A brief summation of several important 2015 decisions sheds some light on what can be expected in the year ahead:
- The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), in overturning a 30-year standard, ruled that waste-management company Browning-Ferris and staffing agency Leadpoint should be considered “joint employers.” The upshot is that unions can endeavor to organize at an entity’s entire fleet of franchisees, rather than one at a time. Separately, the NLRB has come down on employers regarding policies on such diverse areas as dress codes, conflicts of interest and workplace investigations.
- The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) saw its share of class-action lawsuits last year regarding strict technical requirements for organizations to obtain information about prospective hires. An important ruling is expected by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016 on how much harm an FCRA plaintiff has to demonstrate in order to file suit.
- Much was written last year about legal challenges to so-called “on-demand” service providers--notably the runaway alternative taxi service Uber, in the state of California. The disputes have mainly arisen over how to classify on-demand workers as independent contractors as opposed to full-fledged employees, and we’re likely going to hear even more about it in 2016.
- Hiring decisions based on gender and race made their own share of headlines in the employment law field in 2015. As a result, many legal experts are registering a note of caution that such actions may actually place employers in jeopardy of incurring “reverse discrimination” suits under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.