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Recent Employment Law News for Mar 09, 2014
CalChamber Calls for Withdrawal of Proposed Federal OSHA Rule
Fri, 07 Mar 2014 16:59:40 - Pacific Time
The California Chamber of Commerce is opposing a rule proposed by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that would permit the agency to release to the public, detailed information about employers regarding specific workplace injuries and illnesses, including the company, location and specific data. OSHA states that the rule would provide employees, consumers, labor organizations and businesses with important information about companies' workplace safety records. However, according to the CalChamber, "the information is not a reliable measure of an employer's safety record or its efforts to promote a safe work environment. Many factors outside of an employer's control contribute to workplace accidents, and many injuries that have no bearing on an employer's safety program must be recorded." More information is available here:
President Obama Calls for Federal Minimum Wage Increase
Fri, 07 Mar 2014 16:44:37 - Pacific Time
U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez traveled with President Obama to Central Connecticut State University in New Bristol, Connecticut on March 5 to continue the Obama administration's call to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. They were joined by Governor's Dan Milloy of Connecticut, Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and Peter Shumlin of Vermont. The governors support raising the minimum wage and have pledged to take action in their respective states. Perez's trip to Connecticut followed a trip through the Pacific Northwest earlier in the week, where he spoke with retailers who voluntarily increased the wages of their employees. On March 3, Perez visited Costco Wholesale headquarters in Issaqah, Washington, where he met with CEO Craig Jelinek to learn how the discount warehouse has been impacted by paying its employees more than the current federal minimum wage.
EEOC Issues New Guides on Religious Garb and Grooming in the Workplace
Thu, 06 Mar 2014 22:48:10 - Pacific Time
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued two new technical assistance publications addressing workplace rights and responsibilities related to religious dress and grooming. The question-and-answer guide, entitled "Religious Garb and Grooming in the Workplace: Rights and Responsibilities," and an accompanying fact sheet, provide a user-friendly discussion of the applicable law, practical advice for employers and employees, and numerous case examples based on the EEOC's litigation. Employers covered by Title VII must make exceptions to their usual rules to permit applicants and employees to follow religiously-mandated dress and grooming practices unless doing so poses an undue hardship on the employer's business. When an exception is made as a religious accommodation, the employer may still refuse to allow exceptions sought by other employees for secular reasons. .
Dad Loses 80k Discrimination Settlement Over Daughter’s FB Post
Wed, 05 Mar 2014 05:34:06 - Pacific Time
The former head of a private prep school in Miami, Florida has lost his $80,000 age discrimination settlement after his daughter posted a comment on Facebook about the settlement. Patrick Snay, 69 -- the former head of Gulliver Preparatory School -- filed an age discrimination complaint when his 2010-11 contract wasn't renewed. In November 2011, the school and Snay came to an agreement in which Snay would be paid $10,000 in back pay, and an $80,000 settlement. Gulliver Schools also agreed to cut Snay's attorneys a check for $60,000. The parties signed a confidential agreement as part of the settlement, which prohibited Snay from talking about the settlement to anyone except his attorneys and other professional advisors. However, Snay's daughter posted on Facebook that "Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT." Snay's daughter had 1,200 Facebook followers, which included many current and former Gulliver students, and word of the post spread back to school officials. Read more here:.
Supreme Court Extends Whistleblower Protections
Wed, 05 Mar 2014 05:21:58 - Pacific Time
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the whistleblower protections in the Sarbanes-Oxley financial-reform law extend to employees of private sector employers who contract with public companies. The court, in a decision by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, rejected Fidelity parent FMR's argument that only direct employees of public companies should receive protection. FMR, like most mutual fund companies, operates its funds with zero employees under a contracting arrangement with separately incorporated investment advisors. It sought to avoid liability under a whistleblower-retaliation case filed by Jackie Hosang Lawson, a former senior director of finance who claimed she was punished for disclosing certain cost-accounting improprieties. Read more here:.
E-Verify Releases New Fact Sheet on Correcting Immigration Records
Sat, 01 Mar 2014 19:18:15 - Pacific Time
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, has released a new fact sheet on correcting immigration records, which employers should review. The fact sheet advises individuals that E-Verify compares information from an employee's Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records. If the information matches, the employee is eligible to work in the United States. If there's a mismatch, E-Verify will advise the individual about the problem, and will allow the individual to work while he or she resolves the problem. If an individual receives a DHS Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC) from E-Verify, the individual's immigration records may be inaccurate, and should be corrected. .
Twenty-One States Have Higher Minimum Wage Than Federal Rate
Sat, 01 Mar 2014 18:55:41 - Pacific Time
Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia now have minimum wage rates higher than the federal rate. The Department of Labor (DOL) has created a helpful chart detailing the minimum wage of all fifty states. For example, the chart notes that in California, the current minimum wage is $8.00 (will increase to $9.00 per hour, effective July 1, 2014). In addition, the chart advises that California's overtime law provides that any work in excess of eight hours in one workday, in excess of 40 hours in one workweek, or in the first eight hours worked on the seventh day of work in any one workweek shall be at the rate of one and one-half times the regular rate of pay. Any work in excess of 12 hours in one day or in excess of eight hours on any seventh day of a workweek shall be paid no less than twice the regular rate of pay. The DOL chart is located here:.
Jury Awards $26 Million for Alleged Age Discrimination
Sat, 01 Mar 2014 18:39:31 - Pacific Time
In what may be the largest award of its kind in Los Angeles legal history, a 66-year-old man, Bobby Nickel, has been awarded $26 million by a jury that found he was discriminated against and harassed based upon his age by his supervising managers at Staples. The jury awarded Nickel $3.2 million in compensatory damages and more than $22.8 million in punitive damages. Nickel was 64 when he lost his job. He had been hired by Corporate Express in August of 2002 as a facilities manager. Staples Contract and Staples Inc. acquired Corporate Express in 2008. For nine years, Nickel received positive job reviews, according to his Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, filed in March 2012. However, because Corporate Express' pay scale was higher than that of employees hired by Staples, Nickel alleged that his mangers wanted to discharge older, higher paid employees. Nickel also alleged that he was a regular butt of jokes at staff meetings and was referred to as "old coot" and "old goat." .