technical changes in the bill that are unrelated to the headlining purpose are poised to change the landscape of employment litigation in Virginia and could lead to a significant increase in discrimination lawsuits filed in Virginia’s state courts.  Virginia employers are well served to begin preparing now for this new procedure in the handling of employment discrimination charges and litigation, as the bill’s new provisions go into effect on July 1st.

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Employers with collective bargaining agreements and union relationships know they generally cannot make unilateral changes to terms and conditions of employment.  But in an unprecedented emergency like the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak we are all facing, union bargaining obligations may be relaxed, either based on the terms of a collective bargaining agreement, or under National Labor Relations Board law.  As employers are forced to make ever more difficult operational decisions in the face of this emerging threat, here are some issues unionized businesses should consider when contemplating major workplace changes.

Consider Contract Terms First

 It goes without saying that employers with collective bargaining agreements should first examine the language of their contracts to determine whether they provide for any increased flexibility in decision-making during emergencies, such as a public health emergency.  If the terms of a company’s CBA specifically allow for increased operational flexibility during emergency situations, then the CBA should govern, and the employer should proceed accordingly.

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Virginia’s 2020 legislative session is not scheduled to wrap-up until March. But Virginia employers need to pay attention now to several game-changing bills moving through the legislative process and expected to be signed into law this spring.  The Hunton government relations team, working with several lobbying clients, has already helped defeat  several of these measures including a proposed repeal of Virginia’s right to work statute.  But others are expected to become law, and could dramatically increase the volume of employment litigation in Virginia.  Employers are therefore well advised to begin planning for these changes now.

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The last few weeks of a National Labor Relations Board Member’s term can be a busy time.  This is especially true when a Member’s imminent departure will leave the Board without any Members from the minority political party.  The Board historically has avoided major shifts in precedent without the participation of both parties.

Last month was no different.  As the clock wound down on Democrat Lauren McFerran’s term this December, the Board issued a flurry of significant rules and opinions that pare back many of the most anti-employer precedents set during the Obama-era.  Issuing these rulings prior to Member McFerran’s departure allowed the Board to include her dissenting views in most cases.  But ultimately, the Republican-majority prevailed–resulting in good news for employers going forward on multiple fronts.  We summarize the Board’s “December to Remember” below.

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Yesterday, the National Labor Relations Board published a final rule modifying its representation case procedures.

The final rule takes effect April 17, 2020, and scales back—but does not completely undo—the changes to election regulations instituted by the Obama-era’s Board that have caused employers heartburn since 2015. Those changes effectively sped up the election process and cut down on employers’ ability to litigate many important legal issues prior to voting, putting employers at a disadvantage.

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As we have previously reported here and here, courts and the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) have released a number of recent decisions favoring the enforceability of arbitration agreements in the employment context.

It is now settled law that class-action waivers in arbitration agreements do not violate the National Labor Relations Act (“the Act”) or infringe on employees’ Section 7 rights under the Act.  In a recent decision, the NLRB extended this holding to allow employers to implement arbitration programs—including those with class-action waivers—in direct response to litigation by its employees.

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On September 20, 2019, the NLRB issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to exclude undergraduate and graduate students who perform paid work for private colleges and universities in connection with their studies from the definition of employee under the National Labor Relations Act.  The proposed rule would prevent undergraduate and graduate teaching assistants from unionizing or collectively organizing.

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The Seventh Circuit recently upheld a local ordinance in Grande Chute, Wisconsin that banned all private signs on public rights-of-way despite challenges from a local labor union.

In 2014, the town of Grande Chute passed a zoning ordinance that banned all private signs on public rights-of-way.  Under the authority of the zoning ordinance, two town officials ordered a local chapter of the Construction and General Laborers’ Union to remove the labor union’s large, 12-foot inflatable rat, which, like other unions across the country, had become a longstanding feature of the Union’s strike tactics.  Specifically, the Union had placed the inflatable rat in a median across from a car dealership that it was targeting.

