As I discussed on the blog earlier this year (and noted on my Twitter feed last week), the NLRB has gone ahead with its plan to consolidate Connecticut’s Region 34 Office with its Boston Region 1 office, effective today

Jonathan Kreisberg, who has served as Regional Director for Region 34 will now take over as head of Region 1. 

As of this morning, the Hartford Region still has its own website, but you can already see some changes in the map of coverage.  Officially, the Hartford office is now a subregion of the Boston office.

Kreisberg will speak about this and more at the CBA’s Labor & Employment Committee meeting this Thursday , December 13, at 5:30 p.m. at the Quinnipiack Club in New Haven.  You can sign up at the CBA’s website here.

At yesterday’s labor & employment law seminar, we had both Heidi Lane, a Prinicipal Attorney with the Connecticut Department of Labor, and Jonathan Kreisberg, Regional Director of the NLRB’s Hartford Office, speak to attendees about the latest developments under both Connecticut and federal law.

But for those who couldn’t make it, here are five notable things they discussed:

1) Paid Sick Leave adoption appears to be going smoothly.  According to Lane, there have only been two complaints filed since the start of the year.  Neither case went very far, either because of merit, or settlement.  But for those expecting a big influx in complaints, we haven’t seen it.  Yet.

2) The Connecticut Department of Labor has, quietly to some, been conducting many more investigations of individuals who may be abusing the unemployment compensation system.   As a result of cutting down on fraud, it is hoped that more money can be kept in the system for those who need it the most and to keep employer expenses down.  I provided a link to a report of this last week

3) Social media has, and will continue to, dominate the NLRB’s agenda.  Kriesberg highlighted two new Board cases on the subject that I discussed on this blog earlier this week.  He said another is in the pipeline that could be the first Board case to find an employer’s firing of an employee because of his or her Facebook post was illegal. 

4) What’s still on the NLRB’s horizons? More cases challenging at-will disclaimers and confidentiality policies.    Again, if you’ve been following these issues, this won’t come as a surprise, but for those who think the NLRB is somehow going to back down, Kreisberg’s words indicate the opposite.  He also indicated that the issue of mandatory class action waivers continued to be a focus of the NLRB and that he wouldn’t be surprised to see the issue at the U.S. Supreme Court as well.  

5) Kreisberg had no news to share on whether the proposed consolidation of the Hartford and Boston regional offices was still going forward (though he hinted he would be in charge of such a combined office) but indicated that he believed people in Connecticut wouldn’t notice any issue. 

My sincere thanks to both of them for taking the time to speak to the attendees. 

If you’re interested in commentary like this, we will be conducting a replay of our presentation for the southern Connecticut audience on October 18th in Norwalk.  Be sure to sign up (it’s free) and remember that breakfast AND lunch are included.

Last week the Connecticut Bar Association’s Labor & Employment Law Committee held an informational breakfast with the NLRB to discuss the NLRB’s proposal to make Hartford (Region 34), a subregion of the Boston office (Region 1). 

Nick Zaino, the CBA Committee chair, forwarded these highlights as to why the consolidation is very likely going to become reality:

  • The overall NLRB caseload and the number of NLRB employees is down by about 50% from the 1970s
  • A “normal size” region generally process between 700 and 1000 cases annually
  • There are a number of regions–approximately 10–that are considered small regions, including Hartford. Hartford currently processes around 450-500 cases
  • The NLRB has been evaluating the possibility of making smaller regions subregions as vacancies occur at the Regional Director level
  • The NLRB looked at consolidating the Boston and Hartford regions when the Boston Regional Director, Rosemary Pye, announced that she would retire
  • Under the proposal, Jonathan Kreisberg would become the Regional Director of the combined Boston and Hartford regions with his main office in Boston
  • There are no planned reductions in personnel in the Hartford NLRB office, although the Boston and Hartford offices could look to consolidate positions as vacancies occur through attrition
  • John Cotter will be the officer in charge of the Hartford office, but there will be no change to his job duties
  • There should not be any significant changes to the investigation or case handling process
  • The consolidation of the Boston and Hartford offices would not become effective until notice is published in the Federal Register
  • The anticipated date for the consolidation is October 1, 2012.

 

Is more change on the way to the CHRO?

This week, the Connecticut Law Tribune reported on some significant legislative proposals that continue to be floated. One of them would take the agency and move it to the Judicial Branch. 

Previous proposals would consolidate the agency with other ones but keep much of the same structure.

Suffice to say that this is something to keep an eye on over the closing weeks of the General Assembly. 

In the meantime, the agency continues to press forward with its public hearings and making do with the limited resources it has. It released an updated newsletter this week.

Unfortunately, the CHRO has yet to update their statistics on cases filed and processed.  No word yet on when (or if) that will occur.