Wednesday, July 19, 2017

NPR: Huge Convictions in Thai Human Trafficking Trial

ThaiNPR  reports:

A Thai army general and local politicians are among the dozens of people found guilty at a Bangkok court Wednesday in one of Thailand's largest human trafficking trials.

Thailand has faced international criticism for years over human trafficking in the country, and the rights group Fortify Rights called this trial an "unprecedented effort by Thai authorities to hold perpetrators of human trafficking accountable."

"The conviction of a senior Army officer was an extremely rare event in junta-ruled Thailand," according to Thai newspaper The Nation. Lt. Gen. Manas Kongpan was found guilty of trafficking and taking bribes, The Associated Press reported.

The case involved more than 100 defendants, and the judge spent all day reading a 500-page verdict to the court, The Nation reported. The full breakdown of convictions was not immediately available, and the sentences have not been announced.

This is a huge step toward developing meaningful low-wage labor standards in Southeast Asia.

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July 19, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Edition of Labor Law: A Problem-Based Approach

LLCongratulations to Paul Secunda, Jeff Hirsch, and Mike Duff on the publication of the second edition of Labor Law: A Problem-Based Approach (2d ed. 2017). Here's the publisher's description:

The problem-based approach of Labor Law: A Problem-Based Approach moves beyond lectures, the Socratic teaching model, and the casebook method, while developing the critical reasoning skills required to be a successful attorney. The problem-based pedagogical method will directly help students by synchronizing the way labor law is taught with the way it is typically tested. The book is updated through the end of 2016 and features the most important cases, documents, and articles for students to become proficient in the practice of American private-sector labor law.

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July 19, 2017 in Book Club, Books, Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Textualism Gone Mad?

BlogimageA district court in Minnesota recently held that retaliation against a prospective hire for requesting an accommodation wasn’t actionable under §704(a). At issue in EEOC v. N. Mem'l Health Care was a claim on behalf of an applicant whose conditional offer of employment was revoked after she requested an accommodation, even though she later indicated she was willing to meet the employer’s requirements. 

The court gave short shrift to both the participation and opposition clauses of §704(a). There had been no filing before the revocation of the offer, so participation was not implicated. As for the opposition clause, the court reasoned that the statute required opposition to what the plaintiff in good faith believed to be unlawful discrimination, and there was no evidence that the applicant believed that North Memorial was acting unlawfully: “In other words, merely requesting a religious accommodation is not the same as opposing the allegedly unlawful denial of a religious accommodation.” The court cited several other district court decisions to similar effect.

It dismissed ADA authority to the contrary on the basis of differences between the statute, especially 42 U.S.C.S. § 12203(b) (which declares it unlawful “to coerce, intimidate, threaten, or interfere” with the exercise or enjoyment of any right under the statute). But, in the process, it cited Eighth Circuit dicta to the effect that, even under the parallel language of the ADA, “it might be thought that [plaintiff’s claim of retaliation for requesting an accommodation] never gets out of the starting gate.” Kirkeberg v. Canadian Pac. Ry., 619 F.3d 898, 907 (8th Cir. 2010).

In short, Memorial Health Care may be more than a one-court anomaly and but may reach beyond Title VII’s duty of religious accommodation to threaten what many view as the core protection of the ADA.

One response to this is the Supreme Court’s decision in Robinson v. Shell Oil Co., 519 U.S. 337 (1997), which read “employee” in the statute to bar retaliation in job references against a “former employee,” in part “because to hold otherwise would effectively vitiate much of the protection afforded by § 704(a).” Similarly, since employers are generally said not to have a duty to accommodate unless the employee requests one, to permit discharge of individuals for requesting accommodation would essentially read the duty out of both statutes. Interesting, Robinson wasn’t cited in either North Memorial or Kirkeberg.  

But it’s also true that Justice Thomas’s opinion for the Court in Robinson looked to larger purposes and consequences only after finding “employee” to be ambiguous to begin with. So a committed textualist might find no ambiguity in the reach of the retaliation proscription and so deem irrelevant the resultant torpedoing of the duty of accommodation.

