News & Commentary

October 27, 2020

Zachary Boullt

Zachary Boullt is a student at Harvard Law School.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett has been confirmed to the Supreme Court. You can read OnLabor’s discussion of her history on workers’ issues on the Seventh Circuit here. You can read OnLabor’s discussion of her textualism as it relates to her Kleber decision here.

Bloomberg Law has received more information on the whistleblower complaint regarding the dispute between Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia and Janet Herold, the Department of Labor’s top West Coast litigator. Herold alleged in August that Scalia had ordered her transfer to a non-legal position in Chicago due to her wage-and-hour and worker misclassification work. New information shows that Trump’s Department of Labor has been heavily scrutinizing and sometimes revising her legal pleadings and filings to soften up the language or use a new legal test that the Department of Labor announced this year. In addition to the alleged Trump administration DOL dissatisfaction with her litigation strategy, new information also shows that Herold internally criticized the DOL’s proposed new rule regarding the classification of independent contractors as pro-business.

A union protest from July led by North Central Building Trades unions and United Auto Workers has just found success as the final construction steps for the Academy Chrysler in Kokomo, Indiana will be completed with union labor. The July protests erupted after the unions found out that the Academy Chrysler construction project was using non-local and non-union-labor, despite selling union-made vehicles and being located across the street from a union factory. A union representative also says the publicity from the protest effort has increased the amount of businesses in the Kokomo area seeking union contractors.

The National Treasury Employees Union has sued President Trump in response to an executive order that would allow Trump to recategorize policy-making employees in a way that would remove many of their employee protections. Under the executive order, federal agencies are to place any federal employees with policy-making jobs in this new category. The head of a civil service advisory council has already resigned in response to the rule, criticizing it as a way to require political loyalty of advisors. The union is asking that the D.C. District Court rule the order unlawful.

HP and Hewlett Packard Enterprises will collectively pay $1.45 million in back pay and interest to settle a pay discrimination lawsuit. The Department of Labor had alleged that a review of the companies’ records showed pay disparity between men and women in similar positions. 391 women will receive the back pay settlement. HP denies the pay discrimination allegations and says it agreed to the voluntary settlement to resolve the matter quickly.

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