Ohio Supreme Court Upholds “Direct Observation” Drug Test

In a shocking twist that may be indicative of future developments, the Ohio Supreme Court has upheld the use of so-called “direct observation” drug tests by employers. This test is, in effect, a standard urine test used to detect the presence of drugs in a person’s system, except the employees are put under “direct observation” to make sure they did not swap out someone else’s urine. Employee rights advocates are outraged at the decision, which effectively makes it legal to watch an employee urinate when giving a sample for a drug test. Continue reading “Ohio Supreme Court Upholds “Direct Observation” Drug Test”

Five Potential Benefits of Forming a Labor Union

Unionization is an often-controversial subject, but also one with substantial practical implications. Many people reflexively oppose unionization precisely because of how politicized it can be, but for people working in certain jobs, a union can provide many potential benefits. Here are just five potential ways you can benefit from forming a labor union at your place of employment: Continue reading “Five Potential Benefits of Forming a Labor Union”

When Are Opioid Users Protected by Anti-Discrimination Law?

Addiction to opioids is a prevalent problem that affects people from every economic class and social background, and which remains a major public health problem. In addition to issues with physical and psychological health, people who are dealing with opioid addiction often face problems at work when their problems become revealed. To address these issues, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued guidance to employers and healthcare providers about potential implications of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on handling employees dealing with current or past opioid addiction. Continue reading “When Are Opioid Users Protected by Anti-Discrimination Law?”

NY Federal Court Strikes Down Rule Limiting COVID Paid Leave

A New York federal court has struck down a United States Department of Labor (DOL) rule that limited who could benefit from a law that granted paid leave due to the coronavirus. The court stated the DOL overstepped its authority by issuing the limitation and said that there was no basis in law for the rule it issued. Additionally, it struck down an interpretation of the law that expanded an exception for “health care providers,” and partially vacated other interpretations of the law which limited people’s ability to take time off. Continue reading “NY Federal Court Strikes Down Rule Limiting COVID Paid Leave”

Blocking Charge Rule Change Challenged by AFL-CIO

The AFL-CIO, the largest association of unions in the United States, is seeking to stop the implementation of a rule that would weaken the “blocking charge” rule currently in place. The AFL-CIO has claimed that the rule was passed in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), and that it was based on several factual errors that were not corrected. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which created the rule, is defending the new rule, stating that the factual errors were not material and that there was no APA violation. Continue reading “Blocking Charge Rule Change Challenged by AFL-CIO”

Heat Exposure During Summer Remains Issue Even During Coronavirus

The coronavirus is the single greatest health crisis facing the United States right now, but that does not mean that all the other potential health hazards suddenly went away. And even with people spending more time indoors to avoid exposure to COVID-19, heat exposure remains a serious hazard during the summer. Reflecting this reality, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued guidance to employers on how to protect their employees from heat exposure while also keeping them safe from COVID. Continue reading “Heat Exposure During Summer Remains Issue Even During Coronavirus”

Employers Can Discipline Newly Unionized Employees According to NLRB

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a ruling making it permissible for an employer to discipline newly unionized employees for violations of the company’s disciplinary policy. The ruling overturns a 2016 decision which made it illegal for an employer to discipline a newly unionized employee due to concerns of potential abuse. However, the Board has ruled that employers have no legal obligation to consider whether an employee has been recently unionized before disciplining them. Continue reading “Employers Can Discipline Newly Unionized Employees According to NLRB”

Mandatory Tests for Antibodies Not Permissible According to EEOC

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has clarified a rule with respect to employers testing their employees for COVID infection. While it is permissible for an employer to test if an employee is currently showing signs of coronavirus infection, it is not permissible to test if they have COVID antibodies. This is an important distinction to make as people begin to return to work and the coronavirus continues to be a threat, even in places like New York where infections have leveled off. Continue reading “Mandatory Tests for Antibodies Not Permissible According to EEOC”

No Union Organizing During Work Hours, Says NLRB

One of the most persistent problems in labor organizing has been determining when, and where, it is acceptable to organize a union. The rules regarding union organizing have fluctuated over the years, becoming more lenient or less lenient for organizers depending on the political climate. Unfortunately, those organizers have been dealt a significant blow by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), in a recent ruling that has prohibited all union organizing during work hours.

Union organizing refers to the practice of workers at a company agreeing to come together to form a labor union. To do this, union organizers must get a majority of the employees at a company to agree to unionize, typically through an election called by the organizers. Typically, organizers will try to speak to employees at work, since that is the easiest place to track them down and talk to them about forming a union. However, employers tend to discourage this sort of activity, and some have brought legal action against employees trying to organize a union during work hours or on their property.

Previously, there had been some wiggle room for organizers wishing to advocate on company property, such as allowing them to organize or petition in public areas like cafeterias or lobbies. However, the recent NLRB decision allows employers to completely ban discussion of unionization during work hours, regardless of where on the property it occurs. Moreover, the decision has reversed precedent that prohibited punishment for merely discussing the prospect of unionizing. As a result, it will become more difficult than ever to organize a union, a fact that employers have cheered but organizers have decried.

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 Steven 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 Steven Mitchell Sack, call (917) 371-8000.

Federal Judge Strikes Down Rule on Ambush Elections

A federal district court judge has struck down a rule that was set to become effective on June 1, 2020 that would have outlawed so-called “ambush elections” by labor organizers. The rule, put forward by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), would have imposed significant procedural restrictions on when and how union elections could be called. However, the judge struck down the rule, saying that it was passed without satisfying the “notice and comment” requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act. Continue reading “Federal Judge Strikes Down Rule on Ambush Elections”