September 27, 2012
Hiring Managers Prefer "Mature" Workers Over Millenials
Workplace Diva reports:
Adecco Staffing US/Braun Research polled hiring managers and found they're three times more likely to hire a "mature" worker (defined as a worker over age 50) over a 20-something Millennial because mature workers have a work ethic, don't text the whole time you're trying to talk to them, and, in general, have the know-how and proper social graces to get the job done.
September 18, 2012
Call for Papers: NKLR Symposium on Labor/Employment Law & Informatics
The Northern Kentucky Law Review and Salmon P. Chase College of Law seek submissions for the Law + Informatics Symposium on February 15, 2013. The focus of the conference is to provide an interdisciplinary review of issues involving privacy, data aggregation, security, communications, social media management, and related topics affecting the legal and business practices involving labor and employment law.
The symposium is an opportunity for academics, practitioners, consultants, and students to exchange ideas and explore emerging issues in informatics law as it applies to working conditions and employment practices. Interdisciplinary presentations are encouraged. Authors and presenters are invited to submit proposals on topics such as the following:
- Application of the Americans with Disabilities Act
- Federal/state employment regulations regarding privacy
- HIPAA, FERPA, COPPA, GLBA & other sector-specific privacy issues
- EU & global privacy laws & policies
- Bioinformatics in the workplace
- Data mining of employee information
- Social media and political change
- Use of informatics tools for collective bargaining
- Collective bargaining positions on internet usage, data aggregation and social media
- Online dispute resolution
- Ownership of databases & data
- Contracting & enforcement of agreements over sharing of data
- Assessment of significant commercial expansions of informatics practices affecting public expectations & norms
- Employee discipline for internet and social media use
- NLRB responses to social media
- Use of social media in employee screening
- Implications for privacy and discrimination lawsuits
Training and Security
- Gamification in training
- Computer security
- Data protection & obligations regarding data breaches
- Data reliability, including people’s rights to review & correct collected data
- Retraining and employee obsolecense
- Discrimination and access to public and semi-public information
- Employee ownership of intellectual property and data information
- Post-termination obligations of employers and employees
- Employee contracting and end user license agreements
- Global issues for similarly situated employees in multiple jurisdictions
Submissions & Important Dates:
- Please submit materials to Nkylrsymposium@nku.edu
- Submission Deadline for Abstracts: October 1, 2012
- Submission Deadline for Articles: February 1, 2013
- Symposium Date: February 15, 2013
If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a note.
September 06, 2012
Cleaning off my to-post list round-up
- The California Senate passed AB 889 (Domestic Workers bill of rights) late last week. It goes to Governor Brown for signature. Then, of course, the workers have to know they have rights as New York is discovering.
- People stay in their jobs primarily because they like what they do and they feel connected to their coworkers and employer, according to the National Retention Survey.
- More on the EEOC's duty to conciliate from Molly DiBianca at the Delaware Employment Law Blog.
- Honest Tea ran an experiment on people's honesty across the country and have made the data available here. It's broken down in some very interesting ways: by geography, hair color, and more. Could/should employers use this information to make decisions about potential employees in hiring?
- Is business school culture to blame for sexual harassment in the workplace? Here and here.
- Women are more likely than men to see nuance in making decisions. Carol Gilligan made that point in moral judgments, but it's now backed up at an earlier stage of cognition: categorizing.
- It takes three kids to kill your career if you're a woman in Australia.
- Sometimes, it seems, women are paid less because they're women.
- Jerks make more money.
- The Seventh Circuit suggests that it may not show discrimination if a supervisor says that he (the supervisor ) got his job because he was white, calls a Hispanic employee a “gold-digger” when he asked for a raise, says “I’m white and I’m right”, yells at a Hispanic employee having a heart attack to “Get the hell out of my office. Go die somewhere else,” say on numerous occasions that he does not like Spanish people, and refer frequently to Hispanics as “dummies” and “stupid.” The "real trouble" comes when that supervisor stops hiring because only Hispanics are applying. Yay?
