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Our Programs In the News

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

August 22, 2017

Trump Pick to Oversee Worker Protections Promoted Sweatshops on Remote US Islands

Source: Noah Lanard, Mother Jones

Without specifically naming Pizzella, he wrote that “Pat, the team leader of the Congressional delegation,” put a different spin on it, saying, “See? Working conditions are not as horrible as the press would have us believe.” On the way out, he recalled, they got a “special treat”: discounted clothes.

What the Science Actually Says About Gender Gaps in the Workplace

Source: Stefanie K. Johnson, Harvard Business Review

When workplace practices aim to support underrepresented groups, that does not mean they are unfairly biased against overrepresented groups. It just means that we need more than good intentions to change biased behavior.

August 21, 2017

What Will Trump Do to American Workers?

Source: Paul Krugman, The New York Times

Don’t just watch Congress, keep your eyes on what federal agencies are doing.

Fleecing America’s builders

Source: Maryam Jameel, The Center for Public Integrity

Weak oversight allows subcontractors in particular to shortchange workers on government projects with little fear of being caught or barred from future contracts. Meanwhile, their overseers often maintain clean labor records and continue to win government business.

August 18, 2017

Why do 20% of Americans consider their workplace to be an office hell?

Source: Arwa Mahdawi, The Guardian

According to a recent study, however, it also plays a highly detrimental part in many of our lives: work is making many Americans very miserable indeed. A massive 20% of workers say they face hostile or threatening environments at work, according to the American Working Conditions Survey, one of the most in-depth studies of its kind. This hostility can take a number of forms, including sexual harassment and verbal bullying.

Why Subway Workers Keep Finding Dead Bodies in Their Break Rooms

Source: Tom Hays, Associated Press

When someone takes their life by jumping in front of a train, police need to find a place to put the mutilated body until a medical examiner truck arrives. Sometimes, transit workers say, that place is their break room or bathrooms. And naturally, they don't like it. Some say they have been traumatized by unexpectedly coming upon a stowed body.

August 17, 2017

Women Should Not Have to Choose Between Employment and Safety: In Garment Factories They Do

Source: The Fashion Law, The Fashion Law

Garment manufacturing, as a whole, is still rife with sexual abuse, physical dangers, and slavery for those working within it - and increasingly growing profits for Western retailers tied to it.

Here’s Another Way Working Mothers Are Penalized

Source: Clio Chang, The New Republic

When left to the goodwill of corporations, these disparities will only persist. Even tech companies, which are lauded for their forward-thinking family-friendly policies, sometimes offer different benefits to white-collar and blue-collar workers within the same organization

August 16, 2017

The Persistent Problem of Gender Inequality

Source: Amanda Montañez, Scientific American

Data from the past few decades show that despite progress toward gender equality, many challenges persist. Women are still disadvantaged compared with men where access to economic and social opportunities is concerned. Some of these so-called gender gaps, such as the dearth of women in government, stem from societal attitudes about gender and leadership. Others arise from factors that by definition disproportionately affect women, such as restrictions on reproductive health care.

Wells Fargo Scandal Helps Consumer Advocates in CFPB Rule Fight

Source: Sara Merken, Bloomberg BNA

Wells Fargo’s latest scandal is providing consumer groups new ammunition as they try to save a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rule banning companies from using mandatory arbitration clauses.

August 15, 2017

No, a Fair Wage Is Not a ‘Free Lunch’

Source: Justin Miller, The American Prospect

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has long used its ample power and influence to convince economists, politicians, and influencers that raising the minimum wage—and enacting any other policies that benefit workers—will be an unequivocal job-killing, robot-creating catastrophe that devastates the very people those bleeding-heart liberals are trying to help. They’ve done a very good job of turning that threat into mainstream economic gospel (though the Milton Friedman wing of the economics profession didn’t require any persuading). That increasing the minimum wage will create untenable levels of job loss, leaving workers on the margins of the workforce without a foothold, has become a matter-of-fact policy assumption among not only conservative Republicans but many liberal economists as well.

Silicon Valley’s gender inequality is even worse than Wall Street’s

Source: Preeti Varathan, Quartz

The workplace culture that brought us pinstripe suits, “bro talk,” and The Wolf of Wall Street still outpaces Silicon Valley when it comes to gender representation, with the share of women in the workforce at big banks far ahead of most big tech companies. Women make up the majority of employees at three of the biggest US banks. The big banks’ overall numbers don’t tell the whole story. In addition to male-dominated trading desks, universal banks like Bank of America and JPMorgan run large retail franchises and other operations where women traditionally comprise a larger share of the workforce. At tech companies, by contrast, male-dominated jobs like programming make up the bulk of employees.

August 14, 2017

Why the First Amendment won’t protect Charlottesville white supremacists from being fired

Source: Leslie Albrecht & Maria Lamagna, MarketWatch

Talking about sensitive politics at work, posting on social media, or making donations to a political cause can also be grounds for firing, said Paula Brantner, senior adviser at Workplace Fairness, an employment law nonprofit. Employees sometimes mistakenly think giving a donation to a candidate is private, but it’s public record, and can cost you your job “if an employer says I don’t want someone who supports this candidate working with me,” she said.

