Benefit Plan Descriptions May Create Unilateral Contracts in Pennsylvania

Written descriptions of employee benefits may expose Pennsylvania employers to additional contractual obligations and liabilities. According to a three-judge Pennsylvania Superior Court panel, providing written descriptions to employees regarding various benefits, incentives and rewards may form a binding, unilateral contract creating rights and obligations separate from an employee’s at-will relationship with the employer.

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New NLRB Leader Identifies Possible Changes

Employers who have watched the National Labor Relations Board — the nation’s primary enforcer of labor law — over the years anticipate that it will reshuffle its priorities soon after the White House changes parties. The agency swore in Jennifer Abruzzo as its new general counsel on July 22, 2021; and three weeks later, Abruzzo released an internal memorandum that is a blueprint for changes to the law she would like to see the agency implement.

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DOL Mulls Return to Obama-Era “Persuader” Reporting Rule

In late April 2021, the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) signaled its intent to revisit the “Persuader Rule” — an Obama-era regulation that imposes strict reporting requirements on employers facing organization. Although the Persuader Rule has not yet been reinstated, and will almost certainly face significant opposition, employers should be aware of the possible ramifications of the regulation.

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NLRB General Counsel Rescinds Trump-era Memos, Signaling Shift Toward New Policy Objectives

Signaling the beginning of what likely will be a major policy shift, Peter Ohr, acting General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, revoked 12 administrative guidance memoranda issued by his predecessor, Peter Robb. Both union and nonunion employers should keep a close eye on further action by Ohr.

For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.

Potential Changes to Labor Policy Under a Biden Administration

Employers should anticipate major changes to national labor policy when President-elect Joe Biden assumes the Oval Office. Through a combination of legislation and revisiting Trump-era NLRB decisions, the incoming administration will likely seek to increase union membership by facilitating organization, shortening election periods and reducing the bargaining period for the first collective bargaining agreement.

For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.

The Impact of COVID-19-Related Factors on Courts’ Enforcement of Employee Post-Employment Restrictive Covenants

In the best of economic times, some courts can be reluctant to grant immediate injunctive relief and enjoin an employee from working in order to enforce employee post-employment restrictive covenants. Now that we are in the midst of a global pandemic and an economic recession, that challenge has grown. Current economic considerations are causing some courts to weigh the “balance of harms” on injunctive relief applications in favor of employee defendants who are faced with the difficulty of finding other work in an economic downturn with high unemployment. Nevertheless, our review of recent decisions from around the country indicates that courts remain willing to consider injunction motions on an emergent basis to enforce restrictive covenants, particularly where there is a threat of trade secret misappropriation.

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