- Misrepresenting yourself on an insurance application doesn't allow an agency to find that you are what you said there when you said something different to the agency and where the agency has lots of evidence that the representation to it was accurate. Plus, employment immigration law is hard.
- Lawyers who contract with the federal government to provide general legal advice or other legal services are governed by federal executive orders requiring compliance with federal contractor reporting requirements -- and the OFCCP can come in and make you: Download OFCCP v. O'Melveny & Myers October 31, 2011 (h/t Patricia Schaeffer, EEOIMPACT LLC).
And if I don't start to get some balance between work and life (or cut down on work), I'm going to end up like this poor woman, who died at her desk, but no one noticed. Whew. To-do list cleared off for the moment. I feel better.
September 05, 2012
LEL Practice Is Hot!
Companies’ demand for legal services is falling in nearly all areas of the law except labor and employment — the lone area where the fallout of the recession appears to be helping rather than hurting large law firms.
While demand for corporate-, real estate- and bankruptcy-related work all dropped 2 to 3 percent, labor and employment work rose nearly 5 percent during the second quarter of 2012 compared with the second quarter of 2011, according to a survey of the nation’s 135 largest law firms by the Hildebrandt Institute’s Peer Monitor Index, a unit of Thomson Reuters. Demand for legal services in the Washington market dropped 2 percent, compared to 0.2 percent nationally.
Although labor and employment work represents a relatively small chunk of the legal market — 8 percent, compared to litigation (33 percent) and corporate (23 percent) — it is the only practice area that has consistently posted growing demand for the past 18 months.
August 30, 2012
Who Needs Tenure?
The Chronicle has a story on yet another development at my university: Faculty Review Proposal at Saint Louis University Would Eviscerate Tenure. The proposed policy would institute a program of post-tenure review for all university faculty which would allow the university to terminate anyone (except administrators, adjuncts, faculty on leave, and faculty in the Medical Group or on our Madrid campus) who does not show "continuing and increasing effectiveness" in teaching, scholarship, and service -- a constant "positive trajectory."
This isn't the first time our president has suggested that faculty tenure or other job security is a bad idea, but it's the most comprehensive push to put that into effect across the university. And given recent and not so recent events, the standard seems all too easily abused to get rid of people with unpopular opinions. We'll have to see what happens.
August 27, 2012
Silence on Salary
American Public Media's Marketplace has had a great series in the last week or so on salaries and people's attitudes about them. Today's interesting story provides data on its own recent survey of people's attitudes toward sharing information about their salaries. Lots of people don't want to share that information even to family, friends, and coworkers, much less outsiders. Other stories include one on how big employers set salaries and how the compensation market works.
This reluctance may be one reason why so many employers forbid employees from talking about their pay and why that doesn't get challenged even though it probably violates the National Labor Relations Act. Personally, I'm in favor of transparency and was very happy when my dean participated in SALT's annual salary survey this year. I wish there was more and wish there was more transparency for more jobs at my own school.
August 23, 2012
California Domestic Worker Bill of Rights
As you might recall from our post at the time, the California General Assembly passed the California Domestic Workers Bill of rights, AB889. The bill is now before the California Senate, and the California Domestic Workers Coalition is urging people to take action in support if the bill. As part of that, Amy Poehler has made this PSA.
I love Ms. Poehler, not just because I think she's funny, but also because she's one of the creators of Smart Girls at the Party: Change the World by Being Yourself, a website and YouTube channel that provides a positive multidimensional message for and about girls.
We'll keep you posted on any news related to AB889.
