The Workplace Violence and Harassment Prevention Kit

Source: Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), January 25, 2018

Workplace violence is a serious hazard that many CUPE members face every day. The purpose of the kit is to provide members with resources to help protect them against violence and harassment in the workplace. Far too often, employers develop policies and procedures that only react to violence and harassment. This approach is not good enough. CUPE’s new kit focuses primarily on preventing violence and harassment in the workplace before it happens….

The Workplace Violence and Harassment Prevention Kit includes:
Guideline: Preventing violence and harassment in the workplace
Fact Sheet: Working alone
Violence and harassment legislation in Canada by Jurisdiction
Checklist: Sample violence hazard assessment/inspection
CUPE’s Code of Conduct
CUPE’s Equality Statement
Violent Incident Report
Checklist: Response to a violent incident
Bargaining Guide: Domestic violence in the workplace
Guideline: Stop harassment: a guide for CUPE locals
Workplace harassment and mental injuries: examining root causes
Fact Sheet: What is the duty to accommodate?

High-fat diets may be worse for shift workers

Source: Christina Sumners, Futurity, February 6, 2018

Shift workers’ constantly changing schedules make it tough for their biological clocks to keep accurate time. The results could make the negative effects of a high-fat diet even more pronounced, a new study suggests.

About 15 million Americans don’t have a typical nine-to-five workday, and many of them—nurses, firefighters, and flight attendants, among other professions—may see their schedule change drastically one week to the next…..

Related:

Shift work cycle-induced alterations of circadian rhythms potentiate the effects of high fat diet on inflammation and metabolism
Source: Sam-Moon Kim, Nichole Neuendorff, Robert C. Alaniz, Yuxiang Sun, Robert S. Chapkin, and David J. Earnest, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal, Published Online: 5 Feb 2018

From the abstract:
Based on genetic models with mutation or deletion of core clock genes, circadian disruption has been implicated in the pathophysiology of metabolic disorders. Thus, we examined whether circadian desynchronization in response to shift work–type schedules is sufficient to compromise metabolic homeostasis and whether inflammatory mediators provide a key link in the mechanism by which alterations of circadian timekeeping contribute to diet-induced metabolic dysregulation. In high-fat diet (HFD)-fed mice, exposure to chronic shifts of the light–dark cycle (12 h advance every 5 d): 1) disrupts photoentrainment of circadian behavior and modulates the period of spleen and macrophage clock gene rhythms; 2) potentiates HFD-induced adipose tissue infiltration and activation of proinflammatory M1 macrophages; 3) amplifies macrophage proinflammatory cytokine expression in adipose tissue and bone marrow–derived macrophages; and 4) exacerbates diet-induced increases in body weight, insulin resistance, and glucose intolerance in the absence of changes in total daily food intake. Thus, complete disruption of circadian rhythmicity or clock gene function as transcription factors is not requisite to the link between circadian and metabolic phenotypes. These findings suggest that macrophage proinflammatory activation and inflammatory signaling are key processes in the physiologic cascade by which dysregulation of circadian rhythmicity exacerbates diet-induced systemic insulin resistance and glucose intolerance.

Measuring Up: How BLS Data Would Inflate Earnings for Career Training Graduates

Source: Ben Barrett and Sophie Nguyen, New American Foundation, February 2018

From the summary:
On January 29, the U.S. Department of Education released a blueprint for how it plans to revise the gainful employment (GE) regulations, which the Obama administration put in place in 2014. Most notably, the Department’s proposed rule would eliminate all sanctions for career-oriented programs that leave students with large debt but without the training to land a well-paying job after graduation. Preserving only a modified version of the current disclosure requirements, the regulations could be further weakened if for-profit colleges get their way during the second round of negotiations. Instead of disclosing or holding career-oriented college programs accountable for the amount of debt that graduates borrow relative to the amount they earn a few years after completing, as the current rules do, for-profit college leaders and lobbyists have called for substituting actual students’ earnings with local estimates derived from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While the Department’s proposal to strike any consequence from the GE regulations may seem brazen in comparison, attempting to use BLS data in place of actual graduates’ earnings would have nearly the same impact as no accountability at all. Unfortunately, using BLS estimates instead of real earnings data would not only tell prospective students very little about the quality of the program that they are considering, it will actively mislead them. More troubling still, this approach would prevent the government from holding individual colleges accountable. 

To illustrate just how misleading it would be to use BLS data for the purpose of measuring program outcomes, we compared national and local BLS earnings with actual earnings from graduates of specific career-training programs. We found that, on average, the median annual earnings for graduates of all programs subject to the gainful employment regulations were $27,494. But if local BLS estimates were used instead, the median annual earnings would rise to an average of $49,341—an increase of $21,847, or nearly 80 percent…..

Harassment-Free Workplace Series: A Focus on Sexual Harassment

Source: Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), January 31, 2018

Organizations must proactively create a culture that does not tolerate sexual harassment.