Maybe the whole problem under Title VII can be avoided by not looking to retaliation law in the first place. The conditional employee’s offer was rescinded after she had indicated that she would “make it work” by coming in on Friday night if she could not find a replacement. That would seem to fit directly within the definition of religious discrimination announced by the Court in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch: “an applicant need only show that his need for an accommodation was a motivating factor in the employer’s decision.” Thus, an employer that fires someone (or revokes an offer) for asking for an accommodation would seem to be guilty of discrimination in the first place under Title VII. (For unexplained reasons, the EEOC denied the applicant’s claim of religious discrimination and pursued only the retaliation one). Similar reasoning might apply to the ADA although another way out of the textualist box under that statute is the hitherto underutilized § 12203(b).  

CAS

Hat tip to my RA, Henry Klimowicz, Seton Hall Law ’19

July 16, 2017 in Employment Discrimination | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 14, 2017

En Banc Second Circuit to Consider Whether Sexual Orientation Protected by Title VII

Marcia recently had a wonderful blog post here about the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit's decision en banc which held that sexual orientation was covered under Title VII.  In Hively v. Ivy Tech., the Seventh Circuit specifically ruled that "a person who alleges that she experienced employment dis- crimination on the basis of her sexual orientation has put forth a case of sex discrimination for Title VII purposes."  The Second Circuit, also siting en banc, will now consider the same question.  

The Second Circuit case, Zarda v. Altitude Express, will re-consider a panel's decision that Sexual Orientation is not protected under Title VII.  Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for the fall, and it will be interesting to see if the court follows the decision of the Seventh Circuit.  There is a great article on the pending case in the New York Law Journal, which is available here.

My guess is that the Supreme Court will ultimately be faced with the decision as to whether sexual orientation discrimination is covered by federal law.   It would not be surprising, however, if the Court waited until a few more appellate courts (like the Second and Seventh Circuits) weighed in before addressing the issue.

-- Joe Seiner

July 14, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Using Sick Days for Mental Health

There is an interesting article over at CNN.com which looks at using sick days at work to help maintain one's own mental health.  Millions of U.S. workers suffer from depression and other mental issues, and the workplace can often excascerbate these problems.  The article looks at one example where an employer of a small company was particularly supportive of his employee's notice to use her sick leave to help foster her own mental health, telling her in an email that "I can't believe this is not a standard practice at all organizations . . . You are an example to us all, and help cut through the stigma so we can all bring our whole selves to work."

The article does a nice job of raising this important issue, and reminds us of the unfair stigma which often follows those suffering from mental health issues. It is reaffirming to see the positive response of the employer in the story, and hopefully this stigma will continue to break down over time. 

-- Joe Seiner

July 13, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Missouri Amends and Preempts its Employment Law

    A few weeks ago, Missouri’s governor signed SB43.  That law amends the State’s employment law, including the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA), its anti-discrimination statute—mostly in employer-friendly ways. (For media reports on the legislative politics, see, e.g., here, here, and here.) Among the many changes, I’ll highlight (1) MHRA’s new causation requirement and (2) a remarkably broad preemption provision.

  1. But-For Causation

    Most have rightly focused on how MHRA will now require but-for causation. The legislature amended the MHRA to use “because of” to denote causation and by adding these definitions:

(2) "Because" or "because of ", as it relates to the adverse decision or action, the protected criterion was the motivating factor

. . .

(19) "The motivating factor", the employee's protected classification actually played a role in the adverse action or decision and had a determinative influence on the adverse decision or action.

By these definitions, especially the word “determinative” (and “the” in “the motivating factor”), the legislature overrode Daugherty v. City of Maryland Heights, 231 S.W.3d 814, 819 (Mo. 2007).  There, the court had read MHRA not to require “a plaintiff to prove that discrimination was a substantial or determining factor in an employment decision; if consideration of age, disability, or other protected characteristics contributed to the unfair treatment, that is sufficient.”

    By adopting but-for causation, the MHRA will become more stringent than section 703 of Title VII, see 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(m), while matching up more with how the US Supreme Court reads the federal age-discrimination statute and Title VII’s retaliation provision.

