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Because Of Bostock, Noelle N. Wyman Jan 2021

Because Of Bostock, Noelle N. Wyman

Michigan Law Review Online

On a below-freezing January morning, Jennifer Chavez, an automobile technician, sat in a car that she was repairing to keep warm while waiting for delayed auto parts to arrive. Without intending to, she nodded off. Her employer promptly fired her for sleeping on the job. At least, that is the justification her employer gave. But Chavez had reason to believe that her coming out as transgender motivated the termination. In the months leading up to the January incident, Chavez’s supervisor had told her to “tone things down” when she talked about her gender transition. The repair-shop owner said that ...


Consent, Coercion, And Employment Law, Samuel R. Bagenstos Jul 2020

Consent, Coercion, And Employment Law, Samuel R. Bagenstos

Articles

The Roberts Court has recently handed several high-profile wins in labor and employment law cases to anti-labor and pro-employer forces. This paper argues that those decisions replicate crucial moves made by some infamous Lochner-era cases — and that those same moves continue to underlie key elements of labor and employment doctrine more generally. In particular, these decisions rest on a contestable understanding of free worker choice. This paper begins by examining the key recent Roberts Court decisions and demonstrates that they appear to invoke at least two distinct and conflicting understandings of employee and employer choice. It then turns to the ...


A More Perfect Pickering Test: Janus V. Afscme Council 31 And The Problem Of Public Employee Speech, Alexandra J. Gilewicz May 2020

A More Perfect Pickering Test: Janus V. Afscme Council 31 And The Problem Of Public Employee Speech, Alexandra J. Gilewicz

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

In June 2018, the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited—and, for the American labor movement, long-feared—decision in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31. The decision is expected to have a major impact on public sector employee union membership, but could have further impact on public employees’ speech rights in the workplace. Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito’s broad interpretation of whether work-related speech constitutes a “matter of public concern” may have opened the floodgates to substantially more litigation by employees asserting that their employers have violated their First Amendment rights. Claims that would have previously been unequivocally foreclosed ...


Janus's Two Faces, Kate Andrias Jun 2019

Janus's Two Faces, Kate Andrias

Articles

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus is the god of beginnings, transitions, and endings. He is often depicted as having two faces, one looking to the future and one to the past. The Supreme Court’s Janus v AFSCME case of last Term is fittingly named.1 Stunning in its disregard of principles of stare decisis, Janus overruled the forty-yearold precedent Abood v Detroit Board of Education. 2 The Janus decision marks the end of the post–New Deal compromise with respect to public sector unions and the FirstAmendment.Looking to the future, Janus lays the groundwork for further ...


The Fortification Of Inequality: Constitutional Doctrine And The Political Economy, Kate Andrias Mar 2018

The Fortification Of Inequality: Constitutional Doctrine And The Political Economy, Kate Andrias

Articles

As Parts I and II of this Essay elaborate, the examination yields three observations of relevance to constitutional law more generally: First, judge-made constitutional doctrine, though by no means the primary cause of rising inequality, has played an important role in reinforcing and exacerbating it. Judges have acquiesced to legislatively structured economic inequality, while also restricting the ability of legislatures to remedy it. Second, while economic inequality has become a cause célèbre only in the last few years, much of the constitutional doctrine that has contributed to its flourishing is longstanding. Moreover, for several decades, even the Court’s more ...


Restoring A Willingness To Act: Identifying And Remedying The Harm To Authorized Employees Ignored Under Hoffman Plastics, Rita Trivedi Jan 2018

Restoring A Willingness To Act: Identifying And Remedying The Harm To Authorized Employees Ignored Under Hoffman Plastics, Rita Trivedi

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Part I of this Article provides a background for both the NLRA and the IRCA. It examines the goals and remedies of both statutes as well as the impact of the Supreme Court’s Hoffman decision on available remedies.

Part II addresses the currently-skewed remedial incentives. It considers why employers are tempted to hire unauthorized workers and commit unfair labor practices that are then inadequately remedied, which creates a situation that adversely effects the rights of authorized employees.

Part III more closely analyzes this consequential harm. This Part identifies the erosions on the NLRA’s collective nature and the impact ...


