Posted 01-12-2011

As 2011 begins, let’s take a quick look back at 2010 and a look ahead to new employment law developments:

  • EEOC: 2010- Record-Breaking Year for Complaints. In its Performance and Accountability Report for Fiscal Year 2010, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) reported it received a record 99,922 private-sector discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims during fiscal year 2010 (as compared to 93,277 in fiscal year 2009). The EEOC also reported that it recovered a record $319 million in monetary relief for private sector discrimination claims, a $25 million increase over fiscal year 2009.
  • Minimum Wage Increases: As of January 1, 2011, seventeen states and the District of Columbia have a higher minimum wage than the federal $7.25 requirement, and seven have increased their rates for 2011. Here’s the list:AK – $7.75 ; AZ – $7.35; CA – $8.00; CO – $7.36; CT – $8.25; DC – $8.25; IL – $8.25; MA – $8.00; ME – $7.50; MI – $7.40; MT – $7.35; NV – $8.25; NM – $7.50; OH – $7.40; OR – $8.50; RI – $7.40; VT – $8.15; WA – $8.67
  • Social Media Trends: On January 25, 2011, a federal administrative law judge in Hartford, Connecticut, is scheduled to hold a hearing on a complaint filed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), in which the NLRB has challenged an employer’s social media policy. The policy in question stated:”Employees are prohibited from making disparaging, discriminatory or defamatory comments when discussing the Company or the employee’s superiors, co-workers and/or competitors.”

According to the NLRB, the blogging and posting policy constitutes interference with employees in the exercise of their right to engage in protected concerted activity, including but not limited to, union organizing. Curiously, while the 2010 NLRB complaint has attracted much press and blogosphere attention, in 2009 the NLRB General Counsel issued an advice memorandum upholding similar language in Sears’ social media policy.

What this means to you:

Savvy managers and HR professionals know that employment law changes quickly, and that failure to understand those changes can lead to embarrassing and expensive liabilities. Start the New Year off right by scheduling employment law training for all managers and supervisors.

Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.