  1. Preemption of Common Law Claims

    SB43 also substantially preempts common-law employment claims, in two ways.     First, MHRA now includes this: “This chapter, in addition to chapter 285 and chapter 287, shall provide the exclusive remedy for any and all claims for injury or damages arising out of an employment relationship.”  The phrase “arising out of an employment relationship” is not further defined.

    Second, a new "Whistleblower’s Protection Act" contains this provision: “This section is intended to codify the existing common law exceptions to the at-will employment doctrine and to limit their future expansion by the courts. This section, in addition to chapter 213 and chapter 287, shall provide the exclusive remedy for any and all claims of unlawful employment practices.” (The Act then declares what counts as an “unlawful employment practice” under the Act.)

    Courts must usually read statutes to give meaning to all their terms, and cannot read them to make certain provisions superfluous. So, what more does the MHRA preemption provision cover than the whistleblower preemption provision?

     If we read “arising out of an employment relationship” broadly, that provision seems to cover all Missouri common law claims predicated on an employment relationship.  That would include all the ones that apply to conduct that might not violate the new whistleblower statute (e.g., tortious interference with contract, negligent hiring, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, fraud). That’s because neither chapter 287 (workers’ compensation) nor chapter 285 (miscellaneous) expressly provide for a way to bring all employment-related claims under Missouri common law.

    But, does that mean that the MHRA preemption provision covers common-law contract claims for breach of an employment contract?  Such claims certainly “aris[e] out of the employment relationship” and entail some allegation of “injury or damages.” It’s unlikely that Missouri’s legislators wanted to stop, for example, an employer who sues for breach of an employment contract.  And yet, the text of the MHRA preemption provision doesn’t distinguish between contract and tort claims. It simply covers “any and all claims for injury or damages arising out of an employment relationship.”

    SB43 goes into effect on August 28.

 

---Sachin Pandya

July 12, 2017 in Employment Common Law, Employment Discrimination | Permalink | Comments (0)

Unions in the South

It's no secret that unions have faced especially difficult conditions in the South. That's why two recent stories showing signs of success for union efforts in the South caught my attention (or at least one story of success and one of hopefulness.

First is a new collective-bargaining agreement between Duke University and a unionized group of non-tenure-track faculty represented by SEUI. The faculty still need to vote on the agreement, but it looks to be very beneficial to them--significant pay increases and job security--and is expected to pass. Second is a recent election petition at a Mississippi Nissan plant. We've obviously been down this road before, but the demographics and conditions at the plant, particularly the large percentage of African-American workers, makes this a vote to watch. Of course, we've seen union support drop off significantly prior to elections, so we'll have to see what happens.

-Jeff Hirsch

July 12, 2017 in Labor and Employment News, Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Chinese Workers in Saipan Demand Payment from Trump Protege

IPThanks to Aaron Halegua, a lawyer and research fellow at NYU Law School, for keeping us in the loop about the labor practices of one of Donald Trump's friends in China:

Last week, the Financial Times did a story on the Chinese migrant workers in Saipan who continue to demand payment for their work constructing a Hong Kong-invested casino, which has now opened. As an earlier story in the New York Times noted, the CEO of the Hong Kong company, Imperial Pacific, is a former executive of one of Donald Trump's casinos in Atlantic City. Imperial Pacific hired several Chinese contractors to build the project, who are alleged to have not paid some workers at all, failed to pay all workers the minimum wage or overtime, and not compensated injured workers. OSHA has issued large fines against the contractors for safety violations, which lead to at least one documented fatality, and DOJ is prosecuting managers of these companies for harboring and illegally employing aliens. As the contractors have not paid what is owed, the workers are now calling on Imperial Pacific to compensate them. Outside groups have supported the workers, including the National Employment Law Project, National Guestworker Alliance, and, most recently, the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions -- which called on people to write letters to Imperial Pacific to pay the workers.

