Georgia News & Analysis

  • Federal Watch

    NLRB General Counsel announces priorities. Jennifer A. Abruzzo, General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), in August announced her offices priorities, including an examination of cases and subject matter areas in which, in the last several years, the Board overruled precedent. In the Mandatory Submissions to Advice Memorandum, Abruzzo listed 11 NLRB case areas that she identifies as doctrinal shifts away from previous Board precedent. Those cases involve employer handbook rules, confidentiality provisions in separation agreements, defining the scope of protected concerted activity, union access, and jurisdiction over religious institutions. Other subject areas she would like to examine include cases involving Weingarten rights, employee status, mutual aid or protection, and employer duty to recognize and bargain.

  • 'Long COVID' and the workplace: What a long, strange trip it's been

    Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, many people have caught (or know others who have contracted) the virus. Most who recover from the infection do so within a couple weeks or shortly thereafter. For some, however, the symptoms have persisted for months after contracting the illness. The condition has become so common it's now dubbed as "long COVID" and its victims as "long-haulers."

  • Four-day workweek may not be pipe dream after all

    My law firm colleagues and I were recently discussing our workplace predictions for the future, and one of the trends we considered was the potential shift to more flexible schedules, including a four-day workweek. Turns out, we aren't the only ones thinking about it. The topic is being discussed around the world!

  • COVID-19 variant surges: 11 key questions and answers for employers

    Like you, we had hoped COVID-19-related issues would have waned by now and we could all move forward with a return to "normal." Not so fast, apparently, as the disease's delta variant has surged, and tensions between the proand antivaccination contingents have heightened. More employers are taking charge of the coronavirus narrative at work, for instance, by mandating vaccinations and/or requiring masking. The challenge for employers is to evaluate the scope of their rights in dealing with the infection and the impact on employee morale.

  • Damages: What's at stake, and why you should care

    If you are found to have discriminated against, harassed, or retaliated against an employee in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, you may be liable for back pay (the difference between what an employee was paid and the amount he would have been paid if not for the employer's actions), and in some cases, front pay (the future earnings he would have received). But you can also be liable for additional amounts, and your early assessment of potential liability can often dictate the path you take when facing a claim.

  • Employer's delayed response leads to hostile environment trial

    An employee who initially complained about unequal pay filed several race-based claims against his employer based on a supervisor's alleged retaliatory actions. Although the employer was successful in having several claims dismissed, the court allowed the employee's hostile work environment claim to proceed to trial based largely on the company's delay in responding to his complaints and a coworker's testimony, which corroborated some of the charges. The court's decision highlights the importance of taking prompt remedial action in response to a worker's complaints about harassment and discrimination.

  • New NLRB General Counsel identifies possible changes

    Those of you who have watched the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)—the nation's primary enforcer of labor law—over the years no doubt expect it to reshuffle its priorities when the White House changes parties. The Board swore in Jennifer Abruzzo as its new general counsel (GC) on July 22, 2021, and three weeks later, she released an internal memorandum blueprint for changes to the law she would like to see the agency implement.

  • Both friends and foes of unions stepping up their efforts

    The union movement has seen declining numbers for decades, but with a staunchly prounion advocate in the White House, union supporters are hoping to soon see progress for their cause. But union foes are hoping to thwart efforts aimed at easing the way for unionization.

  • It's time to think about the holidays: To party or not to party?

    As fall settles in, it's time to think about the upcoming holiday season. But the continuing pandemic makes it hard to plan. Will it be safe to party in person this year? Is it OK for vaccinated coworkers to gather for food, drink, and other merriment? Perhaps an alternative activity such as the Zoom parties some organizations threw last year are more appropriate. Or maybe a nice gift basket delivered to employees' homes would be a better option.

  • No waiting period for firing employee who cant return after FMLA leave

    Q If an employee is unable to return to work after Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave and isn't protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), how much time should we allow before we administratively fire her?