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Articles on workplace-related issues from newspapers and Internet news sources around the country.

April 27, 2017

Senate nudges Acosta step toward confirmation at Labor

Source: Laurie Kellman, Associated Press

The Senate was poised to confirm Acosta by the end of the week, the 100-day mark of Trump's presidency. The Florida International University law school dean would be the first Hispanic member of Trump's Cabinet. The process has not been smooth for a president who says he's committed to advocating for American workers.

April 26, 2017

Roundtable Anticipates Changes to Labor and Employment Relations Under Trump Administration

Source: Breanne Fleer, Cornell Sun

Prominent lawyers, professors, corporate managers and union leaders gathered for a roundtable talk on Monday to discuss the direction of hospitality, labor and employment relations under President Donald Trump’s administration.

11 Sue Fox News, Citing ‘Intolerable’ Racial Bias

Source: Sydney Ember, The New York Times

Troubles at Fox News were compounded yet again on Tuesday, with the emergence of new allegations of racial discrimination at the company coming less than a week after the ouster of the network’s star Bill O’Reilly. Eleven current and former Fox News employees filed a class-action lawsuit in New York against the network, accusing it of “abhorrent, intolerable, unlawful and hostile racial discrimination.”

April 25, 2017

Aeroflot Workers Are Told Passengers Want Attractive Flight Crews

Source: Neil MacFarquhar, The New York Times

By Russian standards, the news conference on Tuesday was unusual: an airing of grievances by two female flight attendants who had taken the rare step of suing Aeroflot, the country’s flag carrier, for age and sex discrimination. The two women, Evgeniya V. Magurina and Irina N. Ierusalimskaya, who sued separately, said they were barred from international flights, losing a significant chunk of their potential paychecks, because their clothing sizes were larger. Ms. Magurina told the news conference that she wanted to know why her “professional success” was tied to her clothing size. The two women — one of whom had worked for the airline for 26 years — lost their initial court cases and had called the news conference to announce they would appeal.

In New Lawsuit, Tantaros Claims Fox Illegally Surveilled And Hacked Her

Source: Allegra Kirkland, Talking Points Memo

Former Fox News anchor Andrea Tantaros sued the network and a handful of its top executives Monday for allegedly carrying out a campaign of “illegal electronic surveillance and computer hacking” against her after she went public with claims of workplace sexual harassment and retaliation. It is the second lawsuit Tantaros has filed against her former employer within the last year. The first lawsuit, involving her sexual harassment claims, was sent to arbitration, where it is pending.

April 24, 2017

Workplace Fairness: Online Legal Resources for Victims of Sexual Harassment & Hostile Work Environments

Source: Hayley Matthews, Datingadvice.com

Sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace put the integrity of companies in jeopardy and place workers in compromising positions. When issues arise at their jobs, many employees feel powerless to defend themselves. To even the odds, the legal experts at Workplace Fairness empower American workers to know the laws and enforce their rights.

What happens when a state lets employers opt out of paying workers comp

Source: Roberto Ferdman, Vice News

Texas allows companies to opt out of workers’ comp and replace it with their own rules. And, with all the new-hire paperwork that comes with a new job, many employees don’t even know they’ve signed away their rights to workers’ compensation until after they’ve been injured.

Trump to name National Labor Relations Board chairman

Source: Nikita Vladimirov, The Hill

President Trump intends to designate Philip Miscimarra as chairman of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the White House announced Friday. Miscimarra became a member of the NLRB in 2013 and was tapped by Trump in January to be its acting chair. Prior to his position in government, Miscimarra practiced labor and employment law with Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP.

April 21, 2017

Retired Miners Lament Trump’s Silence on Imperiled Health Plan

Source: Noam Scheiber, The New York Times

Donald J. Trump made coal miners a central metaphor of his presidential campaign, promising to “put our miners back to work” and look after their interests in a way that the Obama administration did not. Now, three months into his presidency, comes a test of that promise. Unless Congress intervenes by late April, government-funded health benefits will abruptly lapse for more than 20,000 retired miners, concentrated in states that include Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. Many of the miners have serious health problems arising from their years in the mines. The president has offered no public comment on the issue, even as he has rolled back regulations on mine operators.

OPINION: I worked at a company famous for sexual harassment. The O’Reilly firing isn’t surprising.

Source: David DeKeyser, Vox

Beyond that pushback you would get from Charney or other top-level managers or even fellow employees, there was a sense of pointlessness you would feel if you ever sensed things might be off. When I joined the company, I was warned I would be entering into a workplace with “an unconventional environment.” I also signed a contract that forced arbitration on us if we ever wanted to bring a civil suit against the company or its employees. When I was hired, four of the five sexual harassment lawsuits had come and gone. If Charney could be that open about it and get caught so many times but still come out clean, it often felt as if the company wasn’t ever going to change.

April 20, 2017

Facebook Gives Staff Green Light to Join May 1 Political Protests

Source: Josh Eidelson , Bloomberg

Facebook Inc. said it won’t punish employees who take time off to join pro-immigrant protests on May 1. And, in a nod to security staff, janitors, shuttle-bus drivers and others who work for Facebook contractors on campus, the company also said it will investigate if any of its vendors illegally crack down on their employees’ protest rights. Facebook notified employees of its policy in a posting on an internal forum April 14. A spokesman said it applies regardless of whether workers notify the company ahead of time. The Menlo Park, California, company also said it would re-evaluate its ties to any vendor if it breaks the law that protects workers’ rights to organize and protect themselves.

Labor Department asks for third delay in overtime rule appeal

Source: Robert Iafolla, Reuters

The U.S. Labor Department has asked a federal appeals court for a third delay in litigation over an Obama-era rule to extend mandatory overtime pay to more than 4 million workers, highlighting that the Trump administration's Labor secretary nominee has not been confirmed. In a motion filed with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday, the Labor Department requested an additional 60 days “to allow incoming leadership personnel adequate time to consider the issues.”

April 19, 2017

Most H-1B workers are paid less, but it depends on the type of job

Source: Youyou Zhou, Associated Press

An AP analysis finds that most foreign workers with H-1B visas are paid less than their American counterparts. But for most non-computer science occupations, foreigners are paid more.

Obama’s Sick Leave Order Survives Under Trump, for Now

Source: Ben Penn, Bloomberg BNA

An Obama executive order mandating sick leave for federal contractor employees, once considered primed for reversal by the Trump administration, may be here to stay. The order requiring federal contractors to provide paid sick leave went into effect more than three months ago. The new conventional wisdom is that the paid leave mandate may no longer be a priority target for repeal and just might endure even after top Labor Department personnel are confirmed. That the president’s daughter champions paid parental leave has further complicated the situation.

