Category Archives: Uncategorized

“Ban the Box”: Good for People with Disabilities

Today’s post was shared by US Labor Department and comes from

a job application with the question

Over the past few years, a growing list of city, state and local governments; organizations; and private companies have come forward to support “Ban the Box.” It’s an initiative to persuade employers to remove the question “Have you been convicted?” from job applications and delay that inquiry until the final stages of the hiring process. The goal is for employers to make hiring decisions based on a candidate’s skills and qualifications, not their past transgressions. This month, President Obama took an historic step by directing the Office of Personnel Management to take action to ban the box in federal employment. As a result, OPM will modify its rules to delay inquiries into criminal history until later in the hiring process.

Encouraging employers to make this shift is critical. An estimated 70 million Americans — one in four adults — have a criminal record. Employment is a stabilizing factor in anyone’s life, providing a sense of structure and responsibility, and it’s strongly correlated with reduced recidivism for those reintegrating into the community following incarceration. Because employers often hesitate to hire an ex-offender, not having to check that box can make a massive difference.

Marsha Temple, of Los Angeles’ Integrated Recovery Network, knows well the stories of many of the individuals for whom the box is a major barrier. For more than 15 years, she has worked to improve mental health…

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Opting Out of Responsible

Today’s post was shared by WC CompNewsNetwork and comes from

A few weeks back I wrote about the most recent Opt Out news, a ProPublica/NPR article looking at the Federal Governments potential interference in workers’ comp with Opt Out being a final ingredient in the interventional stew. In that article I had a bit of fun with a public relations firm hired by ARAWC, the Association for Responsible Alternatives to Workers’ Compensation, which is a trade association of employers looking to expand Opt Out to states beyond Texas and Oklahoma. A statement from the firm, Jones Public Relations, referred to their client, ARAWC, as the “Association for Alternatives to Workers’ Compensation”.

They completely omitted the word “Responsible” in the statement. It was a gaffe noted here, then picked up and tweeted by numerous people, including Michael Grabell, author of the ProPublica article that started the entire conversation to begin with.

While we all had a good chuckle at what we thought to be an obvious mistake, the PR firm appeared to double down on that notion the very morning after my article was published. A representative claiming to be calling for ARAWC (I would later confirm via LinkedIn that the person worked for Jones PR) called my office and wanted to speak to me. They wanted to provide comment on the story. I was not in the office, as I was attending a conference in Raleigh, NC. The associate who relayed the message to me was laughing when doing so, as the person in the office who took the…

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A Toxic Work World

Today’s post was shared by Jon L Gelman and comes from

Credit Lilli Carré

FOR many Americans, life has become all competition all the time. Workers across the socioeconomic spectrum, from hotel housekeepers to surgeons, have stories about toiling 12- to 16-hour days (often without overtime pay) and experiencing anxiety attacks and exhaustion. Public health experts have begun talking about stress as an epidemic.

The people who can compete and succeed in this culture are an ever-narrower slice of American society: largely young people who are healthy, and wealthy enough not to have to care for family members. An individual company can of course favor these individuals, as health insurers once did, and then pass them off to other businesses when they become parents or need to tend to their own parents. But this model of winning at all costs reinforces a distinctive American pathology of not making room for caregiving. The result: We hemorrhage talent and hollow out our society.

To begin with, we are losing women. America has unlocked the talent of its women in a way that few nations can match; girls are outpacing boys in high schools, universities and graduate schools and are now entering the work force at higher salaries. But the ranks of those women still thin significantly as they rise toward the top, from more than 50 percent at entry level to 10 to 20 percent in senior management. Far too many discover that what was once a manageable and enjoyable work-family balance can no longer be sustained —…

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What can we do about shift work?

Today’s post was shared by Jon L Gelman and comes from


There has been a lot of research published in the past few years around the effect of shift work and our health since the World Health Organisation classified night shift work as a probable carcinogen back in 2007. In 2012 research for the HSE estimated that the additional breast cancer risk associated with night shift working would have translated into about 2,000 extra cases of breast cancer (out of a total of about 43,200 in Britain) in 2004. That would mean around 550 additional deaths and makes it the biggest occupational killer after asbestos. A study in 2013, based on 2,300 women in Vancouver found that women who worked night shifts for 30 years or more were twice as likely to develop breast cancer.

More research was published this week on the link between shift work and cancer. The new one comes from researchers in the Netherlands and Germany and appears to support previous research suggesting a link between night-shift work and breast cancer. Although this research is in mice it is important because it provides the first experimental proof that shift work increases breast cancer development.

