Employment Law

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A bill before the Minnesota House of Representatives would severely curb employers’ ability to force employees to sign noncompete agreements. The legislation, patterned after laws on the books in California and Mon­­tana, would ban a contract that prohibits a party from exercising a lawful, profession, trade, or business except under certain circumstances.
In a case decided the same day as UTSWMC v. Gentilello, MD, the Supreme Court of Texas concluded that complaining to senior leadership about alleged illegal activity doesn’t constitute protected whistle-blowing under the Texas Whistleblower Act.
What striking workers say on the picket line is largely protected speech, even if it’s offensive. What’s said on the picket line is protected speech under federal law, not willful misconduct under Pennsylvania law.
Federal appeals courts are becoming more sympathetic to employees who report workplace dangers. The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals has backed a plaintiff who says he suffered retaliation for claiming he was traumatized by a workplace accident.
Full implementation of the Affordable Care Act health care reform law is mere months away, which means that the IRS and the Department of Health and Human Services have a lot of work to do in a short period of time. The latest regulations cover the 90-day waiting period for new employees and temporary reinsurance fees.
May 16 was a bad day for the NLRB. First, yet another federal circuit court ruled that two current NLRB members had been illegally appointed. Then, Republican senators fired opening salvos in a bid to dump the two current board members and slow down the confirmation of two new NLRB nominees. 

Here’s some good news for em­­ployers: According to a recent Supreme Court of Texas decision, workers who complain to their super­­visors about alleged illegal activities aren’t protected from retaliation under the Texas Whistleblower Act. That’s true even if the supervisor is responsible for legal compliance.

“Can’t we sue him for this?” That’s what many employers say after being hit with what they believe is a frivolous employee lawsuit. The First Amendment protects the rights of companies to seek such redress in court. But, in most cases, a counterclaim is not a smart move.

The NLRB has ordered a Plainview catering and food-service company to hand over reams of financial information to the United Food and Commercial Workers union to use in contract negotiations.
A federal appeals court on May 7 struck down a two-year-old National Labor Relations Board rule that would have required private-sector employers to post a notice informing employees of their rights to join or form a union.
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