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

June 22, 2017

The Foreign Visa Crackdown Is Putting Americans Out of Work

Source: Jesse Ellison, Bloomberg

Many economists argue that rather than taking jobs from Americans, temporary workers support the creation of higher-paying positions for U.S. citizens.

Trump Takes Steps to Undo Obama Legacy on Labor

Source: Noam Scheiber, The New York Times

President Trump, who came into office courting labor unions and vowing to stand up for American workers, is taking a major step to alter the direction of federal labor policy, positioning the National Labor Relations Board to overturn a series of high-profile Obama-era decisions. The moves arrive after Mr. Trump’s proposed deep cuts to the Labor Department and job-training programs across the federal government. And just last week, the administration disclosed that it opposes the labor relation board’s position that employers cannot require employees to waive their rights to bring class-action cases — an issue the Supreme Court will hear arguments about this year.

June 21, 2017

How Much Paid Leave Is Enough?

Source: Brigid Schulte, Slate

Just 14 percent of American workers are eligible for paid leaves, and high-wage workers are three-and-a-half times more likely than lower-wage workers to get it. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that the median length of paid or unpaid time new mothers take leave to heal and care for infants is 11 weeks—the time when infants are about to being to recognize a caregiver’s voice, smell, and face, and five weeks before an infant can hold its head steady. For fathers, it’s one week. But how much time is enough?

‘Is There a Man I Can Talk To?’: Stories of Sexism in the Workplace

Source: Susan Chira and Brianna Milord, The New York Times

The New York Times asked women to share their own experiences. More than 1,000 responded, offering up vivid anecdotes of times they had been interrupted, penalized for speaking up, belittled or discriminated against in terms of salary, promotions or pregnancy.

June 20, 2017

Texas companies tie worker shortages to immigration fears

Source: Associated Press, Associated Press

One-third of the approximately 20 employees Martinez uses to build new homes and commercial spaces have recently fled the state, spooked by a combination of a federal immigration crackdown by the Trump administration and a tough anti-“sanctuary cities” law approved last month by Texas’ Republican-controlled Legislature.

Most Major U.S. Employers Fail on Paid Paternity Leave. The ACLU Says That’s Illegal.

Source: Christina Cauterucci, Slate

Paid family leave is a luxury in the U.S. About 114 million U.S. workers don’t get any at all, and among those that do, a recent survey showed, just 10 percent get paid leave at their full salaries.

June 19, 2017

Trump Move on Job Training Brings ‘Skills Gap’ Debate to the Fore

Source: Noam Scheiber, The New York Times

Underlying the relatively modest size and scope of Mr. Trump’s proposal is a much bigger idea about why workers who have lost good-paying jobs that do not require a college degree are struggling to find work at comparable wages.

People are worried Amazon will replace Whole Foods workers with robots

Source: Danielle Paquette, The Washington Post

Now, at a time when retail jobs are already in free fall, worker advocates worry that many of Whole Foods' 90,000 employees may be next.

June 16, 2017

Father says J.P. Morgan's parental leave policy is biased

Source: Robert Iafolla, Reuters

A J.P. Morgan Chase & Co employee filed a federal sex discrimination complaint on Thursday accusing the bank of discriminating against fathers by giving them paid parental leave on different terms than mothers based on a stereotype that women should care for children. Derek Rotondo said in his complaint to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that J.P. Morgan gives mothers 16 weeks of paid leave, while fathers get only two weeks unless they prove they are primary caregivers. Rotondo, who works as a fraud investigator for the bank in Columbus, Ohio, claimed this violates federal and state anti-bias law.

Labor Department Retracts Broad Guidance, Seeks More Input on Pending Overtime Rule

Source: Christine Pulfrey, Bloomberg BNA

Two federal interpretations that broadly defined employee status and what may be a joint-employment relationship were withdrawn June 7 by the Labor Department. The move perceptibly altered the course of the Labor Department, which also previewed its intent to re-open for comment a contested rule that would make more workers eligible for overtime.

June 15, 2017

Transgender Woman Sues McDonald's Over Sexual Harassment

Source: Brittney McNamara, Teen Vogue

A transgender woman has filed a civil rights lawsuit against McDonald's, alleging "extreme sexual harassment and disparate treatment based on sex" that happened during a five-month span when she worked for the company.

