2019

End Forced Arbitration for Sexual Harassment. Then Do More.

End Forced Arbitration for Sexual Harassment. Then Do More.

November 14, 2018

By Terri Gerstein
NY Times Opinion

In the end, the most compelling reason for a company to foist arbitration on its work force is to avoid liability and public exposure that might result from a court case. But if a company wants to avoid liability, blocking workers from court isn’t the best way to do that. The answer is to create a fair and lawful workplace, the best possible workplace, for everyone who contributes to a company’s success and to give workers a voice. 

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Accenture Workers Petition to End $297 Million Border Patrol Contract

November 15, 2018

By Josh Eidelson
Bloomberg

Accenture employees are circulating a petition urging the company to cancel its contract to help the Trump administration recruit border patrol agents, the latest in a wave of recent technology-fueled protests by white-collar workers challenging potential collaboration with law enforcement.

“You’re seeing people taking collective action – not just for themselves, in relation to their own salary or hours or benefits, but they’re showing real solidarity,” said Harvard Law School fellow Terri Gerstein, former head of the New York attorney general’s labor bureau.

“They’re defining their working conditions to include what their work is ultimately used for,” she said. “People don’t want to just be a cog in something that they think is deeply wrong.”... Read more about Accenture Workers Petition to End $297 Million Border Patrol Contract

Trump May Soon Deal Yet Another Blow to Union Rights

Trump May Soon Deal Yet Another Blow to Union Rights

November 9, 2018

By Michelle Chen
The Nation

"Rolling back so-called “joint-employer” protections could undermine the Fight for 15 and other vital campaigns."

At stake is the joint-employer standard, where workers are technically employed by a subcontractor, but their working conditions are essentially controlled by the parent company to which they are assigned (in many cases today, so-called “permatemps” do virtually the same job as regular workers, with less pay and job security).

The Trump administration’s Labor Department and the Republican-dominated NLRB...

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Massachusetts Attorney General cites construction company 800K for illegal pay deductions.

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office cited a construction company for over $800K because of illegal deductions from workers’ pay. In its investigation of the case, the AG’s office learned that managers regularly took illegal deductions from employees’ weekly wages for tools, safety equipment, discipline, advances, and other purposes. The case referred to the AG’s office by the New England Regional Council of Carpenters.... Read more about Massachusetts Attorney General cites construction company 800K for illegal pay deductions.

LA County DA charges construction company with workers’ compensation fraud and underpayment of wages

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office charged the owners of a construction company with fraud resulting in at least $6M of losses to the State Compensation Insurance fund and with underpaying employees. The owners allegedly committed the following infractions: submitting altered payroll records in order to pay a lower workers’ compensation premium; making false and fraudulent...

Read more about LA County DA charges construction company with workers’ compensation fraud and underpayment of wages

California’s Attorney General submitted comments to the U.S. Transportation Department defending state meal and rest break laws

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation addressing a petition filed by the American Trucking Association regarding guaranteed meal and rest breaks for California workers. The comments urged the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to deny the association’s petition, which claims that California labor protections for truck drivers are preempted by federal law.

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The Kavanaugh Tilt: Conservative Justices Could Revamp Workplace Law

October 18, 2018

By Robert Iafolla
Bloomberg Law

Epic Systems may have also laid some of the groundwork for the court’s new conservative majority to continue narrowing the scope of federal labor law, scholars said. The court said in that ruling that ling or joining a class action doesn’t qualify as a joint action protected by the National Labor Relations Act.

But the Trump administration led a brief in Epic Systems suggesting that the NLRA’s safeguards for collective worker action only covers group conduct related to self-organization or collective bargaining. “That to me is the most serious and real area to think about an even more conservative Supreme Court changing the law,” Sharon Block, executive director of the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School, told Bloomberg Law. “In a world where 94 percent of the private sector isn’t engaged in activities related to collective bargaining, that would be a devastating development.”... Read more about The Kavanaugh Tilt: Conservative Justices Could Revamp Workplace Law

New York Attorney General settles case involving inappropriate use of non-compete agreements by payroll company.

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced a settlement with Reliance Star, a Long Island payroll processing firm, requiring the company to stop using non-compete agreements in relation to its employees. Reliance Star previously used such agreements routinely, regardless of an employee’s position, compensation, or exposure to confidential information. The company attempted to enforce the non-compete agreements against former employees by sending letters threatening litigation or commencing litigation (sometimes even against former employees who had not signed the relevant agreement). The settlement requires the company to stop using and enforcing non-compete agreements, discontinue all litigation related to non-competes, and to inform all affected employees from the last three years that their non-compete is no longer in effect.

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State and Local Enforcement: Stepping Up and Filling In on Workers’ Rights

October 25, 2018

by Sharon Block
OnLabor.org

Harvard Law School’s Labor and Worklife Program has launched the Project on State and Local Enforcement. The Project will partner with enforcement agencies, lawmakers, worker advocates, and others to fill a critical need in examining and strengthening innovative state and local actions and initiatives.  Specifically, the project will:... Read more about State and Local Enforcement: Stepping Up and Filling In on Workers’ Rights

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