News and Articles

Legal Update - March 2019 Newsletter

David Lloyd - Friday, March 08, 2019

Dear valued clients and supporters: This month's newsletter will focus on 1) new guidance issued on discrimination based on hairstyle in NYC; 2) possible legislation in NYC impacting fast food employers and employees; and 3) immigration status and employment law.

Hairstyle Discrimination Banned in NYC
In February 2019, the New York City Commission on Human Rights issued groundbreaking legal guidance advising that employers who have restrictive hairstyle policies are likely violating New York City Human Rights Law's protections against discrimination in the workplace. In conjunction with presenting extensive background information and context, the Commission explained that hairstyle restrictions had a disproportionate impact on non-white ethnic groups who are often required to go so far as to manipulate the natural condition of their hair to be in compliance with work place policies. Extensive guidance is now available on the Commission's website and employers are advised to amend any existing policies accordingly.

 

Possible protections from termination for fast-food employees
New York City Council introduced a new bill in February which, if passed, will prohibit a fast food employer from laying off an employee without a bona fide economic reason. The legislation defines a “bona fide economic reason” as the full or partial closing of operations or technological or organizational changes to the business resulting in the reduction in the volume of production, sales, or profit. If an employer has a “bona fide economic reason” for a layoff, the layoff must be conducted on a “last in, first out” basis — in reverse order of seniority according to the length of service of employees in the establishment where the termination is to occur. Employees senior in length of service must be retained the longest and reinstated first. The bill specifies how to compute the length of service and accounts for military service, illness, and other absences. This proposed bill will significantly change the "at-will" doctrine, which currently governs the employer-employee relationship in the fast-food industry. We will continue tracking this bill and provide additional details and guidance as it makes its way through the legislative process.

 

Immigration Status and Employment Law
Many employees who work in the US on a variety of visas often have questions about the impact their immigration status may have on their rights as employees. To address some of these issues, we co-authored an article with our colleague Steve Maggi, Esq (an immigration attorney). We encourage our readers, especially those who are working in the US on a visa or employers who frequently hire foreign workers, to read this article which is now available on our website.

Readers are encouraged to follow us on Twitter (@lloydpatelllp) and Facebook to receive updates on these and other issues throughout the month.

 


Immigration Status and Employment Laws in New York

Yogi Patel - Wednesday, February 27, 2019

 

Foreign workers in the U.S. occupy every position from farmhand and dishwasher to engineer, doctor and CEO, and their visas and legal statuses also vary greatly. For the majority of the twelve-plus million undocumented immigrants, there is no such thing as legal employment, and therefore employers are not supposed to hire them at all. As we all know, this invisible working class drives the service and agricultural industries and exploitation of these workers is integral to expanding the profit margins for many U.S. employers. It is the employers who are at-risk in these cases, as they are not complying with the federal government’s E-verify program, which requires that they confirm work eligibility before they hire foreign workers. Workers in these cases have very limited rights. Their employment is generally “at-will”, however, despite this status (which is discussed in more detail below), employees are still protected by labor laws in most states. As an example, irrespective of your immigration status, an employee that is not paid overtime can assert a claim under state and federal law for under payment or non-payment.

Further across the spectrum between undocumented foreign workers and dual nationals (foreign nationals who also become U.S. citizens), there are workers with temporary work visas, from the seasonal workers on H-2B visas to the E-1/E-2, H-1B, P and L visas, who are generally bound to one employer which sponsors them and have limits on their duration (from several months up to 5, 6 or 7 years, depending on the visa). What is complicated with these visas is if the employees are laid off, there may not be a grace period to seek new employment and thus maintain legal status, and they be forced to leave the country. O-1 visa holders may have agent sponsors which allows them to work more independently, and can change sponsors for future renewals.

Spouses of E and L visa holders can get employment authorization documents (EADs) which allow them to get lawful employment with any company, but the length of the EADs is tied to the duration of their spouse’s legal status. H-1 and O-1 spouses are ineligible for EADs. Once a foreign national obtains legal permanent residence or U.S. citizenship, they cannot lose this legal status if they lose their job. So how does all this fit in with employment laws?
The majority of workers in New York, and the United States in general, are subject to the at-will employment doctrine. This judicially created at-will rule to employment law states, "where an employment is for an indefinite term it is presumed to be a hiring at-will which may be freely terminated by either party, at any time, for any reason, or for no reason." The at-will doctrine has been entrenched in employment law for almost a century and a half and the most practical effect of it is that American employees are subject to being freely terminated for any reason, or for no reason at all - provided that the termination is not for a discriminatory reason. Therefore, an employer can terminate an employee simply because they do not like the color of an employee’s shirt, however, the employer cannot terminate an employee because of the employee’s race, national origin, religion, disability, pregnancy and other enumerated protected categories under city, state and federal law.