Uber's symbolic gestures don't signal meaningful change

Source: Melanie Ehrenkranz, Mic

Paula Brantner, a senior advisor at Workplace Fairness, said that she doesn't know if Fowler will ever receive an apology, a reparation or an invitation for an open conversation. She pointed out that Uber might have withheld a semblance of an apology for legal reasons, but that if the company cares about changing the culture, they should look past that.

June 14, 2017

Workplace Fairness: How to Provide a Work Environment that Improves Employee Satisfaction and Attracts Top Talent

Source: Lauren Keys, Deal crunch

“There are small businesses that may not have a dedicated HR staff or access to attorneys to consult, and managers who are not properly trained in the law,” said Paula Brantner, the Senior Advisor for Workplace Fairness, an organization that helps both businesses and employees understand workers’ rights. “We want to send a message to employers that a fair workplace is in everyone’s interest – to nip problems in the bud before they become legal problems, morale problems, or personnel issues.”

Uber CEO to take leave after harassment investigation forces company shake-up

Source: Lauren Williams, ThinkProgress

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announced on Tuesday he is taking a break from his leadership role, timed with the release of a report detailing the findings of an investigation into allegations of harassment within the company. His role will also be diminished upon his return, Bloomberg reported.

Changes in Hours for Low-Paid Workers

Source: Emily Martin, The New York Times

Retailers, restaurants and other companies are shifting the risk of slow business onto their lowest paid employees, cutting and adding hours without notice based on tiny shifts in demand.

June 13, 2017

Unions Come Into the Justices’ Cross Hairs, Again

Source: Adam Liptak, The New York Times

Unions again have reason to be nervous. Having already determined that the issue in the case warrants the court’s attention, the justices will probably agree to hear it.

How paid leave policies can negatively affect LGBTQ families

Source: Rebecca Gale, The Washington Post

LGBTQ families face particular challenges when it comes to paid family leave, as they are four times more likely to parent an adopted child and six times more likely to be raising foster children.

June 12, 2017

Former Amazon warehouse manager sues for overtime wages

Source: Nick Wingfield, The New York Times

The lawsuit, filed this month by Michael Ortiz, a former shift manager for Amazon in several warehouses in the San Francisco Bay Area, accuses Amazon of failing to pay him overtime wages.

More workers are staying on the job past 65

Source: Katie Johnston, The Boston Globe

As people live longer and remain healthier, many of them are staying in the workforce far beyond traditional retirement age. Nearly 20 percent of Americans 65 and older are either working or looking for work — the highest rate since 1962, according to the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

June 9, 2017

Earn minimum wage in the US? You can afford to live in exactly 12 counties

Source: Alastair Gee, The Guardian

A person working a full-time minimum-wage job will find it virtually impossible to rent an affordable home anywhere in the US, according to a study that sheds new light the country’s housing crisis.

Worker-friendly rules scrapped by Labor Dept.

Source: Paul Davidson, USA Today

Expanded worker protections on pay and benefits were rolled back by the Trump Administration Wednesday in a first step of what is expected to be a broader effort to reinstate policies that favor employers.

June 8, 2017

Report: South Carolina employment agency head tapped for Trump administration job

Source: Maya T. Prabhu, Charleston Post Courier

Cheryl Stanton, executive director of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, has been selected to lead the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division, according to a report from a Bloomberg affiliate.

Workers Take Chipotle to Court Over New Overtime Law

Source: Tim Forster, Eater

Fast-casual taco and burrito chain Chipotle is on the receiving end of a class action lawsuit from its employees regarding a new federal law about overtime pay.

June 7, 2017

Acosta defends Trump plan to cut number of Labor watchdogs

Source: Laurie Kellman, Associated Press

“We’d be going backward in terms of enforcement, which honestly I believe is the intention,” said Paula Brantner, an employment lawyer and senior adviser to the Workplace Fairness advocacy group.

Healing Labor Markets Leave Consumers Aching for More Pay

Source: Jana Randow, Bloomberg

While trend employment and labor-force participation rates in many advanced economies are higher than in the decade preceding the financial meltdown and growth is going strong, wages haven’t yet picked up much at all.

New Supreme Court challenge to labor unions follows 4-4 split

Source: Associated Press, Crain's Chicago Business

Conservative groups are wasting little time in trying to deal a crippling blow to labor unions now that Justice Neil Gorsuch has joined the Supreme Court.