August 21, 2012
Green on Against Employer Dumpster Diving for E-Mail
Michael Z. Green (Texas Wesleyan University School of Law) has recently posted his new piece on SSRN: Against Employer Dumpster Diving for E-Mail. Here is the Abstract: Recent attorney-client privilege cases offer a modern understanding of reasonable expectations of employee privacy in the digital age. Employees have increasingly made electronic mail communications to their attorneys via employer-provided computers or other digital devices with an expectation of privacy and confidentiality. Historically, courts have summarily dispensed with these matters by finding that an employer’s policy establishing clear ownership of any communications made through employer-provided devices eliminates any employee expectation of privacy in the communications and waives any viable privacy challenges to employer review of those communications. Nevertheless, within the last couple of years, several cases involving employee assertions of attorney-client privilege protection in e-mails sent on employer-provided devices suggest new thoughts about reasonable workplace privacy expectations. As employees must communicate through employer-provided digital devices day and night, these attorney-client privilege cases help expose the fallacy of assuming employees cannot reasonably expect that e-mails will remain private if employer policies mandate the communications are not private. These new cases and related ethics opinions about privileged e-mail offer a modern lens through which one may now view employee privacy expectations under a new paradigm that replaces the façade of assuming employees have no expectation of privacy due to employer policies. Digital age expectations regarding employee use of smart cellular phones, portable laptops, and other employer-provided devices to make communications beyond standard work hours leaves little expectation or opportunity for employees to reasonably communicate privately and confidentially by any other means than through these employer-provided devices. As a result, this article asserts that employer efforts to mine their devices for employee e-mails after disputes ensue comprises a form of electronic dumpster diving that should not be tolerated by courts, legislatures, or attorney ethics committees. I have to say I agree wholeheartedly with Michael, though diving into dumpsters (at least without trash) does sound like fun. It is time to reconsider the paradigm that allows employers to dictate employee privacy interests in the workplace through some version of the "operational realities on the ground" test. I think Michael has taken an important first step in thinking of ways that we can do just that through consideration of these attorney-client cases. PS
Michael Z. Green (Texas Wesleyan University School of Law) has recently posted his new piece on SSRN: Against Employer Dumpster Diving for E-Mail.
Here is the Abstract:
Recent attorney-client privilege cases offer a modern understanding of reasonable expectations of employee privacy in the digital age. Employees have increasingly made electronic mail communications to their attorneys via employer-provided computers or other digital devices with an expectation of privacy and confidentiality. Historically, courts have summarily dispensed with these matters by finding that an employer’s policy establishing clear ownership of any communications made through employer-provided devices eliminates any employee expectation of privacy in the communications and waives any viable privacy challenges to employer review of those communications. Nevertheless, within the last couple of years, several cases involving employee assertions of attorney-client privilege protection in e-mails sent on employer-provided devices suggest new thoughts about reasonable workplace privacy expectations.
As employees must communicate through employer-provided digital devices day and night, these attorney-client privilege cases help expose the fallacy of assuming employees cannot reasonably expect that e-mails will remain private if employer policies mandate the communications are not private. These new cases and related ethics opinions about privileged e-mail offer a modern lens through which one may now view employee privacy expectations under a new paradigm that replaces the façade of assuming employees have no expectation of privacy due to employer policies.
Digital age expectations regarding employee use of smart cellular phones, portable laptops, and other employer-provided devices to make communications beyond standard work hours leaves little expectation or opportunity for employees to reasonably communicate privately and confidentially by any other means than through these employer-provided devices. As a result, this article asserts that employer efforts to mine their devices for employee e-mails after disputes ensue comprises a form of electronic dumpster diving that should not be tolerated by courts, legislatures, or attorney ethics committees.
I have to say I agree wholeheartedly with Michael, though diving into dumpsters (at least without trash) does sound like fun. It is time to reconsider the paradigm that allows employers to dictate employee privacy interests in the workplace through some version of the "operational realities on the ground" test. I think Michael has taken an important first step in thinking of ways that we can do just that through consideration of these attorney-client cases.
August 13, 2012
Sachs on Corporate Shareholders Deserve Equal Rights on Campaign Finance
Ben Sachs (Harvard) has an interesting and important commentary up at The Atlantic Monthly's Wire entitled: Corporate Shareholders Deserve Equal Rights on Campaign Finance.
As the 2012 election season rolls forward, campaign cash is taking center stage. And when it comes to money in politics, the debate seems inevitably to end in a fight over the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Many believe Citizens United unleashed new torrents of spending. Others think the decision merely nudged along an escalation that was occurring anyway. But we’re all missing a central feature of Citizens United that will have a major impact on the balance of political power in the country, in 2012 and beyond.