The at-will rule is viewed as an equitable approach to employment termination decisions. The rationale is that because it grants the employer the right to terminate, at any time, for any reason - it also provides the employee with that same right; accordingly, an at-will employee has the right to quit, at any time, for any reason.

There are some narrow exceptions to this judicially created rule in New York. The first exception is the "handbook exception” which stands for the proposition that an employer could still be liable for arbitrarily discharging an employee if the employee can establish that the employer had a written policy limiting its right of discharge, which the employee was both aware of and relied detrimentally on in accepting the employment. Therefore, language in an employment contract or employee handbook could impact the at-will doctrine. The second exception is a narrow professional exception that applies only to members of the New York State bar (attorneys) that are involved in reporting misconduct that is mandated by the Code of Professional Responsibility. The third and last exception was promulgated by the New York State Legislature and is known as the "whistleblower exception." The "whistleblower exception" has been interpreted, by New York's highest court, to protect only those employees who report violations that endanger public health or safety.

Thus, short of these three narrow exceptions, the doctrine of at-will employment governs the relationship between employers and employees in New York State and an employer can terminate an employee for any reason or no reason, provided it is not for a discriminatory reason.

For more questions regarding employment law please contact Yogi Patel, Esq., at yp@lloydpatel.com. For any immigration questions please contact Steve Maggi, Esq., at smaggi@smalawyers.com.

 


Legal Update - December 2017 Newsletter

Yogi Patel - Friday, December 01, 2017

Dear valued clients and supporters: This month's newsletter will focus on a new law that impacts NYC employers and employees in the fast food and retail industries. The law went into effect on November 26, 2017.

Under the Fair Workweek Law, fast food employees have the right to:


1. Good Faith Estimate of Schedule:
On or before workers’ first day of work, employers must provide written schedules for the first two weeks of work with hours, dates, start and end times of shifts and written “Good Faith Estimates” (days, times, hours, locations you can expect to work during your employment). Employers must provide an updated estimate if the estimate changes.

2. Advanced Notice of Work Schedules:
Employers must give workers their written work schedule at least 14 days before their first shift in the schedule. Schedules must include at least seven calendar days with dates, shift start and end times, and location(s) of all shifts. If the schedule changes, employers must contact all affected workers within 24 hours, or as soon as possible.

3. Priority to Work Newly Available Shifts:
Before hiring a new employee when new shifts become available, employers must advertise shifts to existing workers in NYC first by: 1) posting information at the worksite where the shifts have become available and by directly providing the information to workers electronically, which may include via text or email; 2) giving priority to work open shifts to workers at the worksite where shifts are available; 3) giving shifts to interested workers from other worksites only when no or not enough workers from the worksite accept. Employers can only hire new workers if no current NYC workers accept the shifts by the posted deadline.

4. Consent Plus $100 for “Clopening” Shifts:

Employers cannot schedule workers to work two shifts over two days when the first shift ends a day and when there are less than 11 hours between shifts (a “clopening”) UNLESS workers consent in writing AND are paid a $100 premium to work the shift.

Under the Fair Workweek Law, retail employees have the right to:

 

1. 72 Hours’ Advance Notice of Work Schedule:
Employers must give workers their written work schedule at least 72 hours before the start of the schedule in the way the employer usually contacts workers, which may include via text and email. They must post the schedule at the workplace where all workers can see it. This schedule must include dates, shift start and end times, and location(s) of all shifts in the work schedule. If the schedule is changed, employers must update and repost the schedule and contact all affected workers.

2. No On-call Shifts:
Employers cannot require workers to be ready and available to work at any time the employer demands, regardless of whether workers actually work or report to work; or to “check in” within 72 hours of a scheduled shift to find out if they should report for the shift.

