NLRB and CFPB Announce Collaboration to Protect Workers in New Jersey and Nationwide

Numerous government agencies investigate alleged violations of employees’ workplace rights. On occasion, they pursue enforcement actions on workers’ behalf. State agencies handle claims under New Jersey employment law, while federal agencies address alleged violations of statutes like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Agencies may collaborate with one another in order to further their own missions and provide better service to the public. Two federal agencies announced a new collaboration in March 2023. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will share information and resources in order to address several issues of concern. These include employment practices that have adverse impacts on employees’ privacy, data security, and financial well-being.

In its press release announcing the new collaboration, the NLRB states that despite “hav[ing] two distinct missions,” both agencies “share an interest in protecting American workers.” The NLRB is responsible for investigating alleged violations of workers’ labor rights under the NLRA, such as interference by an employer with efforts to self-organize or join a union for collective bargaining purposes. The NLRB’s General Counsel may file administrative actions against employers seeking compensation for workers and other types of relief.

While the NLRB came into existence nearly nine decades ago in 1935, the CFPB came into existence just over a decade ago in 2011. Congress established both agencies in the wake of major financial crises: the Great Depression and the 2007-08 financial crisis, respectively. The CFPB promulgates and enforces regulations affecting financial institutions and other businesses that may impact consumers’ financial interests. It may initiate administrative proceedings or file civil lawsuits in federal court. Enforcement actions by the CFPB might involve deceptive or abusive practices by banks, mortgage lenders, or payday loan companies. The agency has also investigated employment practices that “may leave employees indebted to their employers.”

The collaboration between the NLRB and the CFPB will “​​address practices that harm workers in the ‘gig economy’ and other labor markets.” Their Memorandum of Understanding states that the purpose of their collaboration is “to share information and preserve the confidentiality of that information” in order to provide better protection for workers and consumers.

The agencies’ press releases identify two particular “areas of immediate concern”:
– Employer surveillance: The CFPB expresses concern about the use of surveillance measures by employers to keep tabs on employee productivity. It notes that many of these tools can keep tracking employees after hours. This may be of particular concern for remote workers. The agency also states that the data gathered by these surveillance tools could end up in the hands of “​​financial institutions, insurers, and other employers” in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and other statutes.
– Employer-driven debt: Both agencies describe how employees may go into debt due to employer-mandated purchases, which may include supplies, equipment, or training that might not be essential to their jobs. This debt can damage employees’ credit and prevent workers from moving to jobs with better pay or improved working conditions.

If you believe that your employer has violated your rights under federal or state law, you need an experienced employment lawyer on your side. The Resnick Law Group represents workers who have experienced unlawful employment practices in New Jersey or New York. Our team can help you understand your options and advocate for you both in and out of court. To schedule a confidential consultation to see how we can help you, please contact us today online, at 973-781-1204, or at 646-867-7997.

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