With increased attention on sexual harassment in the workplace, organizations have begun to reassess and revise their sexual harassment policies. Many HR professionals believe they have a clear picture of what is happening in their organization. However, much of the sexual harassment that employees experience or observe goes unreported. In addition, employees may be unaware of their organization’s sexual harassment policy, even though many organizations have policies in place.

To help organizations address the serious issue of workplace harassment, SHRM launched its year-long research initiative, the Harassment-Free Workplace Series. The first part of this series focuses on the topic of sexual harassment in the workplace. The infographics below provide insight on the perspectives of two groups surveyed as part of this series, HR professionals (SHRM members) and nonmanager employees.

How Are Health Centers Responding to the Funding Delay?

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, Fact Sheet, February 2018

From the summary:
Health centers play an important role in our health care system, providing comprehensive primary care services as well as dental, mental health, and addiction treatment services to over 25 million patients in medically underserved rural and urban areas throughout the country. Health care anchors in their communities and on the front lines of health care crises, including the opioid epidemic and the current flu outbreak, health centers rely on federal grant funds to support the care they provide, particularly to patients who lack insurance coverage. However, the Community Health Center Fund (CHCF), a key source of funding for community health centers, expired on September 30, 2017, and has since been extended through only March 31, 2018. The CHCF provides 70% of grant funding to health centers. With these funds at risk, health centers have taken or are considering taking a number of actions that will affect their capacity to provide care to their patients. This fact sheet presents preliminary findings on how health centers are responding to the funding uncertainty.

Key Facts on Individuals Eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, Fact Sheet, February 2018

From the summary:
In September 2017, President Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Without legislative or administrative action, individuals will lose their DACA status. Based on Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of Current Population Survey data, this fact sheet examines key characteristics of young undocumented individuals eligible for DACA. It shows that most individuals eligible for DACA are healthy and have health coverage, reflecting that the large majority live in a family with at least one full-time worker. Loss of DACA status would result in individuals losing work authorization and potentially being targeted for deportation. Employers would likely terminate individuals as they lose work authorization, leading to job loss along with loss of health coverage. Without access to coverage through an employer, many individuals would likely become uninsured since they are not eligible to enroll in Medicaid or CHIP or to purchase coverage through the Marketplaces. Employment and coverage losses would lead to increased financial pressure and reduced access to care for individuals and their families, who may include citizen children.

Sex Discrimination Law and LGBT Equality

Source: Katie R. Eyer, Advance: The Journal of ACS Issue Briefs, Vol. 11 no. 1, Fall 2017
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….This Issue Brief sets out the reasons why both sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination necessarily must be considered sex discrimination under well-established anti-discrimination doctrine. It also responds to the most common arguments raised against such a conclusion. Finally, the Issue Brief concludes by briefly discussing the reasons why, despite the move towards coverage of anti-LGBT discrimination under federal sex discrimination law, explicit formal statutory prohibitions on sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination remain important….

Expanding Voting Rights Through Local Law

Source: Joshua A. Douglas, Advance: The Journal of ACS Issue Briefs, Vol. 11 no. 1, Fall 2017
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….This Issue Brief—a condensed version of a scholarly article that appeared in the George Washington Law Review—completes the picture of what it means to enjoy the right to vote in America. The right to vote is a constitutional right inherent in the U.S. Constitution and all state constitutions. But it is also a locally conferred right, at least in some cities and towns. This expansion of voting rights at the local level will constitute a significant part of the debate on the right to vote for years to come…..

The Troubling Turn in State Preemption: The Assault on Progressive Cities and How Cities Can Respond

Source: Richard Briffault, Nestor Davidson, Paul A. Diller, Olatunde Johnson, and Richard C. Schragger, Advance: The Journal of ACS Issue Briefs, Vol. 11 no. 1, Fall 2017
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….This Issue Brief canvasses the current wave of preemption and the primary legal theories that these state-local conflicts present, as well as claims that might arise as these battles continue. The Brief also explores other possibilities for strengthening home rule to advance progressive local policymaking at a moment when cities increasingly stand on the front lines of economic justice, civil rights, sustainable development, and so many other critical policy domains…..

The Digital Activism Gap: How Class and Costs Shape Online Collective Action

Source: Jen Schradie Social Problems, Volume 65, Issue 1, February 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
What is the relationship between social class and online participation in social movements? Scholars suggest that low costs to digital activism broaden participation and challenge conventional collective action theories, but given the digital divide, little is known about cost variation across social movement organizations from different social classes. A focus on high levels of digital engagement and extraordinary events leaves scant information about the effect of social class on digital mobilization patterns and everyday practices within and across organizations. This study takes a field-level approach to incorporate all groups involved in one statewide political issue, thereby including organizations with different social class compositions, from Tea Parties to labor unions. Data collection spans online and off-line digital activism practices. With an index to measure digital engagement from an original data set of over 90,000 online posts, findings show deep digital activism inequalities between working-class and middle/upper-class groups. In-depth interviews and ethnographic observations reveal that the mechanisms of this digital activism gap are organizational resources, along with individual disparities in access, skills, empowerment and time. These factors create high costs of online participation for working-class groups. Rather than reduced costs equalizing online participation, substantial costs contribute to digital activism inequality.