The housing market has recovered; construction workers haven't

Source: Christopher Matthews, Axios

It's one of the great mysteries of the U.S. real-estate recovery: home prices nationally are just a touch below pre-crisis levels, and at all-time highs in many populous markets, as buyers scramble to grab what they can during a 30-year low for housing inventory. Yet homebuilders are moving at a snail's pace to meet this heated demand — they are breaking ground on just 849,000 new single-family homes per year, well below the 2007 rate of 1,036,000. This is having a spillover effect in jobs: Just 767,000 people are employed in residential-construction in the U.S., 20% below the figure a decade ago.

The latest RAND survey paints a disturbing portrait of the American workplace

Source: Sarah Kessler, Quartz

American jobs are grueling, according to a newly published RAND survey.

August 11, 2017

Amazon sued by transgender woman, husband for workplace harassment

Source: Daniel Wiessner, Associated Press

A transgender woman and her husband sued Amazon.com Inc on Wednesday, accusing the company of subjecting them to severe harassment and physical threats when they both worked at the retailer's warehouse in Kentucky.

Malls and Restaurants Schedule Workers at the Last Minute. Oregon Just Made That Illegal.

Source: Henry Grabar, Slate

Starting in July 2018, Oregon will require big companies in retail, hospitality, and food service to give employees schedules at least a week ahead of time, and offer stress pay to workers who don’t get a 10-hour break between shifts. By 2020, employers covered by the law will have to hand out schedules two weeks in advance.

August 10, 2017

Graduate Students on These 7 Campuses Are Fighting for Their Labor Rights

Source: Brandon Jordan , The Nation

Over the past academic year, graduate students across the country were busy organizing for better working conditions. Currently, there are 33 officially recognized graduate-student unions; 23 are fighting for university recognition. With increasing tuition and plummeting wages, meager health-care benefits and overwhelming workloads, these graduate students are coming together to demand better treatment and recognition. Here are seven schools where student organizing is at a fever-pitch.

Big Employers Say They Will Continue To Offer Health Plans To Their Workers

Source: Jay Hancock , NPR

The shrinking unemployment rate has been a healthy turn of events for people with job-based insurance. Eager to attract good help in a tight labor market — and unsure of the future of the Affordable Care Act — large employers are newly committed to maintaining health coverage for workers and often for their families, too, according to new research and interviews with business analysts. Two recent surveys of large employers — one released last week by the consulting firm Willis Towers Watson and the other out Tuesday from the National Business Group on Health — suggest companies are continuing to try to control costs, while backing away from shrinking or dropping health benefits for their workers.

August 9, 2017

The employee who wrote the Google manifesto was fired — and it's a good reminder why you should be careful of what you say at work

Source: Áine Cain and Rachel Gillett, Business Insider

James Damore, a Google senior engineer who authored an anti-diversity manifesto that was widely shared within the company, was fired Monday.

The incident and ensuing controversy is a good reminder for us all to think twice about being outspoken at work, and it highlights two important points about taking on controversial topics in the workplace:

Many People With Disabilities Are Being Paid Way Below the Minimum Wage, and It’s Perfectly Legal

Source: Ashley Dejean, Mother Jones

Chris Wilson is 33 years old and has Down syndrome. For the last three years, he’s worked at Kandu Industries, a packaging and assembly factory in Janesville, Wisconsin. He usually makes between $2 and $3 an hour, depending on whether he is packing brackets used in playground equipment or packaging food. Kandu Industries can pay Chris and roughly 150 other workers substantially below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour because of a 1938 provision in the Fair Labor Standards Act that permits employers, who apply to the Department of Labor for a waiver, to pay lower wages to people with disabilities. According to the department, about 20 percent of people with disabilities participate in the workforce, and of that group, about 3 percent, or approximately 195,000 workers, are being paid subminimum wages. These workers typically make well below the minimum wage, sometimes as low as “pennies per hour,” according to the Department of Justice.

Nissan Union Loss Underscores Labor’s Big Dilemma

Source: Justin Miller, The American Prospect

Late Friday night, the American labor movement was dealt yet another body blow—an increasingly common occurrence in the Trump era—as it became clear that the United Auto Workers had lost its long-shot bid to establish a union at a Nissan manufacturing plant in Canton, Mississippi. Workers at the factory voted 2,244 to 1,307 against unionization, a devastating landslide defeat for the Detroit-based union and worker activists who had been trying to organize since the plant first opened nearly 15 years ago. For decades, industrial unions have tried to make headway in the South, where manufacturers both foreign—like Airbus, Mercedes Benz, Toyota, and Volkswagen— and domestic—like Boeing—have set up shop, drawn by the region’s low wages and historic aversion to unions.

August 8, 2017

The gender pay gap in the US is still 20 percent—but millennial women are closing in on men

Source: Shawn M. Carter, CNBC

Women are paid 20 percent less than their male counterparts performing the same job, according to the Institute For Women's Policy Research. That is, for every dollar earned by a man working full-time, year-round, a woman working full-time, year-round earns $0.76. Women of color fare even worse. Some experts argue that women won't reach pay equity with men until 2152. But not all researchers agree. Some believe women's pay may even surpass men's in the next few years.

