It might seem dangerous to entrust them with a power like that [Ilya Shapiro and Frank Garrison on Cato certiorari petition in donning and doffing FLSA case DuPont v. Smiley]
- New York City embarks on extensive new regulation of freelance work [Jennifer A. Williams, Ford Harrison]
- “Maryland Decriminalizes Unlicensed Barbering; Jacks Up Fines for Unlicensed Barbering” [Eric Boehm, Reason] “A New Jersey Bill Protects Pool Owners from Low Prices” [Shoshana Weissman, NRO on licensing of pool/spa service contractors and installers]
- “Lawsplainer: How The Seventh Circuit Decided That Sexual Orientation Discrimination Violates Federal Law” [Ken at Popehat, earlier here, here, and here]
- New Jersey taxpayers pay $100 million+ a year to resolve public worker lawsuits [Mark Mueller, NJ.com]
- “How the Fair Labor Standards Act Hurts Women” [Heather Owen/Constangy Brooks, thanks for mention] More on comp time: Diana Furchtgott-Roth, WSJ MarketWatch; Connor Wolf, Inside Sources.
- Browning-Ferris at the NLRB: “Predictable, Uniform Standard Needed for Who Is a Joint Employer” [Michael Lotito and Missy Parry, WLF, earlier here, here, here, here, here, and here]
- Occupational licensure reforms advance in Mississippi and Arizona [Eric Boehm, Reason, first and second posts]
- I should live so long: “Will the New York Times’ Labor Reporting Ever Get the Facts Straight?” [Jim Epstein; coverage here of the NYT’s 2015 nail salon reporting embarrassment]
- Silliest claim about proposed salary-history-inquiry bans is that they would advance “transparency” in hiring [Seth Barron]
- Many states complicate offender re-entry after incarceration with needless licensing barriers and fingerprint checks [Eli Lehrer, Inside Sources]
- H.R. 1180 (“Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017”), introduced by Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL), would curb some overtime litigation by allowing private sector comp time under some conditions [Evil HR Lady]
- Layers of irony: “Disability Services Company to Pay $100,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit” [commission press release in EEOC v. ValleyLife (Arizona), h/t Roger Clegg]
- Fever finally breaks on a bad idea? Mayor Catherine Pugh vetoes Baltimore council $15 wage bill [Eric Boehm] Ohio Gov. John Kasich signs bill preventing localities from setting higher minimum wages than state [Cleveland Plain Dealer, Jon Hyman]
- Minimum wage hikes may cause workers to shift preference among industries by flattening pay differentials that correspond to amenity level [Ryan Bourne, Cato] “San Diego’s new minimum wage already may be killing jobs” [Dan McSwain, San Diego Union-Tribune]
- “Contrary to often asserted statements, the preponderance of the evidence still points toward a negative impact of permanently high minimum wages.” [Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde, University of Pennsylvania, via Jeffrey Miron, Cato]
- Allegation: timekeeping software used by employers defeats wage and hour regulation [Elizabeth Tippett, Charlotte Alexander, and Zev Eigen, Yale Journal of Law and Technology via Workplace Prof]
- Women’s attitudes on gender pay gap vary greatly depending on whether they are asked about society in general, or their own workplace [Emily Ekins]
- Dark side of Progressive Era: advocates backed minimum wage precisely in order to remove lowest skilled workers from productive economy [Emily Skarbek and Amy Willis, EconLog, citing Thomas C. Leonard, Journal of Economic Perspectives] Motivation of squeezing out immigrants has not gone away [David D’Amato on Twitter]
Suzanne Lucas (Evil HR Lady), in her column at Inc., uses the Oxford comma trucking-hours case as a jumping-off point for a wider discussion of how the current workplace regulatory regime needs overhaul, starting (but not ending) with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938, a long-obsolete, coercively paternalistic, hard-to-understand mess:
Do I have a solution for all employment law? No. But where would I start? Well, with the assumption that employees over the age of 18 are adults and should be able to make their own contracts with employers. The key of my proposal would be that all job offers must be in writing (electronic or on paper) and that those terms could not be changed without advance notice. Let each person decide if a job offer makes him or her better or worse off.
My chapter on labor and employment law in the new 8th Edition Cato Handbook for Policymakers has caused a riffle or two of reaction, what with its proposals to repeal the NLRA, ADEA, FMLA, and a bunch of other laws (and that’s just the start, really). Robin Shea and Jon Hyman both respond with posts on the theme of what would happen if they ran the world, could push a button, or were monarch for a day. Their responses are good-tempered in both agreement and disagreement, which cannot be said for all the corresponding fun had once the list started circulating over on Twitter.
If my chapter doesn’t manage to flood the outrage zone completely for committed supporters of current law, the handbook’s chapter on the minimum wage can help provide further stimuli. It’s written by Thomas Firey.
- Bad idea keeps spreading: “Philadelphia to Prohibit Asking Job Applicants About Their Prior Wage History” [Ford Harrison] Bill introduced in Maryland legislature [Danielle Gaines, Frederick News-Post on HB 398]
- “New York (State and City) Imposes New Rules for Freelancers, State Contracts” [Daniel Schwartz]
- On the minimum wage, lame reporting and motivated reasoning make war on Econ 101 [David Boaz and Ryan Bourne, Cato]
- In final Obama days, EEOC finalizes rules toughening affirmative action requirements for federal agency employers regarding workers with disabilities [Joe Seiner, Workplace Prof]
- Study: Indictments of union officials correlate with close election outcomes [Mitch Downey via Tyler Cowen]
- “Ohio again tries to restore sanity to its bonkers employment discrimination law” [Jon Hyman]
“Federal judge rules it’s against state law to dock strippers’ pay if they remove their clothes too slowly” [Wisconsin; BNA via @jonsteingart]
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.