Today’s News & Commentary — March 22, 2018
Despite its recent reversal of December’s Hy-Brand decision, the National Labor Relations Board is pushing forward with attempts to settle a case against McDonald’s which could have significant implications for joint-employer liability if allowed to go to trial. NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb successfully requested a sixty-day stay of the case in January to pursue settlement talks, arguing in part that the decision in Hy-Brand weakened the Board’s case against McDonald’s and made settlement more likely. After Hy-Brand was reversed last month, several Senators, including Elizabeth Warren and Corey Booker, argued in a letter to the Board that the trial should resume, as the reversal “eliminates whatever support may have existed for your efforts to settle the McDonald’s case so near to the trial’s close.” Nonetheless, Robb presented a proposed settlement on Monday which agreed that McDonald’s would pay $20 to $50,000 to several dozen workers but included neither an admission of liability on the part of McDonald’s and its franchisees nor a determination that McDonald’s is a joint-employer of franchise employees. The case, which is currently before a special court of the NLRB, alleges that McDonald’s retaliated against a group of workers for joining the national Fight for $15 movement. The proposed settlement will need the approval of the special court judge to become final.
The EEOC recently settled its first suit alleging that an employer’s parental leave policy disproportionately benefits women, reports JD Supra. The suit, filed in August 2017, alleged that Estée Lauder’s leave policy, which provides up to six weeks of paid leave for new mothers but only two weeks of paid for new fathers, discriminated against new fathers by providing them with fewer opportunities to bond with newborns. The terms of the recent settlement remain undisclosed.
Among the thousands of pages in an omnibus spending bill President Trump will need to sign by tomorrow to prevent a government shutdown is an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act which would exempt Minor League Baseball players from minimum wage requirements, allowing them to be paid as little as $1,100/month regardless of how many hours they devote to baseball-related activities. Forbes reports that the amendment is a result of a two-year lobbying effort by Major League Baseball, the organization which sets the salaries for Minor League players.
In international news, unions across France’s public sector began striking this week in response to President Emmanuel Macron’s move to overhaul French labor law. Macron aims to increase the use of contract workers, introduce more performance-related pay, and cut back on lifelong contracts for rail workers and civil servants. The strikes are set to last through the end of June.