June 6, 2017

Employees Are More Motivated When Companies Are Transparent About Salary

Source: Kristin Wong, New York Magazine

On the bright side, though, some states have adopted new regulations to address the issue, urging companies to share how much their workers earn and how those wages are determined. New York’s transparency laws, for instance, specify that “no employer shall prohibit an employee from inquiring about, discussing, or disclosing the wages of such employee or other employee, except as otherwise provided herein.” And plenty of organizations have followed suit, encouraged both by these new regulations and by new research showing that pay transparency is good for them, too: In recent years, several different studies have found that making salary data publicly available can improve employee performance.

Uber Fires 20 Amid Investigation Into Workplace Culture

Source: Mike Isaac, The New York Times

Uber has fired 20 employees over harassment, discrimination and inappropriate behavior, as the ride-hailing company tries to contain the fallout from a series of toxic revelations about its workplace.

June 5, 2017

Why Aren’t American Teenagers Working Anymore?

Source: Ben Steverman, Bloomberg

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 4.3 percent in May, the lowest in 16 years, so teens started looking for summer jobs in the best labor market since the tech boom of the early 2000s. The May unemployment rate for 16- to 19-year-olds was 14.3 percent, but teens usually find it harder to find jobs than their more experienced elders. Back in 2009, the teenage jobless rate hit 27 percent.

Solar’s rise lifted these blue-collar workers. Now they’re worried about Trump

Source: Danielle Paquette, The Washington Post

The more complicated truth, experts say, is that while there could well be some winners — such as workers in the coal industry — the Paris departure embodies the government’s abandonment of a suite of policies that promised to create hundreds of thousands of jobs at the same time as fighting climate change.

June 2, 2017

Here’s What the Fed Will Be Watching for in the Jobs Report

Source: Shobhana Chandra, Bloomberg

President Donald Trump and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen agree on at least one thing: The underemployment rate is worth watching to monitor labor-market slack, and its recent plunge is welcome news for Americans who’ve missed out on the jobs recovery.

Walmart Is Accused of Punishing Workers for Sick Days

Source: Rachel Abrams, The New York Times

A report released Thursday by a workers’ advocacy group says Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, routinely refuses to accept doctors’ notes, penalizes workers who need to take care of a sick family member and otherwise punishes employees for lawful absences.

June 1, 2017

Is OSHA Protecting At-Risk Workers Under A Trump Administration?

Source: Paul Feldman, FairWarning

n the four months since President Trump took office, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued four news releases announcing penalties for job safety violations. By the end of May last year, it had issued 199.

Here Are the Rights NYC’s New Fair-Workweek Laws Give Fast-Food Workers

Source: Clint Rainey, Grub Street

Mayor de Blasio signed a bill yesterday that makes New York the country’s largest city with laws entitling fast-food employees to more predictable work schedules. Called the Fair Work Week legislation package, it’s meant to offer a safety net to a class of workers who regularly get screwed by their schedules — not given hours they requested; asked to come in last-minute; or stuck with the dreaded “clopening” shift, the industry’s term for closing a store, then promptly returning to open it back up.

May 31, 2017

Can your off-hours political activism get you in trouble at work?

Source: Jena McGregor , The Washington Post

Paula Brantner, a senior adviser to Workplace Fairness, a nonprofit focused on employee rights, says that she has typically seen only one or two of these kinds of cases stand out each election cycle, though she expects we could hear about them more often in the future. "A lot of people who haven’t been active before are newly energized and there are a lot of groups forming around the country," she said. Plus, "with social media, one's personal views get amplified far more than they were in the past."

Uber harassment report is expected to hit next week

Source: Greg Bensinger, MarketWatch

Uber Technologies Inc. expects to conclude a report soon on claims of sexual harassment and sexism that it hopes will close a damaging chapter in its history. But it also could bring even greater scrutiny for the troubled ride-hailing company.

Small-business owners make the case for helping employees repay student loans

Source: Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, The Washington Post

Small businesses like Raden are leading the way in helping employees pay down college debt, proving that you don’t have to be a Fortune 500 company to offer the benefit.

May 30, 2017

The CEO of a massive Christian-owned craft store had a surprising response when asked about maternity leave

Source: Dan Bobkoff, Business Insider

When we asked him whether Hobby Lobby offers parental leave, he was stumped. "I don’t think so," Green said. "We offer a lot of things." It turns out Hobby Lobby does not have a dedicated parental-leave plan. And it's not a surprise. Paid parental leave, already a rarity in the US, is even harder to find in the retail sector.

