Court Cases & Legislation

Employers in the United States received a significant win on March 8, 2024, when a federal court in Texas struck down the National Labor Relations Board’s (“Board”) expansive new “joint employer” rule, and upheld the existing (and more employer-friendly) 2020 rule. This rule would have expanded the circumstances under which two businesses could be designated as “joint employers,” and that could have significantly altered the legal landscape attendant to various workplace relationships.Continue Reading NLRB’s Expansive New “Joint Employer” Rule Struck Down by Texas Federal Court

On August 2, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) issued its anticipated ruling in Stericycle, Inc., reversing the Trump-era Boeing decision that famously implemented a three-category test for balancing whether workplace rules unlawfully interfered with employees’ rights to engage in “protected concerted activity” under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA” or the “Act”).Continue Reading National Labor Relations Board Overrules Boeing With Strict Scrutiny of Handbook Rules

On May 1, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) issued its decision in Lion Elastomers and United Steelworkers, making it more difficult for employers to discipline employees for outbursts and similar misconduct while employees are engaged in protected concerted activity under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (the “Act”).Continue Reading NLRB Provides Employees Extra Leeway to Use Offensive Language

On August 29, 2022, the NLRB issued its decision in Tesla, Inc., overruling precedent that allowed employers to enforce facially-neutral dress codes to prohibit wearing non-conforming attire, including union insignia and union logos. Now, employers must allow employees to wear union attire absent a showing of “special circumstances.”
Continue Reading NLRB Mandates National Dress Code

On June 1, 2021, in a 5-2 decision, the Missouri Supreme Court sitting en banc affirmed a circuit court decision that voided in its entirety HB 1413, which was enacted by the Missouri legislature in 2018 and sought to change collective bargaining laws for public-sector labor organizations in the state of Missouri. We previously discussed the circuit court’s decision in our December 14, 2020 post, Missouri Supreme Court to Decide Constitutionality of Public Reform Law. While the circuit court decision permanently enjoined the Missouri State Board of Mediation and Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations from implementing and enforcing the law, the law was not void with respect to entities that were not parties to the litigation—until the Missouri Supreme Court released its decision. As of June 1, 2020, HB 1413 is void in its entirety with respect to all entities in Missouri.
Continue Reading Missouri Supreme Court Voids 2018 Missouri Public Reform Law

It’s become increasingly common for businesses to subcontract workers to perform jobs at a location that is shared with the business or other neutral third parties. When picketing at common job sites shared by the employees of the contractor/employer and the neutral third party, the right of subcontracted employees to engage in collective action at a shared job site must be reconciled with the prohibition on secondary picketing against neutral third parties under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). In Service Employees International Union Local 87 v. NLRB (Service Employees International), the Ninth Circuit held that the Board erred in concluding that picketing constituted unlawful secondary picketing where the picketing activity at a shared job site clearly identified the primary employer as the target of the picketing and did not direct coercive activity against neutral third parties.
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Construes Secondary Picketing in Context of Shared Job Site

Key Points:

  • The Western District of the Missouri Court of Appeals upheld a narrow portion of section 110.010.B.4(a) of the University of Missouri System Rules and Regulations that prohibits employees or students from possessing or discharging firearms, weapons, and explosives on University property.
  • However, the University cannot prohibit employees from possessing a firearm that is not visible inside a locked vehicle parked on University property, because it conflicts with and is preempted by section 571.030.6 of the Missouri Revised Statutes.

Continue Reading Court Upholds Narrow University Rule to Reduce Firearm Crime

The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO Act) (H.R. 842) is a sweeping effort to amend longstanding labor laws to facilitate union and employee organizing efforts. The union-friendly legislation would make the most significant modifications to the National Labor Relations Act since the Taft-Hartley Act restricted union power in 1947. The proposed changes would give workers and unions more power in disputes at work, add monetary penalties for companies that retaliate against workers who organize and expand collective bargaining rights for many workers.  The PRO Act would also weaken “right-to-work” laws in more than half of the states that give employees the right to choose not to join or pay dues to unions.

These efforts to tip the balance in favor of union organizing are not new. We have seen many of these proposed changes show up in past legislative efforts. Similar changes were part of the Employee Free Choice Act introduced before the election of, and supported by, President Obama. The PRO Act passed the Democratic controlled House last year but was never taken up by the then GOP majority Senate. This year the Democrats narrowly control the Senate, but not by enough votes to overcome a filibuster, which ordinarily means that the measure is likely dead again.

Below is a summary of a several provisions of the PRO Act:Continue Reading The PRO Act – A Wish List For Revival of Unions

On November 16, 2020, the Missouri Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Missouri National Education Association, et al. v. Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, et al., Ferguson-Florissant School District, et al, challenging a circuit court ruling that House Bill 1413 (HB 1413), a public labor union reform law, is unconstitutional in its entirety. The circuit court held that the 2018 law unlawfully discriminates against certain public labor unions representing first responder personnel and infringes on public employees’ fundamental rights to bargain collectively and to choose their own representative, as well as certain First Amendment and equal protection rights. Upon concluding that the unconstitutional provisions dominate “the entirety of the legislative intent to undermine the plaintiff’s fundamental rights,” the circuit court enjoined the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations and the Missouri State Board of Mediation (SBM) from implementing and enforcing the provisions of HB 1413. On appeal, the Defendants assert that the right to bargain collectively is not a constitutionally protected fundamental right and deny that the restrictions imposed by HB 1413 abridge public employees’ constitutional rights.
Continue Reading Missouri Supreme Court to Decide Constitutionality of Public Labor Reform Law