It’s the middle of summer, and the presidential nominating conventions are only a
away as I write this.
I only have one comment on the election, and that is only because there is a
Hillary Clinton recently joined striking workers
outside the Trump Taj Mahal while touring
Atlantic City, NJ. UNITE HERE Local 54 has been
on strike since July 1, and I have not
investigated what issues led to the work
stoppage. I do not know if Clinton has, either,
but she used the strike as an opportunity to
criticize Donald Trump’s business practices.
It will be interesting to see how union
members, especially members of police unions,
vote in the election. Union membership has been on the decline for a long time,
government employees, but unions tend to be very active during elections and
tend to favor the
It is difficult to know Trump’s position on unions, except as they might apply to his business
enterprises. I doubt, however, that either candidate’s views on unions or labor laws will affect the
outcome of the election. Both candidates will blame the other’s party for our economic problems.
On the wage and hour front, a federal court in Alabama has ordered a trial to
determine if an
employee making well over $100,000 a year is entitled to overtime as an exempt “executive,
administrative, or professional” employee.
As I have said in this column many times, exemptions from overtime are based on
employee actually does, not how much money he or she makes.
Remember, when an employee seeks overtime pay, that employee usually tries to
duties look mundane and clerical.
If you have an employee you treat as exempt, make sure there is plenty of
evidence that he or
she regularly engages in the tasks of an executive (supervisor), administrator
(HR director), or
professional (lawyer, doctor, nurse).
NLRB still at it
The National Labor Relations Board recently ruled that a restaurant in Los
Angeles cannot ban
“union” buttons from the uniforms of its employees. While the board acknowledged that
circumstances may allow such restrictions (safety, for example), it continued to
make it difficult
for an employer to enforce bans on union buttons.
If your employees start wearing such buttons, seek legal advice before you take
any action, as
it could result in unfair labor practice charges. Generally, however, other
political ones, can be banned.
The NLRB is also preparing to start reporting alleged labor law violations by
contractors named by regional directors in unfair labor practice complaints.
While few drycleaners need to worry about this, it does show the extent to which
administration is taking the side of unions and employees over companies.
The reason for this reporting is to force employers to settle, even when they
have a good
defense, to avoid having their government contracts placed in jeopardy.
The concept of innocent until proven guilty seems to have been lost on the
once again, especially as it relates to employers. These strong-arm tactics are
on the rise, and
until employers start fighting charges instead of settling them, this trend will
Paid sick leave and higher minimum wage
Labor Secretary Thomas Perez has criticized Republicans in Congress for inaction
on a national
paid sick leave law, saying the U.S. is the only advanced nation in the world
that fails to provide
its citizens with basic workplace protections to manage personal health issues.
Many local governments have already adopted paid sick leave requirements, again
side that employees should be paid for not working.
We can expect paid sick leave to be a big issue if Congress and the White House
are occupied by
Already, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave
Act have created
a workplace environment where productivity and good working practices take a
back seat to other
considerations. Paying employees for not working at all is now the focus of
It appears that the Democratic party will include a $15 per hour minimum wage in
platform. It’s a shame that both parties in Congress seem to have no problem causing
to spend money without offering any help or ideas as to how to pay for it.
Raising taxes is not the answer because you have to make more money to pay more
in taxes. If
a small business does not increase its income, raising salaries means less money
for the business.
As you know, not all businesses are profitable, and sometimes profitable
businesses are just
getting by. Wiping out those meager profits is not a great idea.
That’s it for this month. Let’s hope, someday, I will have more positive things to report about
the state of the law.