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July 11, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Macron's Plans for Labor

MacronMany thanks to Dennis Nolan (South Carolina emeritus; NAA) for forwarding Sylvain Cypel, Macron’s California Revolution, which has a detailed discussion of French President Emmanuel Macron's plans for French labor law. Here's an excerpt:

Continuing deindustrialization has shut millions of older employees out of the job market. And unemployment among the young is beating all records: at the end of April 2017, the number of officially registered jobseekers hit 5,836,000—the same number as in the United States, a country with five times France’s population! For the past forty years, whether governed by the right or the left—or even during short periods of “cohabitation”—neither side has been able to curb unemployment.

...

[N]ew macroniste politicians closely follow their leader’s core socioeconomic philosophy: that in today’s world, the people who rise to the top, or at least stay afloat, are those who’ve succeeded in adapting to the relentless process of globalization and its technological disruptions. There will be less and less room for job security and more and more for people who have a capacity for innovation and adaptation. Gone are lifelong professional careers. Likewise gone are rigid job descriptions and fixed work schedules. In this, Macron once again embodies a very American way of thinking. And he believes that France has to catch up to the current reality of the labor force.

...

But the first real test of the new president’s mandate will be the new labor law that he intends to issue as an executive order, before asking France’s parliament to vote on it. Macron wants to move fast. He wants to take advantage of the “big bang” of his election and his opponents’ stunned paralysis to abolish much of the existing French labor code, which, because of powerful labor unions, was designed to cater to the best-protected employees—especially those in heavy industry—and has long been skewed toward the interests of workers in general at the expense of greater flexibility and efficiency for private enterprise. Just how far does he mean to take this? Clearly, as far as he can.

The real question is whether Macron is ready to take on the unions or will seek to compromise with them. His approach to economic reform has been well known since his tenure as economics minister (2014–2016): a major deregulation of existing laws to allow employers to practice less “rigid” employment and hiring policies, including fewer restrictions on salaries and working conditions. These measures, he argues, are essential if there is to be a revival of the French job market. Employers, who are also asking for a freer hand in firing workers, claim these measures will bring a reduction in labor costs. The corollary to these ambitions, and the condition for their success, is a significant reduction of what remains of the unions’ power, already enormously diminished. (Fifty years ago, 22 percent of all employees were union members, while that number is currently 7.7 percent, according to the OECD).

When Macron tried to put these reforms into effect as economics minister under François Hollande, he encountered very strong resistance from the unions and from the public itself. After a series of protest marches and demonstrations, the law had to be issued by Prime Minister Valls, through a procedure designed to avoid a parliamentary vote, which it seemed quite unlikely to pass. Today the basic problem is much the same. The unions are so hostile to reforming the labor market because, behind the apparent “change,” it is possible to glimpse a policy that’s been at work for a long time already. Ever since 1984, all governments, right and left, have worked tirelessly to shatter administrative and legal “rigidity” with respect to hiring and firing. And yet, France’s steadily worsening joblessness has never been brought under control. Even worse, in France as in nearly all the rest of the Western world, inequality has become ever more deeply entrenched, in lockstep with the deterioration of middle-class purchasing power. It’s not hard to imagine, therefore, that the unions might once again be the front line of resistance to still more radical measures to deregulate the labor market.

rb

July 9, 2017 in International & Comparative L.E.L., Labor Law, Workplace Trends | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 7, 2017

Telework for the Future

TeleworkI came across today an interesting new article, on a topic I hadn't thought much about before, posted recently on SSRN. The article, by W.C. Bunting of the U.S. DOJ-Civil Rights Division, is Unlocking the Housing-Related Benefits of Telework: A Case for Government Intervention. Here's the abstract:

The central claim of the present article is that some form of government intervention is necessary to make telework arrangements sufficiently binding in the long-run for employees living in, or near, city centers to feel comfortable incurring the costs of relocating to more remote, lower-priced areas, and to ensure the long-run financial self-sufficiency of private telework centers, which provide important benefits, not just to employers and employees, but to society generally. The public benefit considered here is the capacity for telework, and telework centers specifically, to provide lower-priced housing alternatives for middle- and high-income earners who choose to live in, or near, the city center to reduce the time spent commuting, but who would otherwise choose to live in more remote, lower-priced areas if commuting costs were lower. As explained, a minimal amount of government intervention is necessary, however, to overcome several key economic challenges that preclude employees from relocating to remote, lower-priced exurban or rural communities, as well as the formation of a new and exciting private-sector enterprise—the privately-operated telework center.

