Agency proposes clearinghouse for commercial driver drug tests

by Charles S. Plumb

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has proposed a new rule that would create a database of commercial drivers’ drug test histories, making it easier for employers to find a job candidate’s past drug test results. The comment period is open until April 21.

Under the current rules, employers that hire commercial drivers may not know whether an applicant has a history of positive drug or alcohol tests because employers can rely only on information about earlier test results that individuals applying for driving jobs supply.

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Northwestern’s appeal of football ruling claims NLRB ignored evidence

April 10, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Northwestern University’s appeal of a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling claims an NLRB regional director ignored evidence that the school’s scholarship football players are students—not employees—and relied too much on the testimony of a single player.

On April 9, the private university located in Evanston, Illinois, asked the full NLRB to review and overturn the March 26 ruling by NLRB regional director Peter Sung Ohr. That ruling said the university’s scholarship football players are employees and are therefore eligible to vote on union representation. The NLRB has set a union election for April 25. The Board may postpone the election in light of the appeal, but it doesn’t have to.

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Governor Walker friends Facebook users, bars employers from trolling employees’ accounts

by Saul C. Glazer

The question of whether employers can require applicants or current employees to divulge social media passwords has been hotly debated both from a legal and a moral standpoint. On April 8, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed a bill protecting nonpublic social media accounts. This bill, which takes effect April 10, prohibits an employer, educational institution, or landlord from:

  1. Requesting an employee, applicant for employment, student, prospective student, tenant, or prospective tenant to grant access to, allow observation of, or disclose information that allows access to or observation of the personal Internet account of the employee, applicant, student, prospective student, tenant, or prospective tenant; and
  2. Discharging, expelling, suspending, disciplining, or otherwise penalizing or discriminating against any person for exercising the right to refuse such a request, opposing such a practice, filing a complaint or attempting to enforce that right, or testifying or assisting in any action or proceeding to enforce that right.

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NLRB to hear stakeholders on ‘quickie’ election rule

April 09, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is set to hear opinions on its proposed changes to the rules governing union representation elections during hearings on April 10-11. The meetings can be seen in their entirety at www.nlrb.gov/openmeeting.

The hearings will begin at 9:00 a.m. (ET) at the Board’s Washington, D.C., offices. Speakers had to submit requests ahead of time and already have been determined.

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Maryland Legislature passes bill to raise minimum wage to $10.10 by July 1, 2018

by David M. Stevens

On the final day of its legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill to dramatically raise the state’s minimum wage. The bill, which was supported by Governor Martin O’Malley and is expected to be signed into law, calls for a staggered increase in the minimum wage over a period of four years, with the final increase due to set the minimum wage at $10.10 effective July 1, 2018.

Employers will first feel the effect of the minimum wage increase on January 1, 2015, and the minimum wage will increase a total of five times under the following schedule:

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New executive actions target equal pay for women

April 08, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 2 COMMENTS

President Barack Obama is once again using executive action related to the pay American workers earn. A White House fact sheet says the actions are aimed at fighting pay discrimination and strengthening enforcement of equal pay laws.

In one action, Obama signed a presidential memorandum instructing Secretary of Labor Tom Perez to establish new regulations requiring federal contractors to submit more data to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The president wants the DOL to collect summary data on compensation paid to employees, including data by sex and race.

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United States reaches cap on H-1B visas in five days

April 08, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

It took just under a week for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to take in enough H-1B visa petitions to reach the statutory cap for fiscal year 2015, which begins on October 1, 2014.

The USCIS announced April 7 that it received sufficient petitions to meet the caps of 65,000 visas for the general category and 20,000 visas under the advanced degree exemption. The agency began accepting petitions on April 1.

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Categories: USCIS

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April 25 date set for Northwestern football union vote

April 03, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has scheduled an April 25 union representation vote for Northwestern University football players.

Spokespersons in both the Chicago and Washington, D.C., NLRB offices confirmed that the April 25 date has been set but didn’t have more information such as which players will be eligible to vote and when results will be known.

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Categories: Labor organization / NLRA / NLRB

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Treasury Department finalizes rule on hiring women, minorities

by Judith E. Kramer

The U.S. Treasury Department has issued a final rule requiring that any entity that enters into a contract with the department make good-faith efforts to include minorities and women in its workforce.

The new rule goes into effect April 21. The requirement grows out of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, which states that covered agencies will require contractors to provide a written statement that the “contractor shall ensure, to the maximum extent possible, the fair inclusion of women and minorities in the workforce of the contractor, and as applicable, subcontractors.”

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Connecticut’s minimum wage will jump to $10.10 per hour in 2017

by Jonathan C. Sterling

On March 27, Governor Dannel Malloy signed a law that will increase Connecticut’s minimum wage in each of the next three years. The minimum wage will rise to $10.10 per hour in 2017.

You may remember that just last year, a law was passed to increase the minimum wage to $8.70 beginning January 1, 2014. The 2013 law also increased the minimum wage to $9 per hour beginning January 1, 2015.

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Categories: Connecticut / Minimum Wage

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