Here’s the issue. The conventional wisdom is that Citizens United treats political spending by corporations and labor unions equally. And, as a formal matter, the case does free both groups to spend their general treasuries on politics. But the freedom that the Court’s Citizens United decision gives to corporations and unions alike, other cases take away from unions alone. The result? A legally constructed advantage for corporations over unions when it comes to politics . . . .
What should be done? Many approaches are possible, but one promising strategy – and one that would have the virtue of treating these political spenders equally – would be to take the opt-out right currently available to employees and offer it to shareholders. It would work like this: When you invest in a corporation — either directly or through a mutual fund — you would be given the right to object to spending corporate assets on politics. The firm would then figure out what percentage of its overall expenditures go to politics, and return to you your pro-rata share of these expenditures (depending on how many shares you own) in the form of a dividend. Since unions have faced a similar obligation for decades now – they have to divide all of their expenditures into political and non-political, and then reduce the dues payment of objectors accordingly – we could look to the union example as a source of guidance when crafting and administering the corporate rule. (If the Supreme Court were ever to require private sector unions to secure employee opt in to union political spending — as an aggressive extension of the Knox decision might entail – then corporations should similarly be required to secure shareholder opt in to corporate political spending.)
With the recent decision in Knox v. SEIU, many (including Matt Bodie on this blog) have weighed in on the difficulties union have in keeping up with the political spending of corporations. Ben has been front and center in this debate, both in law reviews and other commentaries, and makes a persuasive argument that corporate shareholders should have similar opt-out rights as dissenting union members.
Read the whole thing. This is going to be an on-going debate for many months and years to come and an essential issue if unions are to flourish in the American public and private-sector.
July 17, 2012
Smaller Government = Fewer Jobs for Women
As Republicans continue to call for smaller government, Sarah Damaske explains at Psychology Today that the labor-market effect of any such downsizing will be felt primarily by women:
Although men were more likely than women to lose jobs during the Great Recession, nearly three years later, women continue to be recovering jobs at a slower pace. Analysis released this month by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research shows that women have recovered approximately 40 percent of jobs lost from 2007-2010, while men have recovered approximately 46 percent of jobs lost during that period. The primary explanation behind this deficit: public sector job loss.
Women are more likely than men to be employed in the public sector—in jobs such as teachers, librarians, and municipal workers—and the public sector has steadily lost jobs since the official end of the recession three years ago. In fact, the National Women’s Law Center released a report this month found that for women, for every 10 jobs added by the private sector, 4 jobs have been lost in the public sector. Men, on the other hand, have lost only 1 job in the public sector for every 10 jobs added by the private sector.
May 31, 2012
Employee Handbook Version 2.Awesome
I've been meaning to post about this for awhile, and teaching the unit on U.S. Employment Law to my summer students gives me the perfect opportunity. Earlier this spring, the employee handbook from Valve, a gaming company, was floating around the blogs and twitter. It's unusual in that it doesn't talk about the kinds of things we're all used to seeing in handbooks--no policies (exactly), description of benefits (in the usual sense), or disciplinary structure. Instead, it's an introduction into a workplace culture that at least portrays itself as flat (no hierarchy), with work driven by each worker and projects developing organically. The handbook is useful for a couple of things--first as a breath of fresh air, it shows alternative work arrangements might look like. Also, I think I have some serious job envy, although in a lot of ways, it describes what our jobs as law profs are like. Second, it would be a great platform to talk about all of those contract issues that employee handbooks usually raise (sort of the anti-Hoffmann-LaRoche handbook that Rachel Arnow-Richman, Denver, uses to teach transactional skills in employment law), or other issues, like the fact that the figures and cartoons of employees show almost no women, and no people of color, male or female. Anyway, here's the pdf version: Download Valve_Handbook_LowRes
May 23, 2012
Co-Authored Scholarship and Baboon Hierarchies
Michael Kraus discusses in Psychology Today how studies of baboon hierarchies help inform whether co-authored scholarship projects, especially those involving multiple co-authors, are likely to be successful. The take-away: Fewer co-authors are usually better than more, and it helps if there is a clearly defined hierarchy among the co-authors. For more, see More Teammates or Less [sic] Teammates?