Labor And Employment Arbitration Today: Mid-Life Crisis Or New Golden Age?, Theodore J. St. Antonie Jan 2017

Labor And Employment Arbitration Today: Mid-Life Crisis Or New Golden Age?, Theodore J. St. Antonie

Articles

The major developments in employer-employee arbitration currently do not involve labor arbitration, that is, arbitration between employers and unions. The focus is on employment arbitration, arbitration between employers and individual employees. Beginning around 1980, nearly all the states judicially modified the standard American doctrine of employment-at-will whereby, absent a statutory or contractual prohibition, an employer could fire an employee "for good cause, for no cause, or even for cause morally wrong." Under the new regime, grounded in expansive contract and public policy theories, wrongfully discharged employees often reaped bonanzas in court suits, with California jury awards averaging around $425,000 ...


Are Unions A Constitutional Anomaly?, Cynthia Estlund Oct 2015

Are Unions A Constitutional Anomaly?, Cynthia Estlund

Michigan Law Review

This term in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Ass’n, the Supreme Court will consider whether ordinary public employees may constitutionally be required to pay an “agency fee,” as a condition of employment, to the union that represents them in collective bargaining. The Court established the terms of engagement in the 2014 decision Harris v. Quinn, which struck down an agency fee on narrower grounds while describing the current doctrine approving agency fees, blessed many times by the Court itself, as an “anomaly.” This Article asks whether labor unions are themselves anomalies in our legal system, particularly in their constitutional entitlements ...


Griggs At Midlife, Deborah A. Widiss Apr 2015

Griggs At Midlife, Deborah A. Widiss

Michigan Law Review

Not all Supreme Court cases have a midlife crisis. But it is fair to say that Griggs v. Duke Power Co., which recently turned forty, has some serious symptoms. Griggs established a foundational proposition of employment discrimination law known as disparate impact liability: policies that significantly disadvantage racial minority or female employees can violate federal employment discrimination law, even if there is no evidence that the employer “intended” to discriminate. Griggs is frequently described as one of the most important decisions of the civil rights era, compared to Brown v. Board of Education for its “momentous social consequences.” In 1989 ...


Labor Unions And Title Vii: A Bit Player At The Creation Looks Back, Theodore St. Antoine Jan 2015

Labor Unions And Title Vii: A Bit Player At The Creation Looks Back, Theodore St. Antoine

Book Chapters

During the debates over what became Title VII (Equal Employment Opportunity) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, I was the junior partner of the then General Counsel of the AFL-CIO, J. Albert Woll. There were only three of us in the firm. The middle partner, Robert C. Mayer, handled the business affairs of the Federation and our other union clients. Bob was also the son-in-law of George Meany, president of the AFL-CIO, which gave us a unique access to Meany’s thinking. The Federation had only one in-house lawyer, Associate General Counsel Thomas Everett Harris. Tom was an aristocratic ...


Employment Arbitration Reform: Preserving The Right To Class Proceedings In Workplace Disputes, Javier J. Castro Sep 2014

Employment Arbitration Reform: Preserving The Right To Class Proceedings In Workplace Disputes, Javier J. Castro

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

The recent judicial enforcement of class waivers in arbitration agreements has generated ample debate over the exact reach of these decisions and their effects on the future of collective action for consumers and employees. In AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court majority held that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preempted state laws prohibiting companies from incorporating class action waivers into arbitration agreements. The Court upheld such waivers on the grounds that they are consistent with the language and underlying purpose of the FAA. Most courts across the country have since reinforced the strong federal ...


Formalism And Employer Liability Under Title Vii, Samuel R. Bagenstos Jan 2014

Formalism And Employer Liability Under Title Vii, Samuel R. Bagenstos

Articles

Most lawyers, law professors, and judges are familiar with two standard critiques of formalism in legal reasoning. One is the unacknowledged-policymaking critique. This critique argues that formalist reasoning purports to be above judicial policymaking but instead simply hides the policy decisions offstage. The other is the false-determinacy critique. This critique observes that formalist reasoning purports to reduce decision costs in the run of cases by sorting cases into defined categories, but argues that instead of going away the difficult questions of application migrate to the choice of the category in which to place a particular case.


