Category Archives: Labor Laws/Legislation

Fix My Job

Source: Working America, 2013

Fed up? Pissed off? Sick of your job? Ready to scream – or quit? We can help. We’ve created, a catalog of the most common problems people face at work, from low pay to forced overtime to unsafe working conditions and many more.

Start by identifying your workplace below, then click “Next.” You’ll be able to let us know what’s getting you down – and check out our solutions for making it right.

50 Years After The Equal Pay Act, Gender Wage Gap Endures

Source: Yuki Noguchi, NPR, Morning Edition, June 10, 2013

On this day 50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy signed the in an effort to abolish wage discrimination based on gender. Half a century later, the Obama administration is pushing Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, designed to make wage differences more transparent.

Some dispute the frequently cited figure that women are paid 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. But even those who argue the gap is narrower agree it’s most prominent when a woman enters her childbearing years….
Equal Pay and the Wage Gap
Source: National Women’s Law Center, 2013

Fifty years after the Equal Pay Act, there’s still a lot to be done
Source: Laura Clawson, Daily Kos, June 10, 2013

The Low-Wage Drag on Our Economy: Wal-Mart’s low wages and their effect on taxpayers and economic growth

Source: Democratic staff of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workfororce, May 2013

An update to the 2004 report: “Everyday Low Wages: The Hidden Price We All Pay for Wal-Mart”

From the press release:
The price of Wal-Mart’s low wages and benefits at just one Wal-Mart store not only costs families in lost income and economic security, but it also may cost taxpayers about one million dollars in higher usage of public-assistance programs by Wal-Mart employees and their dependents, according to a report released today by the Democratic staff of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

While up-to-date data on Wal-Mart’s wage and employment practices are not always readily available, new demographic data released by Wisconsin’s Medicaid program provided the needed information to uncover the scope of the taxpayer subsidization of Wal-Mart. The report finds that a single 300-employee Wal-Mart Supercenter in Wisconsin may cost taxpayers anywhere from $904,542 to nearly $1.75 million per year, or about $5,815 per employee. Wisconsin has 100 Wal-Mart stores, 75 that are Wal-Mart Supercenters.

Closing the Wage Gap: How Raising the Minimum Wage Promotes Fair Pay for Women

Source: National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), Fact Sheet, June 2013

From the abstract:
Women working full time, year round typically make only 77 percent of what their male counterparts make – leaving a wage gap of 23 cents on the dollar. One reason for this gap is that women are concentrated in low-wage jobs: two-thirds of minimum wage workers and workers in tipped occupations are women, disproportionately women of color. Raising the minimum wage would help close this gap by increasing wages for workers at the bottom of the spectrum. Raising the minimum wage and the tipped minimum wage are important steps towards fair pay for women – especially women of color.
See also:
Press release

The Business Impact of LGBT-Supportive Workplace Policies

Source: M.V. Lee Badgett, Laura E. Durso, Angeliki Kastanis, Christy Mallory, Williams Institute, May 2013

From the summary:
LGBT-supportive policies are linked to positive business-related outcomes. LGBT-supportive policies are also linked to greater job commitment, improved workplace relationships, increased job satisfaction, and improved health outcomes among LGBT employees. LGBT employees are also less likely to face discrimination in such environments and are more comfortable being open about their sexual orientation.
See also:
Press release

A Broken Bargain: Discrimination, Fewer Benefits and More Taxes for LGBT Workers

Source: Movement Advancement Project, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Center for American Progress, June 2013

From the summary:
The basic American bargain is that people who work hard and meet their responsibilities should be able to get ahead. This basic bargain is not just an idea—it is embedded in laws that promote equal access to jobs and that protect workers from unfair practices.

For workers who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT), this bargain is broken. Instead of having a fair chance to get ahead, LGBT workers and their families often are held back by bias, fewer workplace benefits, and higher taxes.

Employers who value diversity and who understand that it gives them a competitive advantage can take some steps to ease the burden of unfair treatment of LGBT workers and their families, but they can’t fix the broken bargain on their own. The reason: unequal treatment of LGBT workers under the law.

First, no federal law provides explicit nondiscrimination protections for LGBT workers, and fewer than half of states have laws that protect workers based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. Second, LGBT workers may do the same job as their coworkers, yet be denied equal access to worker and family benefits—as well as family tax relief.

