- Loosen constraints on local and state deviation from the NLRA labor law model? Idea gathering force on right also draws some interest from left [Ben Sachs, On Labor, on James Sherk/Andrew Kloster proposal for right to work laws at city/county level]
- Justice Alito dissents from Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari in Kalamazoo “employee buyer’s regret” case where asked-for transfer was later construed as retaliation [Jon Hyman]
- NLRB’s franchise power grab could prove costly to small business [Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Connor Wolf]
- A very different country: Supreme Court of Canada constitutionalizes a right of public employees to strike [On Labor]
- Average full-time California municipal employee got 2013 compensation package of nearly $121,000 [Steven Greenhut]
- Perfect, now let’s mandate sick day banking nationwide: “Montgomery [County] fire department has history of sick-day abuse among workers due to retire” [Washington Post]
- Yet more unilateralism: Obama administration tightens regs on federal contractor sex discrimination [Roger Clegg]
“Guess what? You know those SEC disclosures about pending litigation that publicly held companies are required by law to make? Well, if an employer says too much, it may be ‘retaliating’ against the litigants.” [Robin Shea on Seventh Circuit opinion in Greengrass v. International Monetary Systems Ltd.]
Great moments in unsuccessful ADA litigation: a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a summary judgment entered against a plaintiff who said his firing by the city of North Las Vegas constituted discrimination against him based on his hearing impairment as well as retaliation [Curley v. City of North Las Vegas]:
As part of the investigation, the Human Resources Department interviewed City employees and asked about their interactions with Curley. The interviews revealed that Curley had repeatedly threatened his coworkers and their families. For example, he threatened to put a bomb under a car, insinuated that he had mafia connections, and talked about giving a “blanket party” — which would involve throwing a blanket over a person’s head and beating him. One coworker reported that Curley threatened to kick his teeth out if the coworker did not join a union. On another occasion, Curley threatened to shoot his supervisor’s children in the kneecaps.
The interviews also revealed details about Curley’s work habits. Multiple coworkers said that Curley regularly conducted personal business while at work, sometimes spending up to three hours on his cell phone. It also appears that Curley was operating an ADA consulting business. Many of the calls he made during work were about the business, and coworkers saw him approach disabled individuals to discuss potential lawsuits.
Update thanks to reader Eric in comments:
I was thinking “He was only fired? Why isn’t he in jail?” so I googled him up. He has quite a history.
Astoundingly after he was fired from the city for his shenanigans, a school district (!) hired him as janitor. Six months later he was arrested for stalking (he kept threatening city employees). Finally (and after appearing in the papers) the school is attempting to fire him.
- Court dismisses case against CVS in which EEOC had sought to redefine standard severance confidentiality provisions as unlawful retaliation [Jon Hyman, Daniel Schwartz, earlier here and here]
- Temp-agency jobs brought in-house: “The NLRB Forces CNN to Rehire Workers Terminated Over a Decade Ago” [Alex Bolt, Workplace Choice]
- “NLRB may encourage your employees to file OSHA, FLSA claims too” [Eric B. Meyer, Employer Handbook] “You’re NOT Paranoid — The Agencies ARE Ganging Up” [Dabney Ware, Foley & Lardner]
- “The U.S. Department of Labor claims it can’t come up with the cash to fully reimburse Oregon farmers for the $220,000 it unlawfully coerced from them.” [Capital Press, Oregon] House committee flays department over use of “hot goods” orders to arm-twist growers of perishables on labor issues [committee, CQ via Dunn Carney, The Grower]
- Sauce for gander: if left can push labor ordinances at county and municipal level, supporters of right-to-work laws might do the same thing [James Sherk and Andrew Kloster, Heritage]
- “I wonder how large the overlap is between people who want Ray Rice banished from NFL forever and those who want to ‘ban the box'” — @Toirtap
- Jacob Huebert on the Harris v. Quinn decision [new edition of Cato Supreme Court Review]
An outcry has lately arisen over consumer contracts that purport to ban disparagement of the company that proffered the contract or its products, especially since a few such companies, seeking to silence customers vocally dissatisfied with products or services, have proceeded to sue them, threaten them with suit, or report them as credit risks. Although it is doubtful that existing law in fact permits practices of this sort, California proceeded to pass a new law protecting consumers from retaliation by companies they criticize — a law that appears to go much farther than just banning the practices that stirred the furor. [Volokh] Contra: Scott Michelman, CL&P.
- Los Angeles officials push SEIU-backed scheme to fasten unions on nonunion workforce at LAX airport [Brian Sumers, Contra Costa Times]
- Want to empower cities? Reform binding labor arbitration [Stephen Eide, Urbanophile]
- “Explainer: What Does President Obama’s Equal Pay Day Executive Order Change?” [Rachel Homer, On Labor]
- One lawyer’s advice: “when an employee complains about discrimination, or otherwise engages in protected conduct, you must treat that employee with kid gloves” [Jon Hyman on Sixth Circuit retaliation case]
- Detroit juggles pension numbers to fix deficit, papers over the real problem [Dan Kadlec, Time; Shikha Dalmia, Washington Examiner]
- No room left to cut budget, part 245,871: federal grants promote labor unions [Examiner]
- More on EEOC’s campaign to limit employment criminal background checks [Coyote, Daniel Schwartz]
“According to CNN investigative reporter Drew Griffin, the White House is pressuring trade associations and insurance providers to keep quiet about the changes the Affordable Care Act is creating for some people’s health coverage plans. One industry official told CNN on the record that the White House is applying ‘massive pressure’ to combat the impression that the ACA is resulting in the cancellation of some plans.” [Mediaite]
This is not the first time, or the tenth, I’ve heard about regulated entities feeling pressure to shut up about things that might embarrass the regulators they answer to. These stories did not begin with the Obama administration and I don’t think they’ll end with it. Quite aside from whatever we think of ObamaCare itself, shouldn’t they disturb us? And can anything be done about it? Following media attention to the plight of “whistleblowers” in the workplace, lawmakers have created fairly elaborate procedures intended to identify and remedy cases of retaliation against federal employees who speak up about problems they notice, procedures that in some instances have also been extended to some private-sector employees. Should there be procedures aimed at unearthing and rectifying retaliation against regulated entities, too, when they blow the whistle? Or would that be too easily manipulated by regulated entities in search of profit, revenge, or point-making?
“Did the law firm [Ropes & Gray] retaliate against John Ray III by providing information about his Equal Employment Opportunity Commission race-discrimination complaint to the Above the Law blog?” That is among the questions a federal court in Boston will consider in a trial beginning next month. Specifically, the firm sent a copy of the EEOC’s determination letter in Ray’s case to the popular blog. Since no law bars “retaliation” by employees against employers, we might arrive at a situation in which an employee is free to try his case in the press, while an employer’s hands are tied against responding in kind. [ABA Journal; earlier]