- Decision time coming up for administration on whether to reverse one of Obama’s worst initiatives, overtime for junior managers [Veronique de Rugy; Robin Shea]
- California observes different rule on overtime for offshore oil workers than does federal government, exposing employers to huge retroactive back pay liability [Washington Legal Foundation, Supreme Court granted certiorari last month in Newton v. Parker Drilling]
- Today in bad ideas: Philadelphia becomes latest jurisdiction to regulate shifts and scheduling in retail, hospitality [Juliana Feliciano Reyes, Philadelphia Inquirer/WHYY, Drinker Biddle/National Law Review, Max Marin/BillyPenn]
- “I’m a restaurant employee in a city with a $15 minimum wage; here’s how it’s hurt me” [Simone Barron, Washington Examiner] Virginia could wind up with a $15 minimum law before long, tough luck for rural parts of state [Hans Bader]
- “Nurses allege Corona, Calif. underpaid them, rounding down their time to the nearest quarter hour. Ninth Circuit: This can proceed as a class action. Five judges, dissenting from denial of en banc review: The only evidence in support of the nurses’ claim is a declaration from plaintiffs’ lawyers’ paralegal, which is plainly not admissible. ‘This doesn’t pass the straight-face test.'” [Short Circuit on Sali v. Corona Regional Medical Center, Ninth Circuit panel, denial of en banc rehearing]
- “The Impact of The New German Minimum Wage” [Ryan Bourne]
From “Walker” in the comments at the Slate Star Codex blog (“Scott Alexander”), which had been discussing the overemphasis on college degrees as a prerequisite for mid- to upper-level management jobs that some persons without degrees could perform very well:
I am a mid-level engineering manager for a very large aerospace company. Their rationale for requiring degrees is clear and I suspect it is shared by many companies. They prefer to hire all of the skilled employees as “exempt”, meaning not subject to fair labor standards laws and not eligible for overtime. The state and federal labor overseers require that the company have well-defined rules for distinguishing exempt from non-exempt and the company uses a degree as one of the primary criteria. The HR folks will absolutely not allow deviations from this policy because it would jeopardize the entire company job category structure. I can cite examples and details if anyone is interested but this is a really clear policy across every place I have worked.
- “AP Writes Over 1300 Words on the Loss Of Summer Jobs for Teens, Never Mentions Minimum Wage” [Coyote, AP] “In Denmark the minimum wage jumps up by 40% when a worker turns 18.” And once workers hit that age their employment levels drop by a third [Alex Tabarrok] More: Bryan Caplan;
- I’m quoted on how Fair Labor Standards Act’s pressure to impose 9 to 5 clock-punching regime pulls in opposite direction from modern trends in workplace organization [Karl Herchenroeder, PJ Media] Podcast on latest developments in Department of Labor overtime rules [Federalist Society with Tammy McCutchen]
- One thing Seattle was doing with its minimum wage hike: widening inequality [Coyote] A hygiene angle on Seattle [Tyler Cowen] Why should Minneapolis pay attention to Seattle, anyway? [Christian Britschgi, Reason] Or Montgomery County, Md.? [Glynis Kazanjian, Maryland Reporter]
- “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished – The Supreme Court May Decide Whether Payments for Meal Breaks Can Offset Alleged Off-The-Clock Work” [Kara Goodwin and Noah Finkel, Seyfarth Shaw on certiorari petition in Smiley v. E.I. DuPont De Nemours & Company]
- Philadelphia chamber files First Amendment challenge to city law barring inquiries about applicant’s past pay [Stephanie Peet and Timothy McCarthy, WLF]
- “Oregon Wants to Regulate Flexible Work Schedules Out of Existence” [Christian Britschgi, Reason]
Some on the left are still blasting judges as activist for standing up to Obama administration assertions of executive power in the regulatory sphere. That might prove shortsighted considering what’s on the agenda for the next four years, or so I argue in a piece in Sunday’s Providence Journal.
I take particular exception to a Bloomberg View column in which Noah Feldman, professor at Harvard Law, assails federal district judge Amos Mazzant III for enjoining the Department of Labor’s overtime rule for mid-level employees (earlier). In a gratuitous personal jab, Feldman raises the question of “whether Mazzant sees an opportunity for judicial advancement with this anti-regulatory judgment” in light of the election results, though he offers not a particle of evidence that the judge, an Obama appointee, is angling for higher appointment under the new administration.