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July 7, 2017 in Scholarship, Workplace Trends | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

De Facto Race BFOQ?

BlogimageWhen teaching the adverse employment action doctrine, I often ask my class whether an employer would be liable if it painted the workspaces of its female workers pink while painting those of its male workers blue.  Objectionable as that would be to the cause of equality in the workplace, the adverse employment action doctrine might well allow it: absent some additional provable harm, the décor would not be sufficient to violate the statute.

That law school hypothetical manifested in the real world in the recent Seventh Circuit case EEOC v. Autozone, Inc. where Stuckey, a black employee claimed that his employer, Autozone, violated Title VII by transferring him from one store to a new location with the motive of keeping the store “predominantly Hispanic.” The panel held that summary judgment was appropriate for Autozone: the EEOC failed to provide sufficient evidence showing that the transfer adversely affected Stuckey’s employment status since there was no reduction in his compensation or responsibilities.

The panel was obviously skeptical of the claim to begin with but, given Stuckey’s testimony that his district manager explained to him the reason for the transfer, it assumed a triable issue on that point.

At first blush, the decision is unremarkable as a straightforward application of the adverse employment action doctrine since Stuckey suffered no diminishment in pay or responsibilities. Section 703(a)(1)’s reference to discrimination in “compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges” of employment has led to the rule that an employee has to show meaningful harm in order to state a claim. A “lateral transfer” (one without reduction in pay) has been the quintessential example of no harm/no foul. Pink offices/blue offices. Whether that result casts doubt on the whole adverse employment action doctrine is another question.

But the EEOC tried an end run around the doctrine in Autozone by invoking § 703(a)(2), which declares it unlawful “to limit, segregate, or classify his employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee” because of the prohibited grounds. “Segregating” would seem to be exactly what Autozone was alleged to have been doing. The panel, however, rejected that argument, reading (a)(2), similar to (a)(1), to also require the EEOC to demonstrate that the transfer deprived Stuckey of meaningful employment opportunities. In short, segregating employees by race is not necessarily a statutory violation.

The court rejected the EEOC’s argument that proof of racial segregation should trigger automatic liability. Looking to the section’s phrasing, it found that the Commission reading “leaves much of the statutory text with no meaningful work to do. If it's not necessary to show that the challenged employment action ‘deprive[d] or tend[ed] to deprive’ the employee of employment opportunities ‘or otherwise adversely affect[ed] his status as an employee,’ what is the point of this statutory language?”  

The panel did offer one piece of comfort to the EEOC, stressing that “(a)(2) does cast a wider net than subsection (a)(1),” because it speaks in terms of an action that “has only a tendency to deprive a person of employment opportunities” while (a)(1) addresses actions that actually "discriminate against any individual." It may be that some lateral transfer immune from (a)(1) nevertheless are actionable under (a)(2) because of their tendency to deprive the employee of opportunities. Still, the dramatic new possibilities for (a)(2) envisioned by Professor Sperino in Justice Kennedy’s Big New Idea are unlikely to be meaningfully realized if other courts take the Autozone approach.

However, to return to a point mentioned above, maybe cases like Autozone suggest a reconceptualization of the whole adverse employment action doctrine. After all, to permit racial (and other kinds of) segregation flies in the face of the antidiscrimination project, making a textual analysis that leads down this path surely suspect. Maybe more to the point, I am not the first to note that the adverse employment action doctrine is not very firmly wedded to the text of (a)(1). Where one works is surely a “term, condition, or privilege” of employment as those terms are usually used and as the first two were interpreted under the National Labor Relations Act.  Ironically, maybe a textualist reading would make (a)(1) broader than (a)(2)! Finally, perhaps the courts should think more seriously about the structure of the statute.  Title VII famously has a bona fide occupational qualification defense, and equally famously, it does not reach race. Autozone permits exactly the result that the BFOQ would allow, without all the messy restrictions of that doctrine.

