Q1 2023 In Review: Workplace Trends & Developments

workplace-trendsThe beginning of 2023 was full of new rules, proposals, and continuations of workplace trends that affect both employers and employees California and the broader U.S.

From the FTC’s non-compete proposal, the NLRB’s severance agreement ruling, to unionization efforts and the new mandatory arbitration laws in California, there’s plenty to review. Alongside new rules and proposals throughout Q1 2023, a few anticipated workplace trends have materialized based on employee well-being and remote preferences. However, on the employee side, rage applying continues – following previous trends such as Quiet Quitting.

See my review of some of the new rules, proposals, and recent trends seen in Q1 2023, and be sure to visit my blog for more detailed insights into each of these items.


Q1 2023: New Rules & Proposals

FTC’s Proposed Rule for Non-Compete Agreements

On January 5, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed a rule to ban non-compete clauses for U.S. employees, with the potential to impact over 30 million workers. The rule would prohibit employers from enforcing non-compete clauses on employees and invalidates all existing non-compete agreements.

The comment period for the rule was extended to April 19, 2023. Due to the mandatory 180-day notice window following the comment period, even if passed, the rule wouldn’t go into effect until mid-October. However, this is assuming that the rule also makes it through the Supreme Court, so employers aren’t necessarily in panic mode as of now. As for employers stuck in undesirable non-compete agreements, seeking a trusted employment attorney is highly advised.

Mandatory Arbitration Ruling 

California employers are now able to resolve workplace employee complaints through mandatory arbitration, due to a previous law being struck down on February 15, 2023. 

The decision followed a 2-1 ruling by the 9th Circuit that nixed the state’s previous law, AB 51. This is seen as a win for big employers, but a possible setback for employees due to the reduced protections. Many employees see mandatory arbitration as a tool for employers to hide wrongful acts, while business groups believe the FAA should have the final say on arbitration. Now, many workers are worried about their ability to speak out about workplace harassment or settle complaints in a public forum. 

NLRB Severance Agreements Decision 

On February 21, 2023, the National Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that employers cannot offer severance agreements that require employers to “broadly waive labor law rights” under the National Labor Relations Act. More specifically, conditioning severance agreements on provisions that limit workers from speaking poorly about their company, or revealing terms of their agreement, is now unlawful. 

For a more detailed breakdown of the NLRB’s decision, see this recent Scripps appearance where I discuss the ruling’s potential impact on how companies offer severance packages. 

Starbucks & Unionization

After weeks of discussions between Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and Bernie Sanders, head of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, a hearing finally took place on March 29, 2023. Schultz was called to testify after a wave of terminated workers claimed that their choice to organize led to their loss of jobs. This led to a Senate hearing, with the results remaining to be seen. Starbucks has been wrestling with unionization attempts since last year, which I spoke on in March of 2022


Reviewing Recent Workplace Trends

Employers Prioritize Well-Being

As anticipated, many employers are keeping better tabs on their workers’ mental health by offering foundational counseling resources. Others, such as Delta Air Lines, are taking it a step further. Earlier in the year, the airline started offering counseling sessions, healthier food options, and even financial education programs to employees after surveying nearly 24,000 workers and determining areas of improvement. Needless to say, many companies are catching onto the wellness needs of their workforces.

Flexibility & Remote Work Remain Priorities

Some jobs can’t be done remotely, but for those that can, one-in-three workers are taking the option. According to data from the Pew Research Center, nearly one third of U.S. workers with remote-capable jobs are choosing to work from home. While this is down from 43% in January 2022, it’s far higher than the 7% rate seen before the pandemic. It comes to show that the option to work either remotely or on a hybrid schedule is still at the top of mind for employees and employers alike, especially if they hope to keep top talent

Gen. Z Continues Rage Applying

The anger-fueled job hunting tactic conceived by TikTok is still raging on, following the wave of employment trends throughout 2022 including the Great Resignation and Quiet Quitting. Even now, as the threat of layoffs and corporate revamps puts people on edge, these variables seem to be motivating some employees to apply out of emotion, rather than carefully planning their exit. Employers can hope to counter the trend by ensuring their workers are publicly appreciated and taken care of, as shared in the Rage Applying article.


Experienced Employment Law Attorney, Mediator, Arbitrator, Investigator, Legal, and Media Commentator 

Twice-named a U.S. News Best Lawyer in America for employment and labor law, Angela Reddock-Wright is an employment and labor law attorney, mediator, arbitrator, and certified workplace and Title IX investigator (AWI-CH) in Los Angeles, CA. Known as the “Workplace Guru,” Angela is an influencer and leading authority on employment, workplace/HR, Title IX, hazing, and bullying issues. Furthermore, she’s been named a “Top 50 Woman Attorney” in California by Super Lawyers, a “Top California Employment Lawyer” by the Daily Journal, and one of Los Angeles’ “Most Influential Minority and Women Attorneys” by the Los Angeles Business Journal.

Angela is a regular legal and media commentator and analyst and has appeared on such media outlets as Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, Law and Crime with Brian Ross, Court TV, CNN, NewsNation, ABC News, CBS News, Fox 11 News, KTLA-5, the Black News Channel, Fox Soul – The Black Report, NPR, KPCC, Airtalk-89.3, KJLH Front Page with Dominique DiPrima, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, Forbes.com, Yahoo! Entertainment, People Magazine, Essence Magazine, the Los Angeles Sentinel, LA Focus, Daily Journal, Our Weekly and the Wave Newspapers.

Angela is a member of the panel of distinguished mediators and arbitrators with Signature Resolution, a California dispute resolution company. She also owns her own dispute resolution law firm, the Reddock Law Group of Los Angeles, specializing in the mediation, arbitration, and investigation of employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other workplace claims, along with Title IX, sexual harassment, assault, and misconduct conduct cases, along with hazing and bullying cases in K-12 schools, colleges, and universities, fraternities and sororities; fire, police and other public safety agencies and departments; and other private and public sector workplaces.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram @iamangelareddockwright, LinkedIn at Linkedin.com/in/angelareddock, and tune in to my weekly radio show, KBLA Talk 1580’s Legal Lens with Angela Reddock-Wright each Saturday and Sunday at 11 am PST, or catch past episodes on Anchor.fm/Spotify.   You can learn more about the radio show here – https://angelareddock-wright.com/radio-show/.

Also, learn more about my book – The Workplace Transformed: 7 Crucial Lessons from the Global Pandemic – here – https://angelareddock-wright.com/book/.

For media inquiries, please reach out to monty@kwsmdigital.com.

For more information regarding resources for employers, businesses, and employees during this time, connect with Angela on LinkedIn for new updates or contact her here. You may also follow her on Instagram.

This communication is not legal advice. It is educational only. For legal advice, consult with an experienced employment law attorney in your state or city.

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