Employee Rights Briefing
December 2018
News From The Institute
The NELA Institute Welcomes New Executive Board Officers
We are pleased to announce that Rebecca L. Salawdeh (WI) has been appointed President of The NELA Institute Board. She was a member of the NELA Executive Board from 2005–2017, and has served on The NELA Institute Board as its Secretary since its founding in 2008.

Board member Joanne Irby has been appointed to replace Rebecca as Board Secretary. Joanne is the Chief Operating Officer of The Raben Group (DC), and has been a Board member since 2016.

NELA and The NELA Institute extend our heartfelt gratitude to outgoing President Patricia A. (Patti) Barasch (NJ) for her nearly five years of dedicated service as The NELA Institute’s leader. Patti remains a member of The NELA Institute Board, along with Bruce A. Fredrickson (DC), Alicia K. Haynes (AL), Diane S. King (CO), and Prof. Imre S. Szalai (LA).

Find out more about The NELA Institute's Board and work
The NELA Institute Bids Farewell To Program Director Matt Koski
I t is with a heavy heart that The NELA Institute says goodbye this month to Program Director Matt Koski. Matt joined The NELA Institute in 2010 as our first Paul H. Tobias (PHT) Attorney Fellow. During his time as a PHT Fellow, Matt built The NELA Institute’s Summary Judgment Toolkit , among other projects. Since returning as The NELA Institute Program Director in 2015, Matt guided our public education campaign to end forced arbitration in the American workplace.

In parting, Matt reflected, “ I have been privileged to be a member of the NELA and NELA Institute family for the entirety of my legal career, and my experiences with the staff and membership have been some of the most personally and professionally enriching of my life. I cannot thank or praise sufficiently the NELA members and staff with whom I have had the pleasure of working over the years for the immense contributions you have made to the work of this organization and our shared mission. You live the values of this organization every day, so please know that I could not hold you in any higher esteem. There is tremendous passion, energy, intellect, and skill within our ranks, and I look forward with great anticipation to seeing how it will be brought to bear to improve the lives of our clients, and all workers, in the future. I hope sincerely that our paths cross again soon.

 Matt’s last day with NELA and The NELA Institute was Friday, December 7. We extend our thanks to Matt for his service, and wish him the best in all his future endeavors.
In The News
Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz published a broad review of the nation’s economic picture in Scientific American on November 1, entitled, “ The American Economy Is Rigged And What We Can Do About It.”
On November 6, voters in Arkansas and Missouri approved statewide ballot measures to gradually raise their state minimum wage to $11 and $12 per hour, respectively .
On November 8, the Department of Labor (DOL) rescinded its guidance regarding the so-called “80-20 rule,” which required tipped employees to spend at least 80 percent of their time performing tasks for which tips are customarily given before their employer may lawfully pay them at a lower rate than the required minimum-wage.
U.S. Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced the Restoring Justice for Workers Act (H.R. 7109), which would amend the Federal Arbitration Act to render forced arbitration clauses in employment contracts unenforceable.
In a cascade of announcements beginning on November 8 , Google, Facebook, eBay, and Airbnb all agreed to stop forcing employees to arbitrate sexual harassment claims. Terri Gerstein, director of the Project on State and Local Enforcement at Harvard Law School’s Labor and Worklife Program, aptly responded to the news on November 14 in her New York Times op-ed, “ End Forced Arbitration for Sexual Harassment. Then Do More.”
On November 23, The New York Law Journal’s Kimberly Kalmanson and Randi M. Cohen addressed the real cost of mandatory arbitration. Two days later, Forbes contributor Avivah Wittenberg-Cox challenged businesses to assess the impact of their use of forced arbitration and other workplace policies in her article, “ Do Your Systems Undermine Gender Balance Or Support It?
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced that it will pursue piecemeal efforts to re-vamp the Obama-era “elections rule,” which provides that union elections should occur at the soonest practicable moment. Advancing a series of small rule changes, rather than one comprehensive rule change, will make it more difficult for employee advocates to preserve beneficial aspects of the existing, more pro-worker rule. 
The Center for Public Integrity published an alarming article on November 12 that exposes “the good, the bad, and the ugly” of state worker safety programs
On November 15, Marketplace.com’s Scott Tong explained how temp workers became the norm in America.
Alexia Fernandez Campbell at Vox.com insightfully provided on November 26 that the G20 summit is a reminder of how little the U.S. is doing for American workers.
Workers Rights By The Numbers
50%
The accumulated, gender-based “wage gap” some women may face over the course of their careers.
( The Nation )  
121
The number of underfunded multiemployer pension plans—collectively covering 1.3 million workers—at risk of failing within the next 20 years. ( PRN Newswire )
14,700
The number of auto workers who will lose their jobs when General Motors closes five manufacturing plants in the United States and Canada between now and January 2019. ( Common Dreams )
In The Courts
On November 6, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Mt. Lemmon Fire District v. Guido that state and local government entities are covered by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act regardless of the number of employees they have.
In Herrington v. Waterstone Mortgage Corporation, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that the availability of class or collective arbitration under an otherwise valid arbitration clause is a “gateway” issue that should be decided by a court, not an arbitrator.
The Employee Rights Briefing is a monthly newsletter designed to help keep you up-to-date on breaking news and emerging trends impacting America's workers. From the growth of forced arbitration of employment disputes, to employee misclassification, to stories of wage theft and workplace discrimination, the Employee Rights Briefing reports on employment law and policy developments from the federal government to state legislatures to the courtroom and everywhere in between. Our goal is to provide you with a digestible snapshot of the events shaping employment law and policy, so that you can be kept abreast of the most important issues facing today's workers.
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