Tag Archive: current events

Apr 10

France to Ban Work Email After 6 PM

A new labor union agreement in France mandates that employees must ignore their bosses’ work emails once they are out of the office and relaxing at home – even on their smartphones. The Guardian reports that France has outlawed employees from reading or responding to “work-related material on their computers or smartphones” after they clock out for the day. This regulation is in response to workers in the tech industry complaining about feeling pressured to be constantly available outside of their 35 hour workweek. According to The Guardian, this will mainly affect over a million employees in the technology and consultancy sectors, including the French outposts of Google, Facebook, Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

If you read french, click here to read a discussion of this and the regulation. If you prefer to read about it in English and after 6pm, click here.

In today’s global economy, is it realistic to ban work email after-hours? Does “after-hours” even exist? These questions are all an outgrowth of this legislation, and while the thought of disconnecting and shutting down is appealing, do you think this regulation is a good idea?

Mar 30

Title VII at 50 Symposium – THIS WEEK!

The Center for Labor and Employment and the Labor Relations and Employment Law Society would like to invite any interested students or colleagues to the Title VII at 50 Symposium Conference, which takes place this week on April 4 and 5, 2014.

This program is presented in conjunction with the St. John’s Law Review, the Journal for Civil Rights and Economic Development and the St. John’s Journal of International and Comparative Law, the NYU Center for Labor and Employment Law, The Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development, and the St. John’s Center of International and Comparative Law.

This two-day symposium commemorates Title VII and featuring panelists and speakers who will assess the past, present and future of Title VII. Please see the attached program for the events schedule and speakers.

This is an amazing learning and networking opportunity for those interested in labor or employment law, and we encourage any interested party to attend. Please feel free to distribute the program and this email to any groups you are a member of. Scholarships and prizes will be awarded at this event.

The conference is free of charge and open to all, but please RSVP to Paula Edwards at (718) 990-6653 or clel@stjohns.edu.

We hope to see you in attendance at one or both days of the conference.

More Information: http://www.stjohns.edu/about/events/school-law-title-vii-50-two-day-symposium
Program – Title VII at 50 Symposium – 3-27-14

Mar 14

Workers sue McDonald’s for wage theft

McDonald'sYesterday, McDonald’s workers filed seven class-action lawsuits in New York, California and Michigan Thursday. The suits allege that McDonald’s has forced employees to work off the clock, not paid them overtime and struck hours off their time cards, and those discrepancies resulted in wage theft.

The suits varied by state. In New York, worker’s claimed that their wage was driven below the federal minimum wage because of unreimbursed expenses. In California, the workers alleges meal and break violations. In Michigan, workers claimed they would only start getting paid only when customers walked into the restaurants, even if they had been at work for hours.
All of these claims violate the federal Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and In all of these cases, the relationship between the franchises and the corporate parent company will be examined.

The suit comes in the midst of a long public relations campaign by fast-food workers demanding higher wages.The workers are represented by Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, which specializes in representing plaintiffs in class actions. This case will surely be a fascinating case to watch unfold. Click over to the New York Times for more on the beginnings of this case.

Mar 13

Around the Web: March 13, 2014

It might be 19˚ here in New York, but spring is almost here! With the change in seasons, there are a whole host of new issues coming down the pipeline. We are counting down the days until the Title VII at 50 Conference, and have put together a selection of current events that show just how relevant Title VII is today.

First on the list is President Obama’s call to update the minimum salary threshold and revamp overtime rules to expand overtime for salaried employees. This directive is expected to be announced via executive order today, read this before the announcement!
*Update from the New York Times*

Our own Professor Gregory is in the final stages of preparing a paper on Fisher v. University of Texas, and the far-reaching implications that the Supreme Court’s decision may have on diversity. The Wall Street Journal posted an interesting report on the challenges schools face to increase or maintain diversity. Read it and then let us know your views at the Title VII conference. H/T to Brendan Bertoli for this!

Going along with the Title VII theme, activists fighting the employment discrimination faced by the LGBT community are renewing a push for federal legislation that would prohibit anti-LGBT workplace discrimination. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act did not pass, but activists are hopeful that the president will issue an executive order circumventing the Congress. Click the link for an article framing the necessity of an anti-discrimination initiative.

The Ministerial Exception is making news with a recent case about a gay school administrator fired from a Catholic school. Read the links here, here and here about the issues this case is bringing up.

