Labor and Employment
Commentary by Charles S. Caulkins
Florida's constitutional amendment on medical marijuana is vague in many ways, but employers should feel confident about firing or not hiring anyone who tests positive, writes attorney Charles S. Caulkins.
Physicians are increasingly parting ways with private practice to join the ranks of health system employees. Hospital and health system employment of physicians grew by 49 percent from 2012 to 2015, according to a September 2016 report by the Physicians Advocacy Institute. Hospital ownership of physician practices has also seen significant growth. As of 2015, hospitals came to own one in four physician practices, a whopping 86 percent growth from 2012. This trend is magnified in the Northeast: by 2015, hospitals employed 42 percent of all physicians and owned 28 percent of all physician practices in this region. Many young physicians will practice their entire professional careers as hospital employees, whether directly or through hospital-owned practices.
As toughened pay equity legislation makes its way across the country and more women speak out about pay inequity, a growing number of lawsuits are starting to creep into the professional services realm. But they come with significant challenges.
According to U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit decisions, franchising is an economic "bedrock of the American economy," and recent class action labor law decisions are eroding that bedrock. This is an opinion shared by many franchise professionals and a growing number of jurists. The dissenting opinion of Third Circuit Judge Robert E. Cowen in Williams v. Jani-King of Philadelphia, Inc. (3d. Cir. 2016), argues the essential question in these labor cases is "whether 'franchise-system controls" make a franchisor the employer of its franchisees ... ." Cowen criticizes the court using "the very thing that defines franchising—the 'uniformity of product and control of its quality and distribution'"—to be used to put at risk this critical and generally beneficial sector of our economy."