- “Get Ready to Reclassify Workers Under Forthcoming FLSA Regs” [Stephen Miller, SHRM] Won’t be pretty: how Obama overtime edict will affect retail and restaurant sectors of economy [National Retail Federation]
- Measuring worker compensation: fringe benefits and stagnating wages [David Henderson and Arnold Kling]
- “FedEx Settles Independent Contractor Mislabeling Case For $228 Million” [Robert Wood, Forbes]
- “LA’s Minimum Wake Hike: A Teaching Moment For Those Trying To Help The Underprivileged” [Brian Doherty, Reason]
- “The Faces of $15?: Real stories of the real consequences of raising the minimum wage” [Employment Policies Institute via Mark Perry, AEI; Steve Chapman]
- Connecticut doesn’t have enough wage and hour litigation, so its legislature passes bill to double damages [Daniel Schwartz]
- Using the minimum wage to stimulate the economy “like trying to get rich by picking your own pocket” [Megan McArdle]
And there goes the Uber business model, if the ruling is upheld and extends to other drivers. Coyote predicts that if subject to the burdens now heaped on employers, ride-sharing services will have a hard time of it.
Or, to put it differently: yes, the authorities are prepared to kill any and all innovations that threaten their New Deal fantasy of perfect control. More: Matthew Feeney, Cato; Megan McArdle (“‘Employee’ Label Would End Uber as We Know It”); Timothy Lee [slightly edited Wednesday to reflect clarification in news reports]
The unilateral measure, which does not require Congressional approval, will raise “from $23,660 to as much as $52,000 the threshold below which workers must be paid overtime.” Don’t expect low-wage workers to benefit: “[B]usinesses offset new overtime costs with lower base wages. One recent study found that workers pay for 80 percent of overtime costs through such base wage cuts.” That doesn’t mean it’s a wash, though: “The change will kill flexible schedules for entry- and mid-level salaried employees.” [James Sherk, Daily Signal] And the measure’s true target, as with so much union-backed labor regulation, is the upwardly mobile job seeker: “Ambitious workers intent on proving their value by taking on extra responsibilities will be severely hobbled in their ability to do so, and instead be reduced to time-clock punchers.” [J.C. Tuccille, Reason]
We covered this truly awful idea at some length last year.
- NLRB to brass: please don’t sell workplace data to telemarketers or use it to “harass” or “rob” employees [Joe Perticone, IJ Review]
- “Direct evidence must … wait for it … exist to matter in a discrimination case” [Jon Hyman on Butler v. Lubrizol, Ohio Court of Appeals]
- “Cries of ‘blacklisting’ as administration cracks down on contractors” [Lydia Wheeler/The Hill, Connor Wolf/Daily Caller, Public Citizen (supportive; proposals also attack pre-dispute arbitration), earlier here and here]
- Fast food: “The fix is in on Cuomo’s wage-fixing panel” [Ashley Pratte, Washington Examiner; Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Economics 21]
- Another perspective on working in a nail salon [Tyler Cowen, earlier pushback on New York Times investigation]
- Annals of “wage theft”: hired Ferguson protesters say they’ve been stiffed out of pay promised by ACORN successor [American Thinker]
- “Can [an Employer] Lawfully Prohibit Secret Recordings in the Workplace?” [Jarad Lucan, Connecticut School Law]
“New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, has sent a letter to 13 retailers asking for information about how they schedule employees for work, the Wall Street Journal reports. Not on the list of targets for the attorney general: CVS, Starbucks, or Costco.” New York is one of eight states with a “reporting-time” statute that, Schneiderman argues, requires an employer to pay for at least four hours of work when it has obtained employees’ agreement to be available for work, whether or not it actually calls on them to come in. [Ira Stoll, Future of Capitalism; NPR]