Shown the Door, Older Workers Find Bias Hard to Prove

Source: Elizabeth Olson, The New York Times

Spirit AeroSystems — formed from Boeing’s 2005 sale of its Wichita division and Oklahoma operations — is an important supplier for Boeing, its biggest customer, and a rival, Airbus, chalking up nearly $1.7 billion in revenue in the first quarter of this year. When it laid off 360 workers in summer 2013, the company was not closing down or moving jobs to Mexico or anywhere else. Spirit, which has 11,000 employees in Wichita and operations in Europe and Asia, said layoffs among its salaried employees and managers were necessary to remain competitive. Today, a lawsuit filed by 70 former employees, including Ms. Raymond, is in proceedings in the Federal District Court in Wichita. The workers brought the suit after discovering that nearly half — or 164 — of those in the 2013 layoffs were 40 or older, the age that initiates federal age discrimination law protections.

August 7, 2017

The Latest: Nissan says workers reject UAW in Mississippi

Source: Associated Press, Associated Press

Workers at a Nissan assembly plant in Mississippi have rejected union representation, adding to decades of futility by United Auto Workers organizers at foreign-owned auto plants in the American South. A spokeswoman for Nissan Motor Co. said late Friday that the union lost a pivotal vote by 3,700 eligible workers. Nissan says the final vote total was 2,244 to 1,307. The union formally charged Nissan with breaking federal law in its anti-union campaign as polls closed. Federal officials could eventually order a new election if they agree. Nissan denies wrongdoing and says the UAW seeks to undermine the vote.

A Google engineer wrote that women may be unsuited for tech jobs. Women wrote back.

Source: Cleve R. Wootson Jr. , The Washington Post

In a screed that rocketed around Silicon Valley this weekend, a software engineer at Google blasted the company's efforts to increase the number of minorities and women in its ranks and leadership positions.
The author has not been publicly identified, but his words have sparked a backlash. Critics say his sentiments reflect a tech company culture that's unwelcoming or even hostile to women and minorities.

August 4, 2017

5 Things to Watch in the July Jobs Report

Source: Eric Morath, The Wall Street Journal

The Labor Department releases its July employment report Friday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expect employers added 180,000 jobs and an unemployment rate of 4.3%.

Microsoft Shifts From Paying Outside Lawyers by the Hour

Source: Elizabeth Olson, The New York Times

Companies have long chafed at law firms’ practice of billing by the hour. Now, a huge corporation, Microsoft, is taking steps to move away from the traditional billing arrangement.

August 3, 2017

How much paid family leave is enough?

Source: Rachel Nania, WTOP

Despite being a wealthy and industrialized nation, the U.S. doesn’t have much to brag about when it comes to infant health and well-being. It has a higher infant mortality rate than countries such as Bosnia, Guam and Latvia, and a higher SIDS rate than other advanced economies. However, New America’s research found that extended parental leave can decrease preterm births, low birth weight rates and infant death rates. Adequate time off also increase rates of breast-feeding, which is linked to a number of health benefits, including a lower risk for asthma, ear infections and Type 2 diabetes. According to New America, a study out of Norway found that having mom or dad at home for an extended time can even produce benefits beyond the first few years of a child’s life, including improved cognitive development, greater academic success and higher earned wages before 30.

Uber and Lyft drivers are one step closer to forming their first union

Source: Noah Kulwin, Vice

Uber and Lyft drivers aren’t yet allowed to unionize in Seattle, but a judge’s ruling on Tuesday brought them one step closer to their destination. Judge Robert Lasnik dismissed a lawsuit from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Uber that aimed to strike down a Seattle law that grants independently contracted Uber and Lyft drivers the right to unionize. City attorneys argued that the ordinance, which was first passed in 2015, is meant to improve employee welfare as well as safety and reliability standards.

August 2, 2017

What We Talk About When We Talk About the Gig Economy

Source: Gabriel Thompson, The American Prospect

During the last several years, stories about the rapid growth of the gig economy have saturated the media, often focusing on behemoths like Uber. These contractor jobs are different than those of a traditional employee, providing no guarantees of a minimum wage or benefits like unemployment insurance or workers’ compensation. But if we zoom out, how much do we actually know about this workforce? Are their ranks growing? Is our country undergoing a revolution in how we work? of the challenge has to do with differing definitions. Some datasets focus on those who earn the majority of their money as freelancers. Other surveys consider a gig worker to be someone who has earned any amount of money as an independent contractor.

Nissan attacked for one of 'nastiest anti-union campaigns' in modern US history

Source: Mike Elk, The Guardian

Days before a potentially historic union vote at the Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi, the car company has been accused of running one of the “nastiest anti-union campaigns in the modern history of the American labour movement”. The vote, a fiercely contested effort by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union to represent a foreign automaker’s US plant, is planned for Thursday and Friday this week. It comes as US unions are hopeful they can overturn a series of defeats as they seek to build membership in southern states, where manufacturers have moved to take advantage of lower wages and non-union workforces. The UAW is undertaking an extensive door-to-door campaign to visit workers in their homes to discuss the union. The UAW has shipped in staff from all over the country to help in the effort.

August 1, 2017

Nissan Launches Anti-Union Blitz Ahead Of Pivotal UAW Election

Source: Dave Jamieson, HuffPost

Last week, managers at the Nissan manufacturing plant in Canton, Mississippi, pulled workers off the floor and into large group meetings. Using slides to make their case, they tried to show employees all the bad things that can happen after unionizing. These “roundtable” talks, as they’re known inside the plant, are a sign of the extraordinarily high stakes in the upcoming union election slated for this Thursday and Friday. If the United Auto Workers manage to win a majority at the Canton facility, it will give the Detroit-based union a few thousand new members and a strong toehold in the Southern auto industry.

