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”

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”

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.

EEOC Issues Guidance on Returning to Work After Quarantine

With many states now beginning the process of winding down their quarantine, many businesses that have been shuttered are now looking at reopening and inviting their employees back to work. However, reopening after the pandemic carries with it many questions, including what obligation employers have with respect to protecting their employees. Fortunately, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued guidance, telling employers how best to reopen for business. Continue reading “EEOC Issues Guidance on Returning to Work After Quarantine”

NLRB Upholds Employee Cell Phone Ban

Many employers have attempted to initiate rules against employee cell phone use during work hours to curtail texting, using social media, or browsing the internet. Given the importance of the devices in most peoples’ day-to-day lives, courts have generally frowned upon broad bans on cell phone use. However, in at least one narrow case, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has been willing to approve an employee cell phone ban. Continue reading “NLRB Upholds Employee Cell Phone Ban”

Employers May Need to Reconsider Zero Tolerance Marijuana Policies

An article in the National Law Review has noted that employers in many states may want to reconsider their zero tolerance policies when it comes to marijuana use. For many years, even medical marijuana users with state-issued cards were being fired for testing positive for marijuana use, with few repercussions. However, as both medical and recreational use become more common, these stringent policies have become not only outdated, but potential liabilities for employers. Continue reading “Employers May Need to Reconsider Zero Tolerance Marijuana Policies”

Sixth Circuit Rules Some No-Fault Attendance Policies May Violate FMLA

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that some “no-fault” attendance policies may violate the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), depending on how they treat time taken off under the FMLA. While no-fault policies are seen in many places as preferable to divided sick and vacation days, their implementation may actually discourage people to take off time they’re legally entitled to. When that happens, an employer may be held liable. Continue reading “Sixth Circuit Rules Some No-Fault Attendance Policies May Violate FMLA”

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”

Lawsuit Claims Barnes and Noble “Purged” Older Workers

Barnes and Noble, the bookstore chain with locations around the country, is facing a possible class action lawsuit from employees who claim they were fired due to their age. The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court in Northern California, accuses the chain of deliberately purging the company of older workers in an attempt at cutting costs. The lawsuit blames the age discrimination in part on Elliott Management Corp., a hedge fund that took control of Barnes and Noble in August. Continue reading “Lawsuit Claims Barnes and Noble “Purged” Older Workers”