NLRA Allows Collective Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled that arbitration agreements containing provisions barring class or collective action do not violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Additionally, the NLRB ruled that an employer may legally terminate the employment of an employee who refuses to sign an arbitration agreement with class or collective action waivers included in its language. The ruling affirms existing precedent regarding arbitration agreements, although it also departs from precedent in allowing such an agreement to be considered valid, even when it was distributed in response to a collective action it was attempting to halt. Continue reading “NLRA Allows Collective Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements”

NLRB Allows Employers to Restrict Employees’ Email

In a recent ruling, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reversed a 2014 decision that gave employees the presumptive right to use their employer’s email system for non-work-related purposes during nonworking time. In the new decision, the NLRB instead ruled that employers retained the right to restrict employee use of an employer’s email system, so long as it did so on a nondiscriminatory basis. This could have a significant impact on employees’ ability to organize for labor purposes.

The new ruling, Caesars Entertainment dba Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, the NLRB considered a case where employees were using their employer’s email system when not working to organize for labor purposes. While employers undeniably have a right to control their own property, including their company’s email systems, employees also undeniably have a right under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to communicate for labor organizing. The question is whether the employer’s property right or the employees’ labor rights takes precedence.

Previously, in 2014’s Purple Communications, Inc., the NLRB ruled that an employee who is given access to an employer’s email system has a presumptive right to use that system for labor organizing purposes protected by Section 7 of the NLRA, provided they do not do it during work hours. In the new decision, this was reversed, allowing employers to deny employee access to the email system for labor purposes, provided they do not discriminate in doing so. The only exception to this rule is if there is no other available means for employees to reasonably conduct Section 7 protected activity, but this is a very narrow exception.

               If you are looking into unionizing, or you already have a union and are in a dispute with your employer, give the Law Offices of Steve Sack a call. Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer who has considerable experience in handling the many aspects of labor and employment law. To schedule a consultation with New York City employment lawyer Steve Mitchell Sack, call (917) 371-8000.

Company Violated ADA By Firing Man With Vision Problems

The United States District Court of Maryland has ruled that an employer violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when he was dismissed due to vision problems. The vision problems were caused by a benign brain tumor for which the employee was seeking medical treatment. The employer argued the condition didn’t legally constitute a disability. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) disagreed, and the District Court affirmed the EEOC’s decision. Continue reading “Company Violated ADA By Firing Man With Vision Problems”

Five Things to Know About Workplace Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is an unpleasant, but unfortunately common, part of the modern workplace. Men and women alike must deal with coworkers and superiors who do not respect their boundaries and see no problem in using their position to pressure others with improper behavior. However, there are steps you can take if you have been the victim of sexual harassment, and knowing your rights can help protect you, or at least redress the harm you’ve suffered. Continue reading “Five Things to Know About Workplace Sexual Harassment”

Federal Appeals Court Permits Ban on Secondary Boycotts

The Ninth Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals has affirmed a ruling from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that stated that secondary boycotts are not constitutionally protected as free speech. This follows similar rulings from the DC Circuit and Second Circuit, both of which have also refuted arguments saying that said that secondary boycotts should qualify as free speech. This is seen as a blow to labor organizers, who have long tried to argue for the constitutionality of secondary boycotts, with little success. Continue reading “Federal Appeals Court Permits Ban on Secondary Boycotts”

Four Common Kinds of Employer Retaliation

It is illegal under the New York Human Rights Law for an employer in New York State to discriminate against an employee on the basis of race, sex, creed, color, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, marital status, domestic violence victim status, military status, criminal or arrest record, or predisposing genetic information. It is also illegal to retaliate against an employee for making a complaint, either to their employer or to the government, based on discrimination they experience or observe. However, not all forms of retaliation are easy to spot. Here’s just a handful of ways an employee can be retaliated against by their employer:

Being fired or having pay cut

By far one of the most obvious forms of retaliation, an employer accused of discriminating against their employees may simply decide to get rid of the employee who complained about them. Alternately, they may decide to punish an employee by cutting their pay. Obviously, this can have severe economic consequences, and sometimes simply wielding the threat of a firing or a pay cut can be enough to stifle would-be complainants.

Suffering abuse or harassment

Another of the more obvious forms of retaliation, an employer who is displeased with an employee complaint can simply choose to berate, harass, intimidate, or even assault the complaining employee. While, again, these are all illegal, an employer who is already discriminating against their employees may be willing to commit illegal acts to cover up other illegal acts. The goal in harassing or abusing complainants is to either get them to drop their complaints, or to get them to leave the company on their own volition, which would deprive them of any benefits they might otherwise get for having their job terminated.

Getting passed over for promotions or raises

Just as victims of employment discrimination might find their opportunities for advancement within their company cut off, so too might people who complain about discrimination find themselves unable to get raises or promotions, despite the work they put in or the success they have at their job. It becomes a way of quietly smothering a person out of the job, by making it impossible to advance a career. This can be more difficult to prove as people get passed over for raises and promotions all the time, for reasons that have nothing to do with employee retaliation.

Negative employee reviews

An increasingly common way for employers to retaliate against employees who complain about discrimination is to give them bad performance reviews. Employees who previously excelled in their job may find their reviews becoming worse, even if they haven’t changed anything else about their work habits or attitude. The reviews may say they “don’t take direction well,” or that they’re “not a team player,” or that they “lack emotional intelligence.”

If you have been discriminated against by your employer, or have suffered retaliation for complaining about discrimination by your employer, you seek the guidance of an experienced New York employment lawyer who can protect your legal rights and advocate on your behalf during the legal process. Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer with forty years of experience in handling the many aspects of employment law. To schedule an appointment with New York City employment lawyer Steve Mitchell Sack, call (917) 371-8000.

The Scourge of Misclassified Employees

Under federal law, there are two primary kinds of paid workers: employees, and independent contractors. And whether intentionally or accidentally, employers are mixing up the two, to the detriment of their own workers. Being misclassified can have major financial and legal implications to an employee, and it’s important to know what to do if you think you’ve been misclassified. Continue reading “The Scourge of Misclassified Employees”

What is the “Right to Work?”

When people talk about labor law and unionization, one of the arguments that often comes up is about the so-called “right to work.” It’s often brought up as one of the reasons not to unionize, and “right to work” legislation has been passed in many states throughout the country. But what, exactly, is the “right to work,” and why do union organizers hate it so much? Continue reading “What is the “Right to Work?””

When Employment Discrimination Gets Sneaky

When people think of employment discrimination, whether based on gender, race, age, sexuality or disability, they usually have a specific picture of what that looks like. They imagine bigoted tirades or inappropriate physical contact, or managers or executives outright declaring their refusal to treat certain kinds of people as equals. That said, with employers now more conscious of lawsuits than ever, discrimination can often take more subtle forms. Continue reading “When Employment Discrimination Gets Sneaky”

Can My Employer Really Look at My Credit History?

When people think about what an employer might examine to evaluate their employees, they think of things like their resume or curriculum vitae, their references, their criminal background check or even how they dress. However, many employers now add an additional step to their employee evaluation process: a credit check. Most people may be surprised to discover an employer can do this, and they’re probably curious as to why. Continue reading “Can My Employer Really Look at My Credit History?”