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Labor Relations Insight

by Phil Wilson Employee Handbooks: Finally, a Little Sanity

Every summer my family visits Dodgeville, Wisconsin to camp with my great friend Greg and his family. And almost every year we make the pilgrimage to Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio just up the road in Spring Green.

If you don’t know much about Mr. Wright here are some highlights. He was a genius. His architecture work was at least 50 years ahead of his time. Like a lot of geniuses, he was a bit nutty. If you have the misfortune of being married to, or fathered by, me or my friend (we are also a bit nutty), you are subjected to a campfire reading of Mr. Wright’s description of his home. He called it a “shining brow” on a hill. We affectionately call this a “mockutecture” reading. This might be why Greg and I had to visit

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Union Bailout Update – December 2015


Sen. Elizabeth Warren

As if the Fight for Fifteen wasn’t enough, the retail, food service and cleaning industries face another spectre in the form of the “Schedules That Work Act” introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Under the bill, employees are given the “right” to have more say in:

The number of hours the employee is required to work or be on call The times when the employee is required to work or be on call The location where they work The amount of notification the employee receives for schedule assignments Minimizing fluctuations in the number of hours scheduled on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Work schedules or schedule changes must be provided in writing 14 days in advance, and there are financial penalties

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At-Will Disclaimers Not Dead Yet

The NLRB’s Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon has been tormenting businesses through the attack of employee handbooks for some time now, but of particular interest currently is the concern of at-will disclaimers.

Since the posting of our last alert on the subject, a statement was released on the NLRB’s website claiming the validity of employee handbook at-will disclaimers will be decided on a case-by-case basis – for the time being anyway.

In February 2012, Solomon noted a small – but apparently mighty – distinction involving the use of personal pronouns in such clauses. According to Solomon, the use of personal pronouns, such as “I,” in the format of an agreement could be considered an overly broad restraint on the right of employees to engage in protected concerted activity.

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It’s Official: The NLRB Is Off Its Rocker

The Board has recently pivoted from its imagined role of “organizer in chief” to becoming an uber HR department, rewriting the employee handbooks and policy manuals of employers nationwide.

In their quest to promote union organizing the NLRB is requiring employers to rewrite handbook provisions and policies, even in cases where those policies are not at issue in a case and are not even complained about by the union. In addition to his efforts to rewrite every social media policy in the land, recently the Acting General Counsel has made clear that the almost universal use of at-will employment disclaimers violates the National Labor Relations Act. Oh, and apparently the Golden Rule violates Section 7 of the Act. No

Continue reading It’s Official: The NLRB Is Off Its Rocker