Author Archives: Francis P. Rojas

About Francis P. Rojas

Francis Rojas practices in the areas of civil rights, employment, labor law, and contracts. Francis Rojas graduated from William Mitchell College of Law in 2008 and has a B.A. in Psychology (Forensics) and Sociology (Crime and Community) from Augsburg College. While in law school, Francis Rojas interned with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Francis Rojas also participated in William Mitchell Civil Advocacy Clinic and the Tax Planning Clinic. Francis Rojas was born in Bogotá, Colombia and is fluent in Spanish.

Minneapolis City Council introduces workplace ordinances

On Friday, the Minneapolis City Council introduced the subject matter of an ordinance ensuring fair scheduling, guaranteeing earned sick time and preventing wage theft. The Council also voted to approve funding to study a $15-per-hour minimum wage.

Source: Minneapolis City Council introduces workplace ordinances | Workday Minnesota

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Filed under employment, Minnesota

9th Circuit rules against Idaho anti-union law

In the construction and trades industry unions often engage in “market recovery” or “job targeting” programs, which allow a union company to remain competitive in the job market.  In these programs, the union subsidizes bids of union contractors, thus allowing union contractors to lower their labor costs in order to compete effectively with non-union contractors.  This is necessary to protect the rights of workers under the National Labor Relations Act.

In Idaho, the legislature passed a bill banning the use of such market recovery programs.  Recently, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Idaho anti-union law was unconstitutional.

In Idaho Building and Construction Trades Council, et. al. v. Lawrence Wasden, No. 11-35985 (Sept. 16 2015), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled:

The NLRB has repeatedly held that job targeting programs are actually protected under [Section] 7 of the NLRA. Most recently, the Board reaffirmed its earlier cases by explaining that “the objectives of job targeting programs fall squarely within the ambit of Section 7 of the Act,” which “protects concerted employee activities engaged in ‘for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.'”

This is crucial because without these programs, employees would be deterred from being associated with a union and engaging in collective bargaining or other protected activity under the NLRA.

The Attorney General attempted to argue that the case was not preempted by federal law. In other words, that federal protections awarded by the National Labor Relations Act did not apply.  The Court disagreed.

Source: Courthouse News Service

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Anti-Union law fails in Missouri

Republicans had drafted a Right To Work law in Missouri, which was vetoed by Governor Nixon.  In doing so, Nixon stated:

“For generations, the ability of workers to join together and bargain collectively for fair wages and benefits has formed the foundation of the American middle-class.  This extreme measure would take our state backward, squeeze the middle class, lower wages for Missouri families, and subject businesses to criminal and unlimited civil liability.”

Recently, Republicans attempted to overturn this veto and failed to secure the 109 votes they needed.  The vote was 96-63.

Source: Courthouse News Service

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President Obama orders paid sick leave

On Labor Day, President Obama issued an executive order mandating that federal contractors had to pay their employees sick leave.

The order mandates that workers accrue 1 paid sick hour for every 30 hours worked – up to 7 paid sick days a year.

This is a big and positive change for the workforce given that employees do not have a guaranteed right to get sick days.  In MN, if employers provide sick days to its employees, then the Sick Day statutes apply. See MN Stat. 181.9413.

Source: President Obama paid leave order could help 300K –

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NLRB Now Allows E-Signatures Gathered From Social Media To Be Used For Election Petitions

Generally, signatures for election petitions have to be in writing.  However, this changed this week.  This greatly speeds up election petitions, as well as eases up on the difficult battle that can be an election.

The General Counsel imposed additional requirements for electronic signatures.  Electronic signatures must contain the signer’s name, email address or social media account, phone number, authorization language agreed to, date, and name of the employer.  The signature cannot contain private identifying information like the signer’s date of birth or Social Security number.  The union submitting the electronic signatures must provide a declaration attesting to the methods used to validate the signature.

The General Counsel’s guidance is effective immediately.  The guidance could be viewed as another example of the Board bypassing regulatory processes to institute union-friendly procedures.  The practical impact of the guidance is that unions may immediately use email and social media to gather signatures with limited review of their authenticity.

Given the Board’s recently instituted election rules and cases concerning access to employer email systems, this guidance could significantly accelerate the organizing process.

[Emphasis added.]

Source: The NLRB To Now Allow E-Signatures Gathered From Social Media To Be Used For Election Petitions? –

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Filed under federal, NLRB, rules, union

WI State Patrol rescinding raises because they owe the police overtime wages

The Star Tribune had a sad, yet unsurprising, article about WI taking the raises away from its officers after it was determined that they owed back wages to those officers…

MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin State Patrol is rescinding pay raises for officers who provide security to Gov. Scott Walker after federal regulators said they are due overtime pay dating back to May 2013.Department of Transportation spokeswoman Peg Schmitt said Tuesday that in light of the determination by the U.S. Department of Labor that the officers are due overtime, the $4-an-hour raises given the officers in February will be withdrawn.The 10 officers in the Dignitary Protection Unit provide protection to Walker around the clock, including when he is outside of Wisconsin running for president. They also protect Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and visiting dignitaries.The raises that took effect in February had increased salaries for most members of the unit from around $32 an hour to about $36 an hour.

Source: Wisconsin State Patrol rescinding raises for Walker security –

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Filed under employment, wage

NLRB rules on Joint Employer Test

The NLRB, in Browning-Ferris Industries, has refined the test used to determine if a company is a joint employer.

In the decision, the Board applies long-established principles to find that two or more entities are joint employers of a single workforce if (1) they are both employers within the meaning of the common law;  and (2) they share or codetermine those matters governing the essential terms and conditions of employment. In evaluating whether an employer possesses sufficient control over employees to qualify as a joint employer, the Board will – among other factors — consider whether an employer has exercised control over terms and conditions of employment indirectly through an intermediary, or whether it has reserved the authority to do so.

Source: Board Issues Decision in Browning-Ferris Industries | NLRB

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Approval of Labor Unions

This was very interesting.  Americans’ approval of labor unions has jumped five percentage points to 58% over the past year, and is now at its highest point since 2008, when 59% approved. In the interim, the image of organized labor had suffered, sinking to an all-time low of 48% in 2009.


Source: Adjunct Law Prof Blog

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Debate on Same-Sex Marriage Case at the Sup. Court

The National Constitution Center will host a debate on June 2nd at 6:30pm EDT (which is available to be streamed free) on same-sex marriage and the Equal Protection Clause.  You can watch the video here.

The excerpt is:

The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment provides: “No State shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

And now, the Supreme Court is poised to answer the question of whether this Clause requires States to license marriages between two people of the same sex. The best guess is that the Court will decide the question in late June. Does the Equal Protection Clause require States to license same-sex marriages, or will they decide that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

via The Equal Protection Clause Does Not Require States To License Same-Sex Marriages – IQ2 Debates.

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Filed under civil rights, courts, discrimination, federal, Supreme Court

Follow up on Arpaio: Yes, I did it but it wasn’t my fault

Sheriff Arpaio has been on the news multiple times for his harsh tactics and opinion on immigration.  I came across this interesting article in Courthouse News, where Arpaio admitted that he violated the law and then shifted all of the blame to his attorney and the people under him for following his orders.

Article on the preliminary injunction that the Court ordered.

Article on Arpaio being brought on contempt charges.

via Courthouse News Service.

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Filed under civil rights, discrmination, immigration