Fran Swanson

Fran Swanson is a student at Harvard Law School.

The National Labor Relations Board found merit in several charges filed by Amazon Labor Union over Amazon’s conduct in the leadup to the Staten Island election, the New York Times reports. Those charges include that Amazon threatened to withhold benefits from employees if the union vote succeeded and told employees they could be fired if they unionized and didn’t pay dues. Most significantly, the NLRB’s regional office in Brooklyn found merit in the charge that Amazon’s captive audience meetings—mandatory meetings in which employers attempt to dissuade employees from unionizing—violated the National Labor Relations Act. This follows General Counsel Abruzzo’s April memo to NLRB field offices announcing that she planned to urge the Board to reconsider precedent permitting these meetings, precedent she described as “at odds with fundamental labor-law principles” and “based on a fundamental misunderstanding of employers’ speech rights.” The memo argues that these meetings are unlawful under § 8(a)(1)’s prohibition on employer interference with employees’ choice of whether and how to exercise their § 7 rights.

A complaint issued against Starbucks by the NLRB’s regional office in Buffalo contained 29 unfair labor practice charges, CNBC reports. The complaint documents over 200 violations of the NLRA in the leadup to the vote to unionize a Buffalo Starbucks, the company’s first store to unionize. Those included “unprecedented and repeated” visits by high-ranking Starbucks officials who promised to increase benefits if employees voted against unionizing, threats and intimidation including surveillance and closing down area stores, and discriminatory enforcement of policies. In a statement, Starbucks Workers United said that “Starbucks will be held accountable for the union-busting minefield they forced workers to walk through in fighting for their right to organize.”

Disability rights advocates are pushing the federal government to address AI bias in hiring across industries, Bloomberg Law reports.  With as many as 83% of employers using some form of AI to screen or rank job candidates, EEOC Chair Charlotte Burrows says this is an area where “it might be helpful for us to give some assistance through guidance.” Advocates have urged the EEOC to use Commissioner charges to initiate targeted bias probes and have called for more data collection, both from the EEOC compelling disclosure and from DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance (which could request data from federal contractors). Disability discrimination through AI could take many forms, including “games” that test tasks for which people with disabilities are legally entitled to on-the-job accommodations. Urmila Janardan, a policy analyst at Upturn, explained that “[t]he farther a job evaluation strays from the essential functions of the job, the more likely it is to discriminate by disability.”

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