Why are so many women dropping out of the workforce?

Source: Natalie Kitroeff, The Los Angeles Times

“I had a very established career,” Villaluna said. Then, in September, her plan to get a state subsidy for child care fell through, and the single mom couldn’t afford to spend thousands of dollars on private day care. The day she gave up her beloved 9-to-5 job, she cried for hours.

May 29, 2017

More than half of US workers didn’t use up their time off last year, sacrificing 662 million vacation days

Source: Oliver Staley, Quartz

More than half of all US employees (54%) didn’t use all their days off last year, working a combined total of 662 million more days than required. Of those days, 206 million couldn’t be rolled over or cashed out, meaning they were forfeited, costing the equivalent of $66 billion, according to a report (pdf) from Project: Time Off, a group funded by the travel industry. While it’s a group with a strong interest in promoting more vacations, their findings are still revealing about America’s unhealthy reluctance to take time off.

Military veterans among the many workers striking on Memorial Day

Source: Ginger Adams Otis, New York Daily News

Some vets will spend Memorial Day weekend walking a picket line.

May 26, 2017

McDonald’s Beefs Up Lobbying Democrats on Joint-Employer Issue

Source: Tyrone Richardson, Bloomberg BNA

McDonald’s Corp. is hiring lobbyists with Democratic ties as part of an industry push to convince lawmakers to reject the NLRB’s definition of joint employment and thus shield franchisers from having to collectively bargain with franchisee workers. The Oak Brook, Ill.-based fast-food company has tapped firms Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck; Manatt, Phelps & Phillips; and theGROUP DC to lobby Congress on the issue. McDonald’s and other fast-food industry players like Yum! Brands and the International Franchise Association want Congress to pass legislation to limit liability under federal labor law for businesses that use staffing, franchise, and other contract relationships.

Tesla Replaces Head Of HR Amid Allegations Of Poor Working Conditions, Harassment

Source: Caroline O'Donovan and Priya Anand, Buzzfeed

Arnnon Geshuri, the high-profile VP of human resources at Tesla who oversaw its 2011 hiring spree, is leaving the company, BuzzFeed News learned earlier this month and Tesla confirmed in a blog post Tuesday evening. His departure is the third in a string of HR exec exits from Tesla, which has recently been beset by allegations of unsafe working conditions, discrimination and harassment, and potentially illegal mishandling of a union drive at its California manufacturing plant. In recent months, a growing body of evidence suggesting that, for workers, Tesla’s state-of-the-art factory in Fremont, California hasn’t always been the safest or most comfortable place to work.

May 25, 2017

AP Exclusive: CEOs got biggest raise since 2013

Source: Stan Choe, Associated Press

The typical CEO at the biggest U.S. companies got an 8.5 percent raise last year, raking in $11.5 million in salary, stock and other compensation last year, according to a study by executive data firm Equilar. That’s the biggest raise in three years. The bump reflects how well stocks have done under these CEOs’ watch. Boards of directors increasingly require that CEOs push their stock price higher to collect their maximum possible payout, and the S&P 500 index returned 12 percent last year. Over the last five years, median CEO pay in the survey has jumped by 19.6 percent, not accounting for inflation. That’s nearly double the 10.9 percent rise in the typical weekly paycheck for full-time employees across the country.

As Store Layoffs Mount, Retail Lags Other Sectors In Retraining Workers

Source: Yuki Noguchi, NPR

Many retail workers are undergoing what economists call "job displacement," meaning they are losing their jobs largely because of major technological shifts. Layoffs in traditional retail have accelerated sharply this year, with hundreds of store closings and nine U.S. chains filing for bankruptcy so far in 2017. Most of those losing their jobs are low-skilled, entry-level workers, while retailers look instead to bolster the e-commerce sides of their businesses, hiring for higher-skilled positions such as logistics and warehousing. Whereas some industries invest to retrain their workers with new skills for new times, to date the retail industry has not successfully done that.

May 24, 2017

As Uber Probes Sexual Harassment At Its Offices, It Overlooks Hundreds of Thousands of Female Drivers

Source: Avi Asher-Schapiro, The Intercept

“If the complaint process for sexual harassment is, in essence, a black hole, and a number of women have brought this to the attention of the company and the company has refused to do something about it — then there could be some potential liability,” said Paula Brantner, a lawyer and former executive director of Workplace Fairness, a nonprofit that advocates for workplace rights.

