News & Commentary

September 27, 2016

Jon Weinberg

Jon Weinberg is a student at Harvard Law School.

Last night’s presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump featured discussions of jobs, labor and other topics related to labor and employment law.  CNN has a general summary, while Lexology published a summary for employers.  The Detroit Free Press reports on how how the United Auto Workers and Ford fact-checked Mr. Trump on jobs-related claims in real time via Twitter.

The U.S. Department of Labor is bringing suit against one major American employer, and conducting a comprehensive investigation into the practices of another.  First, in a move that will affect discussions of diversity in Silicon ValleyThe New York Times reports that the DOL “sued Palantir Technologies, a prominent data analytics start-up, claiming systemic discrimination against Asian job applicants.”  The DOL “claimed that Palantir’s hiring processes for software engineering positions placed Asians at a disadvantage.  Qualified Asian candidates were routinely eliminated during the résumé screening and telephone interview process, the government said.  The company also relied on an employee referral system that favored non-Asian candidates.”  Second, Reuters notes that “Secretary Thomas Perez on Monday pledged to conduct a ‘top-to-bottom’ review of all cases, complaints and other alleged violations that the department has received concerning Wells Fargo in recent years.”  NPR notes that some former Wells Fargo employees have brought a class action lawsuit, alleging they were punished for not breaking the law.  Wells Fargo is facing fallout from the “creation of millions of secret, unauthorized bank accounts.”

The legal battle over representation of workers at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant continues.  According to a Reuters report in Fortune, Volkswagen “earlier this month brought a case in a Washington, D.C.-based federal appeals court seeking to overturn a vote by a group of skilled trade workers at its Chattanooga, Tennessee, assembly plant to join the United Auto Workers (UAW).”  Last year, skill maintenance workers at the plant voted to unionize, but Volkswagen now claims that the standard for unions organize smaller groups of workers within plants or companies is vague and difficult to apply.  Every appeals court to consider the issue has upheld the NLRB’s rule.  Notably, “nearly a dozen labor lawyers, union officials and legal experts told Reuters that Volkswagen is likely to lose its closely-watched case in light of the recent appeals court decisions.”

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