3. No Shift Additions with Less than 72 Hours’ Notice:

If employers want to add time or shifts to your schedule less than 72 hours before the change, workers have the right to accept or decline the change. If workers accept an additional shift, they must do so in writing.

4. No Shift Cancellations with Less than 72 Hours’ Notice:

Employers cannot cancel a shift less than 72 hours before the start of the shift except under the following circumstances: threats to worker safety or employer property, public utility failure, shutdown of public transportation, fire, flood, or other natural disaster, or a government-declared state of emergency. However, workers may trade shifts voluntarily.

 

Employers are advised to tailor their policies accordingly.


Readers are encouraged to follow us on Twitter (@lloydpatelllp) and Facebook to receive updates on these and other issues throughout the month.

 


Legal Update - November 2017 Newsletter

Yogi Patel - Thursday, November 02, 2017

Dear valued clients and supporters: This month's newsletter will focus on a significant law that impacts most NYC employers and employees that went into effect as of this morning (October 31, 2017).

NYC Salary History Law

Subdivision 25 to the NYC Administrative Code (Section 8-107) went into effect this morning. Under this new law, employers are prohibited from inquiring about or relying on a prospective employee's salary history prior to making an offer. As a practical matter, this new law changes how salaries are typically set and negotiated. The law is complex and broad reaching. Not only does it apply to direct employers, but agents, recruiters and headhunters. The liability flows through to all parties involved in the hiring process.

The law governs compensation broadly, meaning what type of questions an employer may ask about the prospective employees unvested equity, deferred compensation, commission, bonuses or percentage of profit - in connection with their prior employment - before making an offer of their own. The law does not place restrictions on how an employer may utilize prior salary history if it is "volunteered" by the prospective employee, however, the law prohibits the employer from "prompting".

The New York City Human Rights Commission is charged with enforcing the law and the penalties for violating the Act can include a civil penalty of $250,000.00, compensatory damages, attorney fees, hiring or reinstatement, award of back and front pay.

In order to comply with the law, employers should consider focusing questions on an applicants’ salary demands, skills, and qualifications during the hiring process instead of questions about prior compensation; Consider revising job applications and other forms to ensure that the form does not include questions about applicants' salary history (even if such questions are framed as "voluntary"); And finally appropriately train interviewers and modify written polices prohibiting inquiries about applicants' salary history.

For employers that engage headhunters, recruiters or agents - and intend on relying on representations made by headhunters, recruiters or agents that the applicant has consented to the disclosure of the applicant's salary history when engaging in negotiations on behalf of the applicant, employers should consider obtaining written authorization of release of salary history information directly from the prospective employee before relying on the representation of headhunter, recruiters or agents to mitigate their liability.

Employees should consider utilizing this law to their benefit when engaging in salary negotiations. Some employees, specifically executives whose compensation includes stock options and vesting restrictions may voluntarily discuss the impact of their prior employer's policy on their compensation pertaining to options - without "volunteering" other aspects of their compensation (base pay, commission, bonus).

Employees who are faced with impermissible questions about salary history, during the heat of the moment, might consider responding as follows (suggested by NYC Human Rights Commission):

  • In response to a question about what you currently make, you can reframe the issue in terms of your salary expectations or demands and not disclose your salary history.
  • Indicate that you’d like to discuss your compensation based on the requirements and responsibilities of the job for which you’re applying, which may differ from your prior work.
  • Reframe the question to focus on the value you can bring to the job and what you can add to the company, rather than on what you made previously.

Readers are encouraged to follow us on Twitter (@lloydpatelllp) and Facebook to receive updates on these and other issues throughout the month.

Legal Update - October 2017 Newsletter

Yogi Patel - Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Dear valued clients and supporters: This month's newsletter will focus on three significant employment law cases that are expected to be decided by the United States Supreme Court this term. The cases will address: (1) the enforceability of mandatory class-action waivers against employees; (2) the constitutionality of mandatory public-sector union fees; and (3) whether or not car service advisors are exempt employees under federal law.