April 18, 2017

Trump could repeal Davis-Bacon act setting minimum wage for construction workers on federal projects

Source: Ginger Adams Otis, New York Daily News

It's been an unfulfilled dream for conservative Republicans for decades: repeal the Davis-Bacon Act. Now, a quixotic remark earlier this month from President Trump has some GOP lawmakers wondering if the time has come to get rid of the law that mandates a set wage for construction workers on major federal projects. Trump took everyone by surprise when he told The New York Times on April 5 that he was going to make an announcement about the Davis-Bacon Act in two weeks. “It’s going to be good,” he said, without offering any details. That, coupled with the fact his proposed $1 trillion infrastructure plan might need some sweeteners to get full GOP approval, set the labor world on edge.

With a Hollywood Writers’ Strike Looming, Here’s What to Know

Source: Brooks Barnes, The New York Times

On Wednesday, television and movie writers — roughly 12,000, all members of the Writers Guild of America — will begin voting on whether to authorize a walkout. The online vote will end on Monday. If members approve a strike, as they almost certainly will, and no pact with studios has been reached by May 1, fingers will stop typing and picketing will begin the next day.

April 17, 2017

Secrecy Rules Doom DISH Arbitration Agreements

Source: Lawrence E. Dube, Bloomberg BNA

DISH Network must revise or rescind its employment agreements across the U.S. after the NLRB found they contain provisions that violate federal labor law.

Older Workers Challenge Firms’ Aggressive Pursuit of the Young

Source: Jacob Gershman, The Wall Street Journal

PricewaterhouseCoopers bills itself as the “place to work for millennials,” who have taken jobs and internships with the accounting giant in droves. The firm annually recruits thousands of newly minted college graduates. The firm’s aggressive pursuit of youth is now the focus of a class-action suit, part of an emerging wave of litigation that is both testing the boundaries of age-discrimination liability and casting a legal cloud.

April 14, 2017

Reality Show Workers Stage a Walkout to Push Contract Talks Forward

Source: Brooks Barnes, The New York Times

Having successfully turned up the heat on one set of entertainment companies, the Writers Guild of America on Wednesday gave another group a turn on the burner. The union primarily represents traditional screenwriters — the 12,000 or so wordsmiths who dream up film scripts and annually churn out thousands of scripted TV episodes. On that front, talks with studios for a new contract resumed here on Monday after the union began preparations for a strike. But the Writers Guild also represents a different set of storytellers — the writer-producers who help put together reality shows. And on Wednesday, the union renewed its push for a separate contract for those workers, staging what it called a walkout at roughly a dozen reality show companies in New York and Los Angeles.

Home-Care Industry Wants Wage Rule Reversed by Trump Labor Chief

Source: Ben Penn, Bloomberg BNA

But NELP is ready to fight to protect the regulation from industry’s attempt to rewind it, Connolly said.

“We are committed to making sure that these long and hard fought protections stay in place,” she said. “Workers have fought for this for decades, and anything that would erode these protections is unjust and a disservice to them.”

April 13, 2017

Transgender women sue University of Wisconsin for health benefits

Source: Zack Ford, ThinkProgress

Two transgender women who are both employed by the University of Wisconsin have filed a federal lawsuit against the school and various state agencies after being denied health insurance coverage for transition-related procedures. The ACLU-led suit follows months of politicking in which the state’s exclusion on trans benefits was almost lifted, but then reinstated. Gov. Scott Walker (R) was instrumental in re-implementing the exclusion that prevents them from receiving care.

Nissan Faces More Labor Law Charges at Mississippi Plant

Source: Jeff Amy, Associated Press

Federal labor regulators have added to charges to a complaint that Nissan Motor Co. and a contract worker agency at Nissan's Mississippi plant have violated workers' rights. The National Labor Relations Board, in a March 31 filing, claims a Kelly Services supervisor illegally threatened the plant would close if the United Auto Workers union begins representing workers. The new charges also claim security guards improperly checked employee badges of union supporters, and that a Nissan policy banning unauthorized photos and recordings is illegal. Those new claims were added to two previous allegations that the labor board made in a 2015 complaint.

April 12, 2017

Google 'taken aback' by inequality accusations, says it's confident there's no gender pay gap

Source: Karen Gilchrist, CNBC

Google has refuted claims that it systematically underpays female employees by reiterating its gender "blind" approach to remuneration calculations. In a blogpost on Tuesday by Google's vice-president of people operations, Eileen Naughton highlighted the technology giant's commitment to "extremely scientific and robust" annual analyses to help calculate fair salaries. The model, first outlined last year, takes into account role, job level, job location and performance ratings, but is blind to gender - and, as of recently, race. Naughton said the company had been "taken aback" by the allegations, prompting it to reiterate its salary analysis system.

Your Boss is Yelling at You. Now What?

Source: Caroline Zaayer Kaufman, Monster.com

Just when you thought it was going to be a regular day at the office, your boss starts yelling at you in a staff meeting, embarrassing you in front of your co-workers and causing steam to billow from your ears while you grind your teeth in silence.

April 11, 2017

Google accused of 'extreme' gender pay discrimination by US labor department

Source: Sam Levin, The Guardian

Google has discriminated against its female employees, according to the US Department of Labor (DoL), which said it had evidence of “systemic compensation disparities”. As part of an ongoing DoL investigation, the government has collected information that suggests the internet search giant is violating federal employment laws with its salaries for women, agency officials said. Google strongly denied the accusations of inequities, claiming it did not have a gender pay gap.

In Sexual Harassment Cases, What Are We Settling For?

Source: Bryce Covert, The New York Times

It’s a relatively common situation for employees to confront: In 2010, an estimated 27 percent of non-unionized American workers were subjected to arbitration clauses. Arbitration tilts the tables toward the employer: Employees win only about a fifth of the time in such a situation, about half as successful as in federal or state court. Ms. Carlson was on track to skirt this issue by suing Mr. Ailes himself, not Fox, and thus not running afoul of her contract. That would have cleared the way for her to hash it out in court. Most contracts are much narrower and don’t allow for this kind of end run.

April 10, 2017

Workers cheated as federal contractors prosper

Source: Talia Buford and Maryam Jameel, The Center for Public Integrity

But each year, thousands of contractors enriched by tax dollars skirt federal labor laws and shortchange workers. In fact, U.S. Department of Labor data show that upwards of 70 percent of all cases lodged against federal contractors and investigated by the department since 2012 yielded substantive violations.

Trump's 'Access Hollywood' tape now an HR training tool at 21st Century Fox

Source: Emma Hinchliffe, Mashable

The presentations have incorporated the audio and footage of Trump for the past few months, THR said. The HR team reportedly outlines what happened on the tape, where Trump brags to Billy Bush about how his fame allows him to grab women without their consent. Trump specifically talks about how he planned to kiss Access Hollywood's Arianne Zucker and comments about her appearance, which the HR reps explain is sexual harassment and should be reported.

April 7, 2017

Job Growth Loses Steam as U.S. Adds 98,000 in March

Source: Nelson D. Schwartz, The New York Times

Job growth turned in a disappointing showing in March, according to data released on Friday by the Labor Department. It is the latest official snapshot of the state of the American economy.

