NLRB Judge Orders Reinstatement Of Employee Who Made Racist Taunts Toward African-Americans

The National Labor Relations Board promotes itself as a government agency that “safeguards employees’ rights,” but you would not know it from a recent ruling upholding racist statements made by union supporters on a picket line.  Earlier this month, in Cooper Tire & Rubber Company an administrative judge of the NLRB found that racist taunts made by strikers against African-American employees crossing a picket line were protected under the law.   Continue reading

California Amends Paid Sick Leave Law

This week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law an amendment to the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, a law passed last year which requires employers to provide paid sick leave. The law has been incredibly confusing for California employers and the amendments were designed to correct some of the more obvious drafting errors in the law.  The major changes are described below. Continue reading

Independent Contractors And Overtime: The DOL Steps Into The Ring With Jarring New Regulations

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has recently taken a firm stance on two of the most controversial issues facing American employers:  overtime compensation and misclassification of employees as independent contractors.  These controversial actions are likely to spark tremendous debate.  Employee  advocates have already touted the hope that raising salaries and income levels will close the gap of income inequality, a major theme in the upcoming presidential campaign.  At the same time, employers are likely not only to challenge the DOL’s process in implementing these changes (a tactic which has been successful in the past), but also to question their lasting effect on the workplace, specifically maintaining that these changes will cost jobs rather than raise salaries. Continue reading

“Black Swan” Internship Case Creates New Obstacles For Employers In California

In California, internships have always been viewed as a trade-off between prestigious employers and young students looking to get a foot in the proverbial door.  College students and graduates looking for highly-coveted positions in insular Hollywood and Silicon Valley companie take unpaid positions so they can make connections to build a network.  Because internships usually provide a “win-win,” there has been very little litigation over the propriety of those arrangements.  But, in 2013 a federal District Court in New York found that interns on the movie Black Swan were entitled to pursue a class action seeking millions of dollars in unpaid wages and overtime and studios and tech employers immediately took note. Continue reading