On Monday, December 11, 2017, the Board issued a decision holding that Administrative Law Judges can approve an employer’s offer to settle unfair labor practice charges so long as the settlement offer is “reasonable,” even if the general counsel and charging party object to the settlement.  The case reverses Obama-era precedent that held that an ALJ can approve a settlement only if the settlement provides “complete relief” for every alleged unfair labor practice. That standard made it impractical for employers to settle unfair labor practice charges because employers received no compromise in exchange for foregoing full-blown litigation.

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The newly-appointed NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb issued his list of priorities in Advice Memo 18-02 released December 4, 2017.  The Memo sets forth the “Mandatory Submissions to Advice” – the kinds of cases Regional Directors must submit to the Division of Advice to obtain guidance before issuing a complaint.  The Advice Memo signals the GC’s intent to assist the Board in undoing much of the Obama-era Board’s sweeping changes to federal labor law.  As predicted, many of the priorities focus on the Board’s handbook-related changes, granting employee access to employer email systems, and confidentiality rules in investigations.

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On October 3, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 306, dramatically limiting an employer’s right to defend itself against allegations that it retaliated against an employee for making wage claims.  In short, the law makes it far easier for employees and the California Labor Commissioner to obtain injunctive relief in

On September 28, 2017, the Supreme Court agreed to review whether service advisors at auto dealerships qualify as exempt from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act, in Encino Motorcars, LLC v. Navarro.  The employer’s petition asks the Court to overturn the Ninth Circuit’s decision that the employees who advise customers about repair work

On September 25, the Senate confirmed William Emanuel to the National Labor Relations Board by a vote of 49-47. With Emanuel’s confirmation, and the Senate’s recent confirmation of Republican Marvin Kaplan, the Board now has its full five-members and a Republican majority, which it has not had since before the Obama administration. Along with Kaplan,

Two Board cases decided September 7 shed light on how the Board handles alleged breaches of informal settlement agreements and the “default language”[i] that Regions often put in those settlement agreements — ConAgra Foods and Outokumpu Stainless.  In particular, Miscimarra’s separate opinions in these cases signal that the Trump Board may hold the Regions more closely to the precise terms of the settlement agreements, and hopefully push back on Regions who have made it difficult for employers to reach informal settlements in recent years.

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