City, county and state governments throughout the United States often enact measures to protect or promote favored business groups. The City of Portland’s efforts to protect the cab companies through ordinances limiting the rates and services of other businesses that transport individuals within the metro area such as airport limos, Uber and Lyft recently received judicial approval from the Ninth Circuit in Speed’s Auto Servs. Group v. City of Portland, 2017 U.S. App Lexis 5551 … Read more
Apr 3, 2017
A recent decision from our federal appeals court ruled that drivers of the Yellow Cab Company in Phoenix, Arizona are not employees of the cab company but, instead, are independent contractors who are not entitled to the minimum wages required by either Arizona law or the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The decision was issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirming a trial court decision issued by … Read more
Mar 7, 2017
The Oregon Supreme Court has just ruled that a City Council or other government body can be punished for committing an unfair labor practice if one of its members criticizes the public employee unions to which the city’s employees belong.
In AFSCME Council 75 v. City of Lebanon, 360 Or 809 (2017) the Court held that the City could be sanctioned for an unfair labor practice if one member of the Council, in a letter … Read more
Feb 9, 2017
Mandated Exceptions to Confidentiality Provisions in Employee Agreements; The Government’s Campaign to Promote the Snitch
Employers often insist that their employees sign written agreements promising not to disclose confidential information concerning their employer to anyone during and following their employment. Of course such agreements frustrate governmental agencies which want to encourage employees to complain to them.
Thus, federal agencies are now invalidating and refusing to recognize employee confidentiality agreements which do not explicitly acknowledge and alert the employee of their right to file a charge or complaint against the employer … Read more
Jul 19, 2016
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued new rules governing overtime pay which will automatically extend eligibility for overtime pay to an estimated 4.2 million workers. Under the new rules, which will take effect on December 1, 2016, most salaried workers earning less than $913.00 a week ($47,476.00 annually) will be entitled to collect overtime pay. This newly prescribed salary level is more than double the current amount ($455.00 per week or $23,660.00 per … Read more
Jun 28, 2016
Beginning July 1, 2016 Oregon has two different minimum wage rates depending on where in the state an employee works. Here is the link to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (“BOLI”) summary of which minimum wage rate must be paid where in Oregon.
May 24, 2016
No one should gratuitously insult anyone else. However, if each of us arbitrarily decide to create new meanings for any word, contrary to an accepted meaning, or to create new words unknown to everyone around us, and government then punishes anyone who does not use our subjectively created devised vocabulary as we’ve chosen to define it, the language will ultimately descend into a subjectively chaotic babble. The purpose of language is to communicate, not to … Read more
May 10, 2016
In Graziadio v. Culinary Inst. of America, 216 U.S. App. LEXIS 4861 (2nd Cir. 2016) the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that individuals can be held personally liable for violations of the federal Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). The court specifically held that the defendant’s Human Resources Director could be adjudged personally liable for the employer’s alleged violations of the FMLA because the HR Director was also arguably an “employer” … Read more
Mar 1, 2016
When Administrative Agencies Break the Laws They Enforce Because Even They Don’t Know What They Mean – What Good Is Their “Expertise”?
Many laws give authority to administrative agencies to actually interpret and enforce particular laws. For instance, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) is empowered to interpret and to enforce federal laws prohibiting wrongful discrimination in employment. The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) is similarly responsible for the interpretation and enforcement of federal labor laws.
Agencies such as the EEOC and the NLRB often issue interpretive guidelines. Those guidelines are supposed to explain what the specific … Read more
Jan 28, 2016
In a blog post earlier this week we highlighted a recent Oregon Supreme Court decision which held that taxi cab drivers are employees, not independent contractors, of the cab companies they work with. We suggested that this holding implicitly threatened the business models on which companies such as Uber, Lyft and similar enterprises in the emerging “sharing economy” have grown. A recent article in the ABA Journal concerning the recently announced settlement of a California … Read more