Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Federal agencies need to stay in their lanes

These are just a few of headlines I've recently read in which one federal agency or another is signaling an intent to regulate outside of its core mission. Federal agencies should stay in their lanes, period. OSHA regulates workplace safety. The NLRB regulates the relationship between unions and management, and in non-union settings the rights of employees to engage in protected concerted activity.

These agencies have no business expanding their coverage to include issues such as workplace surveillance or post-employment noncompetition covenants. 

Yet … employers, if you're being honest with yourselves, some of you made the bed that these agencies now want you to lie in.

Consider that a Jimmy John's franchise required all of its employees, all the way down to the sandwich makers and cashiers, to sign broad two-year noncompete agreements to prohibit working at any other sandwhich shop within certain radius. Or consider the intrusive and invasive surveillance of employees, including using a computer's camera to photograph employees while they are working from home, and other use of tattleware.

If you don't want federal agencies meddling in areas which they don't belong, you really need to stop making it so easy for them to justify doing so.