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As anticipated and previously reported, the Republican-controlled Board is overturning Obama-era rulings. For example, in a recent decision, SuperShuttle Inc. DFW, Inc. (16-RC-010963), the National Labor Relations Board affirmed the Board’s adherence to the traditional common-law agency test.  This decision overrules the NLRB’s 2014 Decision, FedEx Home Delivery, 361 NLRB No. 65, which had modified the NLRB’s long-standing test for independent contractor status.

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The National Labor Relations Board’s current joint employer standard received a mixed review from a federal circuit court late last month, providing some guidance on how courts may evaluate the Board’s ongoing rulemaking efforts.

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The National Labor Relations Board (“Board”) has taken the first step to potentially reshape labor law since the May 21, 2018 Epic Systems case, in which the Supreme Court held that class waivers in arbitration agreements do not violate the National Labor Relations Act (“Act”).

On August 15, 2018, the Board vacated its decision and order in Cordúa Restaurants, Inc., 366 NLRB No. 72 (April 26, 2018), where a three-member panel of the Board held that an employee engaged in concerted, protected activity by filing a class action wage lawsuit against his employer.

The Board’s recent vacating of this order is noteworthy for two reasons.

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Many in the labor community are familiar with the Machinists Union’s long running effort to unionize Boeing’s South Carolina-based 787 Dreamliner manufacturing facility.  After failing in two previous attempts to organize the entire facility, the Union recently won a bid to organize a “micro-unit” limited to a group of flight line technicians and inspectors.  The Regional Director’s decision to approve the Union’s proposed bargaining unit took most labor practitioners by surprise, given the NLRB’s recent decision in PCC Structurals overturning the ...

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In a highly anticipated decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public employee unions may not collect involuntary fees from the public employees they represent.  Janus v. AFSCME, U.S., No. 16-1466, 6/27/18.  Here are the key points of the court’s decision:

Janus involved state employees represented in a bargaining unit by an Illinois public employee union.  The union was the exclusive collective bargaining representative of all the employees in a bargaining unit.  The union bargained with the State of Illinois for a collective bargaining agreement covering the employees in bargaining unit.  The union also engaged in other activities not directly related to the bargaining and administration of the collective bargaining agreement.

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Raytheon Network Centric Systems, 365 NLRB No. 161 (Dec. 15, 2017) (“Raytheon”), is one of several decisions issued this month by the National Labor Relations Board’s (the “Board”) new Republican majority which reverse Obama-era precedent.  Raytheon overrules the Board’s decision E.I. du Pont de Nemours, 364 NLRB No. 113 (2016) (“DuPont”), which limited the changes employers can make unilaterally in a union environment.  Raytheon clarifies the degree to which employers may rely on past practice to make unilateral changes to terms of employment once a collective bargaining agreement has expired, and, more specifically, offers welcome guidance to employers with regard to continuation of health benefits under those circumstances.

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During a week that brought several notable decisions, the National Labor Relations Board issued a ruling on Friday, December 15, 2017, overturning its controversial 2011 Specialty Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center of Mobile, 357 NLRB 934 (2011) (“Specialty Healthcare”) decision, which held that in order for employees to be included in a collective bargaining unit, employers had to prove the employees shared an “overwhelming community of interest” with one another.  The unions argued that the “overwhelming community of interest” burden was all but impossible to meet and effectively allowed unions to create “micro-units” of any number, group, or sub-group of employees the unions saw fit.  This in turn meant that an employer could be faced with negotiating collective bargaining agreements with multiple groups of employees who often shared the same schedule, workplace, and general terms and conditions of employment, but nonetheless were represented by different locals or divisions of the same or multiple unions.  In one particularly glaring example, the Board approved a union’s request for separate bargaining units in each of nine different graduate student departments at Yale University despite the fact that the union already represented existing, university-wide bargaining units.