Voters Approved Wage Hikes, But GOP Lawmakers Have Other Ideas

Source: Josh Eidelson , Bloomberg

Voters took to the polls in November and approved big hikes in four states’ minimum wages: Washington State, Colorado, Maine and Arizona. But the increases may not actually take effect as voters intended because elected representatives -- mostly Republicans -- are moving to rein them in. In Washington, where voters opted for a $13.50 an hour minimum wage by 2020, and Maine, where it was set to rise to $12 that year, state legislators have proposed a battery of bills to water down the increases. The city council in Flagstaff, Arizona has done the same to a local initiative that would have boosted the wage floor to $12 this year, sooner than the statewide increase. The bills represent the latest round in a long-running debate among cities, states, voters and courts over who gets to set wage rates and other workplace rules.

April 6, 2017

Everyone Loses When Your Employer Owns Your Facebook Account

Source: Emma Grey Ellis, Wired

The Blaze owns Lahren’s verified Facebook page. She’s negotiating to keep the page and its followers as part of her severance package, but she also seems likely to lose.

Labor Judge Says T-Mobile Must Disband Illegal Union

Source: Aaron Pressman, Fortune

T-Mobile must shut down an internal program called "T-Voice" for call center employees to air gripes, a federal administrative judge ruled on Tuesday. The employee complaint program, which started in 2015, violated laws prohibiting management-run labor organizations that resemble unions, Sharon Levinson, a judge for the National Labor Relation Board, said in a 47-page decision. The ruling comes as labor relations in the telecommunications industry face increasing strains. The NLRB judge's ruling came after T-Mobile call center workers who sought to join the Communications Workers of America union last year complained that T-Mobile was thwarting their efforts.

April 5, 2017

A Thunderbolt From the 7th Circuit

Source: Mark Joseph Stern, Slate

On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit issued a landmark decision in Hively v. Ivy Tech holding that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits sexual orientation discrimination. The 8–3 ruling is an extraordinary victory for LGBTQ advocates—an emphatic declaration from a bipartisan group of judges that anti-gay workplace discrimination is clearly illegal under federal law. It also creates a sharp circuit split, increasing the odds of Supreme Court review. If that review comes and at least five justices agree with the 7th Circuit, their decision will effectively outlaw anti-gay employment discrimination in all 50 states.

Bill O’Reilly Thrives at Fox News, Even as Harassment Settlements Add Up

Source: Emily Steel and Michael S. Schmidt, The New York Times

An investigation by The New York Times has found a total of five women who have received payouts from either Mr. O’Reilly or the company in exchange for agreeing to not pursue litigation or speak about their accusations against him. The agreements totaled about $13 million.

April 4, 2017

D.C. is among the first in nation to require child-care workers to get college degrees

Source: Michael Alison Chandler, The Washington Post

Hundreds of child-care teachers in the District must return to school under new licensing regulations for child-care centers that went into effect in December. More than a decade after Washington D.C. set out to create the most comprehensive public preschool system in the country, the city is directing its attention to reforming the patchwork of programs that serve infants and toddlers. The new regulations put the District at the forefront of a national effort to improve the quality of care and education for the youngest learners. City officials want to address an academic achievement gap that research shows is already evident between children from poor and middle-class families by the age of 18 months. A central part of that mission is educating a workforce that historically has been paid and treated like babysitters. What the job actually demands is closer to the work of elementary school teachers, scientists say.

How Uber uses psychological tricks to push its drivers' buttons

Source: Noam Scheiber, The New York Times

The company has undertaken an extraordinary experiment in behavioral science to subtly entice an independent work force to maximize its growth.

April 3, 2017

Bill to exempt tribes from some labor oversight draws union concerns

Source: Dustin Quiroz, Cronkite News

Tribal leaders called on Congress Wednesday to exempt their governments and government-run businesses from oversight by the National Labor Relations Board, a right they said is enjoyed by every other government in the country. Navajo Nation Council Delegate Nathaniel Brown and others told a House Education and the Workforce subcommittee that the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act of 2017 would treat tribes as self-governing entities when it comes to handling labor-related issues. But critics of the bill said it would remove any protections tribal workers might have, by letting tribes freeze out labor unions and leaving workers nowhere to turn for help.

The Gig Is Up: Immigration Implications for the New Workforce

Source: Laura D. Francis, Bloomberg BNA

The rise of the gig economy workforce is forcing a closer look at whether these workers should be considered employees or independent contractors. But with the spotlight on the implications for benefits and wage-and-hour issues, little attention has been paid to another critically important consideration: immigration and employment verification. There’s a “slew of things” that companies will have to manage if their gig workers are reclassified as employees instead of independent contractors, Jorge Lopez of Littler Mendelson in Miami told Bloomberg BNA March 24. And having to complete I-9 employment verification forms is “one of the collateral damages,” he said.

March 31, 2017

U.S. College Grads See Slim-to-Nothing Wage Gains Since Recession

Source: Austin Weinstein, Bloomberg

The bachelor's degree — long a ticket to middle-class comfort — is losing its luster in the U.S. job market. Wages for college graduates across many majors have fallen since the 2007-09 recession, according to an unpublished analysis by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce in Washington using Census bureau figures. Young job-seekers appear to be the biggest losers. What you study matters for your salary, the data show. The outlook for experienced graduates, aged 35 to 54, is brighter, with wages generally stable since the crisis.

US women's hockey agreement could have far-reaching impact

Source: AP, Associated Press

Cammi Granato‘s biggest victory in hockey came 12 years after she retired. When USA Hockey and the women’s national team agreed to a contract Tuesday night that ended a wage dispute, Granato couldn’t put her happiness into words. The Hockey Hall of Famer and her teammates staged a similar fight in 2000 without success, and she hopes the current team’s progress paves the way for the future of women’s hockey and even other sports.

March 30, 2017

Acosta Nomination Could Move Forward by March 30

Source: Tyrone Richardson, Bloomberg BNA

A Senate committee is expected as early as this week to move Alexander Acosta a step closer in his nomination to lead the Labor Department, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) told Bloomberg BNA March 28. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, chaired by Alexander, will hold an executive session March 30 to discuss the nomination of Acosta. If the committee votes to recommend his name that day, it will be sent for a full Senate vote, Alexander added.

Honor the Women Who Struggled and Died for Labor Rights By Continuing Their Fight

Source: Keith Ellison, Jezebel

When a fire broke out on the ninth floor of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York in 1911, 146 garment workers died—123 of whom were women. In the wake of one of the deadliest workplace tragedies in American history, it was the women of the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU) who worked on the front lines to help mold our modern day workplace. It is also a little-known fact that a woman—Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins—shaped the New Deal and supported the 40-hour work week, a minimum wage, and workers compensation. Women have been at the front of the labor rights movement since the very beginning.