Serena Williams: How Black Women Can Close the Pay Gap

Source: Serena Williams, Fortune

Today is Black Women's Equal Pay Day. This day shines a light on the long-neglected fact that the gender pay gap hits women of color the hardest. Black women are 37 cents behind men in the pay gap—in other words, for every dollar a man makes, black women make 63 cents. I’d like to acknowledge the many realities black women face every day. To recognize that women of color have to work—on average—eight months longer to earn the same as their male counterparts do in one year. To bring attention to the fact that black women earn 17% less than their white female counterparts and that black women are paid 63% of the dollar men are paid. Even black women who have earned graduate degrees get paid less at every level. This is as true in inner cities as it is in Silicon Valley.

July 31, 2017

Jeff Sessions’ Assault On Gay Workers Revealed Yet Another Lie He Told At Confirmation Hearings

Source: Michelangelo Signorile, HuffPost

Donald Trump is angry with Jeff Sessions for recusing himself in the Russia collusion investigation. But that hasn’t stopped Trump from giving Sessions carte blanche to enforce his brutal hard-right agenda ― one reason why, in fact, conservatives have defended Sessions against Trump’s attacks ― and that includes what are clearly his plans to dismantle LGBTQ rights. In his opening statements back in January, Sessions said, ”I understand the demands for justice and fairness made by our LGBT community.” He vowed to “ensure ... protecting their rights and their safety,” which he said would be “fully enforced.” But last week Sessions’ Justice Department used precious time and federal expense to tell a federal appeals court, via a 36-page brief, that employers should legally have the right to fire gay, lesbian and bisexual people based on their sexual orientation.

Wage Gap Statistics You Need To Know On Black Women’s Equal Pay Day

Source: Brandi Neal, Bustle

You may remember hearing about Equal Pay Day back in April, but that's not the whole picture. There are a lot of wage-gap statistics you need to know on Black Women’s Equal Pay Day — which highlights the amount of time African American women need to work to earn the same wages as their white male counterparts — include the troubling fact that black women workers are paid only 67 cents on the dollar relative to white non-Hispanic men, even after controlling for education, years of experience, and location, according to the Economic Policy Institute. And, they must work four months longer (until Jul. 31) than white women to earn the same wage. This is not equality.

July 28, 2017

To Keep Drivers From Leaving, Uber Tries To Treat Them Better

Source: Aarti Shahani , NPR

Uber's leadership already has a lot on its plate, starting with finding a new CEO after former chief Travis Kalanick resigned abruptly last month. But that's not all the tech giant has to do. For the business to survive, Uber also has to repair its relationship with drivers, which leaders at the company say is "broken." On Tuesday, in an ongoing effort dubbed the "180 Days of Change," the company is announcing reforms to its harsh termination policies and launching a hotline so that drivers in distress can reach a person at corporate headquarters. Until now, Uber has not had a phone number for drivers to call, even in emergencies — such as an accident on the road or a violent passenger.

U.S. Justice Department says anti-bias law does not protect gay workers

Source: Daniel Wiessner, Reuters

The Trump administration told a U.S. appeals court that federal law does not ban discrimination against gay employees, a sharp reversal of the position former President Barack Obama took on a key civil rights issue. The U.S. Department of Justice, in a friend of the court brief, told the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan on Wednesday that Congress never intended Title VII, which bans sex discrimination in the workplace, to apply to gay workers.

July 27, 2017

National Labor Relations Board is not the protector of big business

Source: Adren Crawford , The Tennessean

As a proud union member for more than 20 years, I have always made it a priority to stand up for my brothers and sisters. I am even more inclined to do so when their freedom to provide for their families is under threat of being taken away or when they are being unfairly characterized by those who tend to rig the rules in favor of big business. After reading Bradley Jackson’s thoughts on the National Labor Relations Board and how it “favors” employees, I feel compelled to refute several claims in his remarks.

Americans with disabilities still can't land jobs

Source: Aimee Picchi, CBS MoneyWatch

Before the Americans with Disabilities Act, the country was a very different place for people with disabilities, who had to navigate hurdles such as inaccessible public buildings. Yet when it comes to the workforce, the hurdles may not look much different than they did 27 years ago. The share of adults with disabilities who are working by some measures hasn't improved since the ADA was passed in July 1990. When the law was signed, about half of disabled Americans were employed, a share that declined to 41 percent by 2010, according to Census data. Ironically, some economists suggest the ADA may have made it less likely for employers to hire people with disabilities because of the costs they might incur for providing accommodations. Yet disability advocates point out that Americans with disabilities face a host of complex issues such as stigmas, typically lower education rates and higher rates of poverty, which add to the difficulties of finding a job while disabled.

July 26, 2017

Labor Dept. seeking public input as it eyes controversial overtime rule

Source: Lydia Wheeler, The Hill

The Labor Department will ask for public input as it seeks to revise a controversial overtime rule that was finalized under former President Obama. The agency said a Request for Information (RFI) to be published on Wednesday is an “opportunity for the public to provide information that will aid the department in formulating a proposal to revise these regulations which define and delimit exemptions from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime requirements for certain employees.” The rule more than doubled the FLSA's annual wage threshold for who can qualify for overtime, from $23,660 to $47,476. It was blocked from taking effect last December by a Texas district court order.

