Wal-Mart case is a blow for big cases and their lawyers
With the dismissal of a sex-discrimination lawsuit brought on behalf of 1.5 million women who have worked at Wal-Mart, the Supreme Court on Monday significantly tightened the rules for how a large group of individuals can join together to sue a company for alleged harm done to them. The court’s decision will not just make it harder to bring big, ambitious employment class-action cases asserting discrimination based on sex, race or other factors, legal experts said. In its majority opinion, the court essentially said that if lawyers brought a nationwide class action against an employer, they would have to offer strong evidence of a nationwide practice or policy that hurt the class. In the Wal-Mart case, the court wrote that the plaintiffs had not demonstrated that Wal-Mart had any nationwide policies or practices that discriminated against women.
Despite setback, plaintiffs to pursue Wal-Mart cases
Wal-Mart has spent 10 years fighting claims that it discriminated against female employees, and by many accounts, it has improved its hiring and promotion policies for women during those years. Monday’s Supreme Court victory for Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, may not mean the end to litigation over discrimination claims, however. Even though the company says it has substantially increased the percentages of women in managerial positions, the plaintiffs in the longstanding case said the company should expect several more years of challenges to its employment practices.
NLRB issues rule to prevent union busting and speed up elections
Today, the National Labor Relations Board proposed a rule that would dramatically speed up and reduce frivolous challenges to union elections. Companies seeking to stop union drives often delay union elections by months in order to allow more time for extended anti-union intimidation sessions and campaigns, which often times involve firing. By speeding up the timeframe in which elections occur, the NLRB is giving more protections to union workers seeking to join a union.
U.S. regulators opening up on flawed nuclear power plant policing
These are rocky days at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which finds itself under attack from the outside for decisions ranging from new reactor designs to safety issues that have languished for years, including the agency’s failure to get serious about fire hazards. What’s different now is that some leaders within the tightly-knit community of U.S. overseers are openly expressing their concerns – including the chairman, Gregory B. Jaczko, who has come under withering criticism in recent days for his management style.
Weatherford settles with BP any claims between the companies related to the Macondo litigation, reaches indemnity agreement with BP
Weatherford International Ltd. today announced that its U.S. subsidiary has reached agreement with BP to settle any claims that may have arisen between the companies relating to the Deepwater Horizon incident and oil spill. Under the settlement, BP will indemnify Weatherford for current and future compensatory claims resulting from the incident and the impacts from that event. Under the agreement, BP will indemnify Weatherford for environmental, pollution, personal, business, property and economic loss claims. The two companies have agreed to work with each other to improve the safety of offshore drilling.
Expert’s report blasts LA Health Department’s STD statistics
Certainly one of the most contentious points surrounding the “barrier protection” debate that has been the subject of several Cal/OSHA meetings is whether adult performers have a higher rate of sexually-transmitted infections than the rest of the California population. Drs. Robert Kim-Farley and Peter Kerndt of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health claim they do, but a new review of their presentations to Cal/OSHA tells a different story.
Facebook firings and the Labor Relations Board: What nonprofits need to know
Employers have begun to question this new kind of water-cooler complaining. But is it illegal to trash-talk your boss on a social media platform? The law is still under construction and with the help of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), employees are pushing back and hoping to set legal precedent.
Lawmakers irked by OSHA’s no-show at hearing
Lawmakers on Thursday criticized the Department of Labor for not appearing at a subcommittee hearing on workplace safety and health. Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), chairman of the Education and the Workforce subcommittee on workforce protections, criticized the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for not appearing at his hearing. Walberg said he was open to OSHA’s attendance, but admonished the agency, which is housed in the Labor Department, for requiring a 14-day notice to prepare for hearings.
Did OSHA fail the workers at AL Solutions?
There was a little something in the U.S. Department of Labor press release about its citations issued to AL Solutions in New Cumberland, W.Va., that jumped out at me. It was this: “The violations place this company in OSHA’s Severe Violators Enforcement Program.” … Sounds good, right? It is … unless you read more about this OSHA program, in a Pump Handle blog post by my friend Dr. Celeste Monforton. For example: It depends on whether you agree with OSHA’s narrow definition of a “severe violator.” I don’t, because OSHA doesn’t go far enough.
87 MetroAccess workers caught sleeping at the wheel
MetroAccess drivers have been caught falling asleep at the wheel 87 times in less than three years, according to agency statistics. The drivers who were caught had been working eight-, 10- or 12-hour shifts, but Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1764 President Wayne Baker worries his drivers will have even more trouble staying awake when Metro moves them to 13-hour shifts later this week. The drivers will be driving for 12 hours and have a one-hour break.