Labor & Employment Law Practice Group Podcast Ronald E. Meisburg November 30, 2016
Ronald Meisburg, former National Labor Relations Board Member and General Counsel, joined us to discuss recent updates to joint employment law. Joint Employment is defined under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Workers Protection Act as a form of employment that “exists when an employee is employed by two (or more) employers such that the employers are responsible, both individually and jointly, to the employee for compliance with a statute.”
This issue has risen to the forefront of labor law as President Obama’s Department of Labor has become more aggressive in his last year and as businesses grapple with the coming of a new administration.
Litigation and Labor & Employment Practice Groups Podcast
- Hon. Ronald Meisburg, Special Counsel, Hunton & Williams
In May, the Department of Labor announced a new overtime regulation, which would require all employers to pay overtime to their salaried employees who make under $47,476 annually. The rule was set to take effect on December 1, 2016. However, 21 states filed suit against the federal government claiming that the rule violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and states’ rights by increasing the overtime threshold, which was $23,660 under the FLSA, so drastically and by setting automatic increases to the threshold every three years. The states argue the rule will decrease full-time employment while increasing unemployment and will burden state governments unlawfully under the 10th Amendment by forcing them to conform to the new regulations. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a coalition of business groups also filed their own suit against the law. The cases were consolidated.
On November 16, Judge Mazzant of the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas heard the states' motion for a preliminary injunction to temporarily block the rule. On November 22, Judge Mazzant granted the states’ motion and issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the Department of Labor from implementing and enforcing the new rule. Solicitor General Lawrence VanDyke, Michael Hancock of Cohen Milstein, and Jesse Panuccio of Foley & Larner LLP joined us to discuss the court's ruling and the future of the overtime rule under the new administration.
2016 National Lawyers Convention
- Mr. Lawrence Van Dyke, Solicitor General of Nevada
- D. Michael Hancock, Of Counsel, Cohen Milstein
- Jesse Panuccio, Partner, Foley & Lardner LLP
The “gig" or “on demand" economy may be the fastest growing segment of our economy, with 22.4 million consumers spending $56.6 billion annually. By 2020, according to some studies, 7.6 million Americans will be working as independent contractors in the gig economy. At the same time, however, the U.S. Department of Labor has narrowed standards for classifying workers as independent contractors, and entered enforcement partnerships with 30 States looking to find misclassified independent contractors in order to increase workers' compensation, unemployment and employment tax revenue. A battle has begun between regulators and entrepreneurs, between independent contractor and employee status. This panel will explore who should win, who will win, and whether there is a third way – creating a new legal category, the “independent worker," for those who occupy the grey area between employee and independent contractor.
This panel was held on November 17, 2016, during the 2016 National Lawyers Convention in Washington, DC.
Labor & Employment Law: The Battle for the Gig Economy
1:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
- Hon. Mark Brnovich, Attorney General, Arizona
- Mr. Mark Floyd, Senior Director and Global Relations Lead, Uber Technologies Inc.
- Mr. Randel K. Johnson, Senior Vice President, Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- Mr. Bill Samuel, Director of Government Affairs, AFL-CIO
- Moderator: Hon. Thomas M. Hardiman, U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
The Mayflower Hotel Litigation Practice Group Podcast
The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), passed in 1925, generally requires courts to look favorably upon all arbitration agreements. In 2011, the Supreme Court upheld an arbitration agreement in a contract for mobile phone services that contained a class action ban. The court ruled that a state law that prevented the class action ban from being enforced was “an obstacle to the accomplishment of the FAA’s objectives.”
However, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, which authorizes the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to study arbitration agreements in consumer contracts and limit or prohibit them if doing so would be in the public interest and for the protection of consumers. In May 2016, the CFPB issued a proposed rule that would ban arbitration agreements that acted to prevent class action lawsuits and would further establish certain reporting requirements for other arbitrations that are filed between consumers and providers.
Our experts discussed this proposed rule, including the history that led us to this point and the potential impact it will have if it is finalized.
Labor & Employment Law Practice Group Podcast
- Prof. Jason Johnston, Henry L. and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law
- Thaddeus King, Officer, Consumer Banking,The Pew Charitable Trusts
Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association was anticipated to be one of the most significant cases of the Supreme Court’s term. In Friedrichs, the Court was considering whether to overrule its prior decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977), which held that public employees can be required to financially support union collective-bargaining with government, but not union political activities. In 2014, the Court sharply criticized Abood’s rationales in Harris v. Quinn, but stopped short of overruling it. Friedrichs was primed to be the final word on Abood’s continuing validity. However, with Justice Scalia’s passing in February, the Court deadlocked 4-4 in Friedrichs, and Abood remains the law of land.
This Teleforum explored the legal landscape post-Friedrichs. This includes the other cases challenging Abood that are pending in the lower courts, and the legal arguments for and against upholding Abood. It also includes cases that concern related matters, such as whether individuals can be required to affirmatively object to paying “non-chargeable” union dues under Abood, and whether individuals who are not full-fledged employees can be included in systems of exclusive representation in the wake of Harris.
- Scott A. Kronland, Partner, Altshuler Berzon LLP
- William Messenger, Staff Attorney, National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Inc.