After all, the tentative Department of Labor numbers for 228,000 new jobs beat the estimate for 200,000 jobs. Here is CNBC coverage.
But stagnant wages remain an irritant to the workforce, both traditional employees and independent contractors.
Therefore, the odds are good that employment lawyers will continue to be busy. So will government agencies in the loop, as well as accounts receivable collection firms. In addition, bartenders during this holiday season and beyond will hear plenty. That embittered word of mouth can damage the organizations' brands.
Unlike the early and mid part of the 20th century, there is no longer an informal social contract which kept relations between owners/managers and the workforce relatively tame. For lifetime employment with excellent benefits, employees traded off extreme loyalty.
Seeking legal remedies was not in that mindset for most of the workforce. Have a beef, including about salary? Start the search for another job.
Of course, that blew up in the early 1980s. GE's head Jack Welch made it his mission to downsize manpower. Myriad full time jobs were eliminated. Tasks were increasingly carried out by just-in-time workers, usually without employment security or benefits. During the famous Chrysler turnaround that was how the Lee Iacocca team lowered the breakeven point.
Long story short: Loyalty is no longer an embedded value in the world of work.
As the CNBC report notes, there is high turnover because of the stuck compensation patterns.
But, what employment lawyers, as well as government agencies, know is that employees are losing the fear to their reputations which used to be associated with launching formal grievances against employers or those assigning them contract work.
Even in rigid sectors such as BigLaw, there have been lawsuits filed about alleged discrimination in compensation. At Abovethelaw, lawyer-journalist Kathryn Rubino has been covering those developments as they relate to alleged gender issues. Here is one of her posts.
Interestingly way back in January 2007, Aaron Charney contended there was discrimination based on his gay identity at his BigLaw firm. He filed a lawsuit. Shocker then: He didn't wind up burning any bridges. He not only landed what was assumed to be a large settlement. He was hired by another large law firm. Now he is employed as an in-house lawyer.
What are employees' and independent contractors' options for resolving disputes?
As for the level of compensation itself and how and when it is paid, that usually is governed by both federal and state law. The niche in labor law is known as "Wage and Hour." The territory covered is broad.
Because of the high cost of lawyers, both employees and independent contractors find it common sense to approach disputes with a class-action legal approach. Not easy since the class, as in "Dukes v. Walmart," has to be certified. SCOTUS didn't do that.
But, law firms will tend to accept the potential class action lawsuit on a contingency basis.
As for individual actions, usually the last stop is to hire a lawyer.
Remedies can come through the EEOC, state labor departments, and small claims courts. In the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania metro area, requests for payment in small claims court can be in the $10,000 bracket. That's not small. Filing fees are low, of course.
There are also collection agencies. They have in-place procedures for affordable litigation if the compensation dispute isn't resolved through routine tactics. Mine was settled the day before the case was to be heard in court.
The rub is that the commission for any intervention by those accounts receivable firms ranges from 30% to 70%. Also, their own terms and conditions for mailing the check could be 30 days from when the account was paid.
Instead of or in addition to formal ways to push-back, disgruntled employees and independent contractors can also leverage social media. The challenge is to have enough knowledge about defamation and libel to prevent being sued. Here is a Nolo backgrounder on that.
On the other hand, the organizations which pay fairly and on-time can generate extreme loyalty and performance that exceeds expectations. The good news is that, as the economy is improving, those kinds of smart players are becoming common.
My clients in professional services are among them. We usually develop a seamless partnership. Recently, I pulled serial all-nighters for researching and ghostwriting content on reductions-in-force in developed and developing economies.
Usually I provide a cover story not to accept the assignment or find a legal exit route when demands don't correlate with compensation. Yesterday I did just that with an advisors' publication whose revenue stream is sponsored content.
Get a second opinion about your marketing and advocacy communications. No pressure. No charge. Please contact Jane Genova, firstname.lastname@example.org or @genova_jane.