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Friday, December 21, 2018

How I Did On My Predictions for 2018

I predicted that 2018 would not be a good year overall for employees, and I was right. Here's how my predictions turned out.

Sexual harassment: I predicted that, despite all the brouhaha on #MeToo and sexual harassment, no new legislation would pass and that there would be backlash, and lots of it. There was no way I could predict Kavanaugh though. On the federal level, there was no new legislation, but the states stepped in and took some action. Much of the legislation related to sexual harassment by legislators, which was rampant. Many states decided to police their own. New York stepped up in a big way with prohibition of mandatory arbitration clauses and confidential sexual harassment settlements, among other changes to their sexual harassment laws. Still no laws that I've seen protecting unpaid interns from sexual harassment.

Agency paralysis: I predicted that, with cuts to EEOC, DOJ and NLRB, these agencies would develop backlogs and go into paralysis. I predicted that employees could expect little help from the feds this year. While EEOC actually went into overdrive to clear some backlogs, it was at the expense of employees actually expecting real investigations and serious treatment. DOJ and NLRB went out of their way to reverse Obama-era policies and decisions that favored employees. I said it last year and I was right, that EEOC mediations are still going strong. I stand by my statement that EEOC mediators, at least down here, are some of the best I've ever seen, government or private. I predicted that we would still see cases resolved in EEOC mediations unless the mediation program is cut too. That was correct, but I have noticed that fewer cases are being chosen for mediation, so there were clearly cuts to the mediation program.

Guns at work: I predicted that, thanks to high school students down here, we might start to see states revisiting those idiotic guns at work laws that have been all the rage. I was wrong. Not one state repealed these laws, and West Virginia passed one. I predicted some baby steps on common sense gun control for the first time in this country in a long time, and there was, but we have a long way to go.

Immigration raids: I predicted we'd see more employers being raided to round up illegal immigrants and arrest the bosses for hiring them, along with more traffic stops to round up immigrants. I was right. I never predicted we'd see families separated at the border.

Antitrust: The Department of Justice announced it would start cracking down on no-poach agreements between employers. I predicted this would be a ray of sunshine in an otherwise awful year for employees. DOJ brought a whopping one no-poach antitrust suit this year. It settled. Huzzah!

LGBT rights: I predicted the courts would continue to battle over whether or not Title VII'a sex discrimination prohibition covers sexual orientation. I said the Supremes wouldn't get to the issue this year, and they didn't.

Marijuana crackdowns: I predicted that the feds would start cracking down on legal marijuana use. It's still illegal on the federal level, no matter what your state says. I predicted the crackdown this year would be on the businesses, not on individuals. Fortunately, nothing much happened, and it was Jeff Sessions who was really fueling the anti-marijuana stuff on the federal level. He's gone, so yay I guess.

Overall, we saw nothing much pro-employee in 2018, and lots more reversals of Obama-era pro-employee policies. We saw anti-employee judges and NLRB members appointed. We saw chaos at DOJ. I'd give 2018 a big thumbs down from employees.

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I appreciate your comments and general questions but this isn't the place to ask confidential legal questions. If you need an employee-side employment lawyer, try http://exchange.nela.org/findalawyer to locate one in your state.