We’ve been busy lately working on several cases in litigation including a workplace defamation case in which we just received a favorable decision!  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that this weekly review missed a couple of weeks.  But let’s not dwell on that and instead let’s catchup!  

Happy Birthday FMLA!

First, on February 5 one of my favorite laws, the Family and Medical Leave Act, turned 30!  While 30 years ago the FMLA was heralded as a huge protection for employees, today we know that the the Act is only sort of great.  For instance, it only applies to employees who work for employers with fifty or more employees within a 75-mile radius.  And it only covers employees who have worked for a company for twelve months. As a result, the Act only covers approximately 56% of US employees. Additionally, the 12 weeks of leave the FMLA provides is unpaid which is a big buzz kill. The US is the only industrialized country to not offer any form of paid sick leave or paid maternity leave.  I could go on and on about this but I will save that for another day.  Suffice to say, the FMLA could use some improving but no one is holding their breath for Congress to do anything.  That is why some states like Illinois, California and New York are taking matters into their own hands.

(Not) the Happiest Place on Earth

In other news, Disney laid off 7,000 workers.  Disney is on my list of bad employers these days and this just underscores my dislike of them. In my last post I wrote about Intel’s CEO who decided rather than layoff hordes of workers, he and other members of the executive team would take significant reductions in pay.  This is good leadership.  On the other hand, Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, has a compensation package of $27 Million per year. If he cut just 10% of his pay, how many jobs could that save? A lot. A former boss of mine used to say, “pigs get fat; hogs get slaughtered” and I think that is an appropriate analogy for this situation.  Don’t be a hog, Mr. Iger.

A Win for Employees at the NLRB

Finally, on Wednesday of this week, the National Labor Relations Board reversed a Trump-era decision and held that employers may not condition severance payments on broad confidentiality, non-disclosure and/or non-disparagement provisions that would otherwise violate employee’s rights under the National Labor Relations Act.  The NLRA grants employees the right to engage in protected concerted activity which in non-legal terms is activity aimed at improving the workplace. This is effective immediately so I am sure we will see employers scrambling to update their severance agreements.

That is all we have for this installment.  Have a great week!