Since it is another snowy day here in Connecticut, it seems like another opportune time to post about some of the items worth reading and catching up on over the last few days.
- On Friday, President Obama announed three new executive orders that give broad power now to the Secretary of Labor. These orders involve federal contractors and not the general workforce. The World of Work blog has the details:
Economy in Government Contracting. Denies federal contractors reimbursement for funds spent on activities designed to persuade employees to join or to not join a union, such as printed materials, consultants or meetings (activities sometimes known as "union busting").
Notification of Employee Rights Under Federal Labor Laws. Requires all federal contracts to require contractors to post a notice informing employees that they have a right either to join or to not join a union. A prior order from President Bush, required contractors to post a notice informing employees that they had a right not to join a union.
Nondisplacement of Qualified Workers Under Service Contracts. Requires all federal contracts to include a provision requiring any contractor who assumes the contract from a previous contractor to retain that previous contractor’s qualified employees.
- The Point of Law forum picks up on the recent story of Connecticut’s Attorney General suggesting that AT&T be prohibited from laying off workers. The real question is whether this is a unique situation or whether other employers could face similar action if they engaged in layoffs.
- Despite the rhetoric surrounding the Employee Free Choice Act, union rolls in Connecticut actually grew from 15.6 to 16.9 percent of the workforce. However, what is unclear from these statistics is the reasons WHY the rolls grew. It is also too early to call this a trend but it is obvious that unions have at least stopped the constant drain.
- The Florida Employment Law Blog discusses the new Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and suggests that one effect of the claim is to allow those receiving retirement benefits to sue. It’s an interesting theory and we’ll have to see if courts interpret the law to allow for such claims.
The Act also provides an avenue for retired employees to sue their former employers years after separation for their lost pensions. In theory, each time a former employee receives a pension check, the amount of which may have been determined as the result of past discriminatory pay practices, a new statute of limitations period begins to run. These potential plaintiffs would have the right to have their pension benefits recalculated if they were determined in a discriminatory fashion. Accordingly, companies may face the threat of litigation from former employees whose employment relationship ended years ago.
- Finally, the Ohio Employer’s Law Blog has summarized various ways to avoid a lawsuit. As Jon is quick to note, "there is no sure-fire method to prevent a lawsuit from being filed", but these tips can provide a mental checklist for employers to consider to try to avoid litigation.