March 29, 2017

Turning to Baby Registries to Subsidize Parental Leave

Source: Bourree Lam, The Atlantic

In the U.S., the challenge of financially preparing for a child is exacerbated by the the lack of a federally mandated paid maternity leave. The U.S. remains the only developed country without such a policy. And while some states have implemented paid leave funded by state insurance, and more companies are making such policies a priority for their most competitive talent, generous paid-leave benefits have largely not trickled down to most American workers. Currently, only three states have paid-leave policies funded by state insurance (with New York and D.C. soon to join their ranks). For American workers whose states don’t provide that option, new parents can take time off under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.

Disney, UPS employees win ruling against Teamsters

Source: Sandra Pedicini, Orlando Sentinel

Eight Walt Disney World and United Parcel Service employees have won a National Labor Relations Board case against a local Teamsters union that they said obstructed their attempts to drop their memberships. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which represented four Disney workers, announced the ruling Monday. Administrative Law Judge Michael Rosas issued the ruling last week. Rosas ordered the Teamsters to accept the resignations and reimburse workers for dues collected, with interest. The judge also ordered the union to distribute and post a notice informing employees it had broken federal labor law and spelling out workers’ rights.

March 28, 2017

Trump signs bill killing Obama-era worker safety rule

Source: Kimberly Kindy, Chicago Tribune

President Donald Trump signed a bill Monday that killed an Obama-era worker safety rule that required businesses competing for large federal contracts to disclose and correct serious safety and other labor law violations.

AFL-CIO Ready to Sue If Trump Waters Down Overtime Regulations

Source: Josh Eidelson , Bloomberg

The AFL-CIO will sue if the Department of Labor tries to water down a boost in overtime eligibility put in place by the Obama administration, the chief of the labor federation said in an interview. Millions of additional white-collar workers were poised to gain overtime eligibility last December under Obama’s change until it was blocked by a federal judge in Texas. If allowed to take effect, the change would double, to $913 per week, the threshold beneath which employees must be paid time-and-a-half even if designated as managers. At his confirmation hearing Wednesday, Trump’s nominee to be Labor secretary, Alexander Acosta, deflected repeated attempts by senators to ascertain whether the government would continue to defend that rule in court.

March 27, 2017

The Gig Economy Celebrates Working Yourself to Death

Source: Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker

Last September, Long-time Lyft driver and mentor, Mary, was nine months pregnant when she picked up a passenger the night of July 21st,” the post began. “About a week away from her due date, Mary decided to drive for a few hours after a day of mentoring.” You can guess what happened next. Mary’s story looks different to different people. Within the ghoulishly cheerful Lyft public-relations machinery, Mary is an exemplar of hard work and dedication—the latter being, perhaps, hard to come by in a company that refuses to classify its drivers as employees. Mary’s entrepreneurial spirit—taking ride requests while she was in labor!—is an “exciting” example of how seamless and flexible app-based employment can be. Look at that hustle! Lyft does not provide its drivers paid maternity leave or health insurance. Perhaps, as Lyft suggests, Mary kept accepting riders while experiencing contractions because “she was still a week away from her due date,” or “she didn’t believe she was going into labor yet.” Or maybe Mary kept accepting riders because the gig economy has further normalized the circumstances in which earning an extra eleven dollars can feel more important than seeking out the urgent medical care that these quasi-employers do not sponsor.

How to Make Employment Fair in an Age of Contracting and Temp Work

Source: David Weil, Harvard Business Review

And while it’s true that low wage workers — an estimated 29 million people in just 10 industries, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of the Chief Economist — have been hard hit by the consequences of fissuring for some time, those with college and graduate educations, even in professions once regarded as protected from the ups and downs of churning labor markets, are being affected as well.

March 24, 2017

Unlimited Vacation: Is It About Morale or the Bottom Line?

Source: Dana Wilkie, Society for Human Resource Management

"The upside of not having to pay out vested vacation days is undeniable," said Paula Brantner, senior advisor for Workplace Fairness, a nonprofit that provides legal information for workers and promotes pro-worker public policy.

Republicans Just Made It Easier For Employers To Hide Workplace Injuries

Source: Dave Jamieson, The Huffington Post

The Republican-led Congress moved to dismantle yet another corporate regulation on Wednesday, in a move that safety experts say will make it easier for employers to hide serious workplace injuries from the government. The Senate voted 50-48 to strike down a rule issued late in Barack Obama’s presidency that requires large employers to keep an ongoing record of health and safety incidents. The Obama administration issued the rule in an effort to solidify what it considered long-standing policy at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. By doing away with the rule, Republicans are effectively cutting down the length of time that employers in dangerous industries are required to keep injury records ― from five years to just six months. They also say the change gives unscrupulous employers little incentive to keep an accurate log of injuries

Acosta Unsure About Using Pay Level for Overtime Eligibility Chris Opfer

Source: Chris Opfer, Bloomberg BNA

The man tapped to run the Labor Department isn’t sure the agency should be using workers’ pay levels to determine if they’re automatically eligible for overtime compensation. An Obama administration rule to make some 4 million workers newly eligible for overtime pay—by doubling the salary threshold for automatic eligibility to $47,500—is on hold, pending federal litigation in Texas. Although the rule has sparked a debate over where to set the salary threshold, labor secretary nominee Alexander Acosta noted that the judge in that case has raised questions about whether the DOL should instead focus on the actual duties workers perform.

March 23, 2017

The Not-So-Creepy Reason More Bosses Are Tracking Employees

Source: Kelsey Gee, The Wall Street Journal

Social-media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter aren’t the only ones tracking how people connect and share with their peers. Employers are doing it too. Companies including Boston Consulting Group, and Microsoft Corp. are variously mining employees’ emails, chat logs, and tracking face-to-face interactions to get a better grasp on how information travels among employees.

Trump Labor nominee Acosta frustrates Democrats by dodging questions at confirmation hearing

Source: Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times

President Donald Trump’s second nominee for Labor secretary, law school dean R. Alexander Acosta, frustrated Democrats at his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday by dodging questions about how he would handle some key workplace rules enacted by the Obama administration.

March 22, 2017

Sexual-Harassment Claims Against a ‘She-E.O.’

Source: Noreen Malone, New York Magazine

Miki Agrawal, the co-founder of Thinx — a company that makes “period underwear” — doesn’t think much of boundaries. According to a complaint brought by Chelsea Leibow, the 26-year-old former head of public relations at the company, describes a culture of fear and a pattern of ageism, in which members of the mostly female, mostly 20-something staff were routinely referred to as “children,” with the few employees in their 30s tagged “nannies.” The filing — which also names the company’s COO and CFO, for their failure to address repeated complaints about Agrawal’s behavior — comes on the heels, just over a week ago, of Agrawal’s leaving from her post as CEO and the publication of an article in Racked that made clear that, despite the company’s feminist branding and mission, the women who worked there felt exploited by low pay and substandard benefits.