The problems with the overtime rule were both substantive and procedural. As I mention in the piece, “more than 145 charitable nonprofits signed a letter begging the department to allow more than a 60-day public comment period. It refused.” That letter is here (via, see Aug. 5, 2015 entry). I also mention that a court recently struck down the Department of Labor’s very bad “persuader rule” that would have regulated management-side lawyers and consultants; more on that from Daniel Fisher, the ABA Journal, and earlier.
After pointing out that many of the rulings restraining the Obama administration have been written or joined by Democratic-appointed judges, I go on to say:
Judges rule all the time against the partisan side that appointed them.
And we’ll be glad of that when the Trump executive orders and regulations begin to hit, and Republican-appointed federal judges are asked to restrain a Republican White House, as they have often done in the past.
We should be celebrating an energetic judiciary that shows a watchful spirit against the encroachments of presidential power.
There’s hope for stopping some of the regulations that the Obama administration began dropping in its last months before heading out the door, including the arguably worst of all, overtime for mid-level workers, now blocked by a federal judge in Texas [Kathy Hoekstra/Watchdog, McClatchy, Brittany Hunter/FEE; Virginia Postrel (“Not every workplace is, or aspires to be, the civil service. Not every worker longs to be on an assembly line.”)]
- Finally, Republicans introduce bill to stop Obama’s overtime edict [SHRM, Connor Wolf, Veronique de Rugy] “Congress realizes new overtime rules stink” at least as applied to themselves [Suzanne Lucas, Evil HR Lady, earlier] Knowing whether you’re in FLSA compliance can be tricky enough to fool HR specialists [Eric Meyer]
- “German army forced to lay down weapons due to ‘overtime limits'” [Telegraph, U.K.]
- “Minimum Wage Hike Kills Popular Upstate NY Eatery” [Legal Insurrection] “Please don’t be the reason the future of our farm ends here and now” [WENY, upstate New York]
- “How raising the minimum wage hurts disabled workers” [Naomi Schaefer Riley, Philanthropy Daily] Maryland moves to end exception that allowed workshop programs for the disabled to pay subminimum wages, and if clients sit at home as a result, at least they’ll have their rights on [Capital News Service]
- Proposed D.C. ordinance restricting “predictive scheduling” of employee hours would snarl retail and restaurant operations [E. Faye Williams, Huff Post]
- “Economically, minimum wages may not make sense,” said Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown, and then proceeded to sign the bill [Scott Shackford, Reason] “UC Berkeley Touts $15 Minimum Wage Law, Then Fires Hundreds Of Workers After It Passes” [Investors Business Daily]
- Immigration-related rules on the one hand, national-origin discrimination rules on the other: “Employers could get sued for following the law” [Sean Higgins, Washington Examiner]
- Should anyone doubt labor relations as an academic field tilts way left, here are numbers [Mitchell Langbert, Econ Journal Watch]
- Connecticut high court opens door to letting kids of dismissed workers sue employers for lost consortium, on top of suits filed by the parents themselves [Daniel Schwartz]
- Obama scheme to yank millions of workers off salaried status is a real economic menace [Trey Kovacs, CEI, earlier]
- Panel discussion marks 80th anniversary of National Labor Relations Act with lawprofs Richard Epstein and John Raudabaugh, Bill Samuel (AFL-CIO) and Mark Schneider (Machinists), moderated by Hon. Joan Larsen of Michigan Supreme Court [Federalist Society video, National Lawyers Conference]
- “Employment-related class action settlements hit high in 2015” [12th annual Seyfarth Shaw Workplace Class Action Litigation Report via Staffing Industry Analysts] EEOC Employee Charge trends, annual report [Hiscox, and note map on p. 4 of employee lawsuit hotspots including Illinois, California, Nevada, and New Mexico]
- Danny Meyer decision to move NYC restaurants to no-tip policy “was driven by state and federal laws and regulations” [Ira Stoll, Future of Capitalism]
- U.S. Department of Labor will seek comment on whether employers should be liable for overtime when non-exempt employees use company-issued mobile devices after hours [Daniel Schwartz]