Mandatory Class Action Waivers

 It has become increasingly common for employers to require employees to sign arbitration agreements as a condition of their employment. Such agreements seek not only to require the employees to seek any redress via arbitration, but also to prohibit the employees from bringing their claims together in a class action. Presently, in three separate but related cases, the Supreme Court will decide whether these employee arbitration agreements are enforceable because they require employees to waive their collective bargaining rights. While similar agreements have been upheld in the consumer context, Circuit Courts across the country have reached different conclusions as to whether employee arbitration agreements are enforceable, thus requiring the Supreme Court to settle the debate. As the Supreme Court's decision will have significant ramifications either on employees' rights to take collective action or on the enforceability of employment agreements, both employers and employees are advised to monitor the outcome of this decision.

Public-Sector Union Fees

 In another case on the current docket, the Supreme Court will address whether requiring public-sector employees to pay certain union fees violates their constitutional rights. Dating back to 1977, in the case Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, the Supreme Court has held that compulsory union dues were not unconstitutional so long as they were used for actions such as collective bargaining and grievance procedures and not for political activity. Recently, the Supreme Court was asked to reconsider the constitutionality of all mandatory union dues for public-sector employees, but Justice Antonin Scalia passed away before a decision was reached, leaving the Court deadlocked at a 4-4 vote. Now, with nine members again presiding, it appears the Court is now poised to issue a decisive ruling on this issue. Unions in particular have a strong interest in this case as it could result in the depletion of a significant source of revenue for them.

Car Service Employee Overtime Exemptions

 Finally, the Supreme Court is expected to resolve the question as to whether or not car dealership service providers are exempt from mandatory overtime requirements. The case is significant not only because of the narrow issue it will resolve regarding the exemption status of certain workers, but also in that it may provide additional guidance as to how much weight courts should give to the statements and opinions of agencies, such as the Department of Labor ("DOL"). The history of the service advisor exemption is essential to appreciating the significance of the current case. In 1966, Congress enacted an overtime exemption for car salesman and related employees, though service advisors were excluded by regulation. Courts later rejected this regulation and the DOL issued an opinion letter agreeing that service advisors could be exempt from mandatory overtime. Then, in 2011, almost 50 years later, the DOL reversed its position and stated that service advisors were not exempt. In 2012, five service advisors from California filed suit against their employer for failing to pay them overtime, a claim which was upheld by the Circuit Court. The Supreme Court then vacated the decision on the basis that the DOL's reversal of its position meant that courts should not rely on it. The case was sent down to the lower courts, made its way back up to the Circuit Court, which again concluded that the workers were nonexempt. Now the Supreme Court will rule again. Most experts expect that the Court will not only rule definitively as to whether or not service providers are exempt from overtime requirements, but also when Courts should rely on agency opinions more broadly.

 

Readers are encouraged to follow us on Twitter (@lloydpatelllp) and Facebook to receive updates on these and other issues throughout the month.


Legal Update - June 2017

Yogi Patel - Thursday, June 08, 2017

Dear valued clients and supporters: This month's newsletter will focus on three significant updates to New York City Law: (1) the Fair Work Week legislation; (2) the Freelance Isn't Free Act; and (3) the ban on asking prospective employees about their salary histories. A more in-depth article on all three of these topics will be posted on our website next month.

Fair Work Week Legislation

At the end of last month, the New York City Counsel passed the comprehensive Fair Work Week legislation into law, which provides additional protections and rights to fast food and retail industry employees. The legislative package consists of five bills that aim to give low-wage fast food and retail workers greater predictability around their schedules and their weekly pay. For example, one of the laws requires fast-food employers to provide at least 2-weeks' notice to employees of any schedule changes and to compensate workers for any last-minute alterations. Additionally, employers must also provide good faith estimates of weekly hours to new employees and offer any shifts that open up to current employees before making any hires. Overall, the new legislation is keeping pace with other major cities, like Seattle and San Francisco, aiming to protect its more vulnerable workers. Employees and employers are advised to fully understand their rights and obligations before the new law goes into effect later this year.

Freelance Isn't Free

On May 15, 2015, the Freelance Ins't Free Act, which provides enhanced protections and rights for freelance workers, went into effect. Specifically, freelancers are now entitled to insist on working pursuant to a written contract, receive additional damages from clients who do not pay, and are better protected from being retaliated against for enforcing their rights. The law allows for freelancers to file a complaint with the Office of Labor Policy Standards or to file private suit against individuals and businesses who violate their rights. Overall, particularly by allowing freelancers to recover attorney's fees if they file in court, the new law creates meaningful remedies for freelancers who might not otherwise have had the resources to pursue claims on their own. Freelancers and businesses that engage freelancers are advised to fully understand their rights and obligations under this new law.

