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NLRB Abandons the Notice Posting Rule

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In our last post about the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) notice posting rule – or “Poster Rule,” which required most employers to post an 11” x 17” notice informing employees of their right under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to organize – we explained that the state of the rule was in flux due to a number of pending appeals. This week, the NLRB took the surprising step of dropping its efforts to defend the rule in court.  The Board declined to appeal two decisions by the federal courts of appeal which had struck down the rule: the first, in May 2013, holding that the rule violated the First Amendment, and the second, in June 2013, holding that the Board had no authority to make the rule in the first place.

NLRB’s Notice Posting Rule (Still) On Hold

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Whatever happened to that controversial National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) notice posting rule? You know the one. The one that requires most private sector employers to post a notice advising employees of their rights to organize and join unions. The one that the business community has aggressively opposed since 2011 when the rule was first announced. The one that was supposed to go into effect on April 30, 2012. 

The Interns Are Coming! Is Your Program Complying with Wage and Hour Law?

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Spring is just around the corner and your company may soon be gearing up to hire unpaid interns for the summer.  Hiring unpaid interns seems at first blush to be an attractive, symbiotic arrangement – the intern gets the proverbial “foot in the door” and the chance to obtain real-world work experience, and the hiring organization gets additional “free” labor for the summer.  Sounds like it might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship, doesn’t it?  Not so fast, cautions the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), which advises that most for-profit employers must pay their interns in accordance with wage and hour laws, except in certain narrow circumstances. 

Happy 20th Birthday to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The Family and Medical Leave Act

February 4, 2013 marked the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Right around that time, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced the following important developments:

Think You Are Paying Your Employees Correctly? Let's Find Out!


I recently spoke at a Smaller Business Association of New England (SBANE) event on Social Media, but before I spoke, I had the opportunity to listen to the keynote speakers.  One was a smart employee side lawyer and the other a veteran member of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Wage & Hour enforcement group.  Even though I have been doing this kind of work since before the cell phone, when these guys talk, I listen.  The sharp lawyer, representing employees, brings private lawsuits against employers for wage and hour violations. He prefers to bring class actions and the law allows him to collect three times the unpaid wages owed, plus get his attorney's fees paid by the employer.  At the Attorney General’s Office, the other speaker gets calls from all over the state from employees who don’t think they have been paid properly. 

Wishing You Workplace Civility In 2013

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This year a client recommended that I read, The No Asshole Rule:  Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t, by Robert I. Sutton. 

Are You Ready for April 1, 2013? It's H-1B Visa Season!


It is that time of year again – time to start planning for the H-1B visa cap!

The Cat's Paw

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I’d heard the phrase “cat’s paw” before, but I confess I really didn’t know what it meant.  It conjured up in my mind something cute and cuddly, a kitten batting around a ball of yarn.  But that’s not what it means at all.  When I started to see references to “cat’s paw” in employment discrimination cases, most notably in the Supreme Court’s decision in Staub v. Proctor Hosp. (2011), I wanted to understand where this phrase came from and what it meant. Turns out “cat’s paw” derives from an Aesop fable in which a monkey uses flattery to persuade a cat to pull hot chestnuts from the fire.  “I would gladly get the chestnuts from the fire,” says the cunning monkey, “but you are much more skillful at such things than I am, and if you pull them out, I’ll divide them between us.”  When the cat does so, it burns its paw, and the monkey takes all of the chestnuts for itself.  See en.wiktionary.org/wiki/cat’s-paw.  (I can’t resist one example quoted in Wiktionary, from Raymond Chandler’s 1939 novel The Big Sleep (Penguin 2011, p. 243):  “Eddie Mars was behind Geiger, protecting him and using him for a cat’s-paw.”)

Stay or Go Home: Immigration Benefits and Drawbacks of Applying for a Green Card


The following fact pattern is a fictional account of a common question/concern for clients considering U.S. Lawful Permanent Residency (“green cards”).

The NLRB is at it again. Better revise your Social Media policy.

NLRB at it again

Recently, the Acting General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board issued the agency's third report in the past year concerning social media issues in the workplace. [http://www.nlrb.gov/news/acting-general-counsel-releases-report-employer-social-media-policies]

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