Acosta Says Parts of Fiduciary Rule Will Be Effective June 9

Source: Kristen Ricaurte Knebel , Bloomberg BNA

Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta won’t put the brakes on the portions of the DOL’s fiduciary rule that are set to take effect in a matter of weeks, he announced May 22 in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. The announcement dashes the hopes of many in the financial services industry who wanted a more substantial delay. Acosta said after considering the record and the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act, there is “no principled legal basis to change the June 9 date” for the definition of the term fiduciary and the impartial conduct standards.

Alone on the Open Road: Truckers Feel Like ‘Throwaway People’

Source: Trip Gabriel, The New York Times

Turnover at large for-hire fleets hauling freight by the truckload — the backbone of the industry — runs an astonishing 80 percent a year, according to a trade group. Looming over the horizon is a future in which self-driving trucks threaten to eliminate many drivers’ livelihoods.

May 23, 2017

Workers say Walmart is still punishing pregnant employees

Source: Bryce Covert, ThinkProgress

Otisha Woolbright says that Walmart gave her two choices in 2013 when she handed over a doctor’s note saying she couldn’t safely lift heavy objects at work because of her pregnancy: keep doing the job as before, including lifting large boxes, or walk out the door. When she asked whether she could transfer to a department with less physically demanding duties, she was allegedly told she hadn’t worked there long enough. Then one day she requested information on taking a leave of absence, even though she knew she wouldn’t qualify for unpaid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) time off because she hadn’t worked there long enough, thinking ahead to what she would do after her baby was born. Her managers called her into the office the same day and told her that the company no longer needed her services. According to a new class action lawsuit that Woolbright is a part of, it’s been a problem for a lot of other women, too.

Why aren’t ‘manly’ men taking ‘girly’ jobs?

Source: Paul Solman, PBS NewsHour

Over the past 20 years, female-dominated industries like health care and education services have grown immensely, while male-dominated industries like manufacturing have lost millions of jobs. The economy is shifting, and it seems like men are on the losing side. But it doesn’t have to be that way, says economist Betsey Stevenson, an associate professor of public policy and economics at the University of Michigan. In a column for Bloomberg, she’s blunt: Manly men need to do more girly jobs. Economics correspondent Paul Solman sat down with Stevenson to discuss the growth in female-dominated sectors and how stigma might be holding men back from taking jobs seen as “women’s work.”

May 22, 2017

Lack of Workers, Not Work, Weighs on Utah’s Economy

Source: Binyamin Appelbaum, The New York Times

But labor shortages are weighing on overall economic growth, slowing the pace of expansion in northern Utah and other fast-growing regions even as unemployment remains stubbornly high in Rust Belt cities like Cleveland and in regions still recovering from the 2008 recession, like inland California.

12-year high: More workers are failing company drug tests

Source: Al Olson, Salon

More American workers are testing positive for illegal drugs than at any time in the last 12 years, according a study from Quest Diagnostics Inc., one of the nation’s leading workplace-testing labs.

May 19, 2017

How Roger Ailes’s Death Affects Lawsuits

Source: Nicole Hong, The Wall Street Journal

The death of former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes leaves an uncertain future for the lawsuits filed by women who have accused Mr. Ailes of sexual harassment.

Here’s How Kirsten Gillibrand Plans to Get Paid Family Leave Passed

Source: Claire Landsbaum, New York Magazine

Earlier this year, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand reintroduced her pet bill: the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which would guarantee workers up to 12 weeks paid leave at least two-thirds pay. And on Tuesday, at the Center for American Progress’s Ideas Conference, she detailed the pieces of that bill — and put forward a proposal to get it passed. A real paid-leave plan, she said, is “not just about maternity leave” or “just about babies,” but is “gender-neutral — it has to cover husbands who want to care for their wives when they’re sick, [or] sons who want to care for a dying parent.” She added that the plan (which conveniently sounds a lot like her bill) should be affordable for businesses — even small ones — and should be a “universal earned benefit” for American workers, meaning everyone participates.

