News & Commentary

May 25, 2022

Fran Swanson

Fran Swanson is a student at Harvard Law School.

The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that employers cannot request that an employee-filed petition for union decertification be reinstated, Bloomberg Law reports.  The precise issue in the case, Geodis Logistics, was whether the National Labor Relations Act “precludes an employer from restarting the decertification process by requesting and securing reinstatement of its employees’ decertification petition after the employer settles and resolves unfair labor practice charges on which a Regional Director relied in dismissing the petition.” The Board held that allowing an employer to do so would be inconsistent with 9(c)’s structure, which creates “separate and distinct procedures” for employees and employers to ”petition for an election to test whether an incumbent union remains the unit employees’ bargaining representative.” To hold otherwise, the Board explained, would have allowed employers to unlawfully assist employees in petitioning for a decertification election, settle unfair labor practice charges related to that assistance, and then request that the petition be reinstated.

A strike authorization vote for hundreds of pilots at Alaska Air Group closes today, Reuters reports. Even if the authorization vote succeeds, pilots would still need the National Mediation Board to determine that the parties are at an impasse and that further bargaining wouldn’t be productive before a strike could be called. Negotiations on the new contract began in 2019, with pilots calling for better job security, flexible schedules, and higher wages with better benefits. Similar fights are occurring across the airline industry, with pilots pointing to low pay and grueling schedules, exacerbated by layoffs of thousands of pilots in 2020.

Workers returning to their old jobs in industries hard-hit by the pandemic after engaging in sex work face discrimination and harassment, Bloomberg Law reports. Attorneys representing workers in these claims report that some of their clients were told by their former employers that they could not return to their jobs because they had engaged in sex work. In another instance, a T-Mobile employee reported physical harassment to HR, only to be questioned by HR about her OnlyFans account. (Gwendolyn has written for the blog about other challenges that OnlyFans content creators face.) There is little caselaw in this area because claims are often settled, and the EEOC has not provided clear guidance on the application of Title VII to these claims. In the Title IX context, a federal court in Oregon partially denied a nursing school’s motion for summary judgment after a student who engaged in sex work was disciplined and told by faculty that it takes “classy women” to be nurses, which a jury could find was impermissible sex-stereotyping.  

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