White House making whistleblower advocates nervous
Obama administration officials reject charges that they are “trying to stop aggressive journalism in the United States by using the Espionage Act to take whistleblowers to court,” as ABC News reporter Jake Tapper put it last month. The government considers federal employees charged under the Espionage Act to be leakers of classified information, but that doesn’t convince advocates, who see the prosecutions as overzealous attacks on whistleblowers.
Disgruntled Goldman executive inspires copycats
We may be experiencing whistleblower fever. If you haven’t seen it yet, a former executive director at Goldman Sachs left his job this week but decided to take the firm down with him in a scathing letter about alleged illegal practices at the financial powerhouse. A tip I just received today from a Wall Street source directed me to U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s website and a comment on an open forum on the page created to solicit public comment related to financial filings under the “Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.” The comment my source wanted me to read was one supposedly written by a JPMorgan employee who claims to have information on chicanery at the firm.
Brodkorb: Other staffers had affairs with lawmakers, treated differently
Former Minnesota Senate staffer Michael Brodkorb claims he was fired because of an affair with former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch and intends to prove other employees who had trysts with legislators were allowed to continue working. “Mr. Brodkorb has evidence that similarly situated female legislative employees, from both political parties, were not terminated from their employment positions despite intimate relationships with male legislators. It is clear that Mr. Brodkorb was terminated based on his gender,” the legal document said.
U.S. seeks to recoup billions in unemployment benefits paid out in error
States across America doled out $13.7 billion in “improper” unemployment payments last year alone, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The figure is down from more than $17 billion the previous year. However, federal officials say the vast majority of American states are not yet participating in a program designed to collect from people who received unemployment wrongfully.
Despite improving job growth, older workers struggle with long-term unemployment
Among the long-term unemployed, a disproportionate number are older workers who tend to suffer even longer durations of unemployment, and face severe barriers to job opportunities. A new issue brief from the National Employment Law Project (NELP) on older workers and long-term unemployment finds that: Older workers (age 50 and older) represented a larger share of the long-term unemployed in 2011 than they did before the Great Recession. This share is disproportionate relative to their share of the unemployed.
‘Outraged’ Utah judge OKs settlement of Crandall mine case
U.S. District Judge David Sam said Wednesday he felt “outrage” that a Murray Energy Corp. subsidiary will pay only $500k to settle a criminal case stemming from the 2007 Crandall Canyon mine disaster that claimed the lives of nine Utahns. But he accepted the argument from the U.S. attorney for Utah that two misdemeanor counts of violating mine safety laws were the most serious charges that could be brought against the company, given the way the law is written.
Chobani yogurt says it is working to improve safety after 34 workplace violations in New Berlin
The manufacturer of Chobani Greek Yogurt has been accused of 34 violations of workplace safety and health standards and could be fined $178k for its Chenango County operation, according to federal authorities. The citations included safety violations, lack of training and keeping unlabeled containers of hazardous chemicals, among others.