May 18, 2017

MO: Employment Discrimination and Opiate Abuse Enforcement in Workers' Comp Bill Package

Source: Angela Underwood, WorkersCompensation.com

“Organizations like Workplace Fairness in employment discrimination and workers' compensation are important because people don't know about or think about what their rights are until something bad happens, which is especially true in the workers' compensation situation because you hopefully have never been injured before,"

Major Employers Like Starbucks Shaft Low-Wage Workers When It Comes to Paid Parental Leave

Source: Christina Cauterruci, Slate

But even the nation’s largest employers, many of which have relatively generous leave policies in place, often make distinctions between white-collar corporate employees and hourly workers, leaving their lowest-paid employees to suffer financial setbacks when they become parents.

Companies Steal $15 Billion From Their Employees Every Year

Source: Ben Schiller, FastCompany

When employers fail to pay overtime, withhold tips from waitresses and waiters, or misclassify workers as exempt from minimum wage regulations, they’re stealing income from the poorest members of society. “Wage theft,” the collective term for this practice, can take many forms. But it comes down to something simple: bosses stiffing workers out what they are legally owed.

May 17, 2017

Two Frontier flight attendants sue for right to pump breast milk on job

Source: Colleen Slevin, Associated Press

A year after four pilots accused Frontier Airlines of not doing enough to help pregnant or nursing employees, two flight attendants on Tuesday filed similar discrimination complaints Tuesday accusing the Denver-based discount carrier of forbidding them from pumping breast milk while on flights.

Freelancing Just Got A Little Less Horrible

Source: Cora Lewis, Buzzfeed

On Monday, when New York City's "Freelance Isn't Free Act" takes effect, workers in the five boroughs will gain a raft of new protections that will change the rules of the game. A freelancer performing any job with wages totaling at least $800 over three months is now entitled to a contract in writing and a specified payment date, thanks to the new law covering 1099 workers. If no payment date is indicated, companies must pay within 30 days of the work's completion, or face fines, and businesses face additional penalties if they are found to retaliate or blacklist any worker for exercising their labor rights under the law.

May 16, 2017

Merger of EEOC, Contractor Watchdog ‘Under Consideration’

Source: Jay-Anne B. Casuga, Bloomberg BNA

A potential merger between the EEOC and a Labor Department subagency that enforces affirmative action and nondiscrimination requirements on government contractors is under “active consideration” by the Trump administration, according to practitioners.

Uber Has a Union of Sorts, but Faces Doubts on Its Autonomy

Source: Noam Scheiber, The New York Times

From the start, the guild has appeared to sidestep or play down some issues that might cause the greatest friction with Uber. The tipping crusade grew out of a June 2016 survey in which the guild allowed drivers to vote on their priorities, but which did not include Uber’s fare cuts of recent years, one issue that drivers almost universally complain about.

May 15, 2017

Signing Away the Right to Get a New Job

Source: Conor Dougherty, The New York Times

A recent survey by economists including Evan Starr, a management professor at the University of Maryland, showed that about one in five employees was bound by a noncompete clause in 2014. Employment lawyers know this, but workers are often astonished to learn that they’ve signed away their right to leave for a competitor.

Sheryl Sandberg Calls for U.S. Policy Changes to Aid Working Mothers

Source: Sarah Frier, Bloomberg

In addition to higher wages and paid time off for parents, she said the U.S. must ensure child care is more affordable. She said 40 percent of American households with children rely on a woman as the primary breadwinner.

May 12, 2017

Can Using An App Help End Workplace Harassment?

Source: Lydia Dishman, FastCompany

Todd Schobel, CEO of STOPit, says their reporting app was created to facilitate the process of reporting bad behavior and help companies address abusive behavior proactively. “Organizations are realizing that the investment in hotlines is simply not generating the return they need to protect them from the significant financial and reputational risks that come with behavior-based incidents,” he tells Fast Company. “They need to invest in their most valuable asset: their employees.”

AI will rob companies of the best training tool they have: grunt work

Source: Sarah Kessler, Quartz

As Deloitte relies more on AI, it won’t necessarily have the same need for entry-level employees to do basic work such as combing through contracts. Increasingly, the organization will look more like a diamond: It will still need human workers to review the machines’ output and make decisions AI can’t, but the greater need will be for the middle-level employees who have the experience to make judgment calls.

May 11, 2017

Fox Reveals Cost of Sexual Harassment Allegations: $45 Million

Source: Brooks Barnes, The New York Times

Twenty-First Century Fox disclosed on Monday that it had incurred costs of $10 million “related to settlements of pending and potential litigations” during its fiscal third quarter in the aftermath of sexual harassment allegations at Fox News.

