Category Archives: Employment Law

Purpose for Taylor Law’s Strike Provision: Redefining “Strike” in New York Public Sector and Employment Law

By Joanna Pericone, Albany Government Law Review

Introduction  

In 1977 a fire damaged the building of the New York State Unemployment Insurance Department.[1]  The employees were moved to a temporary building that posed several dangerous and uncomfortable working conditions.[2]  The building was essentially unheated, electrical cords blew fuses and posed a walking hazard because they were strewn across the floor.[3]  One of the two toilets in the building was backed up and there were only two exits in the building, one of which was blocked and the other was hard to open.[4]  After the employees took their work and reported to another temporary building, their supervisor ordered them to go back to the deplorable building, but the employees refused to return.[5]  The New York Court of Appeals held that the workers had engaged in an unlawful strike, in violation of New York’s Civil Service Law, and that they were subsequently liable for sanctions imposed by their employer.[6]  Although the conditions of the workplace created a “fire trap” and the strike was prompted out of concerns for safety, the Court found this to be irrelevant; under New York’s Public Employee’s Fair Employment Act, commonly known as the Taylor Law, the reason for a public employee participating in any kind of a work stoppage is not pertinent when determining whether an unlawful strike has occurred. [7]

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Filed under Civil Service Law, Employment Law, Labor Law, Municipal Law

NLRB’s Reports on Social Media Policies: When Are Employers Crossing the Line and What Must Employers Consider?

By Hanok George, Albany Government Law Review

Introduction

Social media has become a topic of increasing interest among employers, as the employees’ statements within such media can have wide ranging impacts upon the employer.[1]  These statements can reach millions of people— including customers, venders, suppliers and many others.[2]  Due to the broad sweeping impacts associated with social media, employers have created social media policies for employees that restrict the employees’ ability to divulge work-related information on websites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.[3]  However, these policies walk a fine line between protecting the employer’s interests and infringing on the employees’ rights to concerted activity under Section seven of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).[4]  The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has found many employers’ social media policies to constitute unfair labor practices.[5]   Continue reading

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Filed under Constitutional Law, Employment Law, Technology Law

The Supreme Court and the “Ministerial Exception”: Protecting Freedom of Religion? or Permitting the Disguise of Employee Discrimination?

By Anjalee Daryani, Albany Government Law Review

On January 11, 2012, the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision concerning religious liberty.  The Court recognized for the first time a “ministerial exception,” precluding employment discrimination claims in the context of “the employment relationship between a religious institution and its ministers.”[1]  The case, Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, was instituted on behalf of a teacher who was employed by a Lutheran school and had been fired for threatening to file a lawsuit for the church’s violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).[2]  The Supreme Court acknowledged that the interference by states into a religious groups’ employment decision, would be an intrusion on the internal governance of a religious organization, and as a result would be infringing upon their rights under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.[3] Continue reading

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Filed under Constitutional Law, Education Law, Employment Law, Religion

NLRB Strikes Down Mandatory Arbitration Agreements Preventing Class Action, What Should Employers Do?

By Hanok George, Albany Government Law Review

On January 3, 2012, in D.R. Horton, Inc. and Michael Cuda, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that certain mandatory arbitration agreements that prevent employees from filing group or class actions in a judicial forum violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).[1]  The ruling essentially bans employment agreements used by many companies that require employees to individually arbitrate all work-related claims.[2]  The Board’s ruling significantly alters what has become a “common dispute resolution practice for many employers” and is effectively skirting the U.S. Supreme Court’s favorable outlook towards arbitration of employment claims.[3]  Companies are undoubtedly angered by this new decision; many denounced the ruling saying “it is an invitation to vast class action lawsuits on issues that could be resolved out of court.”[4]  It is also argued by the respondent in this case and by supporting amici that this decision is in conflict with the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA).[5]  However, the Board holds that its ruling is not in violation of either statute.  In light of this decision, what should employers do to protect their arbitration agreements? Continue reading

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Filed under Constitutional Law, Employment Law, Uncategorized