However it is not just breast cancer that is more likely to be caused by shift working. Shift work has been shown to lead to heart problems, type2 diabetes and obesity. It is also linked to stomach problems and ulcers, depression, and an increased risk of accidents or injury. We have known about these problems for many years and researchers continue to find links between shift…

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Statement from Secretary of Labor on Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2014

Today’s post was shared by WC CompNewsNetwork and comes from

Washington, DC ( – Preliminary results from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries released show the rate of fatal work injuries in 2014 was 3.3 per 100,000 full-time workers, the same as the final rate for 2013. While the preliminary total of 4,679 fatal work injuries was an increase of 2 percent over the revised count of 4,585 in 2013, there was also an increase in hours worked in 2014. U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez issued the following statement:

"Far too many people are still killed on the job — 13 workers every day taken from their families tragically and unnecessarily. These numbers underscore the urgent need for employers to provide a safe workplace for their employees as the law requires.

"Preliminary results tell us 789 Hispanic workers died on the job in 2014, compared with 817 in 2013. While we were gratified by that drop, the number is still unacceptably high, and it is clear that there is still much more hard work to do.

"BLS data shows fatalities rising in the construction sector (along with an overall increase in construction employment). Dangerous workplaces also are taking the lives of a growing number of people in oil and gas extraction. That is why OSHA continues extensive outreach and strong enforcement campaigns in these industries. The U.S. Department of Labor will continue to work with employers, workers, community organizations, unions and others to make sure that all…

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Employee or Independent Contractor?

Today’s post was shared by US Labor Department and comes from

The Wage and Hour Division is tackling employee misclassification because so much depends upon the answer to that question.


Imagine working as a drywall installer building houses as an employee one day, but the next day, while performing the same work on the same site for the same company, you’re told you are now considered an independent contractor. You didn’t suddenly open a business of your own. Nothing about your work changed. But now, you’re told that since you’re no longer an employee, you’re no longer eligible for overtime pay, unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation or a host of other benefits that come with employee status.

That really happened to a group of workers recently, who we discovered were owed back wages after conducting an investigation. And unfortunately, this situation is all too common − with terrible consequences. Misclassified employees are often denied access to the critical benefits and protections they are entitled. Misclassification also generates substantial losses to the federal government and state governments in the form of lower tax revenues, as well as to state unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation funds. It forces workers to pay the entirety of their payroll (FICA) tax. It also tips the scales against all of the employers who play by the rules and undermines the economy.

Employer-Employee Relationships

In recent years, employers have increasingly contracted out or otherwise…

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Are bosses cheating workers out of overtime?

Today’s post was shared by US Labor Department and comes from

GWEN IFILL: This month, the administration is expected to revamp workplace rules that would make millions more workers eligible for overtime pay.

Economics correspondent Paul Solman reports. It’s part of our weekly segment, Making Sense, which airs every Thursday on the “NewsHour.”

ACTOR: Time to make the donuts.

PAUL SOLMAN: Fred the Baker…

ACTOR: Time to make the donuts.

PAUL SOLMAN: … icon for the freshness of Dunkin’ Donuts more than 30 years ago.

ACTOR: We make them at least twice every day.

ACTOR: Time to make the donuts.

PAUL SOLMAN: Fred was a fiction, but the reality of one Dunkin’ Donuts worker looked a lot like the ads.

GASSAN MARZUQ, Former Dunkin’ Donuts Manager: I’m working 75 hours a week or 80 hours a week.

PAUL SOLMAN: For years, Gassan Marzuq worked Fred-like hours as a salaried manager at this outlet outside Boston. Problem is, he never saw one cent in overtime.

GASSAN MARZUQ: If you work 40 hours, or if you work 100 hours, it’s the same pay.

PAUL SOLMAN: Divide Marzuq’s hours by his barely $800-a-week salary, and, on a per-hour basis:

GASSAN MARZUQ: I’m making only $9, $10 an hour, which is less — even lower than the regular employees, what they are making.

PAUL SOLMAN: Under current law, you get time-and-a-half for every hour you work in a week past 40, unless you make more than $23,600 a year and you’re an executive, administrator or professional with advanced knowledge.

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Workplace injury, illness costs being foisted on workers, government, OSHA’s Michaels says

Today’s post was shared by Jon L Gelman and comes from

Workers and taxpayers writ large are shouldering the costs of workplace injuries and illnesses, as the changing nature of work leaves states and employers with increasingly less liability, according to a report released today by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The OSHA report, “Adding Inequality to Injury: The Costs of Failing to Protect Workers on the Job,” notes that employer-provided workers’ compensation insurance benefits cover only 21 percent of the actual costs of a workplace injury or illness, including lost wages, medical expenses and rehabilitation.

Only a fraction of workers apply for or receive benefits, the report says, because of job insecurity, fear of retaliation from employers, or because they don’t know they’re entitled to such benefits.  As  many as 97 percent of work-related illnesses  go uncompensated because symptoms are often linked to workplace exposures long after employment ends, if they are linked at all.

Most of the costs of injuries and illnesses are borne by workers themselves, according to the report.  Government programs such as Social Security Disability Insurance and Medicaid cover 16 percent, private health insurance 13 percent.

“By forcing the costs of injury and illness onto workers, their families and the taxpayer, unsafe employers have fewer incentives to eliminate workplace hazards and actually prevent injuries and illnesses from occurring,” the report…

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