Congress Mulls Exempting Home-Care Workers From Wage Laws

Source: Ben Penn, Bloomberg BNA

Republican lawmakers are preparing a bill that would restore home-care workers’ exemption from federal wage laws, in case the labor secretary doesn’t act, a spokeswoman for Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) told Bloomberg BNA.

May 10, 2017

Workplace Fairness Honored in 21st Annual Webby Awards

Source: The Webby Awards

"It is a great honor to be a Webby Honoree in the Employment category," said Paula Brantner, Senior Advisor, and former Executive Director of Workplace Fairness. "As a nonprofit organization with a small staff and limited budget, this recognition will allow us to reach more workers with the critical information they need in these difficult and uncertain times.

Is the Gig Economy Working?

Source: Nathan Heller, The New Yorker

Calls for structural change have grown loud lately, in part because the problem goes far beyond gigging apps. The precariat is everywhere. Companies such as Nissan have begun manning factories with temps; even the U.S. Postal Service has turned to them. Academic jobs are increasingly filled with relatively cheap, short-term teaching appointments. Historically, there is usually an uptick in 1099 work during tough economic times, and then W-2s resurge as jobs are added in recovery. But W-2 jobs did not resurge as usual during our recovery from the last recession; instead, the growth has happened in the 1099 column.

G.O.P. Bill Could Affect Employer Health Coverage, Too

Source: Margot Sanger-Katz, The New York Times

About half of all Americans get health coverage through work. The bill would make it easier for employers to increase the amount that employees could be asked to pay in premiums, or to stop offering coverage entirely. It also has the potential to weaken rules against capping worker’s benefits or limiting how much employees can be asked to pay in deductibles or co-payments.

May 9, 2017

Lawsuit Presses the Issue of Lower Pay for Female Law Partners

Source: Elizabeth Olson, The New York Times

By all accounts, Mary T. Yelenick had a stellar career at Chadbourne & Parke, the New York law firm where she spent 35 years, rising to the position of chairwoman for the product liability practice. She retired in December to words of praise from the firm. But in March she joined a lawsuit brought by a colleague, Kerrie L. Campbell. Plaintiffs have maintained in legal papers that the firm’s female partners have been “systematically disparately underpaid, systematically shut out of firm leadership, demoted, de-equitized and terminated.” The class-action suit asks for $100 million for sex discrimination and pay inequity.

Comp-Time Bill Passes House, but Faces Tough Trip Ahead

Source: Christine Pulfrey, Bloomberg BNA

Private-sector employers could adopt a policy allowing workers to receive paid time off in lieu of overtime wages for hours worked over 40 in a week under a measure that passed the House of Representatives May 2 by a vote of 229-to-197. Although the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017 (H.R. 1180) previously had passed the House’s committee on a straight party-line vote, it was met with heated debate on the House floor, and the final vote tally reflected that six Republicans had crossed party lines to vote against the bill.

May 8, 2017

Malls, mines, and machines: Where US jobs are made and lost

Source: Eshe Nelson, Quartz

Spring has sprung for the US labor market.

Trump's slash to Labor Department budget could jeopardize workplace safety enforcement

Source: Ginger Adams Otis, New York Daily News

President Trump has proposed a 21% budget cut to the Department of Labor — a move many worker advocates say could wipe out some of the agency’s key programs to improve job site safety and enforce existing labor laws.

May 5, 2017

Acosta Getting Heat to Further Delay Fiduciary Rule

Source: Kristen Ricaurte Knebel, Bloomberg BNA

Critics and supporters of the DOL’s fiduciary rule are seeking meetings with Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta during what many see as a critical week if the department wants to further delay the rule.

U.S. Jobs Report: What to Watch For

Source: Patricia Cohen, The New York Times

After a disappointing initial estimate that just 98,000 jobs were added in March, analysts expressed confidence that better weather and a decline in initial unemployment claims would mean a rebound to 190,000 in April hiring. They said they also were expecting the unemployment rate to rise slightly to 4.6 percent from 4.5 percent and the average hourly wage to climb by 0.3 percent.

May 4, 2017

When Facebook polices the trolls, its workers may pay a price

Source: Charlie May, Salon

Ballard suggested that bringing on low-level or entry-level candidates just won’t cut it and that employees will need to undergo proper evaluation. Mashable writer Rebecca Ruiz added in the same piece that experts are aware, “from previous reporting . . . that people who moderate online content, including abusive language and still images, are often poorly paid and experience negative psychological consequences.”