The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission And Structural Reform Of The American Workplace, Margo Schlanger, Pauline T. Kim Jan 2014

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission And Structural Reform Of The American Workplace, Margo Schlanger, Pauline T. Kim

Articles

In one of its most-watched recent cases, the United States Supreme Court struck down a class action alleging that Wal-Mart stores discriminated against female employees in pay and promotion decisions. The plaintiffs alleged that Wal-Mart’s corporate culture and highly discretionary decision-making practices led to sex discrimination on a company-wide basis, and they sought injunctive relief as well as backpay for individual employees. Reversing the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Supreme Court held in Wal-Mart v. Dukes that the proposed class failed to meet the requirements for class action certification under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules ...


Pro-Whistleblower Reform In The Post-Garcetti Era, Julian W. Kleinbrodt Oct 2013

Pro-Whistleblower Reform In The Post-Garcetti Era, Julian W. Kleinbrodt

Michigan Law Review

Whistleblowers who expose government ineptitude, inefficiency, and corruption are valuable assets to a well-functioning democracy. Until recently, the Connick–Pickering test governed public employee speech law; it gave First Amendment protection to government employees who spoke on matters of public concern—-such as whistleblowers-—so long as the government’s administrative concerns did not outweigh the employees’ free speech interests. The Supreme Court significantly curtailed the protection of such speech in its recent case, Garcetti v. Ceballos. This case created a categorical threshold requirement that afforded no protection to speech made as an employee rather than as a citizen. Garcetti ...


Categorically Black, White, Or Wrong: 'Misperception Discrimination' And The State Of Title Vii Protection, D. Wendy Greene Sep 2013

Categorically Black, White, Or Wrong: 'Misperception Discrimination' And The State Of Title Vii Protection, D. Wendy Greene

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Article exposes an inconspicuous, categorically wrong movement within antidiscrimination law. A band of federal courts have denied Title VII protection to individuals who allege “categorical discrimination”: invidious, differential treatment on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, or sex. Per these courts, a plaintiff who self-identifies as Christian but is misperceived as Muslim cannot assert an actionable claim under Title VII if she suffers an adverse employment action as a result of this misperception and related animus. Though Title VII expressly prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion, courts have held that such a plaintiff’s claim of ...


Policeman, Citizen, Or Both? A Civilian Analogue Exception To Garcetti V. Ceballos, Caroline A. Flynn Mar 2013

Policeman, Citizen, Or Both? A Civilian Analogue Exception To Garcetti V. Ceballos, Caroline A. Flynn

Michigan Law Review

The First Amendment prohibits the government from leveraging its employment relationship with a public employee in order to silence the employee's speech. But the Supreme Court dramatically curtailed this right in Garcetti v. Ceballos by installing a categorical bar: if the public employee spoke "pursuant to her official duties," her First Amendment retaliation claim cannot proceed. Garcetti requires the employee to show that she was speaking entirely "as a citizen" and not at all "as an employee." But this is a false dichotomy - especially because the value of the employee's speech to the public is no less if ...


Baring Inequality: Revisiting The Legalization Debate Through The Lens Of Strippers' Rights, Sheerine Alemzadeh Jan 2013

Baring Inequality: Revisiting The Legalization Debate Through The Lens Of Strippers' Rights, Sheerine Alemzadeh

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

The debate over legalization of prostitution has fractured the feminist legal community for over a quarter century. Pro-legalization advocates promote the benefits attending government regulation of prostitution, including the ability to better prosecute sex crimes, increase public health and educational resources for individuals in the commercial sex trade, and apply labor and safety regulations to the commercial sex industry in the same manner as they are applied to other businesses. Some anti-legalization advocates identify themselves as "new abolitionists," and argue that government recognition of prostitution reinforces gender inequality. Often, this debate is framed in the hypothetical: What would happen if ...


The Role Of Networks, Mentors, And The Law In Overcoming Barriers To Organizational Leadership For Women With Children, Terry Morehead Dworkin, Aarti Ramaswami, Cindy A. Schipani Jan 2013

The Role Of Networks, Mentors, And The Law In Overcoming Barriers To Organizational Leadership For Women With Children, Terry Morehead Dworkin, Aarti Ramaswami, Cindy A. Schipani

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

The 2012 election brought headlines such as "Another 'Year of Women' in Congress." Although the number of women in the highest legislative offices increased, their numbers are still significantly lower than those of men. Fewer than 100 women hold office in both houses of Congress. Corporate America similarly reflects significantly low female leadership numbers. For example, "fewer than 20% of finance industry directors and executives are women, and [there are] no women leading the 20 biggest U.S. banks and securities firms." Women make up nearly half the workforce and hold 60% of bachelor degrees, yet they hold only 14 ...