The EEOC has issued new guides to religious accommodations in the workplace. The documents, titled Religious Garb and Grooming in the Workplace: Rights and Responsibilities and an additional fact sheet, gives a guide to when and how employers must accommodate employees’ religiously based requests on clothing, religious dress, head coverings, hair styles, and facial hair. These sheets provide a cheat sheet of the basic requirements of Title VII and provide case specific examples.

What news stories are on your radar? Let us know what you’re thinking in the comments, and don’t forget to mark the Title VII at 50 conference (April 4-5) on your calendar!

Mar 03

Events and Photo’s – Distinguished Speaker Series

On February 19, 2014, the Center for Labor and Employment Law hosted a Distinguished Speaker Series event- A Conversation with Harry I. Johnson, III, member of the National Labor Relations Board. This
event was held in the Mattone Family Atrium, where Mr. Johnson was joined by students, alumni and friends to tell about his experience and perspective on his role at the National Labor Relations Board. Mr. Johnson was introduced by alumni and former co-presidents of the LRELS, Sean Conroy ’95 and Michael Masri ’95. Students at the event felt that this was one of the best events and most engaging speaker series that they have attended in law school. Mr. Johnson spoke about recent decisions including cases on social media and employee handbook, and the tremendous workload of cases for the agency. Law student Josephine McGrath ’15 said, “the content and presentation of the speech was fascinating and gave an inside view of the challenges that the NLRB navigates.” Dinner at Alberto’s followed the event and the students in attendance were able to speak with Mr. Johnson and other alumni guests.

The next morning, Mr. Johnson addressed Professor Gregory’s labor law class, which started with the presentation of Professor Gregory’s labor law book. Mr. Johnson taught the class before returning to his busy schedule in Washington DC. Overall, this visit was a great learning opportunity and an amazing chance for students to get an inside view of the workings of the NLRB. Thank you to Mr. Johnson and Mr. Conroy for visiting us and we hope to have you back soon!

Click through the photo gallery to view photos from the event.

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Feb 20

What’s New With the CLEL – Spring Update

The Center for Labor and Employment works closely with the Labor Relations and Employment Law Society at St. John’s. The LRELS is the student-run arm of the Center and is headed by President May Mansour ‘14, Co-Vice Presidents Sarah Mannix ‘15 and Rich Berrios ‘14, Treasurer Monica Hincken ’14 and Secretary Samantha Kimmel ‘15. Next year, Cynthia Vella ’16 and Stephen Halouvas ’15 will join the board. In addition to the many opportunities offered by he LRELS and the Center for Labor and Employment, there are several exciting events taking place this semester.

The first event was a Distinguished Speaker Series, A Conversation with Harry I. Johnson III, a former partner at Arent Fox and a current NLRB Member appointed by President Obama. This event took place on February 19 and Mr. Johnson joined Professor Gregory’s labor law class on February 20 as well to give a speech about recent NLRB decisions, the decision making process and how the agency operates. Mr. Johnson graciously spoke to the attendees and provided fascinating and entertaining insights into the NRLB. (Stay tuned for pictures of the event!)

Next up, he Center for Labor and Employment will co-host a symposium entitled Title VII at 50, with NYU Law School, The Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development and the Journal of Civil Rights and Economic Development, on April 4-5, 2014. 2014 is the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the programs will celebrate the evolution of Title VII over the years and the current state of the law. In attendance will be some of our most distinguished alumni as well as very prominent academics and practicing attorneys in the field. Some of the presenters will include: Paulette Brown, President-Elect of the ABA; Amanda Jaret ’13, Law Fellow AFL-CIO; Samuel Estreicher, Director of the Center for Labor and Employment Law at New York University; as well as other NLRB directors, and Professors. Over Friday and Saturday there will be roundtables and panel discussions covering a variety of topics including Professor Gregory’s forthcoming paper, “Past as Prologue in the Affirmative Action Jurisprudence of the Supreme Court: Reflections on Fisher v. University of Texas.” The conference will be an exploration of the living history of Title VII while looking ahead to what the next fifty years will bring. The winners of the inaugural Edwards Wildman Palmer Prize and the 2014 Coca-Cola Refreshments Scholar will be announced at the conference.

There are many opportunities to get involved with the Center for Labor and Employment and the Labor Relations and Employment Law Society. Please follow the TWEN page or visit stjclelblog.org to stay updated on the happenings and scholarship opportunities.

