ERISA Preemption and State Apprenticeship Laws

Posted on Categories Labor & Employment LawLeave a comment» on ERISA Preemption and State Apprenticeship Laws

Erisa The Sixth Circuit decided an important ERISA preemption case yesterday, Associated Builders & Contractors, Saginaw Valley Area Chapter v. Michigan Dep’t of Labor & Economic Growth, No. 07-1639 (6th Cir. Sept. 16, 08) ,concerning the continuing validity of state apprenticeship laws in light of ERISA.

From the Daily Labor Report today (subscription required for full article):

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act does not preempt a Michigan law that sets ratio and equivalency requirements for apprentice electricians, the Sixth Circuit rules in lifting an injunction issued in 1992 that barred the state from enforcing the apprenticeship laws.

In ruling that the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth can now enforce the ratio and equivalency requirements set out in the state’s electrician apprenticeship law, the three-judge appellate panel finds that the state law imposed mandates on apprenticeship training programs, but those mandates did not affect ERISA-regulated concerns.

Continue reading “ERISA Preemption and State Apprenticeship Laws”

Public Employee Enjoys Rare First Amendment Retaliation Success

Posted on Categories Labor & Employment LawLeave a comment» on Public Employee Enjoys Rare First Amendment Retaliation Success

First_amendment_3 From mlive.com, comes this First Amendment retaliation case that reminds me of the old days of public employee free speech rights before the Garcetti decision of the U.S. Supreme Court eviscerated free speech protection for these employees in 2006.

Hughes v. Region VII Area Agency on Aging, 07-1570 (6th Cir. Sept. 8, 2008) considered the claims of a former public employee who alleged that she was fired for her conversations with a local newspaper reporter. Because defendants did not claim that she spoke in accordance with her official duties, Garcetti v. Ceballos, was found inapplicable.

Instead, the court concluded that the trial court was in error and the plaintiff spoke on a matter of public concern protected by the First Amendment when she discussed with a newspaper reporter issues concerning a number of incidents relating to the former executive director of the agency, including alleged sexual harassment, a lawsuit settlement, and other turmoil surrounding the agency. Continue reading “Public Employee Enjoys Rare First Amendment Retaliation Success”

A Whistleblower Wins! A Whistleblower Wins!

Posted on Categories Labor & Employment LawLeave a comment» on A Whistleblower Wins! A Whistleblower Wins!

Whistle In an unsual case (as far as the success rates of these cases (and here) go), and one that might still be overturned by an appellate court, the DOL’s Administrative Review Board (ARB) finds in favor of a mine cleanup whistleblower.

In Dixon v. Dept. of the Interior, No. 06-147 (8/28/08), the ARB found that a federal employee of the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) engaged in protected activity under the whistleblower provisions of several environmental statutes. Consequently, he properly received back pay and compensatory damages. Continue reading “A Whistleblower Wins! A Whistleblower Wins!”

Using the Power of Baseball to Help Inspire the Disabled

Posted on Categories Labor & Employment LawLeave a comment» on Using the Power of Baseball to Help Inspire the Disabled

Mlblogo That’s the idea about this campaign by the U.S. Department of Labor and Major League Baseball.

Together, they are launching the ‘PITCH’ campaign to encourage businesses to hire people with disabilities. Former Major Leaguer Jim Abbott, famous in baseball history for being the first pitcher to make it to the majors pitching with only one hand, will be serving as campaign spokesman. Continue reading “Using the Power of Baseball to Help Inspire the Disabled”

A U.K. Lesson: Increased Maternity Rights Diminish Job Prospects for Women?

Posted on Categories Labor & Employment Law1 Comment on A U.K. Lesson: Increased Maternity Rights Diminish Job Prospects for Women?

I’m not buying what this article in the U.K. Daily Telegraph seems to be selling:

Employers may stop giving jobs to women because the cost of maternity leave and temp cover is set to double, legal experts have warned . . . .

New rules mean that female staff due to give birth from next month onwards must receive job perks such as paid holiday, childcare vouchers and gym membership for a full year rather than six months.