Flexible Scheduling And Gender Equiality: The Working Families Flexibility Act Under The Fourteenth Amendment, Lane C. Powell Jan 2013

Flexible Scheduling And Gender Equiality: The Working Families Flexibility Act Under The Fourteenth Amendment, Lane C. Powell

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

The Working Families Flexibility Act (“WFFA”) as proposed in 2012 would create a federal right for employees to request flexible work arrangements. However, the bill contains no private right of action for employees to enforce this new right. By reframing the WFFA as an anti-discrimination statute targeting unconstitutional sex discrimination on the part of the States, the WFFA could be upheld under Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment, allowing Congress to provide a private right of action for both private and state employees. This Note uses the Supreme Court’s decisions on the Family Medical Leave Act in Hibbs and ...


Limiting The Affirmative Defense In The Digital Workplace , Daniel B. Garrie Jan 2012

Limiting The Affirmative Defense In The Digital Workplace , Daniel B. Garrie

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

From 2009 to 2011, there were more than 30,000 sexual harassment claims filed in the United States. The ubiquitous availability of digital technology devices has facilitated many instances of sexual harassment. Such sexual harassment occurs through unprovoked and offensive e-mails, messages posted on electronic bulletin boards, and other means available on the Internet. To date, courts remain silent on this issue. Should this type of sexual harassment be treated differently from physical sexual harassment? The surprising answer is yes. This Article suggests a new judicial framework for addressing sexual harassment perpetrated through digital communications. This framework accounts for the ...


Sex Equality's Unnamed Nemesis, Veronica Percia Jan 2011

Sex Equality's Unnamed Nemesis, Veronica Percia

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

Sex inequality still exists. However, its manifestations have evolved since the early sex inequality cases were heard in courts and legislatures first began structuring statutory regimes to combat it. In particular, so-called "facial" discrimination against men and women on the basis of sex has no doubt decreased since the advent of this legal assault on sex inequality. Yet the gendered assumptions that structure our institutions and interactions have proven resilient. With sex discrimination now operating more covertly, the problem of sex inequality looks considerably different than it once did. Courts, however, have failed to successfully respond to the changing contours ...


Duty Of Fair Representation Jurisprudential Reform: The Need To Adjudicate Disputes In Internal Union Review Tribunals And The Forgotten Remedy Of Re-Arbitration, Mitchell H. Rubinstein May 2009

Duty Of Fair Representation Jurisprudential Reform: The Need To Adjudicate Disputes In Internal Union Review Tribunals And The Forgotten Remedy Of Re-Arbitration, Mitchell H. Rubinstein

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

One of the best kept secrets in American labor law is that duty of fair representation jurisprudence simply does not work. It does not work for plaintiff union members because they must satisfy a close-to-impossible burden of proof and have a short statute of limitations window in which to assert their claim. It does not work for defendant unions because they are often forced to file pointless grievances in order to avoid the cost of litigation. It does not work for defendant employers because they are often brought into these lawsuits because they have the "deep pockets."

This Article makes ...


Mandatory Arbitration: Why It's Better Than It Looks, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 2008

Mandatory Arbitration: Why It's Better Than It Looks, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

"Mandatory arbitration" as used here means that employees must agree as a condition of employment to arbitrate all legal disputes with their employer, including statutory claims, rather than take them to court. The Supreme Court has upheld the validity of such agreements on the grounds that they merely provide for a change of forum and not a loss of substantive rights. Opponents contend this wrongfully deprives employees of the right to a jury trial and other statutory procedural benefits. Various empirical studies indicate, however, that employees similarly situated do about as well in arbitration as in court actions, or even ...


There's No "I" In "League": Professional Sports Leagues And The Single Entity Defense, Nathaniel Grow Oct 2006

There's No "I" In "League": Professional Sports Leagues And The Single Entity Defense, Nathaniel Grow

Michigan Law Review

This Note argues that outside of labor disputes, sports leagues should be presumed to be single entities. Part I argues that professional sports leagues are single entities in disputes regarding league-wide, non-labor policy. In particular, the focus of the Supreme Court's jurisprudence on economic reality rather than organizational form necessitates a finding that professional sports leagues are single entities in non-labor disputes. Part II argues that professional sports leagues are not single entities for purposes of labor disputes; sports leagues, on the whole, do not involve a unity of interest for labor matters. More importantly, existing precedent outside of ...


