High court upholds Michigan’s ban on affirmative action in higher education

April 22, 2014 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Michigan voters’ right to prohibit preferential race-based admissions programs in the state’s university system was upheld today by the U.S. Supreme Court in Schuette v. The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigration Rights and Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary (BAMN), 572 U.S. ___ (2014).

In the 6-2 opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Court upheld Proposition 2, which was approved by popular vote in Michigan. Proposition 2 amended the Michigan Constitution to prohibit race-based admissions preferences in the state’s university system.

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UAW plans to take fight over VW vote to Congress

April 22, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The United Auto Workers (UAW) union has dropped its appeal of a union vote at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but instead of giving up, the union says it will turn its attention toward Congress.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) had scheduled an April 21 hearing in Chattanooga on the appeal of a February union election in which workers at the plant rejected unionization 712-626. Just an hour before the hearing was to begin, the UAW announced it was dropping its appeal. A UAW statement claimed the “NLRB’s historically dysfunctional and complex process” led it to drop the appeal.

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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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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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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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NLRB regional director orders union election for Northwestern football players

March 27, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

A regional director of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled that football players at Northwestern University are entitled to a union election because they’re essentially employees of the private university located in Evanston, Illinois.

Peter Sung Ohr, Region 13 director of the NLRB, issued an order on March 26 that a union representation election be conducted. He said Northwestern’s scholarship football players are entitled to vote on union representation because they’re “employees” under Section 2(3) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

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New York City paid sick leave law begins April 1

by New York Employment Law Letter

New York City employers need to be ready for the city’s new Earned Sick Time Act by the April 1 effective date.

Beginning April 1, the law, passed last summer over the veto of then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, requires private-sector employers with 20 or more employees in New York City to offer at least 40 hours of annual paid sick leave to each employee. Employers with fewer than 20 employees in the city will be required to offer at least 40 hours of unpaid sick leave to each employee per year.

As of October 1, 2015, private-sector employers with 15 or more employees will have to offer at least 40 hours of annual paid sick leave to each employee, and private-sector employers with fewer than 15 employees will be required to offer at least 40 hours of unpaid sick leave to each employee per year.

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Volkswagen’s Chattanooga workers reject UAW representation

by Bart Sisk, David Jaqua, and Valeria Gomez

The votes are in, and the wait is over. In what can only be characterized as a major setback for organized labor, Volkswagen’s Chattanooga employees have voted to reject union representation by the United Auto Workers union (UAW).  

Eighty-nine percent of Volkswagen’s Chattanooga employees participated in the election, which was conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and took place on February 12-14. With 53 percent of workers voting against UAW representation, the union lost the election by a vote of 712-626. Through a press release issued by Volkswagen, Frank Fischer, CEO and chairman of Volkswagen Chattanooga, announced, “Our employees have not made a decision that they are against a works council. Throughout this process, we found great enthusiasm for the idea of an American-style works council both inside and outside our plant. Our goal continues to be to determine the best method for establishing a works council in accordance with the requirements of U.S. labor law to meet VW America’s production needs and serve our employees’ interests.”

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Maine Law Court issues groundbreaking discrimination opinion

by Peter D. Lowe and Connor Beatty

On Thursday, January 30, Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court issued a groundbreaking and controversial decision. The Law Court ruled that a school district discriminated against one of its students when it told the student she couldn’t use the female restroom because she is transgendered. Although this decision directly affects places of public accommodation, it also may have major ramifications for employers. The decision calls into question whether it’s permissible to have separate-sex bathrooms at all under current law.

Background

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Oklahoma prohibition on same-sex marriages found unconstitutional

by Charles S. Plumb

The last several months have witnessed a flurry of court activity regarding same-sex marriage laws. On Tuesday, January 14, Oklahoma joined that activity with an order and opinion issued by Tulsa’s federal court.

In 2004, Oklahoma voters approved an amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution defining “marriage” to be exclusively a union between a man and a woman. In some respects, the Oklahoma constitutional amendment tracked the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

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