New EEOC Guidance Allows Employees to Sue For COVID-19 Retaliation

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.

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Four Types of Concerted Activity Protected Under the NLRA

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protects individuals engaged in “protected concerted activity,” allowing them to legally fight for increased pay, better benefits, and improved working conditions. This concerted activity is essential for labor organizing, and thus these protections are a cornerstone of labor law. Here are five common examples of protected concerted activity, as defined by the NLRA: Continue reading “Four Types of Concerted Activity Protected Under the NLRA”

What is Retaliation in Discrimination Law?

Anti-discrimination laws, like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act, prohibit employers from discriminating against their employees due to reasons such as race, gender, color, creed, national origin, and disability status. What many people do not know, however, is that these protections also extend to people who are retaliated against for reporting discrimination. But what is retaliation in the context of discrimination law, and why is it protected against? Continue reading “What is Retaliation in Discrimination Law?”

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”