Questions linger over whether labor nominee Alex Acosta will stand up for workers

Source: Jonnelle Marte, The Washington Post

When President Trump announced that his new pick for labor secretary would be Alexander Acosta, a conservative law school dean with a deep background in public service, some career staffers at the Labor Department, Democrats and workers advocates breathed a sigh of relief. The former U.S. attorney had served on the National Labor Relations Board, which made him familiar with labor laws and put him in stark contrast with Trump’s first choice: Andrew Puzder, a vocal fast-food chief executive who opposed substantially raising the minimum wage and rules that would expand eligibility for overtime pay. But as Acosta’s Wednesday confirmation hearing approaches, some labor groups say questions remain about how much the more reserved dean — who “plays it close to the vest,” as one friend and colleague put it — will do to protect workers.

March 21, 2017

Employee burnout is becoming a huge problem in the American workforce

Source: Dan Schawbel, Quartz

While companies are posting record profits, Americans are working harder than ever before for a nominal wage increase. The national unemployment rate has been cut in half since 2010 and the economy is projected to grow by almost 50% between 2010 and 2020. Despite this positive outlook, employees are overworked, burned out, and dissatisfied. A recent study my firm conducted, in partnership with Kronos, found that burnout is responsible for up to half of all employee attrition. Employees are working more hours for no additional pay and as a result, they are searching for new jobs. Nearly all employers surveyed agree that improving retention is a critical priority yet many aren’t investing in solving the problem, even though it costs thousands of dollars to replace each employee lost.

Congress May Roll Back Injury Log Requirement, Endangering Workers

Source: David Michaels, Forbes

"Every regulation should have to pass a simple test: Does it make life better or safer for American workers?” Those words were delivered by President Donald J Trump last month as he signed an Executive Order on Regulatory Reform. Congress is poised to pass legislation that would undo the OSHA recordkeeping requirements that unquestionably make life safer for workers and help responsible employers. If President Trump signs this bill, injury recordkeeping will become, in effect, voluntary. More workers will be injured and responsible employers who choose to keep accurate records and are committed to worker safety will be hurt.

March 20, 2017

Sexual-Harassment Claims Against a ‘She-E.O.’

Source: Noreen Malone, New York Magazine

Miki Agrawal, the co-founder of Thinx — a company that makes “period underwear” — doesn’t think much of boundaries. According to a complaint brought by Chelsea Leibow, the 26-year-old former head of public relations at the company, describes a culture of fear and a pattern of ageism, in which members of the mostly female, mostly 20-something staff were routinely referred to as “children,” with the few employees in their 30s tagged “nannies.” The filing — which also names the company’s COO and CFO, for their failure to address repeated complaints about Agrawal’s behavior — comes on the heels, just over a week ago, of Agrawal’s leaving from her post as CEO and the publication of an article in Racked that made clear that, despite the company’s feminist branding and mission, the women who worked there felt exploited by low pay and substandard benefits.

Trump Budget Would Slash Worker Training And Safety

Source: Dave Jamieson, The Huffington Post

The austere budget proposed by President Donald Trump on Thursday would take an axe to worker training and safety programs, prompting Democrats to accuse the White House of reneging on its promises to workers. The Labor Department would be one of the top victims under the White House blueprint. The president is looking to slash the agency’s budget by 21 percent, from $12.2 billion this year to $9.6 billion next year.

A.I. Is Doing Legal Work. But It Won’t Replace Lawyers, Yet.

Source: Steve Lohr, The New York Times

Impressive advances in artificial intelligence technology tailored for legal work have led some lawyers to worry that their profession may be Silicon Valley’s next victim. But recent research and even the people working on the software meant to automate legal work say the adoption of A.I. in law firms will be a slow, task-by-task process. In other words, like it or not, a robot is not about to replace your lawyer. At least, not anytime soon.

March 17, 2017

Why Is Silicon Valley So Awful to Women?

Source: Liza Mundy, The Atlantic

The dozens of women I interviewed for this article love working in tech. They love the problem-solving, the camaraderie, the opportunity for swift advancement and high salaries, the fun of working with the technology itself. They appreciate their many male colleagues who are considerate and supportive. Yet all of them had stories about incidents that, no matter how quick or glancing, chipped away at their sense of belonging and expertise. Indeed, a recent survey called “Elephant in the Valley” found that nearly all of the 200-plus senior women in tech who responded had experienced sexist interactions. Succeeding in tech as a woman requires something more treacherous than the old adage about Ginger Rogers doing everything Fred Astaire did, only backwards and in high heels. It’s more like doing everything backwards and in heels while some guy is trying to yank at your dress, and another is telling you that a woman can’t dance as well as a man, oh, and could you stop dancing for a moment and bring him something to drink?

Vegas Hotel Settles NLRB Complaint, Recognizes Union

Source: Jaclyn Diaz, Bloomberg BNA

Palace Station hotel and casino in Las Vegas agreed to recognize its workers’ union as part of its settlement of an unfair labor practice complaint with the National Labor Relations Board March 14. Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165 expect to begin collective bargaining with the casino soon, the unions said in a statement March 14. The unions will bargain jointly with Station Casinos.

March 16, 2017

Undoing the voters’ will: Democratic measures to raise minimum wage are being met with court challenges

Source: Matthew Sheffield, Salon

Last November voters in four different states voted overwhelmingly in favor of citizen initiatives to increase the minimum wage that employers must pay their workers. Despite losing at the ballot box, however, local business associations in three of those states are looking for ways to stop the measures from going into full effect. In Arizona and Washington state, opponents of increasing the minimum wage are challenging the victorious initiatives in court. In Maine, business groups are pressing the state legislature to override one. Beyond trying to override the ballot votes, opponents of increased minimum wages have also begun trying to place restrictions on citizen initiatives.

Senate kills rule limiting drug testing for unemployment benefits

Source: Elana Schor, Politico

The Senate voted along party lines Tuesday to repeal an Obama-era regulation restricting the scope of drug testing that states could require for recipients of unemployment benefits. The measure overturning a Labor Department rule, which limited the industries for which states could mandate drug testing as a prerequisite for receiving unemployment benefits, passed 51-48. Donald Trump is expected to sign it into law.

March 15, 2017

Worker Safety Rules Are Among Those Under Fire in Trump Era

Source: Barry Meier and Danielle Ivory , The New York Times

Even as the Labor Department awaits confirmation of a new secretary, officials say enforcement actions are moving forward against companies accused of violating workplace safety rules. There is just one issue: The public isn’t likely to know much about them. In a sharp break with the past, the department has stopped publicizing fines against companies. As of Monday, seven weeks after the inauguration of President Trump, the department had yet to post a single news release about an enforcement fine. By contrast, the Obama administration saw the announcements — essentially publicly shaming companies — as a major tool in its workplace safety enforcement.

Court: Discrimination Against Gay Workers Not Prohibited

Source: AP, Associated Press

In a setback for gay rights advocates hoping for an expansion of workplace discrimination protections, a federal appeals court in Atlanta has ruled that employers aren't prohibited from discriminating against employees because of sexual orientation. A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday ruled 2-1 that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits workplace discrimination based on a variety of factors, doesn't protect against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.

