- Really, I never want to hear one word ever again about Gov. Andrew Cuomo being “at least good on economic issues” [Peter Suderman and Nick Gillespie, Reason (New York will mandate $15/hour for most fast-food workers, which in many upstate cities could amount to 75 percent of average wage); Heather Briccetti/New York Post (activists bused from one hearing to next to jeer opponents); Nicole Gelinas/City Journal (Cuomo picks online guy to represent business on brick-and-mortar-endangering wage board), Joanna Fantozzi/The Daily Meal (possible legal challenge); Coyote on Card and Krueger study]
- Labor markets don’t behave the way sentimental reformers wish they behaved, part 53,791 [Seattle minimum wage hike: Mark Perry (largest half-year decline in foodservice jobs in region since Great Recession; but see, Brian Doherty on problems with that number series) and Rick Moran (“Employees are begging their bosses to cut their hours so they can keep their food stamps, housing assistance, and other welfare benefits.”); David Brooks via Coyote]
- Employers scramble to monitor, control time worked in response to Obama overtime decree [WSJ] “No one wants to go back to filling out time sheets…. managers fear (rightly) that I will have to set arbitrary maximum numbers of work hours for them.” [Coyote] Business resistance aims for the moment at (deliberately abbreviated) public comment period [Sean Higgins, Washington Examiner] “Can Obama Really Raise Wages for Millions of People So Easily? Quick answer: no” [David Henderson; WSJ/@scottlincicome on seasonal pool-supply company]
- Hillary Clinton and the Market Basket Stores myth [James Taranto]
- Labor Department proposes tightening regulation of retirement financial advisers [Kenneth Bentsen, The Hill]
- Proposed: “well-orchestrated” state ballot initiatives aimed at overturning employment at will [Rand Wilson, Workplace Fairness] My view: “Everybody wins with at-will employment” [Ethan Blevins, Pacific Legal amicus briefs in Supreme Court of Washington, followup on oral argument, and thanks to PLF for citing my work in its amicus brief in Rose v. Anderson Hay and Grain; much more on employment at will in my book The Excuse Factory, also some here]
- The SEIU’s home caregiver membership motel: you can check in, but just try checking out [Watchdog Minnesota Bureau]
- “Denver DA charges man with tampering for handing out jury nullification flyers” [Denver Post, earlier New York case covered here, here, here, etc.] More: Tim Lynch, Cato.
- Occupational licensure vs. the First Amendment: Texas regulators seek to shutter doc’s veterinary advice website [Ilya Shapiro, Cato]
- Fired for waving rebel flag? Unlikely to raise a First Amendment issue unless you work for the government, or it twisted your employer’s arm [Huntsville (Ala.) Times, Daniel Schwartz]
- “Twitter joke thieves are getting DMCA takedowns” [BoingBoing]
- A reminder of Gawker’s jaw-droppingly bad stuff on freedom of speech (“Arrest Climate Change Deniers”) [Coyote, related]
- Canadian lawyer/journalist Ezra Levant facing discipline proceeding “for being disrespectful towards a government agency” [Financial Post, earlier]
- “‘Shouting fire in a theater’: The life and times of constitutional law’s most enduring analogy” [Carlton Larson via Eugene Volokh, also Christopher Hitchens on the analogy]
It’s like a parody of one’s worst expectations: President Obama refuses to curtail the federal police militarization program, instead calling for a big hike in federal spending on aid to local departments with the usual micromanaging strings attached. [The Guardian] The administration has now gathered some useful information on the Pentagon’s 1033 surplus-gear program, but still has no plans to improve data gathering on police use of lethal force [Washington Post editorial] More from USA Today: “The Fraternal Order of Police, the nation’s largest police union, has waged an intense lobbying campaign to keep the surplus equipment flowing,” and its executive director specifically speaks up in favor of the transfer of armored vehicles and personnel carriers. More: Trevor Timm.
Related: Conor Friedersdorf gathers stories of cops reinstated in union arbitration from Oakland, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Miami, Sarasota, and other cities. He concludes:
I’d rather see 10 wrongful terminations than one person wrongfully shot and killed. Because good police officers and bad police officers pay the same union dues and are equally entitled to labor representation, police unions have pushed for arbitration procedures that skew in the opposite direction. Why have we let them? If at-will employment, the standard that would best protect the public, is not currently possible, arbitration proceedings should at a minimum be transparent and fully reviewable so that miscarriages of justice are known when they happen. With full facts, the public would favor at-will employment eventually.