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The National Labor Relations Board issued a much-anticipated decision on Thursday, overruling its controversial 2015 Browning-Ferris decision that unions and employees argued drastically expanded the definition and scope of the Board’s joint-employer doctrine.  In Browning-Ferris, the Board departed from decades of precedent and held that entities who merely possessed—as opposed to directly and immediately exercised—control over workers would be deemed joint employers for purposes of assessing liability under the National Labor Relations Act.  The Board used the Browning-Ferris decision to expand its reach under the joint-employer doctrine to include, for example, companies that relied on staffing agencies and in some cases, parent companies that did not exercise immediate or direct control over a subsidiary’s workers, but had the potential authority to affect certain terms and conditions of employment.  The Browning-Ferris decision faced heavy criticism from employers as well as an appeal of the decision itself to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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Over the past eight years, the NLRB has been unusually aggressive with its policymaking. Hunton & Williams partners Ryan Glasgow and Kurt Larkin discuss the current state of labor law, the NLRB, and how it might change under the current administration. View the 5-minute video here.
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Over the past eight years, the NLRB has been unusually aggressive with its policymaking. Hunton & Williams partners Ryan Glasgow and Kurt Larkin discuss the current state of labor law, the NLRB, and how it might change under the current administration. View the 5-minute video here.
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Published in Law360

Much has been written about the National Labor Relations Board’s controversial Browning-Ferris decision that significantly expanded the scope of joint employer liability under the National Labor Relations Act. But virtually no attention has been given to the Fourth Circuit’s recent panel decision in Salinas v. Commercial Interiors, Inc., which creates an altogether new and incredibly broad joint employment standard under the Fair Labor Standards Act that makes the NLRB’s Browning-Ferris joint employment standard seem temperate at best.

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On March 6, 2017, an NLRB administrative law judge (“ALJ”) issued a ruling finding that a nonunion automotive manufacturing facility in Alabama violated Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) when it terminated three employees who walked off the job over a holiday-season scheduling dispute. The ALJ found that the employees were engaged in protected concerted activity despite the fact that they denied discussing the decision to leave work before their shifts had ended.

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On March 9, 2017, the United States Circuit Court for the District of Columbia heard oral argument in the case entitled Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc., d/b/a/ Browning-Ferris Newby Island Recyclery v. National Labor Relations Board,  Nos. 16-1028, 16-1063 and 16-1064.  (Our prior blogs about this case can be found here.) This appeal challenges the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) new and imprecise standard for determining whether companies are “joint employers” for purposes of the National Labor Relations Act. The new standard, first issued in Browning-Ferris Industries, 362 NLRB No. 186 (Aug. 27, 2015), abandons consideration of a company’s direct and immediate control over employees in favor of a fact-specific approach that focuses more on “reserved” or “indirect” control.

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Published in Law360

The National Labor Relations Board has an 80-plus year history of administering federal labor law and regulating labor-management relations in the United States. Formed in 1935 by the passage of the original Wagner Act, the board’s primary obligations are to oversee the formation of collective bargaining units, to investigate and prosecute unfair labor practices, and to establish legal precedent through regulations and binding case precedents. In carrying out its responsibilities, the board is generally expected to act as a neutral arbiter of facts and ...

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Much has been written about the National Labor Relations Board’s controversial Browning-Ferris decision that significantly expanded the scope of joint employer liability under the National Labor Relations Act. But virtually no attention has been given to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent panel decision in Salinas v. Commercial Interiors, Inc., No. 15-1915 (4th Cir. 2017), which creates an altogether new and incredibly broad joint employment standard under the Fair Labor Standards Act that makes the NLRB’s Browning-Ferris joint employment standard seem ...

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On March 9, 2017, a federal appeals court in Washington, DC will hear argument in a challenge to the National Labor Relations Board’s controversial standard, announced in August 2015, for finding two businesses to be joint employers, and thus responsible for each other’s legal liabilities on the labor front.  The labor community is keeping a close eye on the case.  If the NLRB’s standard is upheld, businesses across the country will face the prospect of sharing labor and employment risk with their subcontractors, supply chain partners, and maybe even their franchisees.