Companies will be liable for sex discrimination claims if they refuse to give the same benefits to women throughout 12 months of maternity leave.

Continue reading “A U.K. Lesson: Increased Maternity Rights Diminish Job Prospects for Women?”

Mandatory Meetings in the Workplace

Posted on Categories Labor & Employment Law1 Comment on Mandatory Meetings in the Workplace

Paul Secunda takes on Wal-Mart in this new commentary for the Legal Times. Along with coauthors Melissa Hart and Marcia McCormick, he criticizes recent mandatory employee meetings at Wal-Mart that have allegedly pushed employees away from supporting the Democratic presidential nominee. They urge other states to follow the lead of New Jersey in adopting a Freedom from Employer Intimidation Act, which makes it unlawful for any employer to force its employees to attend employer-sponsored meetings whose purpose is to discuss the employer’s opinions on religious and political matters.

Is Union Membership Rebounding in the U.S.?

Posted on Categories Labor & Employment LawLeave a comment» on Is Union Membership Rebounding in the U.S.?

Unionyes This report from UCLA so suggests:

Buoyed by a rising tide in California in general and Southern California in particular, U.S. unionization levels rose substantially this year, defying a decades-long trend of decline, according to a report by UCLA’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment.

“The State of the Unions in 2008: A Profile of Union Membership in Los Angeles, California and the Nation” shows unionization rates nationwide rising half a percentage point over the 2007 level, to 12.6 percent of all U.S. civilian workers in 2008. The rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point between 2006 and 2007. Prior to that, the last time U.S. unionization rates registered an increase was in 1979.

Continue reading “Is Union Membership Rebounding in the U.S.?”

Ledbetter: Court, Congress, and President

Posted on Categories Labor & Employment LawLeave a comment» on Ledbetter: Court, Congress, and President

My colleague Paul Secunda recently wrote this pointed essay on the Supreme Court’s Ledbetter decision for the Workplace Fairness Blog.  Ledbetter made it harder for plaintiffs with Title VII pay discrimination claims to prevail by holding that the statute of limitations runs separately on each of a series of discriminatory pay decisions, even though the cumulative effects of the decisions may continue to be felt for many years thereafter.  Paul argues in his essay that Ledbetter is “absurd” inasmuch as it requires some victims of discrimination to file their claims before they have a fair opportunity to discern the discrimination.  He urges Congress to pass a pending legislative fix, the Lilly Ledbetter Pay Equity Act, and notes that the issue is one that divides the current Republican and Democratic presidential nominees.

Can A Worker Get a Break?

Posted on Categories Labor & Employment Law2 Comments on Can A Worker Get a Break?

Boss_button

Cross Posted on: Workplace Prof Blog

Apparently, they should not expect one in 2009 (or maybe not in this lifetime).

MSNBC (via AP) reports:

U.S. workers can expect skimpy raises in their base salaries next year, but top performers may still fatten their paychecks with merit compensation.

A study released Tuesday by Hewitt Associates, a human resources consulting firm, found base pay will rise by 3.8 percent in 2009, marking the seventh consecutive year of flat growth.

One-time performance-based pay, however, is expected to grow by 10.6 percent. That’s down slightly from 10.8 percent this year and 11.8 percent in 2007.

Great. On our way to more pay inequality in this country and to a place where workers will have to wait longer before being able to afford retirement (Yahoo! News via AP): Continue reading “Can A Worker Get a Break?”

The End of Disparate Impact Disability Claims in the UK?

Posted on Categories Labor & Employment Law1 Comment on The End of Disparate Impact Disability Claims in the UK?

Uk_flag

Cross posted at Workplace Prof Blog:

Michael Connolly (Univ. of Surrey (UK)) provides this not-so-good news for disability rights advocates from across the pond. Michael’s analysis, “The House of Lords Narrows the Meaning of Disability-Related Discrimination,” appears in Green’s Employment Law Bulletin (Emp LB 2008 Issue 86 August 2008 1-5 ISSN 1352-2159) and is available on Westlaw.

Here’s a taste: Continue reading “The End of Disparate Impact Disability Claims in the UK?”