Finding The Sex In Sexual Harassment: How Title Vii And Tort Schemes Miss The Point Of Same-Sex Hostile Environment Harassment, Yvonne Zylan May 2006

Finding The Sex In Sexual Harassment: How Title Vii And Tort Schemes Miss The Point Of Same-Sex Hostile Environment Harassment, Yvonne Zylan

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

It has been nearly a quarter century since the United States Supreme Court first recognized the cause of action for a sexually hostile work environment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, the Court essentially adopted the view offered by legal academician Catharine MacKinnon that harassment taking the form of a sexually hostile work environment is a manifestation of gender-based power. In so doing, the Court created a remedy for many aggrieved employees, permitting redress in the federal courts for a problem that makes many workplaces unbearable. At the same time ...


After 70 Years Of The Nlrb: Warm Congratulations -- And A Few Reservations, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 2005

After 70 Years Of The Nlrb: Warm Congratulations -- And A Few Reservations, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

The following essay is based on a talk the speaker was invited to deliver to the National Labor Relations Board on June 3 in Washington, D.C., on the occasion of the agency's 70th anniversary.


How American Workers Lost The Right To Strike, And Other Tales, James Gray Pope Jan 2004

How American Workers Lost The Right To Strike, And Other Tales, James Gray Pope

Michigan Law Review

To paraphrase a veteran labor scholar, if you want to know where the corpses are buried in labor law, look for the "of course" statements in court opinions. By "of course" statements, he meant propositions that are announced as if they were self-evident, requiring no justification. Each year, thousands of law students read such statements in labor law casebooks. And each year, they duly ask themselves - prodded sometimes by the casebook's notes - how these conclusions could be justified in legal terms. But often there seems to be no answer, and the mystery continues. This Essay recounts the origins of ...


Labor And Employment Law In Two Transitional Decades, Theodore J. St. Antoine Jan 2004

Labor And Employment Law In Two Transitional Decades, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

Labor law became labor and employment law during the past several decades. The connotation of "labor law" is the regulation of union-management relations and that was the focus from the 1930s through the 1950s. In turn, voluntary collective bargaining was supposed to be the method best suited for setting the terms and conditions of employment for the nation's work force. Since the 1960s, however, the trend has been toward more governmental intervention to ensure nondiscrimination, safety and health, pensions and other fringe benefits, and so on. "Employment law" is now the term for the direct federal or state regulation ...


Ghost Workers In An Interconnected World: Going Beyond The Dichotomies Of Domestic Immigration And Labor Laws, Ruben J. Garcia Jun 2003

Ghost Workers In An Interconnected World: Going Beyond The Dichotomies Of Domestic Immigration And Labor Laws, Ruben J. Garcia

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Beginning with the September 11, 2001 ("9/11 ") terrorist attacks, the labor movement's plans to organize immigrant workers and achieve immigration reform have met serious challenges. After 9/11, the political climate surrounding immigrants put the AFL-CIO s hopes for legislative reform on hold, because of socially perceived connections between immigrants and terrorism. Then, in a March 2002 decision titled Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. NLRB, the U.S. Supreme Court held that undocumented immigrant workers could not collect back pay under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) when their rights to join unions are violated. According to the ...


After Ellerth: The Tangible Employment Action In Sexual Harassment Analysis, Susan Grover Jun 2002

After Ellerth: The Tangible Employment Action In Sexual Harassment Analysis, Susan Grover

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

In this Article, Professor Grover argues that courts too readily allow employers to avoid vicarious liability for supervisors' unlawful sexual harassment of subordinates. The Article explores the breadth of the affirmative defense first introduced in the Supreme Court's 1998 cases of Faragher v. Boca Raton and Burlington Indus., Inc. v. Ellerth. That defense clears an employer of liability for a supervisor's unlawful sexual harassment if (a) the employer exercised reasonable care to prevent and correct promptly any sexually harassing behavior, and (b) the plaintiff employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities provided by ...