Jan 10

Podcast – Boeing and the Middle Class

boeingHere at the blog, we are always on the lookout when labor and employment issues are in the news. One recent news item that has brought labor issues to the forefront was the struggle between Boeing and its workforce in the state of Washington. Boeing’s International Association of Machinists Union members narrowly approved a new labor contract last week, which effectively sacrificed their pensions for guaranteed work on the new Boeing 777X jet. Although the contract has saved Boeing jobs for their workforce, at what cost? Labor contract’s like these can have a huge effect on middle class workers, especially when there are steep cuts in benefits.

Hedrick Smith, author of Who Stole the American Dream? ponders the implications of this new contract in an opinion piece for the LA Times. Check out the article and listen to the podcast from NPR (link below). With income inequality on the rise, topics like this are sure to merit lots of debate in the coming year.

Listen to the podcast here.

Where do you stand on this issue? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Jan 10

Announcements!

The first general body meeting of the Labor Relations and Employment Law Society will be Tuesday January 14 at 5:30 pm in room 2M-01. We have election results and be discussing our events for this semester including several panel discussions, distinguished speakers and the Title VII at 50 Symposium. Any student with an interest is encouraged to come and get involved! Make sure to add us on TWEN to get email updates for meetings and events!

Any student who wishes to speak with Professor Gregory about career opportunities must attend this meeting. Please see this memo outlining the requirements and priority for meetings with him! Don’t forget your computer and resume!
labor law society general meeting january 14 2014 -2

Any student who received a grade of C or below in the fall semester 2013 Employment Law or Employment Discrimination class is welcome to review their exam beginning the week of Tuesday, January 21. All other students may review their exams beginning the week of Monday, January 27. To make an appointment for a review, please contact Ms. Paula Edwards, after January 2 (edwardsp@stjohns.edu; 718 990 6653.)

Check out the scholarship page for newly updated scholarships and summer opportunities!

Jan 08

Around the Web – New Year’s Edition!

4950670414_8b5205edc5_mHappy New Year and welcome back to the blog! 2014 started with a bang and promises to be a great year! We are especially excited about the upcoming Title VII at 50 Symposium taking place April 4-5 2014. The year is young but there are already lots of stories on our radar!

Social Media is sure to be a hot topic again this year as employers explore the boundaries of monitoring employees and investigating prospective employees online. This article explores a study where researchers found essentially zero correlation between an applicant’s facebook profile and their actual job performance. Some food for thought next time you want to check out a potential hire online!

A hint of good news for the year ahead? Hiring in the private sector increased in December, says a new report. Private-sector payrolls added over 200,000 positions in December, mainly in manufacturing and construction. The benefits and wages are other topics that will garner attention this year. The Senate voted on Tuesday to advance a three-month extension of unemployment benefits that expired over the holidays and resume negotiations on the long term outcome of the benefits. Many states, including New York, have increased their minimum wages effective December 31, and many more are considering increases in the year ahead.

Fitness is always a hot topic in the month of January, but for some female Marines increasing their arm strength was more than just a New Year’s resolution, it was a job requirement. Starting in 2014, all female Marines were supposed to be able to do at least three pullups on their annual physical fitness test and eight for a perfect score. When Only 45% of the women tested could do the 3 pullups, the Marine’s delayed the implementation of new standard. This article explores the requirements and minimum qualifications that women hoping to be trained for combat must meet.

Happy New Year and make sure to add your name to the list for information about the Title VII at 50 Symposium here!

Dec 27

Title VII at 50 Symposium – Save the Date

2014 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, landmark legislation that fundamentally altered the landscape of employment relations by prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. It is part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which also barred discrimination in public accommodations, public facilities and voting. By its enactment, notions of equality were more deeply embedded in United States public law.

On April 4-5, 2014, the St. John’s Law Review, the Journal for Civil Rights and Economic Development and the St. John’s Journal of International and Comparative Law, in conjunction with NYU Center for Labor and Employment Law, The Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development, the St. John’s Center for Labor and Employment Law, and the St. John’s Center of International and Comparative Law, will host a two-day symposium commemorating this important milestone, which will feature panelists and speakers who will assess the past, present and future of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.The symposium invites scholars and practitioners to participate in a multi-disciplinary evaluation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

If you would like information about attending this event, please fill out the form below! We will keep your information and contact you with more information in the near future!

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