- Mach Mining v. EEOC: unanimous SCOTUS, Kagan writing, agrees courts can hold EEOC to legal duty of pretrial conciliation, but prescribes narrower review than employer asked, with no commission duty of good-faith negotiation [Maatman et al; earlier on case here, here, and here; earlier from me on EEOC record of frequent losses in court]
- New “ambush election” rules: “Your Privacy Has Just Been Compromised, Thanks To Obama’s NLRB” [Labor Union Report]
- U.K. controversy parallels ours: “Banning unpaid internships will harm, not help, the disadvantaged” [Andrew Lilico, IEA]
- “U.S. signed agreement with Mexico to teach immigrants to unionize” [Sean Higgins, Washington Examiner]
- Another view on bias-law “Utah compromise” [Dana Beyer, Huffington Post; my critical view]
- Advice to employers: “OSHA is not your friend. It is not there to give you an atta-boy on workplace safety. It is there to find violations and levy fines to make money for OSHA.” [Jon Hyman]
- “CA: Failing to Pay Prevailing Wages May Be Intentional Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage” affording competitors a cause of action [Garret Murai via TortsProf]
With no statutory authorization or track record of earlier Department of Labor involvement — not that that’s stopped them in the past — the Obama Administration’s hyper-activist Wage and Hour Division may be exploring ways to deploy the New Deal-era Fair Labor Standards Act to develop a new set of employer obligations to avoid unpredictable scheduling demands on employees, the better to pursue work-life balance [Doug Hass, Wage and Hour Insights] Earlier on wage and hour law here.
I’ve got a new piece at Reason on how the U.S. Department of Labor stepped over the line when — relying on an obscure “hot goods” provision of the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act — it slapped an order on two Oregon blueberry growers forbidding them from selling their crop until they settled a (dubious) DoL demand for back pay for workers. Having no choice in this forfeiture-like situation, the growers went along, but when things were brought to a federal court’s attention, the Obama administration got slapped down hard. Further observations at Cato at Liberty.
We mentioned the case in October, and developments last year drew coverage critical of the Administration’s tactics from a Wall Street Journal editorial, Jared Meyer at Economics 21, and George Leef at Forbes. For contrary views, see Catherine Ruckelshaus of the National Employment Law Project in Salon, with typical let-us-reason-together Salon framing (“lies… disingenuous… lost its mind”); Fair Warning; and Sachin Pandya, Workplace Prof. More coverage of the recent settlement and dropping of charges: AP, Oregonian, Fair Warning, and Trey Kovacs/WorkplaceChoice.org. More: Daniel Schwartz noting October 2014 DoL fact sheet.
- Obama wants Hill to force paid leave on employers. What, his rule-by-decree powers didn’t stretch that far? [RCP, USA Today] Department of Labor, using funds taxed from supporters and opponents alike, happy to act as frank advocate for legislation [its blog]
- Employers brace for salaried-overtime mandate, wrought by unilateral Obama decree [KSL, earlier at Cato]
- Related: “Employers To Face More Litigation In 2015 As Plaintiff Lawyers Swoop In” [Daniel Fisher on Gerald Maatman/Seyfarth Shaw report] Here come more NLRB decisions too [Tim Devaney, The Hill]
- Krugman on minimum wage: two economists in one! [Donald Boudreaux, Cafe Hayek via Coyote, @Mike_Saltsman (“Min wage in France is closer to $12/hr US. But Krugman still being inconsistent bc he’s also backed $15 US minimum”)]
- Five pro-de Blasio unions — SEIU/1199, teachers, hotel workers, doormen/building staff, CWA District 1 — help enforce NYC mayor’s agenda [NYDN]
- Testimony: “worst-kept secret” in Philly ironworkers’ union was that you could get ahead through violent “night work” [Philadelphia Inquirer; earlier on Quaker meetinghouse arson here and here, related here]
- Loads of new compliance burdens: “Changes in California Employment Law for 2015” [Baker Hostetler] And it wouldn’t be California without many more employer mandates pending in legislature [Steven Greenhut]