May 03, 2012
Kim on Electronic Privacy & Ee Speech
Pauline Kim (Washington U. - St. Louis) has just posted on SSRN her article (forthcoming 2012 Chicago-Kent L. Rev.) Electronic Privacy and Employee Speech. Here's the abstract:
The boundary between work and private life is blurring as a result of changes in the organization of work and advances in technology. Current privacy law is ill-equipped to address these changes and as a result, employees’ privacy in their electronic communications is only weakly protected from employer scrutiny. At the same time, the law increasingly protects certain socially valued forms of employee speech. In particular, collective speech, speech that enforces workplace regulations and speech that deters or reports employer wrong-doing are explicitly protected by law from employer reprisals. These two developments — weak protection of employee privacy and increased protection for some socially valued forms of employee speech — are at odds because privacy and speech are closely connected. As privacy scholars have emphasized, protecting privacy promotes speech values by granting individuals space to explore and test new ideas, and to associate with like-minded others — activities that are often important precursors to public speech. Similarly, in the workplace context, some measure of privacy to explore ideas and communicate with others may be necessary to ensure that employees actually speak out in socially valued ways. Ironically, then, the law is simultaneously expecting more from employee speech and protecting employee privacy less, even though the latter may be necessary to produce the former.
April 17, 2012
Happy Equal Pay Day
March 21, 2012
Cunningham-Parmeter on Federalism and Immigration
Apropos of yesterday's federalism decision in the FMLA/11th Amendment context, Keith Cunningham-Parmeter (Willamette) has a nice piece on federalism in immigration laws: Forced Federalism: States as Laboratories of Immigration Reform. Here's the abstract:
This Article questions the experimental value of state immigration laws. Analyzing the Supreme Court’s major decisions in this area, including Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, the Article explains why state immigration laws fail to satisfy two necessary conditions of effective experimentation: internalization and replication. When states internalize costs, other jurisdictions can effectively evaluate outcomes. Replication occurs when states take diverse approaches to common problems. Unfortunately, state immigration laws do not meet these criteria because states operate in a system of “forced federalism”: a division of power between the two levels of government in which subnational jurisdictions attempt to force the federal government to accept state-defined immigration enforcement schemes. But as states thrust their chosen levels of immigration control on the federal government, their potential to innovate on immigration matters is quite restricted. Essentially, forced federalism limits states to a narrow set of enforcement decisions based on federally defined norms — far from the type of diverse testing associated with true innovation.
Today’s state immigration laws also fail to internalize costs — another condition of successful subnational tests. Restrictionist states that encourage unauthorized immigrants to resettle in other jurisdictions export the economic damage they claim illegal immigration causes. In addition to economic spillovers, laboratory states export social costs to the nation by fundamentally altering the concept of a shared national identity. For example, when immigrants flee restrictionist states in order to avoid racial profiling or harassment, the national commitment to values such as egalitarianism and nondiscrimination is weakened. These harms are not confined to restrictionist states but are felt by the nation as a whole.
Not all subjects are ripe for local experimentation and not all tests produce valid results. Despite the appealing image of states as laboratories, today’s immigration experiments will not advance the nation’s ongoing search for sounder immigration policies.
Very timely issue and thoughtful piece!
February 28, 2012
Facebook as Job Predictor
I am cross-posting, with permission, Bill Henderson's post on The Legal Whiteboard (if you haven't checked out the Whiteboard blog, take a look -- it's a great resource on the marketplace for legal education; if you haven't heard Bill speak on the economics of legal education, invite him to speak at your school. His data-driven message is sobering to say the least.).
An interesting study on Facebook as a job predictor is making the rounds on the internet. It is a serious study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology. Perhaps its most interesting feature is that it maps the content of participants' Facebook pages onto scales for the Big Five personality traits.
The Big Five are the five very broad but stable personality traits that have emerged from over 50 years of psychological research on personality and job performance. The Big Five are sometimes summarized by the acronym OCEAN: Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism (this last measure is often referred to as Emotional Stability, which has a less clinical ring). Each of the Big Five traits is typically comprised of four of five subconstructs. (Go to this link to take for free the same Big Five assessment used in the study.)
