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CNN Deemed Joint-Employer of Contracted Workers

September 29, 2014

By Felicity S. Hanks, Esq. (fhanks@hillwallack.com

On September 15, 2014 CNN became yet another company that has come out on the losing end of the employer-employee worker classification dispute.  The National Labor Relations Board held that CNN unlawfully engaged in anti-union animus when it terminated its contract with unionized subcontractor Team Video Service (TVS), which provided electrical equipment operators for the network.  In cancelling the TVS contract, CNN would not bargain with the TVS labor union, insourced the electrical technician work, and hired only non-union workers to fill those positions.
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Medical Marijuana Use or Employer Rights – Which Comes First?

September 26, 2014

By: Susan L. Swatski, Esq. (sswatski@hillwallack.com)

On September 30, 2014, the Colorado Supreme Court is set to hear argument in Coats v. Dish Network, L.L.C., about an employee’s right to use medical marijuana during non-work hours, and the employer’s right to test for the drug and discipline users. At issue is the right of an employee to use medically prescribed marijuana to help with painful spasms when he/she is not at work. Dish Network contends that it should not have to retain employees whose marijuana use violates federal law and whose performance as a result of their marijuana use could be an issue. (more…)

California Court Finds Teacher Employment Statutes Unconstitutional

July 11, 2014

By Felicity S. Hanks, Esq. (fhanks@hillwallack.com)

In a decision that has sparked interest from the beaches of Malibu to the beaches of Sea Isle, a Los Angeles County, California Superior Court ruled that three teacher employment laws – California’s Permanent Employment, Dismissal, and LIFO (last in, first out) Statutes – were unconstitutional.*[1]

Decided on June 10, 2014, the case, Vergara v. California, was brought by nine California public school students claiming that the statutes resulted in “grossly ineffective teachers” attaining tenured positions which disproportionately affected low income and minority students. The Court agreed, ruling that the three statutes violated the children’s fundamental right to equality of education. (more…)

Fair Labor Standards Act Violations cost Chickie’s and Pete’s $6.8 Million

March 6, 2014

By Felicity S. Hanks, Esq. (fhanks@hillwallack.com)

Our region’s beloved sport’s bar and Crabfries architect, Chickie’s and Pete’s has signed a consent judgment agreeing to pay $6,842,412  for back wages and damages for violations of federal minimum wage, overtime and record keeping requirements, and for improperly taking tips from its servers.  The United Stated Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced the result of its year-long investigation into the company in a News Release dated February 20, 2014.  The News Release is available on the DOL website at:  http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/whd/WHD20140044.htm.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) sets out the federal minimum wage requirement of $7.25 per hour.  If an employee total earning with tips and its base wage do not equal the minimum wage requirement, the employer is required to make up the difference during that pay period. However, because servers typically earn tips, the restaurant owner can claim a “tip credit” and pay the employee a base wage of only $2.13.  The presumption is that the employee will receive tips that cover the difference up to the full minimum wage. (more…)

College Football Players Attempt to Unionize

March 6, 2014

By Felicity S. Hanks, Esq. (fhanks@hillwallack.com)

To continue with sports/labor theme, I want to discuss a unique labor law issue that arose just this January:  Can student athlete unionize?

Football players at Northwestern University, represented by advocacy group the National College Players Association, filed a union election petition with the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”).[1] The NLRB has statutory jurisdiction private sector employers and alleged violations of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”), which, among other things, guarantees employees the right to form a labor organization and/or join together to improve terms and conditions of employment without a union. As a private university with activities in interstate commerce, Northwestern University is subject to the NLRA. (more…)

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