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Workplace Week is a free e-newsletter from Workplace Fairness covering news and court cases that affect employees and their advocates. If you have trouble viewing this email, you can view this e-newsletter online.

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issue 196 dec. 10, 2014

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In the News more

U.S. economy added 321,000 jobs in November; unemployment rate holds at 5.8%

U.S. Supreme Court Considers Pregnancy Discrimination Act at Oral Argument

The Workers Who Grow Our Food In Mexico Often Live In Deplorable Conditions

Is a radical 'no email' policy moral failing¡

Fast-Food Strikes Hit Record Numbers, Span 190 Cities

Zillow hit with age discrimination lawsuit over behavior at California offices: Sales staffer asked whether 'too old to close'

Wage Watch: Study finds 'alarming' wage violations by employers in two states

Black poverty is state violence, too: Why struggles for criminal justice and living wage are uniting

It's not just fast food: The Fight for $15 is for everyone now

A Burger Joint Pays $15 An Hour. And, Yes, It's Making Money

Airport Workers At 10 Airports To Join With $15 Hour Fast Food Strikers December 4

Arbitration Clauses Trap Consumers with Fine Print

Capitalism is officially broken: Even doggy day care workers have non-competes now

Pregnancy discrimination claim faces high-court hurdle

Women Who Work

Topic of the Week more

Party Time: Surviving the Office Party

There are a lot of ways to be known within your company. But, in my experience, having the phrase "He's the guy at the office party who [let your imagination fill in the blanks] is never a good way to be known. Having personally responded to over 50,000 e read more

BLOGS: Today’s Workplacemore

The Chicago City Council has approved a bill to raise the city's minimum wage to $13 an hour by 2019. The proposal, put forward by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, will give Chicago the second highest minimum wage in the nation, behind Seattle's $15, set to take effect by 2018. read more

Cotton production involves the most child labor and forced labor in the world, according to the 2014 "List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor" by the U.S. Labor Department's Bureau of International Labor Affairs. read more

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard her case claiming UPS violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978. Outside, about 200 of her supporters from women's groups across the political spectrum rallied in her support. read more

I regularly hear consumer and workers'-rights advocates say this crazy thing to me: "the cases on forced arbitration are so bad, they can't get any worse." Um, wrong. A Missouri Court of Appeals recently issued a decision that bears me out on this point, in Johnson v. Rent-A-Center. read more

Obamacare enrollment season is here again, and people with insurance through the Affordable Care Act's marketplaces are being urged to look at their options. read more

In a society that blurs the lines between corporations and people, perhaps it was inevitable that some employers would blur the lines between people and inanimate objects. Even so, it is shocking to learn that in a growing number of low wage industries, employers treat part time employees as fungible, disposable assets, instead of human beings worthy of respect. read more

Bryce Covert

City Passes Historic Retail Workers Bill Of Rights

December 3, 2014 | Bryce Covert

On Tuesday evening, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed the Retail Workers Bill of Rights, the country's first-ever legislation aimed at improving life for retail employees. read more

Anti-poverty aid programs are nothing more than a bribe to keep low-income people from getting married or going to work, according to a new U.S. Congressman from Wisconsin. read more

Alejandro Reuss

The Meaning of Market Basket

December 3, 2014 | Alejandro Reuss

What was so unusual about the recent battle at the New England supermarket chain Market Basket¡ Well, to begin with, workers staged a mass, sustained walkout. Also, they were neither union members nor striking in conjunction with any union campaign. read more

Dave Johnson

NELP Report: Falling Wages In Factory Jobs

November 26, 2014 | Dave Johnson

Economists strive for "efficiency" in our economy. "Efficiency" means that the things we buy are produced at their lowest possible cost. The wages that working people are paid are a "cost" to be eliminated. Egypt's Pharaohs built the pyramids with "efficient" labor. read more

Olivia Nedd

Jimmy John's and Non-Competes: An Unclear Path

November 26, 2014 | Olivia Nedd

For many companies, non-compete agreements are used to protect trade secrets, business plans and intellectual property. But why is Jimmy John's, a sandwich chain, requiring its low wage workers to sign non-compete agreements. read more

With 25 percent of its African-American residents jobless, Chicago has the highest black unemployment rate among the nation's five most populous cities. Chicago's rate is higher than Philadelphia's 19 percent, Los Angeles' 18 percent, Houston's 15 percent and New York City's 14 percent, based on 2013 U.S. Census figures. read more

After a harsh anti-union campaign and a failed union vote, some workers at the Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee will finally be allowed to be represented by a union-more than one, if they so choose. read more

Marilynn Mika Spencer and Anthony Munter

Two Lawyers Explain Why There's No Legitimate Reason For Most Non-Compete Clauses

November 24, 2014 | Marilynn Mika Spencer and Anthony Munter

Mr. Westneat described the absurdity and unfairness of employers forcing non-compete agreements on low-wage workers -- thus limiting or even eliminating the employees' future job options -- and then going even further and suing those low-wage workers to enforce those provisions. read more

In the Courts more

Comite de Apoyo a los Trabajad v. Perez

Third Circuit; 14-3557 Decision Date: December 5, 2014

Dismissal of plaintiffs' challenge to 20 C.F.R. section 655.10(f), a Department of Labor regulation applicable in the administration of the H-2B visa program that authorizes the admission of certain unskilled foreign workers into this country for temporary employment, is reversed and plaintiffs' vacatur request of section 655.10(f) and the 2009 Wage Guidance (which authorizes employers to use privately-funded wage surveys to set the prevailing market wage for certain occupations) is granted, where: 1) the case is ripe for judicial review; and 2) section 655.10(f) and the 2009 Wage Guidance are arbitrary and capricious and in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. read more

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