The Big Five are connected to research on lawyers through the landmark Shultz-Zedeck Predicting Lawyer Effectiveness study. One of the personality assessments utilized by Shultz and Zedeck was the Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI), which is seven-scale instrument based on the Big Five. Shultz and Zedeck identified 26 lawyer effectiveness factors and subsequently assembled a sample of peer and supervisor evaluations on over 1,100 graduates of UC Berkeley and UC Hastings. The HPI scales were positively correlated at statistically significant levels with a combined 25 of 26 effectiveness factors. In contrast, academic predictors (UGPA, LSAT and 1st year grades) were correlated with a combined total of 11 effectiveness factors, albeit two of the correlations were negative.
One of the limitations of most personality tests is the self-reported nature of the data. The test-taker is often interested in managing impressions. In contrast, the test adminstrators are trying to measure the respondents' actual attitudes and behaviors. Well, on that count, Facebook reveals quite a bit. In fact, raters with a mere two hours of training obtained Big Five measures of study participants' personalities that were (a) strongly correlated with the self-reported measures but (b) better predictors of subsequent job performance.
The implication? Someday a computer spider may be mining Facebook pages to create employability profiles on job candidates. Such a product may be too cheap and too useful for employers to ignore -- potentially better and faster, and less discriminatory, than the current ubquitious Google search.
February 14, 2012
Public Hearings Tomorrow on Pregnancy and Caregiver Issues
The EEOC will hold public hearings tomorrow on pregnancy and caregiver discrimination. From the press release,
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will hold a public meeting on the subject of pregnancy discrimination and caregiver issues at 9:30 a.m. (Eastern Time) Wednesday, Feb. 15, at agency headquarters, 131 M Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. In accordance with the Sunshine Act, the meeting is open for public observation of the Commission’s deliberations.
At the meeting, the Commission will examine recent trends in discrimination against pregnant workers and workers with caregiving responsibilities, examining these two forms of discrimination as a continuum. The Commission is scheduled to hear from the following invited panelists:
Panel 1: Understanding Pregnancy and Caregiver Discrimination in Today’s Workplace
- Dr. Stephen Benard, Professor of Sociology, Indiana University (via VTC from our Indianapolis District Office)
- Sharon Terman, Senior Staff Attorney, Gender Equity Program, The Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center
- Maryann Parker, Associate General Counsel, Service Employees International Union
- Lynn Friss Feinberg, Senior Strategic Policy Advisor, AARP Public Policy Institute
- Deane Ilukowicz, Vice President for Human Resources, Hypertherm
Panel 2: Statutory Framework and Enforcement Efforts
- EEOC’s General Counsel P. David Lopez will provide introductory remarks.
- Peggy Mastroianni, Legal Counsel, EEOC
- Melvina Ford, Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of the Administrator, Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor
- Emily Martin, Vice President and General Counsel, National Women’s Law Center
Panel 3: The Way Forward: Implications for the Future
- Judy Lichtman, National Partnership for Women and Families
- Joan Williams, Distinguished Professor of Law, UC Hastings Foundation Chair, Director of the Center for WorkLife Law
Seating is limited and it is suggested that visitors arrive 30 minutes before the meeting in order to be processed through security and escorted to the meeting room.
February 09, 2012
Lactation is Not a Condition Related to Pregnancy Says S.D. Tex.
Earlier this month, the EEOC lost a sex discrimination case on summary judgment, EEOC v. Houston Funding. The employee in that case alleged that she was fired for asking to be able to pump breastmilk upon her return to work after giving birth. The district court judge held that even though discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions is a violation of Title VII, that once the employee gave birth, she had no more pregnancy-related conditions and that therefore firing someone on the basis of lactation or pumping breastmilk could not be sex discrimination, citing these other district court decisions in support: Puente v. Ridge, No. M-04.267, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46624, at *1I-12 (S.D. Tex. July 6, 2005); Martinez v. NBC Inc., 49 F. Supp. 2d 305, 311 (S.D.N.Y. 1999); Jacobson v. Regent Assisted Living, Inc., No. CV-98-564-ST, 1999 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7680, at *30 (D. Or. Apr. 9, 1999; Wallace v. Pyro Mining Co., 789 F . Supp. 867, 869 (W.D. Ky. 1990).
