Gay federal workers say they’re only partway to equality
There are definite signs of change: More than 200 LGBT presidential appointees serve under President Obama, among them the first two who are openly transgender. Gay men and lesbians can serve openly in the armed forces. Intrusive questions about sex lives have been purged from security-clearance vettings. But even while the first openly gay U.S. ambassador promotes his memoir of life in the closet, an American contractor in Afghanistan is blocked from a gay social-networking site. And while the Environmental Protection Agency embraces Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, an EPA boss cancels an employee’s registration for an out-of-town conference because budget cuts would require him to share a room at the hotel with a straight co-worker.
‘You’re too fat’: Weight bias is on the rise in American workplaces
We are a nation of Tom Ferraros. Two-thirds of Americans age 20 and older have enough extra pounds to face health risks, according to the National Institutes of Health. But at the same time, we’re overwhelmingly biased against overweight people, convinced they are lazy, weak-willed and unintelligent. “In the workplace, it results in inequitable hiring practices, prejudice from employers, lower wages, discriminatory action and wrongful termination,” says Rebecca Puhl, director of research at Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.
Top-secret clearance restored to whistleblower who exposed failures to ship gear to US troops
A Marine Corps whistleblower who exposed the service’s failure to quickly deliver life-saving armored vehicles and other gear to troops in Iraq can return to work after military authorities reinstated his top-secret security clearance, his attorneys said Wednesday.
Judge won’t dismiss OSHA citation; SeaWorld mounts its defense of trainers’ ‘water work’ with killer whales
SeaWorld Orlando was unable Wednesday to persuade a judge to immediately dismiss a citation issued by the federal government following an investigation into the 2010 death of a killer-whale trainer, forcing the marine park to begin summoning witnesses in its own defense.
SeaWorld trainers: Working with killer whales is a calculated risk
SeaWorld employees on Tuesday testified at a federal job safety hearing that, while the behavior of killer whales is extremely predictable, the job of working with a 6-ton marine mammal carries a calculated risk.
Judge dismisses parts of civil suit against Kane coroner
A Kane County judge has dismissed parts of a civil suit against Kane County Coroner Chuck West, but the accusations of harassment and violating the Whistleblower Act remain. West has been charged with felony official misconduct, accused of allowing two of his employees to take a TV from the home of a dead Carpentersville man in 2007. In a civil lawsuit, Deputy Chief Coroner Loren Carrera said West harassed and demoted her for reporting the incident to police.
Kiln owner defies OSHA, risking a mounting fine
After repeated clashes with city officials over the years, the owner of a Sheridan lumber-drying operation is now embroiled in a dispute with officials from the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Division. After a routine inspection in June, the agency cited George Gabriel, owner of Custom Dry Kilns and Sawmill, for failing to monitor the noise levels employees are subjected to or implement a hearing preservation program.
One veteran’s rough path from killing and torturing to peace
Not yet 30, Evan Knappenberger has already lived several lives. His story destroys the U.S. government’s case against whistleblower Bradley Manning, exposes the toxic mix of fraud and incompetence that creates U.S. war policies, and highlights the damage so often done to soldiers who come home without visible injuries.
New webpage helps workers keep the benefits they earn
Workers participating in employer sponsored health and retirement plans deserve to understand their rights, responsibilities and benefits. They need one place to go to get answers to questions and to file a complaint if they believe their benefits have been improperly denied. That is why the U.S. Labor Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration has launched a new consumer assistance webpage.
4 types of workplace violence: What’s your greatest risk?
Workplace violence typically falls into one of four categories, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Different workplaces are at risk for different types of violence, so identifying the type your company is most at risk for can help.