A new law, known as the Speak Out Act, will make it illegal for employers to put nondisclosure clauses or non-disparagement clauses in employment contracts. This will make it far harder for employers to silence employees who try to blow the whistle on labor or employment law violations. It will also limit the ability of employers to silence employees who are the victims of discrimination or harassment on the job.
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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has recently announced that it is considering a ban on non-compete clauses for employment contracts across the country. The rule, if accepted, would make it illegal for employers to require employees to sign non-compete agreements as part of their terms of employment. The rule is meant to help many employees who often struggle to find work as a result of these restrictive agreements.
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In a recent complaint before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Activision Blizzard was found to have illegally retaliated against unionized workers. The company was found to have withheld raises from unionized workers that were granted to non-unionized workers, which the NLRB found constituted illegal retaliation. Activision Blizzard, for its part, denies that it engaged in any wrongdoing, and says it was merely following the law by not granting raises during a labor dispute.
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Suffice it to say that many employers are not fond of labor unions, and some businesses will go to extreme (and sometimes illegal) efforts to prevent a union from being organized among their employees. These tactics range from the surprisingly subtle to the absurdly overt. Here are some of the most common tactics employers use to try to keep employees from organizing unions:
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By far the most common type of employment in the United States is what is known as at-will employment. In fact, it is estimated that nearly three quarters of all employees in the U.S. are considered to be at-will employees. But what does it mean for someone to be employed at-will, and why might that matter for you?
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It is increasingly common for employers to put arbitration clauses in their employees’ contracts. Unfortunately, many employees sign these contracts without understanding what they mean, unintentionally trapping themselves in a potentially troublesome legal arrangement. So what is an arbitration clause, and how can it affect you when it is in your employment contract?
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In the past few months, labor unions have seen significant growth, with major employers like Amazon and Starbucks seeing their employees begin to unionize. Though they have worked hard to discourage this trend, the increase in unionization shows just how beneficial organizing a union can be. Here are just some of the potential benefits of unionizing your workplace:
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The CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, has said that his company would not be able to provide expanded benefits to unionized employees, if they were to increase the benefits for workers in the future. This statement has been described as an “indefensible threat” from Schultz by labor organizers who are working to form unions at Starbucks locations around the country. This comes on the heels of several new Starbucks stores having voted to form unions, with as many as 216 stores now being targeted by labor organizers.
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In a first for the company, an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island has voted to unionize their workplace, beginning the formal process that would lead to collective bargaining and a union contract. The union election was held on Friday, April 1, where a majority of the employees at the warehouse voted to unionize. This is seen as a major victory for organizers, who had spent years trying to form a union at the location, despite serious efforts by Amazon to impede the process.
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The tactic of going on strike is one of the oldest, and most famous, strategies used by the labor movement. Through careful organization, strikes have been used to secure better wages and working conditions for workers across the United States. However, striking is not always legal, and it is important to know when a strike is protected by the law, and when it is not. Continue reading “When Can Employees Legally Go on Strike?”