Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Bloggers Beware: Firms Starting To Take Action in the Workplace

Pat Broderick starts his San Diego Business Journal article, Bloggers Beware: Firms Starting To Take Action in the Workplace, with the following:

You’re sitting in the privacy of your home, messing around on your personal computer, working out your anger and frustration in a “blog,” or online message board. Maybe you’re just having a little fun — at a co-worker’s, or even the company’s, expense. So, what’s the harm?

But what if your supposedly harmless blogging causes your company’s stock to fall, or otherwise damages its reputation?

Read on.

August 31, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Family Law Prof Blog Launched

The Law Professor Blogs Network is pleased to announce the launch of its latest blog: Family Law Prof Blog, edited by Barbara Glesner Fines (Missouri-Kansas City), Robert E. Oliphant (William Mitchell), and Nancy Ver Steegh (William Mitchell).

Like the other blogs in our network, Family Law Prof Blog combines combine both (1) permanent resources and links, and (2) daily news and information.  Our editors are leading scholars and teachers who are committed to providing the web destination for law professors in their fields.  I hope you will check out the blogs in your areas and become regular visitors.

Family Law Prof Blog joins our existing blogs:

AntitrustProf Blog (since 10/18/04)
Shubha Ghosh (SUNY Buffalo)

Business Law Prof Blog (since 5/2/05)
Dale Oesterle (Ohio State)

Chinese Law Prof Blog (since 5/30/05)
by Donald C. Clarke (George Washington)

Clinical Law Prof Blog (since 5/25/05)
Pamela R. Metzger (Tulane)
Katherine Maris Mattes (Tulane)

ContractsProf Blog (Official Blog of the AALS Contracts Section) (since 11/4/04)
Carol L. Chomsky (Minnesota)
Frank Snyder (Texas-Wesleyan)

Corporate Compliance Prof Blog (since 5/24/05)
Paul R. McGreal (South Texas)

CrimProf Blog (since 11/1/04)
Gabriel J. (Jack) Chin (Arizona)
Mark A. Godsey (Cincinnati)

Elder Law Prof Blog (since 5/2/05)
Kim Dayton (William Mitchell)

Environmental Law Prof Blog (since 5/25/05)
Susan L. Smith (Willamette)

Health Law Prof Blog (since 11/8/04)
S. Elizabeth Malloy (Cincinnati)
Thomas W. Mayo (SMU)

LaborProf Blog (since 10/1/04)
Rafael Gely (Cincinnati)

Law Librarian Blog (since 1/1/05)
Joseph A. Hodnicki (Cincinnati)

Law School Academic Support Blog (since 2/1/05)
Dennis Tonsing (Roger Williams)

Leiter's Law School Reports (since 8/1/05)
Brian R. Leiter (Texas)

Media Law Prof Blog (since 1/14/05)
Cristina A. Corcos (LSU)

Sentencing Law & Policy Blog (since 6/28/04)
Douglas A. Berman (Ohio State)

TaxProf Blog (since 4/15/04)
Paul L. Caron (Cincinnati)

Tech Law Prof Blog (since 2/15/05)
Jonathan Ezor (Touro)
Michelle Zakarin (Touro)

White Collar Crime Prof Blog (since 11/1/04)
Peter J. Henning (Wayne State)
Ellen S. Podgor (Stetson, 2005-06, Georgia State)

Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (since 1/24/05)
Gerry W. Beyer (Texas Tech)

August 30, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Foreman Not a Supervisor

BNA is reporting on a recent NLRB decision. In Pacific Beach Corp., 344 NLRB No. 140, 177 LRRM 1289 (July 29, 2005), the Board denied the Union's challenge to maintenance foreman's ballot on ground that he is supervisor, even though he initialed employees' vacation request forms, was involved in scheduling employees' work, could ask employees to work overtime, received work requests from other departments and distributed those requests among employees, and checked to see if employees were doing their work properly and directed them to redo it if done incorrectly, where only his supervisor could approve vacation and time-off requests, he worked from "boilerplate" schedule and made weekly changes according to his supervisor's instructions, he did not have authority to require overtime, and mere distribution of routine tasks and monitoring the way each task was performed does not rise to level of supervisory status, absent evidence that qualifications and abilities are weighed.

August 25, 2005 in Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Employment Dispute Impedes Cancer Research Project

According to, Dr. Young Ko sued Johns Hopkins and four colleagues in June claiming she was discriminated against and her research was impeded because she is an Asian woman with a successful project. The plaintiff also alleges that her colleagues stole her research. The Johns Hopkins researcher has been able to eliminate advanced liver cancer in lab animals using an inexpensive drug named 3-bromopyruvate.

