Poor safety record no bar to winning government construction contracts
One might assume that when a government agency awards a private company a contract to do construction work – for bridge or sewer work or other public utility repairs, for example – evaluating the company’s safety and health record would be a prerequisite. This is, however, not the case. As the government watchdog organization Public Citizen details in a new report, numerous government contracts have been awarded to companies with chronic poor health and safety records.
Employment commission ruling protects transgender individuals from workplace discrimination
Late yesterday, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a comprehensive ruling giving transgender individuals sorely-needed federal protections against discrimination in the workplace. According to the ruling, employers who discriminate against employees or job applicants on the basis of gender identity can now be found in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, specifically its prohibition of sex discrimination in employment.
Why does OSHA move at a glacial pace? Democrat calls on Obama admin to speed up safety measures
Republicans typically accuse Democrats of not doing enough to streamline regulations. But at a hearing on Capitol Hill last week, Republican senators defended the Obama administration against criticism from labor leaders and workplace safety advocates who say the administration has made it too cumbersome to create and issue new workplace safety rules.
New York state starts hearings on raising minimum wage
Supporters of a bill to raise New York’s minimum wage made their case to state lawmakers on Monday in Harlem, at a hearing called by Assemblyman Keith Wright. Wright and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, both Manhattan democrats, are sponsoring legislation that would raise the minimum wage to $8.50 an hour. The current minimum wage in New York is $7.25 an hour, the federal minimum. Under the bill, the wage would also increase each year according to inflation.
OSHA: Captain fired for calling Coast Guard
A barge captain working in New Orleans was wrongfully fired for telling the Coast Guard about engine problems with a boat he was steering, the U.S. Department of Labor said Monday. The captain’s company, St. James Stevedoring Partners LLC, agreed to pay $245k in pay, compensation and attorney’s fees to settle the whistleblower case, the department said.
Virtually unemployable, undocumented Pulitzer-winning journalist pushes reform
Speaking to journalists with The Institute for Justice and Journalism at a conference at the University of Oklahoma this week, Jose Antonio Vargas explained that since his “coming out” as an undocumented immigrant, he is not legally able to be employed. Of course, almost 12 million people in the United States are undocumented, and most of them are employed—using fake Social Security numbers, working under the table or other situations. But given the high-profile nature of Vargas’s revelation, it’s unlikely any employer who knows how to use Google would hire him.
More workers work through lunch or eat at their desks
Today’s fast-paced work environment and sluggish economy have left many employees with more work and less time to do it, making the once-cherished midday lunch break a disappearing option. Only a third of American workers say they take a lunch break, according to a Web survey conducted last year by Right Management, a human resources consulting firm. The survey also found that 65% of workers eat at their desks or don’t take a break at all.