Employee Salary Histories

On May 4, 2017, a bill that prohibits New York City employers from asking prospective employees about their salary histories was signed into law. The law now makes it an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to ask about an applicant's prior pay during the hiring process or to consider the prospective employee's salary history at all in determining how much to compensate the employee. The law, titled Intro. 1253, provides for penalties of up to $250,000 against employers in the most malicious instances and for compensation to aggrieved individuals. The law is set to go into effect in October of this year. Employees and employers alike are advised to fully understand the legislation's requirements and impact prior to its effective date.


Readers are encouraged to follow us on Twitter (@lloydpatelllp) and Facebook to receive updates on these and other issues throughout the month.


Legal Update - January 2017 Newsletter

Yogi Patel - Friday, January 06, 2017

Dear valued clients and supporters: Happy new year! This month's newsletter will focus on: (1) advertising of short-term rentals on Airbnb; (2) rethinking employment contracts and (3) firm announcements. 

Advertising Short-Term Rentals

Recently, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that makes it illegal to advertise the rental of an entire apartment for a period of less than 30 days. This legislation comes as part of an effort by lawmakers to crack down on the illegal rental of apartments through online platforms, such as Airbnb. Almost immediately after the bill became law, Airbnb filed suit against the City and the State in protest. While you may have heard that part of that lawsuit has been settled, Airbnb is continuing to press forward with its suit against New York City. A more in-depth article on the new law and contested legislation can be found here on our website

Rethinking Employment Contracts

In our newsletter last month, we briefly suggested reasons why employers should rethink the ways their current employment contracts are structured based on the groundbreaking work of Professor Oliver Hart of Harvard University and Professor Bengt Holmstrom of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Now, a more in-depth article on why employers should rethink their employment contracts and some practical suggestions as to how can be found on our website.

Firm announcements

We are pleased to announce the birth of Nigel P. Carraro, who is our associate Kyle Carraro's most recent addition to his growing family. We look forward to Nigel joining the Lloyd Patel roster of attorneys in a couple of decades. Finally, we are pleased to announce that partner Yogi Patel will be returning to his alma mater CUNY School of Law this coming semester as an adjunct professor of law where he will be teaching a course on the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) and Secured Transactions. 

Readers are encouraged to follow us on Twitter (@lloydpatelllp) and Facebook to receive updates on these and other issues throughout the month.

 

NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS OFFER CRITICAL INSIGHT INTO DRAFTING EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTS

Yogi Patel - Friday, December 16, 2016

The groundbreaking work of Oliver Hart of Harvard University and Bengt Holmstrom of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which includes providing invaluable insight into how employment contracts should be structured, recently earned the two professors the 2016 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science. Hart and Holmstrom’s research offers a variety of theoretical models and frameworks through which they analyze the competing interests of employees, managers, CEOs, shareholders, and others, and attempt to reconcile them via contracts.

Over the past few decades, Homstrom and Hart’s findings have been used to evaluate whether particular contracts accurately measure the performance and value of employees and other agents to companies while offering the right amount of incentive. Specific factors that the research contemplates in its assessment of employment contracts include ownership, control, the measurability of an agent’s performance, risk sharing, and the motivations of the parties involved.

Rather than simply pay an individual a fixed salary or reward a manager for the performance of a company in a vacuum, the professors suggest considering alternative compensation structures and contracting terms, including:

Deferred Compensation

In order to ensure that a company’s interests are aligned with those of an employee, it may make sense to tie an individual’s compensation to performance rather than pay her a set amount. By withholding a portion of an employee’s compensation, the company can provide incentives for the individual to earn the full amount by meeting certain goals. Whether or not this type of arrangement makes sense will depend in great part on the measurability of an employee’s performance and the stability of the business environment.

Performance Evaluation based on the Overall Market

Another metric for evaluating an employee’s value, particularly one who is in a decision-making position, is the overall performance of the company. One common mistake businesses make is setting goals or targets based solely on the absolute performance of the company, rather than taking into account the performance of the company as compared to other similarly situated businesses. If a company does well in a thriving market or suffers during a market collapse, the employee should not be rewarded for good luck or punished for misfortune. A company performing well relative to others is a far superior measurement of employee value.

