Posts Tagged ‘workplace’

Do bans on credit checks in hiring work as intended?

…one of the hottest ideas among lawmakers right now is to ban employers from running credit checks on job applicants. Since 2007, eleven states, as well as Chicago and New York City, have passed such laws….

But a new study from Robert Clifford, an economist at the Boston Fed, and Daniel Shoag, an assistant professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School, finds that when employers are prohibited from looking into people’s financial history, something perverse happens: African-Americans become more likely to be unemployed relative to others….

“Employers have many screening measures to narrow down who they want to hire,” Shoag says. “If you take one away, they’ll put more weight on the others.” … Whatever the new criteria were, they seem to have put black applicants at a disadvantage.

[Jeff Guo, Washington Post “WonkBlog”] Shoag gets the best line of the piece: “This reflects a general movement of legislators monkeying around with the hiring process without thinking about the consequences.” A contrary view: Robert Hiltonsmith and Sean McElwee, US News.

Update: California high court rules on “suitable seating”

Most major retailing chains have been sued under one or another of two California laws providing that workers who otherwise would spend most of the day on their feet must be given suitable seating when “the nature of the work” permits it. The scope of the law’s application had been ambiguous, but now the California high court has ruled and trial lawyers are apparently pleased with its answers. [Lisa Nagele-Piazza, BNA Daily Labor Report] More: Coyote.

Labor and employment roundup

  • A good labor economics class lets you see through society’s secular religion [Bryan Caplan first, second, and third (“Why labor fallacies have replaced industrial organization fallacies in society’s secular religion”) posts]
  • “Meet The Obama Czars Who Decide How Your Workplace Runs” [Connor Wolf/Daily Caller, and thanks for quote]
  • Welcome news for employers: Seventh Circuit signals it isn’t buying EEOC’s attack on severance offers in CVS case [Jon Hyman, background]
  • Can a unionized Uber or Lyft driver file a grievance over your negative comment as a customer? “It’s not at all clear how union job protection policies can jibe with a community-rating economy.” [Brian Doherty, Reason]
  • Riffling through just one day’s BNA Labor Report, Michael Fox finds headlines like Firing After FMLA Request Raises Triable Issues, Recommendation Letter Saves Fired Professor’s Bias Suit, and Commission Seeks Comment on Workplace Murder Case [Employer’s Lawyer]
  • Disney exec: here’s our plan to engage in racial discrimination in hiring journalists [Ira Stoll, Future of Capitalism] Have they compared notes with BuzzFeed Canada? [Mediaite]
  • On minimum wage, New York Times editors find Hillary Clinton overly tethered to economic reality, urge cutting of final moorings [Charles Hughes, Cato] “The Evidence Is Piling Up That Higher Minimum Wages Kill Jobs” [David Neumark, WSJ]

Cutting employee hours to avoid ObamaCare mandate = “retaliation”

The Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare, sometimes gives employers an incentive to reduce the work hours of employees so that they will not meet eligibility thresholds for costly health insurance. Lawyers for employees have responded by arguing that this reduction of hours constitutes “retaliation” under ERISA and is itself unlawful. Now a Southern District of New York federal court seems to have bought the theory, at least to the extent to denying a defense motion to dismiss. [R. Pepper Crutcher, Balch & Bingham on Marin v. Dave & Buster’s, Inc.]

“Theater of the Absurd: The NLRB Takes on the Employee Handbook”

In a 45-page booklet, the U.S. Chamber talks back at the National Labor Relations Board over its push in recent years to forbid, as violations of labor law, a wide range of employer workplace rules:

Through a series of decisions and official guidance, the NLRB has undertaken a campaign to outlaw heretofore uncontroversial rules found in employee handbooks and in employers’ social media policies—rules that employers maintain for a variety of legitimate business reasons… The NLRB has gone to outlandish lengths to find commonsense workplace policies unlawful … the Board’s irrational interpretations of the law have created a serious headache for employers and employees looking for stability and common sense in labor relations.