CAS

Thanks to my research assistant Henry Klimowicz, Seton Hall Law ’19

July 5, 2017 in Employment Discrimination | Permalink | Comments (2)

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Sexual Harassment in the Gig Sector

There is a great story in the New York Times today discussing the alarming problem and culture of sexual harassment in the technology sector.  We have all seen the headlines and fallout from this conduct recently at a number of high profile companies in the modern economy.  This article takes a fascinating look inside the industry and culture, focusing on the financing of start-ups.  From the Times piece:

"Most venture capitalists and entrepreneurs are men, with female entrepreneurs receiving $1.5 billion in funding last year versus $58.2 billion for men, according to the data firm PitchBook. Many of the investors hold outsize power, since entrepreneurs need their money to turn ideas and innovations into a business. And because the venture industry operates with few disclosure requirements, people have kept silent about investors who cross the lines with entrepreneurs."

This is an increasingly important issue in a growing part of the economy (and as we blogged about earlier, Professors Eisenstadt and Geddes have an interesting take on the issue available here).  The article definitely provides an interesting perspective on this high-profile topic.

-- Joe Seiner

July 1, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 29, 2017

EEOC on 50th Anniversary of ADEA

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To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ADEA, the EEOC brought together experts on age discrimination from a number of different disciplines.  The panel looked at the continuing problem of age discrimination, even five decades after the statue was enacted. Older workers continue to report difficulties with obtaining employment, and outdated views of these employees continue to persist.  From the acting chair, Victoria A. Lipnic:

"With so many more people working and living longer, we can't afford to allow age discrimination to waste the knowledge, skills, and talent of older workers," . . . "Outdated assumptions about age and work deprive people of economic opportunity and stifle job growth and productivity. My hope is that 50 years after the enactment of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), we can work together to fulfill the promise of this important civil rights law to ensure opportunities are based on ability, not age."

Information on the panel and discussion is available here, and the EEOC plans to post a video of the proceedings shortly as well. 

--Joe Seiner

 

June 29, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Workplace and Mental Illness

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There is a really interesting post over at the US Department of Labor blog on mental illness in the workplace. The author explores the various challenges workers can face in this area, and examines ways of addressing some of these issues.  From the piece:

"Living with a mental illness also includes being aware of the stigma that comes along with it. A misperception about people with mental health disabilities is that they are weak or have a flawed character, rather than recognizing the biological basis of these conditions. Sadly, attitudes like these prevent people from seeking the help that they need to live healthy lives, and may discourage employers from hiring skilled, productive workers."

Mental illness is an important part of the Americans with Disabilities Act, yet one that is often unexplored. The post is definitely worth taking a look at if you are interested in this area.

-- Joe Seiner

 

Continue reading

June 28, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

4th Circuit Rules in Favor of NFL Player Disabled by Repeated Hits

NflMany thanks to Jon Harkavy (Patterson Harkavy) for forwarding yesterday's decision by the Fourth Circuit in Solomon v. NFL Player Retirement Plan. Here's Jon's description of the case:

[T]he context is a retired NFL player's challenge to a no-disability determination by the administrative review Board set up under the NFL's disability retirement plan. The Court affirms a decision by Judge Garbis in the District of Maryland reversing the Board's determination, and rules in favor of the player whose disabling condition is related to 69,000 hits he suffered during his 9 year NFL career.

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June 24, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 23, 2017

Eisenstadt and Geddes on Uber and the Workplace

Congrats to Friends-of-blog Leora Eisenstadt and Deanna Geddes (Temple) who have a fascinating op-ed in The San Francisco Chronicle on the troubles at Uber and the law's contribution to the creation of angry workers and unhealthy workplaces. The piece is based on an article they have forthcoming in the UPenn Journal of Business Law called Suppressed Anger, Retaliation Doctrine, and Workplace Culture.  This emerging issue has particular relevance for businesses in the on-demand economy (Jeff Hirsch and I recently posted a piece on the role unions can play in the technology sector, which is available here).  I definitely recommend their op-ed if you have the chance to take a look!

