News & Commentary

April 7, 2016

Yesterday, the New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor, Noam Scheiber, and Thomas Fuller, discussed their views about new family leave laws in California, New York, and companies across the country.  Kantor attributes the recent momentum for paid parental leave to demographics–more women in the workforce–and innovation in legislative methods for creating the funding for parental leave.  Scheiber points to organizing by the Working Families Party, movement by companies competing for high-earners, like Netflix and Google, fathers’ increasing desire to be involved in childrearing, and economics more broadly.

The Gawker intern lawsuit has come to a halt, JDSupra reports.  Two former unpaid interns for Gawker Media filed suit against the company in 2013, alleging the interns were actually employees entitled to minimum wage under the FLSA and New York law.  In 2014, the court conditionally certified a class under section 16(b) of the FLSA, and 17 other former interns opted into the plaintiff class.  Last week, the Southern District of New York denied class certification and granted summary judgment in favor of Gawker media.  The court found only one plaintiff had a timely FLSA claim, and the rest were barred.  Using a 2015 2nd Circuit case, the court concluded that the sole remaining plaintiff was properly classified as an unpaid intern.  You can read the opinion here.

Last week, the NLRB found Menards, the home improvement chain, guilty of multiple labor law violations.  According to Madison, Wisconsin’s Cap Times, the Office and Professional Employees International Union filed eight complaints against the chain, and the NLRB found merit in five.  Menard’s operates 287 stores in 14 states, and employes over 45,000 people.  Some of the activity in which Menards engaged includes a provision in the company’s manager agreement cutting a manager’s pay by 60% if the store unionizes on his watch; requiring employees to sign mandatory agreements banning them from engaging in “concerted activities”; and withholding merit pay if employees engage in union-related activities.

The Labor Department’s highly anticipated fiduciary rule will require brokers to act in their clients’ best financial interest when offering retirement investing advice.  According to Politico, the DOL softened its rule since it was proposed a year ago, simplifying the “best interest contract,” including a “grandfather” provision, and loosening previously proposed disclosure requirements for fees.

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