Recently Enacted Delaware Layoff Notification Law Imposes New Requirements on Delaware Employers

By Scott A. Holt

This article was updated on August 17, 2018

Effective January 7, 2019, Delaware private employers will need to comply with a new state law requiring 60 days advanced notice to affected employees and government officials of a mass layoff, plant closing or relocation. The new law, known as the Delaware Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (“Delaware WARN”), mirrors in many respects the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN). The Delaware WARN, however, differs from the federal WARN Act in four critical ways.   Continue reading

What Now? Public Employer Obligations After Janus

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in Janus vs. AFSCME.  The opinion prohibits public employers from collecting fair share fees from employees who have refused to join a union. In the aftermath of Janus, public employers need to be taking immediate steps to stop any such deductions.  They also need to prepare for current union members who may seek to revoke any authorization that they had previously provided. Continue reading

Employment Law Update: Supreme Court Decision on Workers’ Rights

Supreme CourtThe Supreme Court issued a decision today regarding workers’ rights to collectively sue their employers for violations of federal labor and employment laws. We will have more to say in the coming weeks about how this decision will change the landscape of employment law.  For right now, here is what you should know: Continue reading

Supreme Court to Hear Arguments on Fair Share Fees

by William W. Bowser

On Monday, February 26th, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments inSupreme Court Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31, a case that could have a substantial impact on Delaware’s public-sector employers and employees. The Court is being asked to decide whether a public-sector employee who refuses to join a union can be required to pay so-called fair share fees to the union.

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Right-to-work: Right or Wrong?

Recently there has been a lot of talk in Delaware regarding right-to-work laws.

When a private-sector company is organized, the union will try to negotiate a requirement that all employees either join the union and pay union dues or pay a so-called agency fee for the services provided by the union like negotiations and grievance processing. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) authorizes individual states to outlaw this practice.  Any state who passes such a law is called a “right-to-work state.”

Delaware, like 21 other states, is not a right-to-work state. Delaware Governor Carney wants Delaware to stay that way. Continue reading

NLRB Smacks Hand of Employer Over Facebook Firing

The NLRB issued another social-media decision last week, finding that an employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) with respect to one “Facebook firing” but clearing the employer with respect to a second termination.  I’ll leave it to my blogging cohorts to write about the termination that didn’t get the employer into trouble and will focus in today’s post just the one that did.Employment Law Cookies_3

The Facebook firing that landed the employer, a Maryland ambulance company, in hot water was in response to an employee’s comment, posted on a former co-worker’s Facebook page.  The former co-worker, the complainant’s partner, posted on her Facebook page a note indicating that she’d been fired by the employer.  The complainant, William Norvell, and others, posted comments in response.  One of Norvell’s comments was a suggestion that his former co-worker get a lawyer and take the company to court.  Later, he added that she also “could contact the labor board.”  Someone turned over a printed copy of the posts to the HR Director who, after consulting with the COO, decided to terminate Norvell.

I hope it doesn’t surprise most readers that the Board was not happy about the decision to terminate and found that the termination violated the NLRA.  One of the basic foundations of employment law is this:

Thou shalt not take adverse action against an employee in response to the employee’s protected activity.

The law (several laws, actually), prohibits this.  It’s called retaliation.  In non-legalese, I equate retaliation to telling a child he may have a cookie, holding out the cookie jar, and then smacking his hand when he proceeds to take one.  You may not punish someone for doing what the law provides he may do.

Applied in this context, the former co-worker certainly had a right to consult a lawyer.  She also had a right to contact “the labor board,” whether that meant the state Department of Labor or the Regional Office of the NLRB.  If her termination had been for lawful reasons, the lawyer, with any luck, would have told her so.  So, too, would the DOL or NLRB.  And, armed with that knowledge, she could move on with her life.  But she had a right to investigate her legal rights either way.

And, in turn, Norvell had a right to suggest or even encourage her to investigate those rights.  Consequently, Norvell was engaging in protected legal activity for which he could not be “punished” (or, as we like to say in the law, “be subjected to an adverse employment action”).

Butler Med. Transport, LLC, 5-CA-97810, -94981, and –97854 (Sept. 4, 2013).

See also:

Lawful Employer Investigations via Facebook . . . Sort of

Why the NLRB Is Its Own Worst Enemy

Another Dizzying Ride on the NLRB Roller Coaster

I Heart Confidentiality. The NLRB Does Not.

Pop Goes the Weasel . . . And the NLRA

NLRB Upholds Legality of Facebook Firing

Sticks ‘n Stones May Break Your Bones, But Workers Can Defame You

Is the NLRB In Need of a Dictionary?

The NLRB’s New Webpage Targets Your Employees