The Perils of $7.25

Source: Justin Miller, The American Prospect

Today, a full-time job at the federal minimum wage pays only about $15,000 a year, which is well below the poverty line for a family of two or more. There’s not a single state in the country where that is enough to afford a two-bedroom apartment. So minimum-wage workers often must work two, three, or even more jobs—and even then, many must rely on public assistance programs to put food on the table and a roof over their head.

This Man's Story Of Being Discriminated For Wearing Makeup At Work Is Going Viral

Source: Rachel Krause, Refinery 29

Not too long ago, seeing a man wearing makeup in his day-to-day life would have been considered an anomaly. But things have changed...The non-profit organization Workplace Fairness, which works to protect employee rights in the US, states that employers can legally choose to regulate clothing, piercings, tattoos, makeup, nails, hair, and more, provided the rules are not discriminatory...

July 25, 2017

Paid parental leave may be the idea that transcends politics

Source: Steven Findlay, Kaiser Health News

Tameka Henry takes care of her disabled husband, her 87-year-old grandfather and her four children, ages 10 to 16. Two of her kids have asthma. Her husband has a chronic intestinal condition, diabetes and congestive heart failure. He’s unemployed. Henry, who makes around $30,000 a year as a case administrator for a behavioral health care provider, saves up sick days and vacation time to use when someone in the family is sick or needs help. What Henry’s employer does not provide, nor does her state or the federal government, is paid family or medical leave. Indeed, the U.S. is the only wealthy industrialized country that does not guarantee paid leave to care for a new or adopted child, an ill family member or to address an individual’s own serious health condition. Both Republicans and Democrats may be moving to change that with dueling options.

Chuck Schumer: A Better Deal for American Workers

Source: Chuck Schumer, The New York Times

Americans are clamoring for bold changes to our politics and our economy. They feel, rightfully, that both systems are rigged against them, and they made that clear in last year’s election. Today’s working Americans and the young are justified in having greater doubts about the future than any generation since the Depression. American families deserve a better deal so that this country works for everyone again, not just the elites and special interests. Today, Democrats will start presenting that better deal to the American people.

July 24, 2017

Santander's Call-Center Workers Bring Union Push to Washington

Source: Josh Eidelson , Bloomberg

Call-center workers at Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc., concerned about what they deem aggressive collections tactics, are looking to unionize with the help of some big names on Capitol Hill. The group of employees, who are working with the Communications Workers of America, met with Democrats in both chambers of Congress this week to raise their concerns that the company encourages them to extend and modify financially stretched consumers’ loans without explaining fully costs or risks -- allegations the company says “misrepresent our work environment.” The claims are laid out in a 25-page report authored by the AFL-CIO and the pro-labor non-profit National Employment Law Project that will be released publicly as soon as Friday.

Uber Needs to Share Its Salary Data

Source: April Glaser, Slate

Uber has spent much of 2017 in crisis mode thanks to a series of self-inflicted scandals—many of them involving the abhorrent treatment of women who work at the company. But it finally had a friendly news cycle this week: News broke that the nearly $70 billion company had closed its gender and race pay gaps. News of Uber’s new equitable pay scheme was first reported on Wednesday in the Information, which notes that all Uber employees are getting a generous pay increase on top of the company closing its wage gaps, likely in an effort to boost employee morale following a serious allegations about the treatment of female employees at the company, which ultimately culminated in Travis Kalanick stepping down as CEO.

July 21, 2017

New York farm workers to argue in state Supreme Court for the right to organize

Source: Sarah Maslin Nir, The New York Times

In New York, an 80-year-old law precludes agricultural laborers from collective action. The law, which also affects other groups like nannies, has contributed to deep exploitation, advocates say, among the mostly immigrants in New York who till fields, milk cows and thresh wheat.

The US’s proposals for bringing back auto jobs would more likely kill them instead

Source: Ana Campoy, Quartz

Conservative politicians in Washington DC, including president Donald Trump, are intent on bringing back jobs that have migrated to Mexico. Their goal is to make American labor more attractive to US companies, by imposing taxes and tariffs on imports that were made in Mexico. But that approach would probably kill thousands of US auto jobs, says Boston Consulting Group, BCG. These days, cars and their parts are made throughout North America. What happens in one part of the supply chain affects the rest of it.

July 20, 2017

As Cities Raise Minimum Wages, Many States Are Rolling Them Back

Source: Yuki Noguchi, NPR

State legislatures and city halls are battling over who gets to set the minimum wage, and increasingly, the states are winning. After dozens of city and county governments voted to raise their local minimum wage ordinances in the last several years, states have been responding by passing laws requiring cities to abide by statewide minimums. So far, 27 states have passed such laws. The latest example of this is in Missouri, where a state law will take effect next month, rolling back St. Louis' $10-an-hour minimum wage ordinance passed earlier this year.

Union Organizers, Supporters Gather To Criticize Farm Law

Source: Associated Press, Associated Press

Advocates for migrant labor in North Carolina fields are gathering outside Gov. Roy Cooper's office to amplify their unhappiness with a bill he signed they say makes it harder to improve worker conditions through union agreements. The new law makes it unlawful for farmers to collect union dues for workers and transfer the money to a union. It also would prevent a union contract mandate from being contained in worker lawsuit settlements with farmers.

