Labor union members have been forced for many years to prove bad faith interest when seeking to make claims against their own unions for failure to represent them properly. That has now changed based on an October 24, 2018 Memorandum from General Counsel, Peter Robb (Trump appointee) of the National Labor Relations Boards (NLRB – the federal labor law enforcement agency). Claims of negligence against unions will now be easier because the union will be presumptively liable if workers’ grievances are not properly processed. Unions are currently already facing declines in memberships and f
Last week, the Department of Justice submitted a brief to the United States Supreme Court arguing that Title VII does not prohibit discrimination against transgender employees. The DOJ argued that the protection against “sex” discrimination does not apply to gender identity. Importantly, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has not changed its position accordingly, and therefore the EEOC still considers transgender employees to be protected from discrimination.
A New York employee who worked for the NYS Insurance Fund for many years allegedly experienced discrimination and a hostile work environment based on the fact that he was gay and had a disability. The employee complained of discrimination and alleged that following his complaints he was retaliated against. On remand from the Second Circuit, the district court dismissed the employee’s Title VII discrimination claims because he failed to allege that he suffered an adverse employment action based on his sexual orientation. The court found that although he alleged another employee emailed f
NYS issued its final guidance on the new sexual harassment policy and training requirements in effect for all New York employers. The state clarified that October 9, 2018 remains the deadline by which all employers must adopt a written sexual harassment policy and an anti-harassment training program. The state has issued model language and training documents for employers that need assistance developing those documents.
Employees will pay more of their paycheck towards the Paid Family Leave benefit program in 2019 - 0.153% of gross wages up to a yearly maximum of $107.97 (up from 0.126%/$85.56 in 2018). Moreover, as per the original provisions of the Paid Family Leave law, employees will be permitted to take up to 10 weeks of paid family leave in 2019, and receive 55% of their average weekly wage, up to a maximum of $746.41.
In April, we wrote about new steps New York State is taking to prevent harassment in the workplace, including requiring New York employers to comply with policy and training requirements.
Earlier this month, a New York Federal Court magistrate recommended conditional certification of a class of Lululemon employees who allege they were expected to take yoga classes at studios to promote Lululemon apparel, and perform other work related tasks off the clock. Lululemon paid the fee for the classes but did not pay the employees to attend, calling it “community work.” The employees allege they spent approximately five hours each week in fitness classes and another five hours per week performing other tasks.
Employers with retirement plans subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) often seek to reduce their potential class action liability for breach of fiduciary duty claims by including mandatory arbitration clauses in employment agreements. University of Southern California (USC) workers challenged the school's management of its plans in federal court several years ago, despite the arbitration clauses in their agreement.
This year, Governor Cuomo signed a law making changes to the Taylor Law to strengthen public unions. The Taylor Law, officially the Public Employees Fair Employment Act, defines the rights and limitations for public employees in New York. The major changes to the existing law include the following:
The US Supreme Court recently upheld mandatory arbitration clauses in employment contracts that waived an employee’s right to bring class or collective actions.
YOUR ASSISTANCE IS NEEDED! Please e-mail your senators to OPPOSE S. 3220 <http://msg.shrm.org/site/R?i=MTjvtqw_LsVHXyHx4E3oZw> because it would significantly restrict the way employers of all sizes compensate their employees.
The U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on S. 3220 <http://msg.shrm.org/site/R?i=RtT7Sk0m8Jd81Vmze41gYQ> , the so-called "Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA)," during the week of June 4-8. If enacted, the bill would:
* significantly restrict the factors HR professionals use to compensate their employees,
* authorize the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Labor to collect wage information from employers, and
* encourage employees to publicly disclose their colleagues' wages.
Please Take This Action:
Write your U.S. Senators using SHRM's HRVoice program by following these steps:
1. Log onto the SHRM HRVoice Advocacy Action Center by clicking HERE <http://msg.shrm.org/site/R?i=QDYTTmdd8f2fWjP-HZhnFg>
2. Personalize your message with your own story
3. Include your home mailing address.
HR professionals who manage compensation use their professional judgment to consider a number of legitimate factors in creating fair and equitable compensation systems. These include experience, profitability, merit, productivity, prior salary history and location. But the PFA would allow the Federal government to second-guess employer pay practices in three primary ways. The PFA would:
1. Restrict employer flexibility in pay decisions – The PFA would effectively prohibit employers from using many legitimate factors to compensate their employees, including professional experience, education, training, employer need, local labor market rates, hazard pay, shift differentials and the profitability of the organization. The PFA would permit employers to base pay decisions only on production, merit and seniority.
2. Require collection of employer wage data – The PFA would authorize the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Labor to collect compensation data from compensation managers.
3. Reduce employee privacy – The PFA would effectively encourage employees to discuss or publicize their co-workers' wages by preventing employer retaliation against an individual who publicly discloses the wages of other employees.
Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) introduced S. 3220, the Paycheck Fairness Act, on May 22, 2012. The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, but it has not been the subject of a hearing or markup during the current Congress. The Senate plans to vote on S. 3220 during the week of June 4-8.
SHRM and its membership are committed to preventing and resolving any form of workplace discrimination, including pay disparities between women and men. SHRM strongly supports the two federal laws that already protect employees from gender-based pay inequity: (1) Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964 and (2) the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA). The proposed Paycheck Fairness Act would amend the Equal Pay Act, which is part of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.
SHRM believes that compensation programs should be designed to ensure fair treatment of employees, but should be determined by the market and employer needs, not by the government. Instead, SHRM encourages organizations of all sizes to regularly perform compensation or job evaluation audits to ensure such systems do not discriminate based on gender in order to comply with current federal law.
SHRM believes the Paycheck Fairness Act, however well-intentioned, would be an unnecessary expansion of the Equal Pay Act. By significantly restricting the factors used in setting compensation, the Paycheck Fairness Act would threaten the tools that HR professionals use to reward and retain their employees. The bill could lead to employers cutting back on incentive pay programs, because of the pay disparities between employees that would naturally result. The bill would also have a negative impact on employee privacy by encouraging employees to publicize their colleagues' wages.
Should you have any questions regarding the Paycheck Fairness Act, please contact Michael Layman, SHRM's Government Relations Senior Associate, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you encounter any problems with the advocacy site, please contact David Lusk, SHRM's Senior Associate, Member Advocacy, at 703-535-6158.