You can’t tackle the excessive force problem credibly unless you tackle the power of the police unions. Period.
Is the American job market becoming less fluid, as a new paper by Steven Davis and John Haltiwanger argues, with less job-switching and fewer vacancies opening up at established employers? And to the extent this is an unwelcome trend, which policies might be contributing to it? [The Economist; some possibly contrary data points from Alex Tabarrok]
The town of Stratford, Connecticut entered an employment agreement with its director of human resources, stating that his employment would be entirely at-will and further providing:
Based upon the annual performance evaluation, and at the [m]ayor’s sole discretion and recommendation, the base salary may be increased on July 1 of each fiscal year, subject to the approval of the [council], which by Charter fixes the salaries of all mayoral appointees.
Subsequently, the town council voted to reduce the manager’s salary, and the dispute went to litigation. Both a trial court and a Connecticut appeals court agreed with the manager’s argument that even though the document prescribed an at-will relationship, by specifying that the base salary “may be increased” it was implicitly promising that it would never be decreased. [Daniel Schwartz; Adams on Contract Drafting]
Annals of European employment law: “The Irish arm of supermarket giant Tesco has been ordered to pay a convicted drug dealer €11,500 for unfair dismissal.” The Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) found that the market should have considered sanctions less severe than dismissal given that the employee had cooperated with its process and that a manager admitted there was no evidence of public awareness of the employee’s legal troubles, which eventuated in a guilty plea and a suspended jail sentence. [Evening Herald (Ireland)]
“Francesco Schettino, former captain of the Costa Concordia, has sued, claiming wrongful termination from his job after the accident, according to his lawyer.” [L.A. Times] “As you may recall, there were a few questions about whether Schettino’s conduct was entirely up to snuff on the night of the accident. First, there was the whole running-into-a-rock problem, of course, but he was also criticized for then fleeing the ship before all the passengers were evacuated.” [Lowering the Bar]
- Gov. Walker’s public sector labor reforms popular with Wisconsin voters, and have saved taxpayers a fortune [Morrissey, Fund, Marquette poll (public favors new law by 50-43 margin] What would FDR say? [Dalmia, The Daily]
- “Why you should stop attending diversity training” [Suzanne Lucas, CBS MarketWatch, following up on our earlier post]
- The gang that couldn’t regulate straight: “Court rebuffs Labor Department on sales rep overtime” [Dan Fisher, Forbes] Lack of quorum trips up NLRB on “quickie”/ambush elections scheme [Workplace Prof]
- Not all claimed “gun rights” are authentic, some come at expense of the vital principle of at-will employment [Bainbridge]
- Brace yourself, legal academics at work on a Restatement of Employment Law [Michael Fox]
- “Why Delaware’s Proposed Workplace Privacy Act Is All Wrong” [Molly DiBianca]
- USA Today on lawyers’ role in growth of Social Security disability rolls [Ira Stoll]
- Court rebukes EEOC in big sex harassment class action against trucking firm [Memphis Commercial Appeal]
- Union protects some dodgy educators: “Found to Have Misbehaved With Pupils, but Still Teaching” [New York Times]
- Spain changes its labor law [Global Post]
- Employment-law blogs debate employment at will [Jon Hyman]
- James Sherk of Heritage on proposed Employee Rights Act;
- Unlawful under Contracts Clause to alter public employee pensions? Really? [Secunda, Workplace Prof; Barnes v. Arizona State Ret. Sys., Ariz. Super. Ct., No. CV-2011-011638, 2/1/12]
- Coalition challenges Connecticut governor’s executive order aimed at unionizing home health aides [Michael Tremoglie, Legal NewsLine]
According to the Sun-Sentinel, managers at the Deerfield Beach, Fla. real estate law firm of Elizabeth Wellborn fired 14 employees on Friday for wearing orange clothing. According to the report, an executive had been informed that the workers were wearing orange as a protest, but several employees told the newspaper that they knew of no protest and that they customarily wore orange on paydays so that they would appear as a group at a happy hour after work.
If the story checks out as reported — the law firm was recorded as having declined comment — expect to hear rumblings about how it refutes the American legal principle of “employment at will,” though it doesn’t actually refute that principle any more than the tale of a wastrel heir refutes the principle of inheritance.