State and Local Legislators Are the ‘Tail Wagging the Dog’ When It Comes to Federal Employment Litigation Impacting Retailers [Retail Industry Leaders Association]

Michael Schmidt, Steven Millman, and Austin Dieter authored an article about the unprecedented number of state and local laws that retail employers face. Perhaps as a result of the ever-broadening political divide, the #MeToo era and social justice movements, the rise of the gig-based economy, the COVID-19 pandemic, or a combination of all or some of these factors, retail employers are facing an unprecedented number of state and local laws that increase the burden on management, decrease employer autonomy, and raise the cost of doing business. Bolstered and emboldened by more homogenous groups of elected officials in these smaller political arenas, federal, state, and local lawmakers have proposed initiatives and begun implementing new laws that will require retailers to change the way they operate. In this article, they explore the trend of aggressive state and local legislatures implementing increasingly employee-friendly laws through an examination of three of the most impactful of such laws. For each, they dive into the respective growth patterns at the state and local levels, explore the impact on retailers, and discuss how federal legislatures are piggybacking on the momentum created by state and local policy makers.

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Austin G. Dieter


(312) 474-4478

Steven Millman


(215) 446-0031

Michael C. Schmidt

Vice Chair, Labor & Employment Department

(212) 453-3937

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