July 19, 2017

Six Workers Were Fired For Making This Sandwich Meme

Source: Thor Benson, attn:

An appeals court has sided with a Jimmy John's franchise owner who fired six employees for making signs protesting the company's sick day policy. The meme explains how the Twin Cities-based Jimmy John's franchise owner did not offer paid sick days, and it implies that employees risk losing their jobs if they call in sick, despite the risk that poses to customers.

Paid Family Leave is a Work Incentive

Source: Mark Weinberger, HuffPost

Parents are increasingly having to choose between their children, or their jobs. The truth is that we simply cannot succeed, as a country, when we are leaving so much of our workforce behind. Paid family leave is one way to address the issue. Paid family leave does not only help the women and men who directly benefit from it. It is good for businesses, too. Research has found that workplace flexibility, including paid family leave, makes employees more engaged and motivated, thereby increasing productivity. And for the rising generation of workers, flexibility is no longer seen as a perk but a requirement. In fact, 38 percent of millennials actually say they would consider moving to another country for better parental leave benefits.

From overtime rules to worker protections, 5 ways Trump is shifting labor policy

Source: Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz , Chicago Tribune

Whether you call it a weakening of worker protections or an easing of over-regulation, labor policy is in the midst of a shift under President Donald Trump's administration. A Senate committee is set to vote Wednesday on nominees to the National Labor Relations Board who would give the agency a Republican majority expected to reverse major pro-labor decisions issued during the presidency of Barack Obama. Meanwhile, the Department of Labor is expected to scale back Obama-era plans to extend overtime eligibility to millions more workers. Several pro-worker regulations have been scrapped or delayed. And, in a sharp reversal from the prior administration, the government is backing the employer's position in a Supreme Court case on mandatory arbitration agreements that prohibit workers from filing class-action lawsuits.

July 18, 2017

The probe into Google’s alleged gender pay gap just hit a snag

Source: Brian Fung, The Washington Post

Retail Workers Union Opposes Amazon's Purchase of Whole Foods

Source: Reuters, Reuters

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which represents retail workers, sent a letter to antitrust enforcers on Monday warning about the dangers of Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods both to workers and consumers. The union, which does not represent Whole Foods employees but 800,00 clerks and other workers at other grocery chains, asked the Federal Trade Commission to carefully scrutinize the $13.7 billion deal but did not ask for it to be stopped.

July 17, 2017

Only 0.1% of US minimum wage workers can afford a 1-bedroom apartment, report finds

Source: Ester Bloom, CNBC

The percentage of American full-time minimum-wage workers who can afford to rent a one-bedroom apartment in any U.S. state without being what the government calls "burdened" is so vanishingly small — less than one percent — that it rounds down to zero. That's the conclusion of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a lobbying group that pushes for more low-income housing and also reports that no full-time minimum-wage worker can afford a two-bedroom apartment in any U.S. state.

Yellen Says Opioid Use Is Tied to Declining Labor Participation

Source: Jeanna Smialek, Bloomberg

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, making her most expansive remarks on an opioid epidemic that’s ravaging American communities, indicated the problem is so pervasive it is holding back the nation’s labor market. Yellen’s comments come as overdose deaths are surging across the country. Employers often cite the opioid epidemic as a workforce readiness issue and its footprint spans age and socioeconomic demographics, though it has hit working- and middle-class communities in Appalachia and the Northeast especially hard.

July 14, 2017

Why sexism has festered for so long in Silicon Valley

Source: Sara Ashley O'Brien, CNN Money

Silicon Valley's power dynamics don't favor women and minorities. Investors tend to be white men: 89% of those making investment decisions at the top 72 firms are male, according to one industry survey. Many women have said they fear retaliation if they speak out about inappropriate behavior.

Home care workers have our lives in their hands. They're paid only $10 an hour

Source: Sarah Jaffe, The Guardian

The Obama years had meant that the movement for care workers had gained more public traction with bigger issues, such as immigrants’ rights, racial justice, and the value of women’s work. Home care workers had joined the Fight for $15. Workers who liked their care jobs could begin to think about their work as a career. And then came Trump.

July 13, 2017

Forget Politics: Without 'Neutral' Internet, US Workers Stand To Lose Trillions

Source: Janet Burns, Forbes

Across the country, companies big and small are demanding that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) keep its quite popular protections of a critical resource without which they--like all U.S. workers--would never be able to thrive. On Wednesday, hundreds of companies and groups have joined forces for an Internet-Wide Day of Action to Support Net Neutrality ahead of a July 17 first deadline for public comment on the FCC's plans to roll back open internet protections.

Gig Workers Pose Danger to Consumer Lending Boom

Source: Paul J. Davies, The Wall Street Journal

Jobs in the gig economy and other flexible roles are on the rise, generating concern about pay and workers’ rights. But banks should fear the phenomenon, too: it poses risks to lending they may not appreciate. People in part-time jobs, agency work, self-employment and work found online on platforms such as Uber or TaskRabbit can see much greater variation in monthly incomes than those in steady, traditional roles.

July 12, 2017

Employers and worker advocates both hate Trump's plan to overhaul labor watchdogs

Source: Associated Press, The Los Angeles Times

Businesses and advocates for workers are forming a rare alliance against President Trump's proposal to overhaul the way the government investigates workplace discrimination, part of what his critics say is a broader swipe at decades of civil rights protections.

A CEO's viral email to an employee shows the right way to lead a healthy workplace

Source: Zameena Mejia , CNBC

Parker's honest request is rare in a corporate culture where more than half of all American workers forfeit paid time off. In fact, a study of 17,441 working adults shows even the slightest possibility of losing one's job will make the average American worker sick.

