an update for the week of january 16, 2006
today's workplace: the employee rights blog
Maryland Leading the Way in States' Fights Against Wal-Mart: Last week, the state of Maryland became the first in the country to pass a bill -- by overriding the governor's veto -- which requires large employers to spend a certain percentage of their budget on health insurance for their employees. Officially known as the Fair Share Health Care Fund bill, the measure was unofficially dubbed the "Wal-Mart bill," as it was designed to ensure that Wal-Mart spends enough on its employees' health benefits to prevent those employees from utilizing state benefits programs. Maryland's move paves the way for future success in other state legislatures, but is this a transitory policy move, or will government intervention ultimately be necessary to ensure that Americans get the health coverage that they need?
Alito: Should Workers Trust His Actions, or His Words?: This week, the biggest show in town (Washington, DC, that is, and perhaps the rest of the country too) is the hearings on Samuel Alito's nomination to be a Supreme Court justice. Senators purport to be hanging on every word Alito says in the hearings to divine whether he will make an appropriate Supreme Court justice. Whether that's true, or whether instead, most senators minds are pretty much made up, it's hard to put that much stock in Alito's testimony at the hearings, when we have so much evidence of his views from his published opinions over his last fifteen years as a federal judge. And that's not good news for workers, regardless of what Judge Alito says this week.
this week in the courts
Holcomb v. Powell  (D.C. Circuit; No. 04-5216)
Decision Date: January 10, 2006
Summary judgment for defendant-employer in a Title VII case alleging discrimination against plaintiff on the basis of race and retaliation is reversed as to plaintiff's retaliation claim where plaintiff established a prima facie case of retaliation.
Heiko v. Colombo Sav. Bank  (Fourth Circuit; No. 04-2046)
Decision Date: January 10, 2006
Elimination of bodily waste is a "major life activity" within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Summary judgment for defendant-employer on an ADA claim alleging a failure to promote is reversed where plaintiff presented a strong prima facie case of disability discrimination and considerable evidence of job qualifications superior to those of the person selected in his stead.
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