- Joe Seiner

June 23, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Conservative Case for Unions

YellowJonathan Rauch has written The Conservative Case for Unions in the Atlantic. Congratulations to Matt Dimick (Buffalo) for a prominent mention, and for Rauch's discussion of Dimick's work on the Ghent System. Here's an excerpt from the article:

All workers do not suffer equally from the decline of unions: In today’s fragmented, hypercompetitive, and globalized workplace, high-powered professionals enjoy more autonomy and respect than ever. Less educated workers, by contrast, have lost agency and, in many cases, dignity. Edward Luce of the Financial Times puts the problem well in his new book, The Retreat of Western Liberalism: “In survey after survey, the biggest employee complaint is being treated with a lack of respect. Whether they work in an Amazon warehouse, serve fast food, or sit in a … customer-service cubicle, they feel diminished by how they are treated.” That has implications not just for the well-being of workers, but for the health of capitalism and even of democracy.

In America, the modern conservative movement was founded on anticommunism and antiunionism. Senator Barry Goldwater (“Mr. Conservative”) built his career bashing unions. President Ronald Reagan, although a former union leader himself, made his bones by breaking the air-traffic controllers’ union. Just this past February, Republicans succeeded in their long push for a right-to-work law in Missouri. But the conservative war on unions is beginning to look like a Faustian bargain. If 2016 taught us anything, it was that miserable workers are angry voters, and angry voters are more than capable of lashing out against trade, immigration, free markets, and for that matter liberal democracy itself.

rb

June 23, 2017 in Labor Law, Labor/Employment History, Workplace Trends | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Biagi Conference Call for Papers

MarcoThe Call for Papers of the sixteenth International Conference in commemoration of prof Marco Biagi has been opened. The conference will take place in Modena (Italy) on 19-21 March 2018, and will be entitled “Assessing Worker Performance in a Changing Technological and Societal Environment: an Interdisciplinary and Multifaceted Perspective”. Deadlines are as follows:

  • submission of short expressions of interest, July, 20th 2017;
  • submission of extended abstracts (in case of acceptance of expressions of interest): October, 13th 2017.

Further information will be available soon at the Marco Biagi Foundation’s website.

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June 22, 2017 in Conferences & Colloquia, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Mitra & Kruse Find Huge Job Gaps for Disabled Workers

Mitra KruseSophie Mitra (Fordham Dep't Econ.) and Douglas Kruse (Rutgers - Management & Labor) have just published a significant new empirical study of the impact of disability on employment. The article is Are Workers with Disabilities More Likely to be Displaced?, and unfortunately their answer is "yes". The article is published at International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 27(4), pp. 1550-1579, 2016; here's the abstract:

The literature on employment and disability has been relatively silent regarding the job loss experience of persons with disabilities. We document the gap in job displacement rates across disability status in the United States over the 2007–2013 period using data from the 2010, 2012 and 2014 Displaced Worker Supplements of the Current Population Survey. We find that men and women with disabilities are, respectively, 75 and 89% more likely to experience an involuntary job loss than men and women without disabilities in the United States over the 2007–2013 period, with gaps in displacement rates of eight and seven percentage points for men and women, respectively. A significant gap is found in most occupation-education subsamples. Using a logit decomposition, we find that differences in observable characteristics do not explain the gap in the job loss rate across disability status. Longitudinal tests following workers over a one-year period point to a causal effect of disability on the likelihood of displacement. While the disability gap may be due to unobservable characteristics, job mismatch and employer discrimination are also possible explanations, highlighting the potential importance of employer and public policies in improving the job security of workers with disabilities.

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June 21, 2017 in Disability, Employment Discrimination | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Marvin Kaplan to be Nominated to NLRB

NLRBAs predicted, Marvin Kaplan will be nominated as a member of the NLRB.  At the moment, Kaplan is counsel at the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. especially given his previous Capitol Hill experience as counsel for the House Workforce and Education Committee, I would expect his nomination to come relatively quickly, producing a 2-2 political split on the Board (of course, most cases will be heard by a randomly selected 3-member panel).

Stay tuned.

-Jeff Hirsch

June 20, 2017 in Labor and Employment News | Permalink | Comments (1)