More here. Jon Hyman summarizes the areas covered:

* Confidentiality of workplace investigations
* Employee misconduct
* Communications and non-disparagement
* Protection of intellectual property and confidentiality of company information
* At-will disclaimers
* Non-solicitation
* Dress codes

From the children’s bookshelf: “Pelle’s New Suit”

The Cato Policy Report invited holiday book recommendations from various people associated with Cato. Here is my contribution:

Pelle’s New Suit by Elsa Beskow

In the picture book Pelle’s New Suit by Elsa Beskow (1910), little Pelle needs new clothes and begins by shearing wool from the pet lamb he takes care of.PellesNewSuit He asks his grandmother to card it and she agrees if he will weed her carrot patch. His other grandmother will spin the carded wool into yarn if he will look after her cows in the meantime. The painter says that while paint is no good for coloring yarn, if Pelle will fetch him some turpentine he happens to need from the general store, he can use the change to buy a packet of dye. So Pelle rows off to accomplish that task (yes, rows; this is Sweden, and they might all just live in an archipelago). Amid delicate drawings of village life, this is first a lesson in doing chores with a willing hand, but also a gentle parable in production, exchange, and the division of labor, which includes domestic labor (one of his tasks is to babysit his little sister). At the end, Pelle rejoices in a new suit made by the labor of others — and which he has fully earned.

Labor and employment roundup

  • Now watch out for the next phase of the “ban the box” effort, which will demand that private employers not be allowed to ask about applicants’ criminal records [Open Society via @georgesoros]
  • “We have one restaurant in Seattle, and we probably won’t be expanding there. That’s true of San Francisco and Los Angeles, too.” [Buffalo Wild Wings CEO Sally Smith via David Boaz]
  • New York Times reporting vs. nail salons: the video [Reason, earlier] The other Greenhouse effect, in this case Steven: Times “sees the labor beat as having essentially an advocacy mission.” [Adam Ozimek]
  • The lawsuits of September: “the EEOC has once again rushed to file a blitz of federal court complaints just under the fiscal year wire” [Matthew Gagnon, Christopher DeGroff, and Gerald Maatman, Jr., Seyfarth Shaw]
  • I was a guest on Ray Dunaway’s morning drive time show on WTIC (Hartford) talking about cop fitness tests and the blind barber suit, you can listen here:
  • NYC Commission on Human Rights — with an assist from Demos and New Economy Project — runs public ads saying “There’s no evidence that shows a link between credit reports and job performance. That’s why NYC made it illegal to use credit reports in employment decisions.” The “Suburbanist” responds: “We will punish those who depart from our null hypotheses regarding their business. Human rights indeed.”
  • What are the biggest legal questions facing employers? “What is work?” and “Who is an employee?” are a start [Jon Hyman]

L.A. eateries adopt surcharge for employee health, get charged with price fixing

Trying, they said, to be responsible employers, a group of Los Angeles restaurants banded together and adopted a 3 percent surcharge on bills to help secure healthcare coverage for their employees. Now San Francisco attorney Daniel Sterrett — who does not deny that the surcharge is going toward the announced purpose of employee healthcare — has filed an intended class-action lawsuit saying the owners have violated California law against price-fixing. [CBS Los Angeles, ABA Journal]

Bryan Caplan vs. “Scott Alexander” on labor economics

A rejoinder worth reading on labor markets by George Mason economist Bryan Caplan to the pseudonymous “Scott Alexander,” who writes the popular Slate Star Codex blog [Caplan first, second, third posts, all responding to this critique-of-libertarianism FAQ] If you don’t read Alexander, some of his top posts are here (especially strong on questions of medicine/health care and the way social justice language has developed into a tool of power). Also check out his recent post on the Daraprim mess and the wider failure of generic drug regulation [earlier on which].

Wage and hour roundup

  • “No unpaid internship in the for-profit sector ever has or ever will satisfy these [USDOL] rules” [Bryan Caplan]
  • Obama wage/hour czar David Weil doubles as a key ideologist of the kill-outsourcing crowd [Weekly Standard, related earlier on NLRB move against franchise and subcontract economy]
  • “A $15-hour minimum wage could harm America’s poorest workers” [Harry Holzer, Brookings] Alderman Antonio French, a key Ferguson protest figure, opposes minimum wage hike in St. Louis [Washington Post “WonkBlog”]
  • “Andrew Cuomo’s leftward lurch: Calling for a $15-an-hour minimum wage is his latest out-of-character move” [Bill Hammond, NY Daily News] Since minimum wage hike, mini-recession has hit employment in Los Angeles hotel sector [Ozimek]
  • Court ruling: Yelp reviewers volunteer their reviews and are not entitled to be paid for them [Courthouse News]
  • 400 Uber drivers: don’t let them take away our independent contractor status [Daniel Fisher, Forbes] Mandated benefits and the “Happy Meal Fallacy” [Tabarrok]
  • “Bill Would Make Maryland Employers Set Work Schedules Earlier” [WAMU on Del. David Moon’s “Fair Work Week Act”; related on national “Schedules That Work” Democratic legislation, Connor Wolf/Daily Caller]