News & Commentary

April 12, 2024

Esther Ritchin

Esther Ritchin is a student at Harvard Law School.

In today’s news and commentary, the EEOC weighs in on an anti-discrimination lawsuit against Workday, a rule expanding overtime protection moves closer to publication, and Amazon decreases spending on anti-union consultants.

On Tuesday, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a motion asking for leave to file an amicus brief in support of Derek Mobley’s lawsuit against Workday, a human resources and financial management software. Mobley is suing Workday alleging that their AI-based screening tools discriminate against applicants on the basis of race, age, and disability status. Workday’s defense has included claims that it is a technology company, and is therefore not subject to the same standards as employment agencies. The EEOC’s brief argues that “Workday is the type of intermediary that Congress meant federal anti-discrimination laws to cover.”

On Wednesday, the Office of Management and Budget concluded its review of a Department of Labor rule that would raise the exemption threshold for overtime eligibility under the Fair Labor Standards Act. While currently, salaried workers making roughly $35,568 or lower are owed overtime for any work above 40 hours per week, the new rule would raise that amount to about $55,000 or higher. Any work above 40 hours would be paid time-and-a-half, with exceptions for salaried workers in a “bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity.” The rule, which would expand overtime protection to about three million workers, can now be published by the Department of Labor.

In 2023, Amazon spent about $3.1 million on anti-union consultants, according to disclosures filed last week with the Department of Labor. While this figure only represents consultants, which doesn’t include in-house anti-union advocacy or legal advice aimed at dismantling union organizing efforts, it is a significant decrease from the $14.2 million the company spent in 2022. Amazon is facing multiple organizing efforts, including the Amazon Labor Union (ALU), which successfully and surprisingly organized workers at a warehouse in Staten Island, but has yet to successfully negotiate a contract. But both the ALU and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union have continued to attempt to unionize warehouses, and The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has been attempting to unionize Amazon’s subcontracted delivery drivers.

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