Today’s News & Commentary – April 26, 2019
The Eighth Circuit stayed further consideration of Horton v. Midwest Geriatric Management, LLC following the Supreme Court’s decision to take up Bostock and Zarda. Horton, like the aforementioned cases, concerns whether Title VII’s bar against discrimination because of sex extends to discrimination because of sexual orientation. Read Adrienne’s earlier summary of oral argument in Horton here.
Yesterday former Vice President Joe Biden announced his long-expected candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President. POLITICO reports that Biden can already count on the support of some heavyweights in organized labor. On Monday, he will be joined by United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard to formally launch his campaign at the union hall of Teamsters Local 249 in Pittsburgh. The New York Times characterizes Biden’s economic agenda as “populist” with a “focus on income inequality and workers’ rights.” In addition to supporting a $15 minimum wage, [h]e has called for a ban on noncompete agreements that prevent workers from taking jobs at competitors, and has advocated policies that would let workers discuss how much they are paid without retaliation [which the National Labor Relations Act already protects].” But Biden has also been widely criticized for his treatment in 1991 of sexual harassment victim Anita Hill and his inappropriate interactions with women, which many have said would not be tolerated in a workplace context. Payday Report also points out that Biden’s first official fundraiser last night was hosted by Steve Cozen, founder of union-avoidance law firm Cozen O’Connor. A headline from New York Magazine reads: “Biden Boasts Strong Support From Unions, Union Busters.”
James Hohmann at The Washington Post details the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s planned evolution from a primarily Republican-allied group to a more centrist institution. In recent years, the Chamber’s nearly exclusive support of Republican candidates, especially as the party increasingly embraces protectionism and restrictive immigration policies, has led to defection and dissatisfaction among some dues-paying member companies. The Chamber has now begun a “charm offensive” targeting Democrats on Capitol Hill, particularly freshman members who the organization sees as more moderate. As part of its strategic realignment, the Chamber will add new criteria to its candidate scorecard to make it easier for business-friendly Democrats to get higher ratings.
As Sejal reported on Wednesday, the two Google employees who organized last year’s walkout voiced concerns earlier this week that the company is retaliating against them. Bloomberg Law calls attention to a new NLRB complaint filed on behalf of a Google employee by labor law firm Levy Ratner against the company for alleged retaliation for protected concerted activity. Yesterday Google also announced a new set of policies to address worker concerns, including the establishment of a website for employees to submit complaints about workplace misconduct and a more expansive, Weingarten-like right to bring coworkers to investigatory interviews.