Companies Compete but Won’t Let Their Workers Do the Same

Source: Orly Lobel, The New York Times

Americans, we are told, believe in competition. But a shockingly large number of workers — 30 million, according to a report from the Treasury Department — are shackled by what are called “noncompetes,” which are agreements forbidding employees to leave their job to work for a competitor or to start their own competing business. And the number is growing fast.

May 3, 2017

How a sociologist is pushing to improve academia’s workplace climate

Source: Maggie Kuo, Science

After starting her career in computer science in the late 1980s, Jennifer Sheridan knows firsthand how a male-oriented culture can drive women out of the job. The female employees at the software company where she worked regularly faced harassment, she says. When Sheridan presented her work at meetings, questions would go to her male co-workers, not her. Her 3 years in that work environment motivated her to leave computer science and go to graduate school in sociology to study women working in male-dominated occupations. “You can recruit all the diverse people you want, but if you don’t have a good working environment, they’re not going to stay,” she says.

The Working Family Has Changed. Why Hasn’t the Workplace?

Source: Francesca Levy and Rebecca Greenfield, Bloomberg

Families in America used to look pretty similar. Moms in the 1970s were far more likely to stay home with the kids, while dads went to the office and paid the bills. That paradigm has shifted dramatically in the decades since. Now, more households than ever have two working parents. The country also has more single-parent households, and more female breadwinners than ever.

May 2, 2017

An American jobs threat worse than coal is coming to your hometown

Source: Hayley Peterson, Business Insider

President Donald Trump championed himself as a savior of the American worker during his campaign. But he largely has been silent on the biggest crisis facing these workers: the collapse of the retail industry. According to government data, general-merchandise stores like Macy's and Sears have bled about 89,000 jobs since October — more than the total number of people employed by the US coal industry, which Trump repeatedly pledged to revive both on the campaign trail and in office. Since 2001, department stores alone have lost half a million jobs. The coal industry, by comparison, has lost about 22,000 jobs in the same period.

Trump Administration Is Sued Over Alleged Intimidation Of Federal Workers

Source: Peter Overby, NPR

As Trump appointees take their new positions in the federal bureaucracy, a legal battle is escalating over alleged intimidation of the civil servants who make the government function.

May 1, 2017

May Day Marchers Around The World Celebrate Workers, Immigrants

Source: Camila Domonoske, NPR

May Day protests and rallies around the world and across the U.S. are celebrating labor, calling for greater protections and benefits for workers and highlighting the contributions of immigrants.

April 29, 2017

Portia Bynum interviewed guests Attorney Paula Brantner, Darlene O'Neal and Kathi Harris.

Source: Portia Bynum, Keep in Movin'

Keep it Movin’ is a contemporary civil rights, educational, community and national interest radio broadcast with an emphasis on:
1) Age, gender, and racial equality; 2) Justice for part time workers...

April 28, 2017

American Airlines announces pay raises, and investors balk

Source: Associated Press, Chicago Tribune

American Airlines is giving pay raises to its pilots and flight attendants, who have complained they are paid less than peers at other airlines. Wall Street isn't happy.

Senate Confirms R. Alexander Acosta as Labor Secretary

Source: Maya Salam, The New York Times

R. Alexander Acosta, the dean of Florida International University College of Law and a former United States attorney, was confirmed as labor secretary by the Senate on Thursday, becoming the only Latino in President Trump’s cabinet.

April 27, 2017

In Cleveland, co-op model finds hope in employers rooted in the city

Source: James E. Causey, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

The co-op concept has been around for decades: People buy into a business where they work or shop, sharing in the enterprise’s profitability. The Evergreen Co-op is unique because it emphasizes job creation rather than training. Here’s how it works: Large institutions rooted in the area, such as the Cleveland Clinic, agree to infuse some of their combined $3 billion purchasing power into the co-op’s neighborhood companies rather than outsourcing it. The companies, in turn, train and hire people who need jobs — then help them build equity in their own future.

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.

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The Workplace Fairness Attorney Directory features lawyers from across the United States who primarily represent workers in employment cases. Please note that Workplace Fairness does not operate a lawyer referral service and does not provide legal advice, and that Workplace Fairness is not responsible for any advice that you receive from anyone, attorney or non-attorney, you may contact from this site.