I spent my Labor Day weekend in the office. Yesterday, I spent my birthday (or 14 hours of it, anyway), in my office. This is not a result of some deeply-seeded self-loathing tendency or a lack of enthusiastic friends. It’s a different type of popularity that is keeping me tied to my desk these days–popularity with clients. Or at least that’s what I tell myself. Truth told, the real reality is that I’m just plain ole’ busy.
And that’s a good thing, or so I tell myself. But let me not feel too sorry for myself. [FN 1]
Misery does love company, after all. And I, apparently, am not alone.
According a Hildebrandt survey as reported by the Washington Post, employment lawyers across the country have been burning the midnight oil. While the largest legal markets have dropped 2 to 3 percent, labor-and-employment work increased by nearly 5 percent in the second quarter of 2012, as compared with the second quarter of 2011.
Many employers are all too familiar with this phenomenon, unfortunately. As we’ve previously reported, the EEOC received more complaints last year than ever before. And discrimination is not the only thing keeping my friends in the plaintiff’s bar busy, either. The number of FLSA suits has tripled in the last decade.
So, why the uptick in labor and employment work? According to the article, our practice is “countercyclical.” In a bad economy, more employees are let go. And the longer they go without being able to find new work, the more likely they are to sue.
On the flip side, the economy has been bad long enough that employees who’ve been itching to leave but too scared to take that step find they’re tired of waiting and they’re jumping ship. When they jump ship and climb aboard with a competitor, the former employer is more likely to sue to enforce a non-compete agreement if one exists.
More employees filing suit and more employers filing suit equals more work for labor and employment lawyers like me. I’ll put my birthday celebrations on hold for the moment. For now, I’ll make a toast to job security.
[FN 1] Don’t feel too bad for me. I did see The Boss in Philly on Labor Day. See Picture, above. And what could be more motivating than Bruuuuuuuuuuuce to get me through the workweek?