March 14, 2017

Learn Key Skills to Land Your Perfect Job with Expert Martin Yate & the Resources at the Workplace Fairness Career Center

Source: Ashley Dull, Badcredit.org

Today’s connected society has placed tons of information at your fingertips that can smooth your path throughout the job hunt, including a bounty of resources from Workplace Fairness.

Uber has produced 18 episodes of a podcast warning drivers about the dangers of joining a union

Source: Sarah Kessler, Quartz

By the time the Teamsters starts organizing Uber drivers in Seattle next month, the ride-sharing company will have already spent a year fighting the effort. The company has run advertisements against unionization in its app and on television, hosted meetings, and sent emails and phone calls to drivers. Its podcast for Seattle drivers, in which it hashes out arguments against joining a union, is already on its 18th episode.

Employees who decline genetic testing could face penalties under proposed bill

Source: Lena Sun, The Washington Post

Employers could impose hefty penalties on employees who decline to participate in genetic testing as part of workplace wellness programs if a bill approved by a U.S. House committee this week becomes law. In general, employers don't have that power under existing federal laws, which protect genetic privacy and nondiscrimination. But a bill passed Wednesday by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce would allow employers to get around those obstacles if the information is collected as part of a workplace wellness program.

March 13, 2017

Can you get fired for your political views? Know your rights.

Source: Christy Rakoczy, Mic

Standing up for your beliefs is important. But you need to be smart about how you express yourself at work because your boss could fire you for certain kinds of political activity.

Here’s How Gretchen Carlson Says the ‘Millions of Women’ Who Have Been Sexually Harassed Are Silenced

Source: Claire Landsbaum, New York Magazine

When former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual-harassment lawsuit against former Fox CEO Roger Ailes, it was the beginning of the end of Ailes’s career at the network. Over the next few months, so many women came forward with allegations against Ailes that the Murdoch brothers eventually ousted him. The fact that Carlson sued Ailes — and not Fox News itself — allowed her to skirt the arbitration clause in her contract. The clause, which appears in many employment contracts across career fields and often takes the form of a few simple words, requires employees to settle disputes in front of a third-party “arbiter” instead of in court. Some clauses prevent employees from talking about the dispute, according to Time. Which means, in the case of sexual harassment, that other victims may never know they’re not alone.

Labor Pick Acosta Getting Wait-and-See Response From Senators

Source: Tyrone Richardson, Bloomberg BNA

Labor secretary nominee Alexander Acosta hasn’t garnered the same criticism from lawmakers that his predecessor did before withdrawing from consideration. Several Democratic and Republican members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee told Bloomberg BNA March 9 that they’re not making an immediate decision on Acosta’s nomination. The confirmation hearing is set for March 15. This response is in stark contrast to several lawmakers’ public denouncement of President Donald Trump’s first choice, fast-food mogul Andy Puzder.

March 10, 2017

Leahy reintroduces bill to restore rights of Americans affected by forced arbitration

Source: Vermont Business Magazine

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Tuesday reintroduced legislation to restore the rights of Americans who too often are forced out of the courthouse and into mandatory arbitration in civil rights cases, employment disputes, and other lawsuits. Leahy was joined by Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.), who is the lead cosponsor of the legislation. A House companion bill was introduced by Congressman David Cicilline (D-R.I.). Leahy announced the reintroduction of his legislation at a Capitol Hill press conference featuring television journalist Gretchen Carlson, whose Fox News employment contract would have barred her from speaking publicly about her allegations of sexual harassment against former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes.

Telemundo actors vote overwhelmingly to join SAG-AFTRA

Source: David Ng, Los Angeles Times

Actors at the Spanish-language TV network Telemundo have overwhelmingly voted to unionize with SAG-AFTRA, bringing to a close a protracted dispute between Hollywood’s largest union and NBCUniversal, which owns the network. SAG-AFTRA said Wednesday that 81% of eligible voters chose to unionize in a balloting process that began Feb. 7 and lasted four weeks. Telemundo is the largest employer of Spanish-language performers in the United States.

March 9, 2017

Fox Is Said to Settle With Former Contributor Over Sexual Assault Claims

Source: Emily Steel, The New York Times

Nearly eight months later, the company finds itself still dealing with fallout from that crisis. In late February, 21st Century Fox reached a settlement worth more than $2.5 million with a former Fox News contributor who reported that she was sexually assaulted by an executive at company headquarters two years ago, according to people briefed on the agreement.

Andy Puzder blames Democrats for collapse of his Labor secretary nomination

Source: Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times

Southern California fast-food executive Andy Puzder on Thursday blamed Democrats for the collapse of his nomination to be Labor secretary, even though he admitted he withdrew after being informed there was not enough support among Senate Republicans to confirm him.

March 8, 2017

Graduate workers at Columbia get OK from National Labor Relations Board to join union

Source: Ginger Adams Otis, New York Daily News

Graduate workers at Columbia University got a win Tuesday from the National Labor Relations Board in Brooklyn, which upheld their recent vote to join a union. Research assistants and teaching assistants at Columbia University cast ballots in December to become part of Graduate Workers of Columbia-United Auto Workers. In her Tuesday ruling, NLRB officer Rachel Mead Zweighaft said Columbia University failed to provide a legitimate claim for its objection to the vote result.

What the unemployment rate does – and doesn’t – say about the economy

Source: Drew Desilver, Pew Research Center

Every month, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics releases a flood of data about employment and unemployment in the U.S. And every month, the lion’s share of the attention goes to one figure – the unemployment rate, which was a seasonally adjusted 4.8% in January. (The February report comes out on Friday.) But the unemployment rate is just one indicator of how the U.S. economy is doing, and it’s not always the best one. Simply being out of work isn’t enough for a person to be counted as unemployed; he or she also has to be available to work and actively looking for work (or on temporary layoff). In any given month, the unemployment rate can rise or fall based not just on how many people find or lose jobs, but on how many join or leave the active labor force.

March 7, 2017

Word on the Hill: Carlson to Push Forced Arbitration Clauses

Source: Alex Gangitano, Roll Call

Journalist Gretchen Carlson is on Capitol Hill today to push for legislation to stop the use of unfair forced arbitration clauses.

The former Fox News anchor is teaming up with Sens. Al Franken, D-Minn., Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., as well as three Democratic congressmen.

In October, Carlson said she would testify before Congress after the election about forced arbitration, which is when companies have employees sign away their rights to litigation and agree to settle employment disputes through arbitration.
In July, she sued Fox News’ former chairman Roger Ailes of sexual harassment and later agreed to a $20 million settlement.

The news conference is in the Senate Visitors Center, Room 209-08, at 3 p.m.

