Kickstarter Employees Vote to Unionize

Employees at Kickstarter, the online crowdfunding website, have voted to form a labor union, becoming the first white-collar employees in the tech industry to do so. The union consists of a collection of accountants, content directors and software designers who sought better pay and working conditions from their employer. While the first of its kind, the Kickstarter union may be a sign of things to come in the tech industry. Continue reading “Kickstarter Employees Vote to Unionize”

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.

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”

The Right to Unionize

The Constitution of the United States guarantees its citizens the right to freely associate, and to peacefully assemble for political purposes. However, the modern labor union only dates to the 1930s, with the passage of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Until that point, labor unions were made illegal, and were often broken up by police, or sometimes even by the State or National Guard. Moreover, there are still many people who are not allowed to legally unionize, or who have their right to organize significantly restricted. How can this be true? Continue reading “The Right to Unionize”

The Supreme Court and The Debate Over Joint Employment

On January 8th of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition for certiorari to take another look at the case of DirecTV, LLC v. Hall. The issue in this case was whether or not the Fourth Circuit misinterpreted the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which ultimately decides minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, youth employment, and other employment issues. The FSLA issue the Supreme Court declined to hear is joint employment.
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New Act May Affect Commercial Goods Transportation Contractors in NY

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an act earlier this year that will have a significant impact on employers in the transportation industry by changing the tests used to determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. The act, titled the “New York State Commercial Goods Transportation Industry Fair Play Act,” takes effect on March 11 and amends the New York Labor Law.

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New Amendment to New York Labor Law Includes Underage Models as Protected Class

On October 21, 2013, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed amendments to the New York Labor Law, Art. 4-A, §§ 150-154, the laws governing employment of child performers. The new law went into effect on November 20, 2013. The amendments expand coverage of the law to include runway and print models under the age of 18, a significant feat since these youngsters previously were not afforded the same protections as young entertainers such as child actors.

As a result of the new law, employers of child models (as well as their parents or guardians) will have additional responsibilities and obligations. Some of the most notable include:

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