U.S. Agency Moves to Allow Class-Action Lawsuits Against Financial Firms

Source: Jessica Silver-Greenberg, The New York Times

The nation’s consumer watchdog adopted a rule on Monday that would pry open the courtroom doors for millions of Americans, by prohibiting financial firms from forcing them into arbitration in disputes over their bank and credit card accounts.

July 11, 2017

Some Uber drivers work dangerously long shifts

Source: Diana Kruzman , USA Today

For some Uber drivers, long shifts have become the norm. Dropping fares and profitable incentives lure them to keep driving past safe limits. Because the ride-hailing service doesn’t set a cap on how many hours its drivers can work at a time, there are few legal ways to stop them.

Trial Lawyers Want to Defend Fiduciary Rule in Court

Source: Jacklyn Wille, Bloomberg BNA

The American Association of Justice, a nonprofit group representing plaintiffs’ lawyers, fired back at the department’s July 3 decision to drop its defense of the fiduciary rule’s anti-arbitration condition, a condition aimed at preventing financial advisers from insulating themselves from class litigation.

July 10, 2017

Hawaii is now the first state to offer money to family caregivers with full-time jobs

Source: Mahealani Richardson , Hawaii News Now

The Kupuna Caregivers Act passed Thursday, making Hawaii the first state in the nation to offer money to caregivers who also work full-time.

Republican Lawmakers Take A Raise Away From St. Louis Workers

Source: Dave Jamieson, HuffPost

As blue cities become incubators for progressive policy, their red state legislatures are trying to thwart them through “preemption laws” that forbid cities and counties from implementing their own measures related to the minimum wage, paid sick days, plastic bag taxes and other hot-button issues.

July 7, 2017

We’ve reached the point where workers are stressed by the mere thought of vacation time

Source: Jennifer Brown, Quartz

Vacations in theory seem great—they offer time to relax and rejuvenate, to do the things you love to do but can’t usually because of the responsibilities of work. So why are so many people reluctant to take them?

The vast majority of Starbucks workers say in a new survey that the chain needs to fix a major problem

Source: Kate Taylor, Business Insider

Starbucks has an understaffing problem, according to nearly nine out of 10 workers surveyed in a recent study.

July 6, 2017

Fast-food workers learn their hours on the fly. Oregon wants to change that.

Source: Danielle Paquette, The Washington Post

Fast-food workers, retail clerks and hospital orderlies nationwide sometimes learn their hours on a day’s notice, making it harder for them to secure child care or plan their lives. This week, Oregon took a major step to ease that challenge, advancing a bill that requires large companies to give employees a schedule at least a week in advance. The measure, which Gov. Kate Brown (D) is expected to sign, would make Oregon the first state in the country to adopt such worker protections.

How Can the U.S. Get More Women Into the Workforce? Ask Canada

Source: Ben Leubsdorf, The Wall Street Journal

Canada’s federal government encouraged more two-working parent households in the late 1990s and early 2000s by cutting tax rates, adding support for child care and expanding paid parental leave. Quebec’s provincial government introduced universal day care.

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

Source: Lauren Keys, Deal Crunch

For entrepreneurs experiencing their first growth cycle, securing a workforce and learning how to handle employee relationships are two key challenges. Without human resource departments, many new businesses lack the knowledge of legal obligations and best practices. Workplace Fairness, an organization that serves as a rights resource for employees, helps small businesses by providing the framework to build a healthy environment.

July 5, 2017

She took on Tesla for discrimination. Now others are speaking up. 'It's too big to deny'

Source: Sam Levin, The Guardian

Vandermeyden detailed the painful experience of losing a job she loved while facing harsh personal attacks by Tesla in the media. She has come forward at a time when the tech industry is grappling with high profile sexual misconduct scandals at Uber, a prominent venture capital firm and a popular startup incubator.

Hundreds of thousands of workers could lose their jobs if Senate health bill passes

Source: Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox

The Congressional Budget Office estimates 22 million fewer Americans would have insurance under that plan. But health coverage isn’t the only thing at stake. The Senate bill could slash hundreds of thousands of jobs and stunt growth in an industry that has boosted post-recession job creation.

July 3, 2017

Minimum Wages Tick Up in Many Cities With New Fiscal Year

Source: Alex Johnson, NBC News

Higher minimum wages go into effect across the country this week, boosting many low-wage workers' paychecks — and the blood pressures of some employers and economists.

Black Workers Face a Tough Labor-Market Slog During Recessions

Source: Jenna Smialek, Bloomberg

The U.S. Constitution may declare all men and women equal, regardless of color and background, but their labor market experiences are certainly not the same.

June 30, 2017

Racial & Gender Biases in Corporate America

Source: Lamont Banks, Lisa Stewart, Cliff Stewart, A Just Cause

Although the American system of justice is the most-respected worldwide, it is still a system designed, and operated, by humans, which means it's not perfect. Lamont, Cliff, and Lisa will highlight ongoing struggles against "the system" and what happens when justice miscarries against our American citizens.

On June 27, 2017 Workplace Fairness Senior Advisor, Paula Brantner, and others discuss sex and race discrimination in the workplace.