The Future of the Department of Labor Under Trump

Source: Alana Semuels, The Atlantic

The Trump administration has pledged to help “forgotten” Americans, especially those in the working class. The president has targeted regulations on coal, hoping to resuscitate the industry, and tried to convince manufacturers to locate in the United States, which could create more jobs. But most workers aren’t in the coal or manufacturing industries, so another way to help the “forgotten” Americans may be to focus on improving the working lives of the more than 120 million other Americans who clock in to a job every day. One place to start that project is the Department of Labor, where 17,000 or so staffers and appointees administer and enforce laws protecting America’s workers.

March 6, 2017

Judge Gorsuch’s arbitration jurisprudence

Source: Edith Roberts, SCOTUSblog

Arbitration, which involves agreements between parties to settle disputes in a private forum rather than in court, might seem like a fairly dry area of the law. But recent Supreme Court rulings interpreting the scope of the Federal Arbitration Act have had significant implications in consumer protection, labor, and class action contexts. Justice Antonin Scalia was the prime mover in many of these cases, writing majority opinions in several 5-4 rulings that divided along ideological lines. These rulings, on balance, read the FAA as both trumping state consumer protection law and overriding the ability of class action plaintiffs to pursue collective lawsuits in the courts. Although the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, on which Judge Neil Gorsuch has served since 2006, does not see many arbitration cases, a look at the arbitration rulings Gorsuch has made there suggests that he is likely to continue the trend on the court in favor of FAA pre-emption.

Fear of Immigration Raids May Harm Workplace Rights

Source: Laura Francis, Bloomberg BNA

The Trump administration’s increased immigration enforcement could have an unintended consequence: reduced willingness to report workplace rights violations. Getting workers to come forward about workplace rights violations has “always been an issue,” Adrienne DerVartanian, director of immigration and labor rights at Farmworker Justice, told Bloomberg BNA Feb. 23. But the “current environment, with a real focus on immigration enforcement and raids,” has created an “increase in the level of fear and concerns,” she said. With the highest rates of wage and hour violations among undocumented immigrants—particularly women—employer threats of calls to Immigration and Customs Enforcement are “very strong,” Haeyoung Yoon, director of strategic partnerships at the National Employment Law Project, said Feb. 23.

March 3, 2017

Workers Are Working Longer — and Better

Source: John Hanc, The New York Times

Her perception that people are working longer (not necessarily because they have to, but because they want to) is backed up by data. According to the Pew Research Center, in the year 2000, just under 13 percent of Americans 65 and over reported being employed full or part time. By May 2016, that figure had jumped to 18.8 percent — meaning that nearly nine million Americans 65-plus were gainfully employed.

Labor Department proposes 60-day delay of retirement savings rule

Source: Jonnelle Marte, The Washington Post

The Labor Department on Wednesday announced a proposal to push back the implementation of a controversial retirement savings rule by 60 days, giving officials more time to determine whether the rule should be revised or eliminated. Without a delay, the fiduciary rule would take full effect April 10. But under the proposal, which will be officially published Thursday, the rule would not take full effect until June 9. The move comes after President Trump signed a memo last month asking the department to reevaluate the rule, which requires brokers working with retirement savers to put their clients’ interests ahead of their own. By delaying the rule, the Labor Department is buying more time to comply with the president’s request to look into whether the rule harms consumers by limiting their investment options.

March 2, 2017

Tesla Engineer Sues Her Employer, Claiming 'Pervasive' Harassment, Inequality

Source: Janet Burns, Forbes

Tesla may be the latest firm in the "silicon sultan" generation to face charges of fostering a hostile atmosphere for women, according to an exclusive by The Guardian. Engineer AJ Vandermeyden has filed a discrimination lawsuit against the automaker. Vandermeyden told the Guardian that problems began in 2013 when she first joined Tesla's sales department, where she was denied rest breaks, meal periods, and overtime pay. She then rose to a manufacturing engineering post in its general assembly department, where she described being consistently and significantly outnumbered by, paid less than, and passed over for her male colleagues.

Sterling discrimination case highlights differences between arbitration, litigation

Source: Drew Harwell, The Washington Post

Wolf’s silence was mandated by the private arbitration. Unlike the legal system, where most court records are presumed to be public, sworn statements such as those filed by women in the Sterling case are almost always kept confidential.

March 1, 2017

Acosta Labor Department May Go Light on Litigation

Source: Chris Opfer, Bloomberg BNA

The employer community has been expecting the Labor Department to take a more collaborative approach to enforcement of wage-and-hour, workplace safety and other laws since President Donald Trump was elected in November. There’s still not much information on how Acosta views big-ticket issues, such as a pending rule to make some 4 million workers newly eligible for overtime pay, but his prior government service and public statements suggest that the former prosecutor may look to ensure compliance without pursuing litigation.

Hundreds allege sex harassment, discrimination at Kay and Jared jewelry company

Source: Drew Harwell, The Washington Post

Hundreds of former employees of Sterling Jewelers, the multibillion-dollar conglomerate behind Jared the Galleria of Jewelry and Kay Jewelers, claim that its chief executive and other company leaders presided over a corporate culture that fostered rampant sexual harassment and discrimination. Declarations from roughly 250 women and men who worked at Sterling, filed as part of a private class-action arbitration case, allege that female employees at the company throughout the late 1990s and 2000s were routinely groped, demeaned and urged to sexually cater to their bosses to stay employed. Though women made up a large part of Sterling’s sales force, many said they felt they had little recourse with their mostly male management.

February 28, 2017

Working women see Acosta as Labor chief upgrade, but remain vigilant

Source: Liz Shuler, The Hill

As the secretary of Labor nominee, Andy Puzder was a credible threat to the America that Perkins envisioned and helped make real. Working women want equal pay and equal opportunity. We want respect on the job and at home, and a steady schedule that allows for child care and education. We want to be protected from violence and sexual harassment. We want to be judged for our skills and dedication. Finally, we want a Labor secretary who will stand and fight for us. Alexander Acosta, President Trump’s new nominee, is a vast improvement from Puzder. He has experience in public service and a deep knowledge of labor law. Our standard remains the same, however. Acosta must demonstrate his commitment to holding employers accountable, enforcing our rights and promoting equality in the workplace.

Uber is designed so that for one employee to get ahead, another must fail

Source: Alison Griswold , Quartz

A little more than a year later, Uber is learning corporate values aren’t so easy to retrofit. A cultural implosion took place on Feb. 19, when former Uber engineer Susan Fowler published a horrifying account of harassment and systematic mistreatment by the company’s human resources department. But it had been a long time coming at a company that leaned into its brash reputation, disdained the status quo, and prized results, performance, and “hashtag winning”—to use another Travis-ism—over most all other matters.

February 27, 2017

Maryland paid sick leave bill clears House committee

Source: Ovetta Wiggins, The Washington Post

Workers at companies with 15 or more employees in Maryland moved a step closer to earning paid sick leave on Thursday when a bill was approved by a state legislative committee. The House Economic Matters Committee voted 14-9 to advance the measure, which provides a minimum of one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of seven full days per year for full-time workers. The bill passed in the House committee on Thursday is similar to the measure that was approved by the full House last year but did not advance in the Senate.