The combination of job discrimination, fewer benefits and higher taxes leaves many LGBT workers in a vulnerable position that threatens their ability to provide for themselves and their families. If fairness and equality are part of America’s basic workplace bargain, this bargain is clearly broken for LGBT worker.

The Judicial Amendments’ 1-2-3-4 Punch to Collective Bargaining

Source: Ellen Dannin and Ann C Hodges, Truthout, May 30, 2013

…So far, we have looked at judicial amendments one at a time. But in the real world of unions and collective bargaining, judicial amendments work together to weaken the employee rights Congress created…. But instead of equality of bargaining power, the judicial amendments of lockouts, striker replacement, and employer implementation of workplace terms have increased employer power while weakening union bargaining power. A study that looked at the effects of striker replacement and implementation upon impasse shows that employers have roughly twice the bargaining power that unions have when employers have both these weapons….

This is the eighth article in the Judicial Amendment Project on the history of the NLRA. The stories in the series to date include:

1. Why Today the National Labor Relations Act Is a Weak Law – and How We Can Restore its Power 28 March 2013

2. Judicial Amendments and the Attack on Worker Rights 4 April 2013

3. Solidarity NOT Forever: How the Supreme Court Kicked Retirees Into the Gutter 11 April 2013

4. Strike and You’re Out: The Supreme Court’s Destruction of the Right to Strike

5. A Strike Is a Strike and Only a Strike

6. At an Impasse: Collective Bargaining Under the Judicial Amendments

7. The Supreme Court Empowers Employers to Lock Out Workers

The American Jobs Crisis and Its Implication for the Future of Employment Policy: A Call for a New Jobs Compact

Source: Thomas A. Kochan, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 66, No. 2, April 2013
(subscription required)

The author proposes a new Jobs Compact to close the nation’s jobs deficit, to create sufficient high-quality jobs that will raise wages and end thirty years of wage stagnation, and to update and strengthen labor and employment policies. A set of market and institutional failures are identified as root causes of these problems, and local innovations and policy proposals are suggested for overcoming them. Achieving these objectives will require a stronger voice in national policymaking as well as proactive efforts to mobilize and coordinate the constituencies that share an interest in and responsibility for employment policy and practice. The author calls on the president and the secretary of labor to lead these efforts by mobilizing and engaging business, labor, women, ethnic, community, and education leaders at regional and national levels.

Social Media and the Workplace: Legal, Ethical, and Practical Considerations for Management

Source: Frank J. Cavico, Bahaudin G. Mujtaba, Stephen C. Muffler, Marissa Samuel, Journal of Law, Policy and Globalization, Vol. 12, 2013

From the abstract:
…Given the popularity, prevalence, sophistication, and ever-growing use of social media, it is no surprise that social media in an employment context raises many difficult, as well as novel, legal, ethical, and practical issues. This article, therefore, is a legal, ethical, and practical examination of social media in employment. The legal section of this article is a very substantive one where the authors extensively address the legal ramifications of social media in the private employment context. Statutory laws – federal and state, common law doctrines, as well as proposed federal and state laws, are examined to ascertain their applicability to social media policies and practices in employment. Case law, regulatory law, as well as legal and management commentary, are also examined to determine how a wide variety of laws apply, and could apply, to social media in the workplace. Case illustrations of legal principles being applied to social media workplace disputes as well as hypothetical examples are provided by the authors. As noted, the focus of this article is on the private employment context; however, the authors do briefly address some of the seminal federal constitutional issues that would arise in the public sector workplace. Even if a practice is legal, the question arises, or should arise, as to whether it is moral. Accordingly, the moral concerns regarding social media and the workplace will be addressed in this article through the application of several established ethical theories. The authors define, explicate, and apply these ethical theories to the subject matter of social media and employment to determine whether it is moral to use social media to make employment decisions. These ethical theories will be Ethical Egoism, Ethical Relativism, Utilitarianism, and Kant’s Categorical Imperative. Next, based on the aforementioned legal and ethical analysis, the authors discuss the practical implications for employers, managers, employees, and job applicants. The authors provide some succinct suggestions for employees and job applicants as to proper social media practices. The authors then make extensive recommendations for employers and managers on how to achieve certain business objectives but without violating the law or treating job applicants and employees in an immoral manner. The authors end their work with a brief summary and some concluding comments and observations. The authors, finally, as a sample in Appendix A, have included a company social media policy approved by the National Labor Relations Board.