The judge did not address whether lactation was a condition related to childbirth, the noun that comes between pregnancy and the phrase "other medical conditions," which seems rather problematic for the judge's reasoning. I could see the argument that lactation is not necessarily a "medical" condition, because that suggests dysfunction rather than a natural consequence of pregnancy and childbirth, but that was not what the judge appeared to rely on. Joan Willams (U.C. Hastings) has a great counterargument to that in this news story summarizing the woman's claim. She links breastfeeding to transferring immunities from mother to child, and refers to the medical complications like mastitis that can arise when mothers cannot breastfeed or express milk.
Interestingly, the facts of the order read very differently from the facts that the employee is alleging (see the EEOC complaint here). While I can't find a copy of the summary judgment documents to be sure, it looks as if the judge has not viewed the facts in the light most favorable to the EEOC. I see an appeal on the horizon here.
February 04, 2012
Karin on Workplace Flexibility & the Military
Marcy Karin (ASU) and Katie Onachila have just posted on SSRN their article (American U. LEL Forum, 2012) The Military's Workplace Flexibility Framework. Here's the abstract:
The return of combat troops from Iraq provides a valuable catalyst to take stock of the use of workplace flexibility in the U.S. military and for other employers supporting the military community. Workplace flexibility is a tool the military can use to support its operations, improve the recruitment and retention of military personnel, and fulfill its obligation to support veterans and military families. While the unique mission critical needs of the military are an inescapable variable when creating workplace flexibility policies, the military must meet the workplace flexibility needs of its services members and their families to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of the Armed Forces. This article provides an overview of the legal framework for workplace flexibility for the military community, and observations about themes evolving from those laws.
January 26, 2012
CEPR Report on Low Wage Work
The Center for Economic and Policy Research, a progressive economic thinktank, has issued a report on low wage work in rich countries. Low Wage Lessons compares the percentage of the workforce in low wage work, the strength of collective bargaining, and the level of social safety net, among other things, in developed countries. From the press release:
The experience of the United States stands primarily as a model for how not to succeed in reducing low-wage work. The United States has the lowest unionization rate among rich countries, a weak minimum wage, a stingy benefits system, and the highest rate of low-wage work among rich economies. About one-fourth of U.S. workers are in low-wage jobs, according to the standard international definition of low-wage work of earning less than two-thirds of the national median wage. (The median wage is the wage received by the worker exactly in the middle of the wage distribution.)
In the United States, the minimum wage and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) are the two most important policies in place to fight low pay. But, the report argues that they have largely been ineffective.
"The minimum wage and the EITC could be excellent tools to fight low-wage work," [John] Schmitt[, the author of the report,] said, "but, they have been set far too low to make a difference."
The report also emphasizes that low pay is only the most obvious problem facing low-wage workers in the United States. Low-wage workers are also far less likely to have health insurance, paid sick days, paid family leave and other benefits that are common in higher-wage jobs.
And from the web summary of the report,
Over the last two decades, high – and, in some countries, rising – rates of low-wage work have emerged as a major political concern. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in 2009, about one-fourth of U.S. workers were in low-wage jobs, defined as earning less than two-thirds of the national median hourly wage (see first figure below). About one-fifth of workers in the United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, and Germany were receiving low wages by the same definition. In all but a handful of the rich OECD countries, more than 10 percent of the workforce was in a low-wage job.
If low-wage jobs act as a stepping stone to higher-paying work, then even a relatively high share of low-wage work may not be a serious social problem. If, however, as appears to be the case in much of the wealthy world, low-wage work is a persistent and recurring state for many workers, then low-wages may contribute to broader income and wealth inequality and constitute a threat to social cohesion. This report draws five lessons on low-wage work from the recent experiences of the United States and other rich economies in the OECD.
Lots of interesting data and analysis.