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By now, most in the employer community are all too familiar with the NLRB’s controversial “micro-bargaining unit” standard announced in Specialty Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center of Mobile, 357 NLRB No. 83 (2011).  In that case, the Board announced a standard that in almost all instances results in approval of a union-requested bargaining unit, unless the employer can show that an “overwhelming community-of-interest” exists between the requested unit and some other part of its workforce.  This standard has proven difficult, if not impossible, for employers to meet, and the Board has pushed the standard into retail, manufacturing, and even wineries.  Now, the Board has introduced its micro-unit rule in higher education, and the results could be disastrous for universities across the nation.

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Donald Trump's election took many by surprise. Companies must now quickly determine his likely impact on their operations and workforces.

Trump will be the first US president with no government or military experience. He voiced extreme views during his campaign on immigration and discrimination, but he has played it close to the vest when it comes to other labor and employment law issues. What is clear is that Trump will have the backing of a GOP-controlled House and Senate. Does this mean employers will see radical changes in policy? Will the change to a Republican administration ...

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Originally published by Construction Business Owner

By now, the employer community is well aware of the wide-ranging implications of Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc., 362 N.L.R.B. No. 186 (2015) (Browning-Ferris)—a decision that upended decades of National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) precedent and dramatically expanded the definition of “joint employer” under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). On August 16, 2016, in Retro Environmental, Inc./Green JobWorks, LLC , 364 N.L.R.B. No. 70, 2016 WL 4376615 (August 16, 2016) ( Retro), the NLRB applied ...

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In a brief filed on September 7, 2016 (“NLRB Brief”), the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “the Board”) urged the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to uphold its new “joint employer” standard, set forth in Browning-Ferris Industries, 362 NLRB No. 186 (Aug. 27, 2015). Through this new standard, the Board now seeks to impose collective bargaining and other NLRA obligations on companies that may indirectly control certain conditions of employment, or that merely reserve (but do not exercise) such control.  Casting aside the more precise “direct and immediate control” standard it explicitly adopted in 1984, the Board in Browning-Ferris opted instead to analyze joint control issues on a fact-specific, case-by-case basis, with a greater focus on reserved and indirect control.  The case on appeal is entitled Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc., d/b/a/ Browning-Ferris Newby Island Recyclery v. National Labor Relations Board,  Nos. 16-1028, 16-1063 and 16-1064.

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Earlier this week, the NLRB issued yet another troubling decision in the joint employer space, a world the Board already turned upside-down last summer with its landmark Browning Ferris ruling. In Miller Anderson, the Board overturned Bush-era precedent and held that a union seeking to represent employees in bargaining units that combine both solely and jointly employed employees is no longer required to obtain the consent of the employers, provided the proposed bargaining unit is appropriate under “traditional” Board precedent. Under the prior rule established in the Board’s 2004 Oakwood Care decision, the Board would not allow employees from nominally different employers to form a single bargaining unit without consent, because employers who join a multi-employer bargaining unit must all consent to their inclusion (a sound policy given the host of practical and legal variables that can arise when separate employers agree to bargain together).

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A concerned business community has closely followed the NLRB’s shifting views on the concept of “joint employers” - separate companies that are deemed to be so interconnected that they should be treated as one for purposes of labor relations activity and unfair labor practice liability. In August of last year, the NLRB decision in Browning-Ferris Industries, 362 NLRB No. 186 (Aug. 27, 2015), put into place a broad new test that dramatically expands the definition of “joint employer.” Now, an entity will be found to be a joint employer if it exercises only indirect control over the employment terms and conditions of another company’s employees. Indeed, joint employer status can be established if a company simply possesses, but never exercises, the ability to control such terms.

