NEW REPORT PREDICTS RISE OF CONTINGENT WORKFORCE
Human resources trade publication Workforce Management provided details today about a new report from labor law firm Littler Mendelson, which predicts that contingent labor, or temporary workers, could soon account for as much as 30 to 50 percent of the entire U.S. workforce, as companies shift toward a more permanent strategy tied to lean and flexible staffing. After falling to 1.7 million during the recession, the number of Americans employed by temporary staffing has grown by more than 300,000 over the last six months to a March total of 2,037,000, or about 1.6 percent of total nonfarm payrolls. It is too soon to tell if the recent increase is simply part of typical post-recession staffing strategies, which tend to favor temporary workers, or part of a larger shift toward greater dependence on these workers. Are we moving toward an era where large percentages of payrolls will consist of contingent workers? What are the pros and cons of increased reliance on contingent workers? Should job seekers struggling to find permanent, full-time positions consider contingent opportunities or sign up with a temporary staffing firm?
WORKPLACE PRIVACY RIGHTS ON THE DOCKET
The Supreme Court is considering arguments made Monday that could test the limits of workplace privacy. The case, outlined at Law.com, involved personal text messages a California police officer sent using a pager provided by his employer. The Court’s ruling will either support or overturn the ruling of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which held that the employer had violated the officer’s right to privacy. Employers and workers across the country are watching intently because the ruling has the potential to profoundly impact how these entities address the issue of privacy in the workplace. While most employers maintain that you leave your privacy rights at the door of the workplace, particularly when the use of company communications equipment is involved, employees counter that portable technology has increasingly blurred the line between our work and personal lives and that it is unreasonable to expect workers to monitor and censor their communications at all times. Is it unreasonable for employers to expect workers to focus 100% on work in the workplace? Is it reasonable employees to expect privacy when using company equipment, such as phones, computers and mobile devices? Will a ruling in favor of the officer compel employers to write more stringent policies regarding the use of company-provided technology outside of work parameters?