Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Child Labor on Farms under New Rules

From the Daily Caller:

A proposal from the Obama administration to prevent children from doing farm chores has drawn plenty of criticism from rural-district members of Congress. But now it’s attracting barbs from farm kids themselves.

The Department of Labor is poised to put the finishing touches on a rule that would apply child-labor laws to children working on family farms, prohibiting them from performing a list of jobs on their own families’ land.

Under the rules, children under 18 could no longer work “in the storing, marketing and transporting of farm product raw materials.”

Read more here.


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I was terminated from a hospital which is a government entity. I had been there for 6 years; had previously worked under 2 other previous managers, had had no problems, and had never had a write up until in 2008, when a new manager came on board.
Immediately thereafter, this new manager created a hostile work environment within the department. Several employees had been to HR to complain--nothing was done.
I have a Down Syndrome son, and have always had a FMLA on file (which I hardly used--I used the FMLA one time when my son was sick under the new manager's jurisdiction--at that time I received a bad mark for my absence). When I started to work at this hospital, I fully explained circumstances. [My husband and I have always tried to adjust our work schedules to accommodate our son's need.]
The new manager kept changing my work schedule to where we couldn't accommodate our son's needs. I was the only employee who couldn’t take any holidays off; thereby, making it very hard to find someone to stay with my special-need adult child during “special” holidays since everyone is out of town or want to be with their families. The other 2 girls who worked with me were more than willing to help me out/even made it known to the manager, so that I could leave in time to take care of our son's needs as I was doing from the inception of my employment.
Even in my yearly evaluation, the new manager gave me low ratings with various comments such as: "X is inflexible to schedule changes and uses personal reasons to excuse herself."
Another girl & I were terminated together. There were 3 of us who worked within the immediate section of the department, and we had been instructed by our supervisor to come up with some ideas which would be beneficial to our department. Furthermore, we had received an email that a department meeting was to be held in the near future. It was Memorial Day of 2011, the hospital had only scheduled a skeleton crew of doctors, nurses and hospital staff to work; therefore, our services were not in normal demand--we were not getting pages. Nonetheless, we called the various departments within the hospital to see if they needed our services--our services were not being needed. The 3 of us thought it was a good time to work on the assigned project given to us by our supervisor. All 3 of us came up with ideas, I typed up an email to supervisor stipulating that these ideas were for her consideration and that we had all 3 had worked on this together. The other two girls suggested that I type all of our initials at the bottom of the email since we had all participated. Nothing was heard from the manager or the supervisor until several weeks later, each one of the three of us was called into the office -- one by one at a time. Each of us was handed an identical Notice of Corrective Action which stated: "Failure to follow procedures, avoiding work, inattention to duties and disrespect towards supervisor." [All of those assertions are lies!] However, out of the 3 of us, only 2 of us were fired.
The other girl and I appealed the case, went before the hospital's Grievance Committee for a hearing. The manager presented her case, we presented our case, and the Grievance Committee Members voted in our favor; thus, winning the case! [We asked to be made whole--paying us for the time we had been off--reinstate us to our positions--have this stricken off our employment record(s). HR declined the recommendation of the Committee.
We followed the protocol of the Employee Manual--wrote a letter to Chief Operating Office (sent certified-return receipt requested) asking for an appt. to meet with him--never answered us; however, within 2 weeks of having received our letter, the hospital 'fired' the manager who had fired us! Then, a letter was sent to the CEO--he never answered.
All this took time as we had to wait for the Hearing Committee to submit their decision to HR, wait for the hospital to advise us of the Committee's findings, wait for the notification from HR at which time they declined the recommendation, wait on the COO and the CEO for a response/didn't get a response from either one.
The other girl & I had gone to the National Labor Relations Board--they said that we had a case; however, because it was a government entity, they couldn't do anything.
This manager had changed my work schedule several times; thus, getting me home later & later to where it was very stressful/impossible in my husband and myself re-arranging our work schedules to take care of our son.
Do I have a case? If so, what type of discrimination would be applicable under the aforementioned circumstances. Will someone please reply as soon as possible as the statute of limitations is at hand?
I'm trying to find a lawyer. Any advice as far as case law to cover the aforementioned situation?

Posted by: Laura C. McFarling | May 7, 2012 9:54:38 PM

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