The National Employer Lawyers Association (NELA) files what they call “amicus” briefs, in which they weigh in on a particular cutting-edge issue. The most recent report identified some of these concerns:
- Maintaining the right to bring class action wage and hour claims.
- Protecting employees for being fired for cooperation with an employer’s internal sexual harassment investigation.
- Obtaining “mixed motive” instructions in Title VII and other cases.
- Fighting a return to work following medical/disability leave requirement that employees be 100% healed (although this might work in a Workers Comp case, it poses significant problems under the ADA).
- Continuing to push glass ceiling arguments, such as those that resulted in the Wal-Mart case. These issues include “tap on the shoulder” promotions, failure to post job openings, too much discretion in compensation policies, gender stereotyping, statistical patterns, and the absence of effective accountability structures to address such disparities.
- Preventing employers from making blanket classifications that employees are exempt from overtime. Instead, employers must make individual analysis of specific employees.
- Reviewing the availability of attorneys fees, punitive damages, and other sanctions and penalties.
- Misclassifying employees as independent contractors for wage and hour, benefit, and other purposes.
- Undermining the arbitration process.
NELA’s 2009 Workplace Heroes include: The person who blew the whistle on the IRS, Lilly Ledbetter — whose case encouraged the passage of the Ledbetter Act so that women can bring fair pay claims, and a union organizer who led a group of workers that locked themselves into a shut-down plant. You can learn more about the NELA agenda at www.nela.org.