Labor Secretary, Senators Spar Over Trump Budget Cuts

Source: Ben Penn, Bloomberg BNA

Senate pursestring holders from both parties dismissed the labor secretary’s plan to slash his own budget by 20 percent, serving notice to the White House that the Labor Department budget drafting process starts over in Congress. “This year the department has submitted a budget that so significantly cuts programs or eliminates them altogether that it’s really tough for us to figure out your priorities,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), chairman of the labor appropriations panel, in remarks to Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta. Speaking at a Senate subcommittee hearing on the Labor Department budget proposal, both Acosta and Blunt indicated a willingness to work together on a spending compromise. After President Donald Trump called for eliminating 20 percent of the department’s appropriations for fiscal year 2018, mostly via workforce training reductions, the budget proposal has widely been considered dead on arrival.

The Women Tasked With Fixing Uber Speak Out About The Challenges Ahead

Source: Madeline Buxton, Refinery 29

Uber’s new guard of female leadership is optimistic that change is well within reach. The company faces enormous pressure with the world watching, and investors, who pushed for Kalanick’s resignation, are closely judging every move. If Uber can make the changes that are needed — and avoid glossing over the mistakes of the past — it could prove that bro culture and Silicon Valley need not be synonymous and mark a major turning point for women’s voices and impact in the tech industry. Fowler cracked open the door. Now, the one thing everyone, including Uber’s critics, can agree on is that it’s time for change.

June 29, 2017

Trump announces pick for last open labor board seat

Source: Lydia Wheeler, The Hill

Business groups are lauding President Trump for announcing his intent to fill the last open seat on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) with labor-law attorney William Emanuel. Emanuel, who represents employers in labor and employment law matters at Littler Mendelson in Los Angeles, would round out the panel, which had two vacancies when Trump took office.

Labor Department Rethinking Obama-Era Overtime Pay Rule

Source: Amy Held, NPR

On Tuesday the Department of Labor got closer to dismantling an Obama-era overtime regulation that has been in limbo for months and would make millions of Americans eligible for additional pay. The department sent a formal request for information on the rule to the Office of Management and Budget. The rule was one of the Obama administration's labor policy cornerstones. It said anyone making less than $47,476 a year would be eligible for time-and-a-half pay for hours worked beyond a 40-hour work week, doubling the previous salary threshold.

June 28, 2017

Blue State Trio Joins Appeal Court Fight Over Gay Rights at Work

Source: Erik Larson, Bloomberg

A trio of solidly Blue States urged a federal appeals court to extend a federal anti-discrimination law to protect workers from being fired for being gay, raising the profile of a divisive social issue that’s likely to be decided by the Supreme Court.

Trump pushes U.S. labor board toward Republican control

Source: Daniel Wiessner, Reuters

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he had picked an employment lawyer who has represented companies and business groups for a vacancy on the National Labor Relations Board. The White House said in a statement that Trump intended to nominate William Emanuel, 75, to fill one of two vacancies on the five-member NLRB, which oversees union elections and disputes between workers, unions, and employers. The move brings the agency closer to having a Republican majority, which is expected to undo a series of recent decisions seen as favoring unions. Emanuel is a member of the conservative Federalist Society, an influential group of lawyers credited with pushing Trump to nominate U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch to the high court.

June 27, 2017

Tight job market is good for felons, people with disabilities and others who are hard to employ. But can it last?

Source: Don Lee, The Los Angeles Times

As the nation enters its ninth year of economic expansion next month, the low unemployment and tightening labor market have begun to open doors for people like May, who not long ago had all but given up any hopes of returning to the workplace.

Google, CBS, Viacom Back Legal Shield for Gay Workers

Source: Josh Eidelson , Bloomberg

Dozens of major U.S. companies are encouraging a federal court to declare discrimination based on sexual orientation illegal, even if that decision could increase the firms’ vulnerability to employee lawsuits.

June 26, 2017

Efforts Increase To Bring Health And Other Benefits To Independent Workers

Source: Yuki Noguchi, NPR

A growing number of Americans rely on gigs for income — driving a car, writing bits of code, or doing tasks for hire on a project-by-project basis, and this kind of contingent work is spreading to more industries as well. The vast majority of the estimated 54 million to 68 million contingent or independent workers in the U.S. do not receive employee benefits, though some companies and lawmakers are trying to change that.

LGBTQ Workers Still Face Legal Discrimination

Source: Lisa Fu, Fortune

There is currently no nation-wide law to protect gender and sexual minorities from employment discrimination in the private sector or under state employment. In a majority of states, being fired due to sexual orientation or gender orientation is a reality.

June 23, 2017

When Helicopter Parents Hover Even at Work

Source: Noam Scheiber, The New York Times

As millennials grow into their working years, with many of them coming of age in the daunting job market that followed the Great Recession, parents are more likely to feel a proprietary stake in their children’s careers, said Ryan Webb, a recruiter and former human resources director at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts.

UAW Says Supreme Court Action Bolsters Volkswagen Case

Source: Erik Schelzig, Associated Press

A U.S. Supreme Court action this week in a labor case involving Macy's department store workers should persuade Volkswagen to drop its legal challenges to the United Auto Workers' representation of skilled-trades workers at German automaker's lone U.S. plant in Tennessee, union officials said Thursday. Volkswagen is appealing National Labor Relations Board decisions that paved the way for a vote among about 160 skilled-trades workers at the plant to be represented by the UAW. The union won that election on a 108-44 , the UAW's first victory at a foreign-owned auto plant in the South.

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.

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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.