NLRB independent contractor status update 9/10/19

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

The National Labor Relations Board has held that companies do not violate the National Labor Relations Act solely by misclassifying employees as independent contractors. Bottom line: the decision to classify an individual as an independent contractor rather than an employee will not, by itself, subject an employer to liability under the National Labor Relations Act.

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NLRB General Counsel: Uber drivers are independent 7/9/19

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

The Division of Advice within the NLRB general counsel's office recently issued a memorandum describing why it believed Uber drivers should be considered independent contractors, not employees for purposes of the National Labor Relations Act. For that reason, charges filed by Uber drivers were dismissed.

The general counsel believed the Uber drivers to be independent contractors for two key reasons.

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New NLRB overrules Obama-era NLRB independent contractor precedent 1/29/19

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

On Jan. 25, the National Labor Relations Board, in a three-to-one decision, ruled that Super Shuttle drivers at the Dallas Fort Worth Airport were independent contractors and not employees.

This case is especially good news for the newspaper industry. The board in the new Super Shuttle case specifically referenced its decision in St. Joseph News-Press, a 2005 decision. In that decision, the NLRB found that home delivery carriers, single copy carriers and bundle haulers were all independent contractors.

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NLRB general counsel issues new advice memoranda 1/15/19

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

In December 2018, new NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb issued several new advice memoranda. Advice memoranda advise local NLRB offices about how to proceed with a particular unfair labor practice charge.

In one such memorandum, the employer's "Commitment to My Coworkers" policy was found to be lawful. The employer required all employees to read and sign a "Commitment to My Co-Workers" document.

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NLRB to revisit employee use of employer email 9/10/18

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

On Aug. 1, the National Labor Relations Board invited interested parties to file briefs on whether the board should adhere to, modify or overrule Purple Communications – a case (decided by the Obama Board) that held employees who had been given access to their employer's email system for work-related purposes have a presumptive right to use that system, on non-working time, for communications protected by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (union organizing activity).

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Supreme Court rejects NLRB position on class action arbitration waivers 6/5/18

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

On May 21, the United States Supreme Court issued its long awaited decision in Epic Systems Corp v. Lewis. Justice Gorsuch delivered the opinion of the court. Rejecting the position of the National Labor Relations Board, the court ruled that employers and employees may lawfully agree that any disputes between them will be resolved through one-on-one arbitration. The court ruled that under the National Labor Relations Act, employees do not have the right to file class or collective actions, no matter what they agreed with their employer.

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NLRB vacates Hy-Brand joint employment liability standard 3/12/18

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

On Feb. 26, the NLRB vacated its recent ruling in the Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors case, which overruled the National Labor Relations Board's controversial Browning-Ferris decision.

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Board establishes new test for reviewing employer policies 1/9/18

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

In this column, I have been predicting for some time that when all three Republican seats of the five-member National Labor Relations Board were filled by President Trump's appointees, the NLRB would begin reversing/overruling some of the Obama Board's more egregious decisions that demonstrated an outright hostility toward employers.

Chairman Philip A. Miscimarra's term expired on Dec. 17, 2017. On Dec. 14 and 15, Chairman Miscimarra went out "with a bang!"

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Legal adventurism in an attempt to make new law 12/12/17

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm
By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

This month's column reports on two National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge decisions involving the issue of whether someone is an employee or an independent contractor. In both cases, former NLRB General Counsel Richard Griffin had urged the ALJ to rule that merely classifying someone as an independent contractor is an independent violation of the National Labor Relations Act. This is legal adventurism in an attempt to make new law.

In one of the cases, the ALJ found independent contractor status and chose not to reach that novel issue. In the second case, the ALJ found employee status and agreed with the NLRB general counsel, finding that the misclassification of the individuals as independent contractors was a per se independent violation of the NLRA. With a new management majority sitting on the NLRB in Washington, let us hope that this legal adventurism will be reversed.

I also report on a new NLRB case involving an employer's texting and confidentiality rules, as well as a new court case addressing the ability to discover social media passwords in litigation.
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Management attorney Peter Robb confirmed as next NLRB general counsel 11/14/17

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

On Nov. 8, by a vote of 49 to 46, the U.S. Senate confirmed President Trump's nomination of Peter Robb to be the next NLRB general counsel. Robb, a management labor lawyer from Vermont, replaces Richard Griffin, whose term expired on Nov. 4.

In this column, also read an update about the U.S. Department of Labor overtime rule, news about an EEOC case, plus a case regarding the ADA.

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