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:
A surprising number of American workers do not realize they are entitled to family and medical leave under federal law. This law, known as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), protects many workers by giving them a certain amount of leave every year for family or medical issues. But what is the FMLA, and how does it help employees?
Amazon, the major shipping company, has been accused of engaging in unfair labor practices in its attempts to prevent the formation of unions at its workplaces. Among the major practices it has been accused of is the controversial use of “captive audience meetings” to discourage labor organizing. If challenges against the policy are ruled to be unlawful, it could have a severe impact on companies attempting to thwart unionization across the country.
Performance reviews are a regular part of almost every job in existence, with employees evaluated based on their ability to adequately perform their job duties. In theory, these are innocuous, a sensible part of ensuring employees are on task and doing their jobs. In reality, however, performance reviews can be used as a tool to deprive employees of their pay and benefits, and to conceal potentially illegal labor practices. Continue reading “How Do Employers Use Performance Reviews Against Employees?”
New York Governor Kathy Hochul has announced that, as of December 13, all public places in the state must require masks to allow people to enter. This mandate comes at the recommendation of the New York State Department of Health, which has noted a sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations throughout the state. The mask mandate affects everyone over the age of two, although businesses may require proof of vaccination in lieu of a mask.
Under a new law set to take effect next May, employers in New York State would be required to inform employees in advance if they intend to engage in electronic monitoring of their workforce. This law, S2628, will have a substantial effect on employers that use various technologies to monitor their employees’ electronic communications, who currently do not need to tell their employees if they do so. Employers who violate this law may find themselves subject to investigation and fines by the New York Attorney General’s (AG’s) office.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has just issued guidance, clarifying that employees can seek a legal remedy in the event they suffer retaliation for reporting COVID-19 related violations. This means that anyone who suffers employment discrimination for reporting employers that violate COVID-19 labor protections can file a complaint with the EEOC or pursue litigation in court, as appropriate. This guidance has upset some employers, who fear a wave of lawsuits for alleged COVID-19 retaliation.
A critical part of the process of unionizing is holding what is known as a union election. Without it, you cannot legally form a union in the United States, and you cannot move forward with negotiating with your employer collectively. But what exactly is a union election, and how do you go about holding one in your workplace?
The New York State Department of Human Rights (NYSDHR) has announced that it has stopped the policy of discontinuing complaints about labor and employment violations after the parties have reached a private settlement. Supporters of the change say that it will help to prevent future labor and employment abuses. However, critics of the new policy say that it will harm people’s ability to obtain private settlements, dragging out cases for months or years and encouraging more employers to go to trial.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced that it has begun the process to create an Emergency Temporary Standard that will require large employers to institute vaccination and testing procedures for COVID-19. The rule, if it successfully goes through the administrative process, would potentially result in mandatory vaccination for any affected companies, with weekly testing for anyone who cannot or will not be vaccinated. Early proposals for the rule also include potential fines for anyone who defies this mandate, as well as tax credits to help employers in complying with the new rule.