Acosta Labor Department May Go Light on Litigation

Source: Chris Opfer, Bloomberg BNA

Labor secretary nominee Alexander Acosta has shown an interest in enforcing laws without engaging in courtroom battles. That may signal a DOL that’s more palatable to employers if he’s confirmed to the post. The employer community has been expecting the Labor Department to take a more collaborative approach to enforcement of wage-and-hour, workplace safety and other laws since President Donald Trump was elected in November. There’s still not much information on how Acosta views big-ticket issues, such as a pending rule to make some 4 million workers newly eligible for overtime pay, but his prior government service and public statements suggest that the former prosecutor may look to ensure compliance without pursuing litigation.

February 24, 2017

Two From Big Law On Trump’s Labor List

Source: Chris Opfer and Ben Penn, Bloomberg BNA

New York's paid family leave program is a step closer to reality. Three lawyers are on the Trump administration’s shortlist to fill a pair of vacancies at the National Labor Relations Board, sources familiar with the situation told Bloomberg BNA today. Marvin Kaplan, William Emanuel and Doug Seaton are the leading candidates for the openings, which are expected to give the NLRB its first Republican majority in nine years. The vacancies come as the board is likely to grapple with a number of significant legal issues, including the extent to which businesses and other entities may be considered joint employers for liability purposes and whether “micro-units” of workers within a larger workplace can unionize.

Parents fight for higher wages for childcare workers

Source: CBS News, CBS News

A group of parents is fighting for higher wages for workers at one of the nation’s largest early childhood education companies. According to government data from 2015, childcare workers make an average of $9.77 an hour. That’s only 68 cents more than the earnings of fast food employees and some others in the food and beverage industry. It is 83 cents less than what retail workers earn.

February 23, 2017

Ben’s Kosher Deli owner denies reports he fired workers

Source: Victor Manuel Ramos, Newsday

Telemundo reported Ben’s Kosher Delicatessen Restaurant & Caterers fired 25 employees who boycotted work for the “Day Without Immigrants,” a protest against what they called President Donald Trump’s harsh immigration policies. That did not happen, according to deli owner Ronnie Dragoon. Dragoon said he fired one worker after that employee threatened a manager and other workers who didn’t back the protest. He said he also let go two temporary workers who missed work that day. Anita Halasz, executive director of immigrant- and labor-advocacy group Long Island Jobs With Justice, said her organization was not aware of the Greenvale case. She had heard from one local pizza shop employee claiming he was fired over the immigrants’ protest.

Inside Uber’s Aggressive, Unrestrained Workplace Culture

Source: Mike Isaac, The New York Times

Interviews with more than 30 current and former Uber employees, as well as reviews of internal emails, chat logs and tape-recorded meetings, paint a picture of an often unrestrained workplace culture. Among the most egregious accusations from employees, who either witnessed or were subject to incidents and who asked to remain anonymous because of confidentiality agreements and fear of retaliation: One Uber manager groped female co-workers’ breasts at a company retreat in Las Vegas. A director shouted a homophobic slur at a subordinate during a heated confrontation in a meeting. Another manager threatened to beat an underperforming employee’s head in with a baseball bat.

February 22, 2017

Trump wooed the working class. Now labor leaders are worried

Source: Aubrey Whelan, The Philadelphia Inquirer

For some union members, Trump's populist message hit home. Voters in union households still turned out for Democrats — but Clinton won them by only 8 percent, according to exit polling, the smallest margin since President Ronald Reagan’s re-election in 1984. Now, labor leaders are mapping out what to do in the wake of the vote.

Puzder’s Out, But Acosta Raises Questions

Source: Justin Miller, The American Prospect

Less than 24 hours after celebrating former labor secretary nominee Andy Puzder’s withdrawal, labor advocates are now scrambling to get up to speed on Trump’s new nominee, Alexander Acosta. President Trump announced that he thinks Acosta will make a “tremendous secretary of labor,” but made no mention of Puzder’s failed nomination. Even though Acosta is a more mainline conservative than Puzder, labor groups have a lot of policy concerns. Organizers who led the opposition campaign are keeping their powder dry, saying that the failure of Puzder’s nomination doesn’t mean they’re out of the woods just yet. It’s too early to know whether Acosta is qualified to lead the department. “We can’t say for sure that we won’t be as opposed to him as we were Puzder,” until more research is done, says Adam Shah, a senior policy analyst at the labor advocacy group Jobs With Justice.

6 Things You Should Know About Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Source: Lindsey Lanquist, Self

"There's no hard-and-fast rule for what is and isn't sexual harassment," Paula Brantner, senior director at the policy institute Workplace Fairness tells SELF. "You have to look at it all in context." Brantner explains that sexual harassment is a legal term regarding forms of sex discrimination that violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (an act prohibiting employee discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, and religion).

February 21, 2017

The Scandal That May Haunt the New Nominee for Labor Secretary

Source: Adam Serwer, The Atlantic

R. Alexander Acosta, President Trump’s pick to run the Labor Department following the withdrawal of Andrew Puzder’s nomination, was the head of the civil-rights division of the Department of Justice in the Bush administration during a period in which his subordinates became embroiled in a scandal over politicized hiring. That scandal raises questions about Acosta’s ability to effectively manage a much larger federal agency in an administration that has already shown a tendency to skirt ethics rules.

How immigrants are helping Detroit’s recovery

Source: The Economist, The Economist

“WE ARE proud of our Muslim community in Michigan,” says Rick Snyder, the state’s Republican governor. Mr. Snyder has emphasised the importance of welcoming people from across the world to this large midwestern state. Thanks to once-plentiful jobs in the car industry, greater Detroit has the largest Arab-American community in America. Hamtramck, another Detroit suburb, is the first city in America with a majority-Muslim city council. Mr. Snyder and Mike Duggan, the mayor of Detroit, are making population growth a gauge of their efforts to revitalise a state that is slowly recovering from a “lost decade” and a city devastated by the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history.

February 20, 2017

Trump's failed labor secretary pick reveals a fast-food industry at war

Source: Kate Taylor, Business Insider

On Wednesday, fast-food CEO Andy Puzder withdrew his name from consideration for the position of secretary of labor just a day before his confirmation hearing. Puzder's personal life likely played a role in his decision to withdraw, as the Senate examined allegations that he abused his ex-wife (which she later retracted).

Bears and Union Clash Over Workers’ Compensation for Players

Source: The Associated Press, Associated Press

Should injured pro athletes be allowed to earn workers’ compensation benefits until they are 67 years old, like other workers, even if their athletic careers normally would have ended more than 30 years earlier? That issue is being debated between the Chicago Bears and the N.F.L. players’ union in the Illinois Legislature as one unlikely element of a compromise proposal to end a nearly two-year-long fight over the state’s budget.