Designation of a Main Decision-Maker

Most contracts cannot contemplate the exact outcome of every situation that may arise in a given relationship. Companies recognize that it is impossible to list specific instructions for every job responsibility, and this in turn may actually be counterproductive. In such cases, the parties should determine who has the power to decide what to do in situations where they cannot reach an agreement. In this manner, the parties are able to avoid having to anticipate every possible future event while entering into a relationship that allows them to move forward with their main, general purpose, i.e. employment.

While Hart and Holmstrom’s work is highly theoretical and informative, it is essential to use their tools in conjunction with a business’s specific needs. Depending on the business type, number of employees, and variety of other factors, businesses may have widely different terms and compensation structures that work best for them. Notwithstanding this, business owners are advised to consider the research finds of Professor Hart and Holstrom’s when making decisions about their own employees and businesses.

This article was prepared with the assistance of Julie Lee, 3L (CUNY School of Law).

 

Legal Update - October 2016 Newsletter

Yogi Patel - Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Dear valued clients and supporters: This month's newsletter will focus on: (1) trademarking website domain names; (2) impact on a business in the event of a divorce; and (3) rethinking employment contracts in light of the recent award of the Nobel Prize in Economic Science.

Trademarks and Website Domain Names
Contrary to the assumption of many, simply registering the name of a business as a domain name does not give the same protections as trademarking the name itself. Domain name registrants lease, rather than own their website domain names, whereas a trademark grants exclusive use of a particular domain name in commerce nationwide. Thus, businesses who fail to trademark their domain names are much more susceptible to infringement and customer confusion due to another entity using the same or similar name. And many businesses that spend countless resources on their brand (often tied to their websites) could find themselves in a position where they lose their ability to use that domain name resulting from their failure to seek federal trademark protection. For further details on the differences between registering a domain name and a trademark and why businesses should strongly consider the latter, an in-depth article can be found here on our website.

Protecting a Business from Divorce (Updated)
In our newsletter last month, we briefly discussed the need for business owners to prepare themselves in the event of a divorce. A more in-depth article on what steps owners should take to protect their businesses from a divorce is now posted here on our website.

Rethinking Employment Contracts

The most recent Nobel Prize in Economic Science was awarded to two professors for their work on improving the design of employment contracts. At the core of Dr. Oliver Hart and Dr. Bengt Homstrom's study were findings that suggested new ways in which businesses should value their employees' contributions and provide incentives to maximize performance. By restructuring its contracts based upon the professors' research, business can more accurately measure and incentivize their employees' performance and provide compensation accordingly. A more in-depth article on this topic will be posted next month here on our website.

Readers are encouraged to follow us on Twitter (@lloydpatelllp) and Facebook to receive updates on these and other issues throughout the month.

In a Stark Reversal, the NLRB Rules Columbia University Graduate Students May Unionize

Yogi Patel - Wednesday, September 07, 2016

The National Labor Relations Board ruled late last month that student assistants working at private colleges and universities are “employees” under the National Labor Relations Act and can organize and form a union. This reverses the position of the Board, which ruled in 2004 that graduate teaching and research assistants were not employees, reasoning that the students’ relationship with the school was “primarily educational.”

In reversing its 12-year old position in the Brown University case, the NLRB wrote that it wrongly “deprived an entire category of workers the protections of the [National Labor Relations Act], without a convincing justification in either the statutory language or the policies” of the law.

The proper role of graduate students and their contributions outside the classroom has been a source of controversy and debate for nearly two decades, as both private and public institutions of higher education have grown more and more reliant on them for the institutions to operate. Many see increased use of graduate students and low-paid, temporary adjuncts as part of a movement away from full-time professors, a move that has been criticized by educators and students. Students also point out that such work is mandatory as part of many graduate programs, but the pay leaves some of them living in poverty while the time demands prevent them from obtaining other work to supplement their income without compromising their ability to fulfill academic needs.

Schools, on the other hand, argue that unionization could lead to negotiations about inherently educational factors, such as the length of classes, the content of curriculum, or the method or amount of grading.

The Columbia University ruling allows graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants, as well as graduate and departmental research assistants at Columbia University to join Graduate Workers of Columbia-GWC, UAW, but not before the case is reviewed again by an NLRB Manhattan regional director, who must still determine who is eligible to vote in the union election.


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