Workplace Safety: OSHA Recommendations for Black Friday


Black Friday.  I use to avoid it like the plague.  Then, my cousins started to request items like trampolines and PlayStations.  A dutiful niece, I began to stand in line until the wee hours of the morning, holding onto my sanity with one hand and a life-size Barbie Dreamhouse with the other. Speaking from personal experience, Black Friday can be terrifying. Massive crowds and super savings often result in chaos and potential injury to customers.  But, safety risks are not limited to the bargain shoppers. Businesses too face challenges to ensure that their employees are kept safe during holiday shopping.  To assist employers in this process, last week, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration provided advice to retail employers, urging them to implement safety measures to prevent workplace injuries on Black Friday.   As explained by David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor of OSHA: “During the hectic […]

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Don’t Be Fooled – The NLRA Applies to Non-Union Workplaces


It is a common misconception that the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) does not apply to businesses that lack union involvement. In fact, an employee does not have to be in a union to be protected by the NLRA; employees at union and non-union workplaces have the right to share information amongst the workforce and seek to improve their working conditions.  Specifically, the NLRA provides employees with the right to form or join unions and engage in protected, concerted activities to address and improve working conditions.  A “protected concerted activity” is an endeavor that involves two or more employees taking action for the mutual aid or protection of a group regarding the terms and conditions of their employment.  For example, if two employees communicate on Facebook regarding their assigned wages, they are engaged in a “protected, concerted activity.”  An employees’ activities are not “concerted,” however, if the action is undertaken […]

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Indecent Proposal In the Workplace


At least once per week, I remind clients that Tennessee is an employment at-will state.  “An employee may be fired for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all,” I remind Mr. or Ms. So and So.  In other words, your employer can terminate you for a really bad, but not unlawful reason.  Similarly, an employee may quit his or her job, without advance notice or explanation. Recently, a good example of the “employment at-will” principle arose in connection with an employment discrimination case out of Florida. Michael Richardson worked at Bay District Schools in The Sunshine State for many years under the direct supervision of Jimmy Thompson. Jimmy was, well, a creep. He had a thing for Richardson’s wife and continually tried to solicit sex from her through promises made to her husband.  Among other explicit requests, Jimmy offered money to Richardson if he could convince his wife […]

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