Thursday, April 9, 2009

Preparing for the golden age of labor and employment law

As an employment lawyer, my practice has a lot of different aspects. I’m a counselor, helping clients tame workplace issues before they become problems. I’m a drafter, writing employee handbooks, policies, contracts, and forms. I’m an investigator, questioning employees involved in harassment and other complaints. I’m a trainer, guiding workforces, managers, and supervisors through the alphabet soup that makes up our labor and employment laws. I’m a negotiator, trying to amicably resolve employee disputes before they become fights. And, I’m a litigator and  trial lawyer, navigating companies through our state and federal courts and administrative agencies.

All these roles will be tested over the next several years. A liberal Congress, a Democrat President, and the worst economic downturn in 80 years have combined to create a world of problems for our nation’s struggling employers. The Ledbetter Fair Pay Act has already increased pay discrimination liability, and myriad layoffs have heightened the risk for age and other discrimination lawsuits. If Congress has its way, over the next several years the Employee Free Choice Act will make it significantly easier for unions to organize and bargain favorable first contracts, the FMLA will be expanded to cover smaller employers, and paid sick leave will become a reality. For these reasons, we may be at the dawning of the golden age of labor and employment law.

In light of all of these changes, it is critical that businesses not be caught unprepared. According to April 8th’s Wall Street Journal, “U.S. businesses, fearful of rising union influence and a crackdown by the Obama administration on workplace practices, are scrambling for legal advice and training.” Luckily for my readers, KJK is offering some of this advice and training for free. On May 13, my colleagues and I will present How to Stay Union Free in a Union-Friendly World, a free seminar on how to best position your non-union business to stay that way. Feel free to contact me for more information, or if you would like to attend.

Presented by Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, with offices in Cleveland and Columbus.

For more information, contact Jon Hyman, a partner in our Labor & Employment group, at (216) 736-7226 or

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