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Offit Kurman Telebriefs® | NLRB Rules on Bargaining Obligations of Employers and More

NLRB Rules on Bargaining Obligations of Employers and Misclassification of Independent Contractor, Fourth Circuit Decides Harassment Case, New DOL FMLA Forms

The past several weeks have seen a number of National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) developments. Earlier this month, the Board announced a decision that allows employers to more easily make unilateral changes to collective bargaining agreements without needing to negotiate such changes with the union. The NLRB has issued a request for briefing on whether it should reconsider its standards for evaluating profane outbursts and offensive statements of a racial or sexual nature. The NLRB also recently held that employers do not violate the National Labor Relations Act solely by misclassifying employees as independent contractors.

The Fourth Circuit, covering Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, recently decided a case involving a custodial employee who had been terminated for sexually harassing a coworker. The individual subsequently sued his former employer, Elon University, alleging that the university failed to promote him and later terminated him because of his Mexican heritage, and claimed that the workplace harassment violation was a pretextual reason. The Fourth Circuit found his claims to be unavailing and ruled that the university was entitled to summary judgment, again demonstrating that courts have little sympathy for employees who engage in workplace harassment.

The Department of Labor has announced proposed revisions to the Family and Medical Leave Act forms on its website. According to the DOL, the new forms will have fewer questions requiring written responses, replaced by statements that can be verified by simply checking a box. The updates will also re-organize medical certification forms for faster determinations of whether a medical condition is a serious health condition as defined by the FMLA. The DOL additionally hopes the new forms reduce the demand on healthcare providers for follow-up information.

Questions about labor and employment law or other topics from this our last Telebrief?

Contact Howard Kurman at or 410-209-6417.

About the Telebriefs®

The Telebriefs® are 30-minute, information-packed phone calls geared towards executives, HR directors, supervisors, managers, and business owners. Join Howard K. Kurman, as he discusses employment law developments occurring over the past two weeks that will most significantly impact employers nationwide. These twice-monthly phone calls are an easy way to stay current and compliant with the latest employment law developments that will significantly affect you and your company. The goal is to provide information and insights to help executives stay current with the latest workplace law developments and in front of trends, to enable proactive policy-making and management. Our guarantee: You will learn something useful on every call!

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Howard Kurman Casual-Small | 410-209-6417

Howard K. Kurman is an employment attorney. Mr. Kurman regularly counsels clients on all aspects of proactive employment/labor issues. He represents employers ranging in size from as small as 20 employees to those employers with geographically disparate locations consisting of over 4,000 employees. Mr. Kurman assures, through regular contact with his clients, that they promulgate and maintain the most effective employment policies that will, to the extent possible, minimize their legal exposure in today’s litigious workplace. Mr. Kurman offers advice on employee handbooks, employment agreements, and covenants not to compete as well as confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements. Previously, Mr. Kurman was the chair of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice Group.





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