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New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced yesterday that he has filed a “wage theft” lawsuit against Domino’s Pizza Inc., and several of its New York area franchisees. The case is particularly notable in that Schneiderman is pursuing a joint employer liability theory, seeking to hold Domino’s liable for the alleged wage payment violations of its franchisees. This is the first time Schneiderman has pursued such a claim in a wage payment case, and the lawsuit potentially opens a new front in federal and state enforcement agency attempts to expand the definition of what it means to be a joint-employer.

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On February 12, 2016, the West Virginia legislature overrode Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s veto of the Establishing West Virginia Workplace Freedom Act and in doing so became the 26th state to enact “right-to-work” legislation.

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In February of 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) released detailed information and statistics summarizing the charges of discrimination that the agency received throughout its 2015 fiscal year. The EEOC is the administrative agency charged with implementing and enforcing a number of federal anti-discrimination employment statutes, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Under each of these statutes, employees seeking to bring a claim of unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation must first file a charge with the EEOC. The recently released report provides helpful information regarding the types of charges that employees filed in the 2015 fiscal year, which ran from October 1, 2014 to September 20, 2015.

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As many in the employer community are aware, late last month the United Auto Workers won the right to represent a group of maintenance employees working at Volkswagen’s auto manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The union, which lost handily in an earlier bid to represent the entire plant, had asked the NLRB to sanction another election, but in a “micro-unit” of only the maintenance employees. To the surprise of many, the Board Regional Director handling the case granted the union’s request. In his view, the micro-unit was allowable under the Board’s controversial Specialty Healthcare standard.

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On December 7, 2015, the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania permitted a plaintiff to pursue discrimination claims alleging that she had been forced to retire as a result of her age and disability status—despite the fact that she had voluntarily agreed to retire as part of a union grievance settlement. This case, Melan v. Belle Vernon Area School District, serves as a warning to employers settling grievances under a collective bargaining agreement that implicate employees’ federally protected rights.

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As we have reported in this space, the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”) made waves several weeks ago with its highly controversial new test for determining if an entity is a “joint employer” of another entity’s employees. Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc., 362 NLRB No. 186 (2015). The Board has wasted no time in seeking to extend its new test to the health care industry.

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New York’s fast food workers won a major victory last month when the state’s Wage Board voted to recommend a substantial increase in their minimum wage.

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A recent ruling from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has broadened the standard for assessing joint-employer status under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

 

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A recent ruling from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has broadened the standard for assessing joint-employer status under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

 

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In a ruling that redefines the concept of employment in the United States, the National Labor Relations Board yesterday issued its much-anticipated decision in Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. d/b/a Newby Island Recyclery, 362 NLRB No. 186 (2015). The decision rewrites and drastically expands the definition of who is a “joint employer” under the National Labor Relations Act. The business community has been bracing for this decision for several months, and now that it has been released, the Board’s new standard is likely to create a host of labor relations ...

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Reprinted with permission of Nation’s Restaurant News

In a long-awaited ruling, the National Labor Relations Board on Thursday upheld a controversial shift in the standard for determining “joint employer” status in a closely watched case that is expected to reverberate through the franchising world.

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Time 8 Minute Read

In a ruling that redefines the concept of employment in the United States, the National Labor Relations Board yesterday issued its much-anticipated decision in Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. d/b/a Newby Island Recyclery, 362 NLRB No. 186 (2015). The decision rewrites and drastically expands the definition of who is a “joint employer” under the National Labor Relations Act. Businesses have been bracing for this decision for several months, and now that it has been released, it appears their worst fears have been realized.

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On July 29, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia held that the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) had authority to adopt its new “ambush election” rules. These new rules, which became effective on April 14, 2015, made dramatic changes to the NLRB’s traditional rules governing union representation elections. The rules shortened the length of representation elections from approximately 40 days to as short as 11 days. In addition, the rule prevents employers from legally challenging an election until after its workers have voted. Business groups across the country have now begun the process of challenging these rules in federal courts. As we previously reported, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas has already dismissed one set of petitioners’ challenges and upheld the ambush election rules. However, on August 10, the petitioners filed an appeal asking the Fifth Circuit to overturn the decision.

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