- Yes, the Gig Economy is piecework, no, there isn’t anything particularly horrible about that [Megan McArdle, Bloomberg View]
- House panel blasts DoL regs prescribing overtime for junior managers [Littler, House Small Business]
- The madness of King Andrew: Cuomo’s $15 minimum wage would amount to 90% of the median wage in Buffalo metro area, 86 percent in Rochester [Alex Armlovich, New York Daily News]
- “Asian Nail Salon Staff Demand Apology From The New York Times for Poverty-Porn Series That’s Costing Them Jobs” [Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Reason, earlier] And more: Jim Epstein re-reports the Times nail salon story in the first of a four-part series. Devastating, read it;
- Class action lawyer sues 2 more “Uber for…” startups on wage/hour classification theory [ArsTechnica, earlier]
- Really, I never want to hear one word ever again about Gov. Andrew Cuomo being “at least good on economic issues” [Peter Suderman and Nick Gillespie, Reason (New York will mandate $15/hour for most fast-food workers, which in many upstate cities could amount to 75 percent of average wage); Heather Briccetti/New York Post (activists bused from one hearing to next to jeer opponents); Nicole Gelinas/City Journal (Cuomo picks online guy to represent business on brick-and-mortar-endangering wage board), Joanna Fantozzi/The Daily Meal (possible legal challenge); Coyote on Card and Krueger study]
- Labor markets don’t behave the way sentimental reformers wish they behaved, part 53,791 [Seattle minimum wage hike: Mark Perry (largest half-year decline in foodservice jobs in region since Great Recession; but see, Brian Doherty on problems with that number series) and Rick Moran (“Employees are begging their bosses to cut their hours so they can keep their food stamps, housing assistance, and other welfare benefits.”); David Brooks via Coyote]
- Employers scramble to monitor, control time worked in response to Obama overtime decree [WSJ] “No one wants to go back to filling out time sheets…. managers fear (rightly) that I will have to set arbitrary maximum numbers of work hours for them.” [Coyote] Business resistance aims for the moment at (deliberately abbreviated) public comment period [Sean Higgins, Washington Examiner] “Can Obama Really Raise Wages for Millions of People So Easily? Quick answer: no” [David Henderson; WSJ/@scottlincicome on seasonal pool-supply company]
- Hillary Clinton and the Market Basket Stores myth [James Taranto]
- Labor Department proposes tightening regulation of retirement financial advisers [Kenneth Bentsen, The Hill]
- Proposed: “well-orchestrated” state ballot initiatives aimed at overturning employment at will [Rand Wilson, Workplace Fairness] My view: “Everybody wins with at-will employment” [Ethan Blevins, Pacific Legal amicus briefs in Supreme Court of Washington, followup on oral argument, and thanks to PLF for citing my work in its amicus brief in Rose v. Anderson Hay and Grain; much more on employment at will in my book The Excuse Factory, also some here]
- The SEIU’s home caregiver membership motel: you can check in, but just try checking out [Watchdog Minnesota Bureau]
“A federal jury on Wednesday awarded $500,000 to a former Cook County employee who alleged she was sexually harassed by her boss, who at the time was the county’s chief investigator of sexual harassment allegations. The jury of four women and three men deliberated for about 3 1/2 hours before deciding in favor of Sharla Roberts, a mother of three who said she was groped by Timothy Flick, the county’s first inspector general.” Flick denied the allegations. (Matt O’Connor, “$500,000 awarded in harassment case”, Chicago Tribune, Jan. 22; “County Official ‘Never’ Touched, Kissed Manager”, NBC5.com, Jan. 15). For more stories from the hoist-on-their-own-petard file, see Jun. 14-16, 2002 (EEOC says U.S. Commission on Civil Rights retaliated against employee who filed bias complaint), Mar. 6, 2001 (EEOC itself accused of age discrimination), Aug. 30, 1999 (U.S. Justice Department charged with ignoring employee overtime law), Feb. 6-9, 2003 (Sen. Wellstone, noted labor advocate, illegally failed to buy workers’ comp insurance for his campaign staff), and this 1998 list.