Monday Morning Reflections for Workplace Observers
Abruzzo at six months | NYC’s New Pay Equity Law
Robert Iafolla: National Labor Relations Office General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo has made significant progress in strengthening legal protections for workers and unions in her first six months in office.
She quickly rolled out a set of ambitious initiatives to give agency enforcement teeth, expand coverage of federal labor law, and reverse several pro-employer precedents set during the Trump years.
“To say she took over would be an understatement,” said jerry hunter, a former Republican NLRB General Counsel who represents employers for Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP. “If she was driving on the freeway, a state highway patrolman would give her a speeding ticket. Obviously, she wasted no time.
In August, three weeks into her four-year term, Abruzzo marked a major milestone by releasing a memo outlining NLRB case law she wants to challenge. He took aim at more than 40 decisions from the Trump era.
Since then she plans began to materialize. His office is already
Abruzzo’s progress could be slowed by NLRB president Lauren McFerrancommits to soliciting public comment on major cases. McFerran recently told Bloomberg Law that while this practice can delay proceedings, the gains in transparency and credibility it can bring are important to counsel.
And Abruzzo can only act as quickly on the change of precedent as the available cases allow, said Marc Gaston Pearce, chairman of the NLRB during the Obama administration. She needs the right vehicles to bring relevant issues to the board.
“It’s just the reality of the process,” said Pearce, who directs the Institute for Workers’ Rights at Georgetown University Law Center. “The Advocate General and the council do not consider the cases that will be brought before the council.”
of Abruzzo campaign to give the NLRB more teeth remedies includes the claim for damages for economic consequences and emotional distress arising from unfair labor practices, which the board is considering.
She outlined a more aggressive strategy on regulations that would limit the use of opt-out clauses and proposed reviving a powerful type of council order that would help unions overcome employer resistance.
Abruzzo also has turns heads with memos declaring that private college athletes are employees under labor law and pledging to protect workers from immigration-related bullying.
She is inked collaborative execution agreements with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the US Labor Department.
In her role as executive director of the NLRB, Abruzzo filled some of the vacant leadership positions in the agency’s regional offices. But its ability to recruit more broadly – agency staff have shrunk 27% since fiscal 2010 – depends on getting a fiscal boost, the NLRB spokeswoman said. Kayla Blado.
Abruzzo said in an email that she was looking to fully enforce the state labor relations law and get the agency to “better accomplish its mission.”
“I can’t wait,” she added. “I will continue to vigorously protect the statutory rights of workers, expand our opportunities to educate the public about rights and obligations under the law, and use all necessary enforcement mechanisms available to us.”
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Chris Marr: Pay equity advocates started the year with a win in New York, and they’re aiming for further expansion of pay transparency requirements in 2022.
Beginning later this year, New York employers will be required to provide a pay scale in all job postings, with violations being treated as discrimination and enforced by the city’s Human Rights Commission.
The law applies to all employers with four or more employees, but exempts temporary help agencies, which are already required to disclose wage information under the city’s wage theft law.
The city ordinance is similar to laws in a small but growing number of states, where employers are required to give job seekers salary or salary information during the hiring process. The policies are designed to help workers ensure they receive fair wages and avoid wage discrimination.
The details of what is required vary from state to state. Colorado requires salary information to be displayed in every job posting, while others such as Maryland and washington state only require that the information be provided at the request of a jobseeker.
These pay transparency laws are the latest wave of policies targeting wage inequalitythat most often affects women and workers of color who earn below average wages, with their salary history often following them from job to job.
Pay discrimination “can be difficult to detect, as employees are often reluctant to share salary information with co-workers and often don’t realize – and are unable to know – that they are being paid lower rates for comparable work. “, Neighborhood JoAnn Kamuf, deputy commissioner at the New York City Commission on Human Rights, told a city council committee last month. “Recognizing this reality, local and state governments, including in New York, are taking action to advance pay equity.”
The New York Human Rights Commission is tasked with drafting rules to implement the new order before it takes effect in mid-May. It became law on January 15, when Mayor Eric Adams returned it unsigned to the board.
Similar salary disclosure laws came into effect on October 1 in Connecticut and Nevada requiring employers to proactively provide a salary range to candidates at different stages of the hiring process.
As state legislative sessions begin this year, Washington state lawmakers are considering a proposal to rewrite their state’s salary disclosure law to require a salary range in all job offers. employment, comparable to the laws of Colorado and New York.
Salary disclosure measures build on previous city and state pay equity policies, such as those that prohibit employers from requiring job applicants’ salary histories and others that prevent employers to punish workers who discuss their wages with co-workers.
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