And it’s exhibit one to the wage and hour lawsuit that has just been filed against your company. The Department of Labor (DOL) has announced the release of its first smartphone app – a timesheet that allows employees to keep track of their work hours and calculate how much they are owed each workweek. With this app, English and Spanish speaking employees can track regular work hours, break times, and overtime hours not only for themselves but for others. The app is currently compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, but the DOL is exploring updates that could enable similar versions for other smartphone platforms and that would enable other pay features, such as the inclusion of tips, commissions, bonuses, deductions, holiday pay, pay for weekends, shift differentials, and pay for regular days of rest. For those employees who do not have a compatible smartphone, the DOL has a printable work hours calendar available for use that not only provides employees with a means on which to independently record their work hours but also a primer on what their employers may be doing wrong. Of course, the DOL’s number is included at the bottom.
The Sixth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals sitting in Cincinnati, yesterday upheld the conviction of two UAW union representatives accused of extortion in an extended strike at the General Motors assembly plant in Pontiac, Michigan. The court stated, “In the midst of the world’s current financial struggles, when the unemployment rate in this country fluctuates between 9 and 10 percent, it is somewhat laughable to argue that Douglas and Campbell did not demand a ‘thing of value’ when they demanded high-paying jobs for their cronies.” The two had insisted that GM hire two unqualified employees as a condition of ending a 87 day strike at the auto plant that had cost the company millions of dollars.
Lafe Solomon, the NLRB’s Acting General Counsel, has just issued a memorandum regarding “Effective Remedies in Organizing Campaigns.” We’ll leave it for you to decide whether this represents the labor law equivalent of Newton’s Third Law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton’s_laws_of_motion) or the administrative equivalent of “the Chicago way” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ScvAJG51V4). Either way, the announcement that the Board may seek remedies such as union access to employer’s premises, bulletin boards, and e-mail systems or “notice reading” (i.e., actually forcing a manager to read a Board notice of what the employer did wrong to affected employees) will generate some heated discussion in the labor law world. Moreover, Mr. Solomon has given us a reason to bring back the HR Song of the Week:
When I did my goodbye post, I didn’t have my new email address or phone number. They are: email@example.com and 423/424-2007. Hope everyone is doing well. I wish all of you an early happy holiday season.
The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) issued an opinion on December 6, 2010, holding that an employer did not violate Section 8(a)(2) and (1) of the National Labor Relations Act (i.e., rendering unlawful support to a labor organization) by entering into and maintaining a Letter of Agreement that set forth: (1) ground rules for union organizing; (2) procedures for voluntary recognition upon proof of majority support; and (3) substantive issues that collective bargaining would address if and when the employer recognized the union at the unorganized facility. While this decision is not surprising, it is still big news (at least in in the labor law world).
You know how you go to your favorite blog, and your regular blogger isn’t there. You ask, ”Where’s John?” “John no longer blogs here, I’m Steve.” And you’re thinking, “Hey, who’s this idiot? I like John.” But you still want your blog fix. And even though Steve doesn’t write his blog the same way you’re used to — like John — you still have the blog marked as a favorite, and you don’t want to have to go to a different blog. And even Steve feels kinda bad, because John trained him. John showed him how to use WordPress, where to find good links, who provides good reader comments — who doesn’t. Well, we’re Steve. What can we get ya?
Several readers have surprisingly noticed that there have been no posts on my blog this year. Some have even inquired about my well-being. One person asked if I had finally gone completely insane. The answer to that question was settled long ago, as regular readers of this blog surely know.
One year and 936 posts ago, I started The Word on Employment Law. It’s been an interesting year. I can’t say that I knew what I was getting into. I can’t say that I had a plan for the blog. I can’t say that I realized you can’t be as wordy with a blog post as most lawyers like to be. I can say that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my year of blogging.
I’ll be out and about next week. Just so you don’t forget me, there will be some oldie but goodie posts, one each day.
The Word on Employment Law was selected by Inter Alia as its “blog of the day” this past Friday, June 20. Obviously, I’m not above pointing this out. If you want to find a blog on virtually any substantive area of the law, go to Inter Alia. I’m pleased to be included.
So who am I, and what’s this all about?
I have practiced labor and employment law for over 33 years, most of that time with Miller & Martin, which has offices in Atlanta,
Chattanooga, and Nashville. Early on, I picked the employer’s side, since you really can’t work both sides of the street in this
area of the law. I have tried employment lawsuits, developed employment policies, handled sticky terminations including Reductions
in Force, and battled with unions.