Johns Hopkins denies the allegations, stating in court papers that it declined to renew Ko's three-year contract "in view of her lack of collegiality, cooperation, insubordination, and her hostile and insulting attacks directed at ... senior faculty members."

Meanwhile human trials based on Dr. Ko's discovery are on hold. Not a good thing.

- Joe Hodnicki

August 24, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Professor Finkin Inducted into College of Labor and Employment Lawyers

Professor Matthew Finkin, the Albert J. Harno Professor of Law at the University of Illinois, was formally inducted earlier this month as a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. This honor is reserved for the nation’s elite in the field of labor and employment law and only bestowed on individuals who have demonstrated a long and prolific contribution to the practice of labor and employment law

Professor Finkin, an internationally renowned scholar in labor law, has taught courses in labor and employment law at the UI College of Law since 1988. Read more about it.

August 23, 2005 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 22, 2005

Will Organized Labor's Center of Gravity Shift to China?

BusinessWeek Online is reporting on the development of a grassroots labor movement in China. See Waking Up To Their Rights.

See also the Business Week interview with Lee Cheuk Yan, General Secretary of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions.

August 22, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NBER Report on Work Disability Reporting

Work Disability is a Pain in the *****, Especially in England, The Netherlands, and the United States by James Banks, Arie Kapteyn, James P. Smith, Arthur van Soest  - 11558

Abstract: This paper investigates the role of pain in determining self-reported work disability in the US, the UK and The Netherlands. Even if identical questions are asked, cross-country differences in reported work disability remain substantial. In the US and the Netherlands, respondent evaluations of work limitations of hypothetical persons described in pain vignettes are used to identify the extent to which differences in self-reports between countries or socio-economic groups are due to systematic variation in the response scales.

- Joe Hodnicki

August 22, 2005 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Whistleblowing, Who Do You Call?

In Outside, Looking In, John H. Hermann and William H. Kimball (Morgan, Lewis & Bockius) reviews, perhaps, the two most important decisions in-house counsel faces after receiving information from a whistleblower: (1) to investigate or not and (2) to conduct the investigation internally or retain outside counsel to investigate the whistleblower's claims.

- Joe Hodnicki

August 18, 2005 in Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

San Diego Police Office Sue for Overtime Pay

The Voice of San Diego is reporting that San Diego police officers are claiming police administrators refused to compensate officers for job-related activities they perform out of uniform, such as getting ready for court appearances and preparing investigative reports at home. The federal class-action suit seeks a jury award of $120 million or more for police officers who have been denied overtime pay and were misinformed as to what they can claim as overtime under federal labor law.

August 18, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Treasury and IRS Issue Guidance on Employee-Owned Tools

On August 3, 2005 the Treasury Department and the IRS issued a revenue ruling and a notice concerning the application of the accountable plan rules to employee-owned tools. 

From the press release:

Previously, the Treasury and the IRS clarified that such reimbursements must satisfy the accountable plan rules - expenses reimbursed under an accountable plan are excluded from income and wages; expenses that are reimbursed under a non-accountable plan are taxable.

The new revenue ruling clarifies that employers using accountable plans to reimburse employees for the cost of providing tools must substantiate the expenses reimbursed and, to the extent the plan    provides payments before expenses are incurred, the plan requires the employee to return amounts in excess of the substantiated expenses. In particular, the ruling clarifies that an accountable plan may not use estimates to substantiate the amount of the expenses.

In addition to the ruling, Treasury and the IRS are issuing a notice regarding criteria for considering proposals involving employer reimbursements of equipment expenses for the Service's Industry Issue Resolution (IIR) program. The notice identifies factors that would be considered in determining that the existing accountable plan rules are unworkable for an industry and thus relief may be appropriate. The notice also states that the mere cost of collecting records, substantiating expenses, and reconciling the expenses against reimbursements would not constitute grounds for relief from the requirements of the accountable plan rules

Revenue Ruling   |  Notice

- Joe Hodnicki

August 18, 2005 in Beltway Developments | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Recent Publications on Retirement Security Policy

A list of recent publications on retirement security policy by the Brookings Institution and the National Academy of Social Insurance is available on Law Librarian Blog.

August 17, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

GAO Report on National Security Personnel System

Washington Post Columnist Stephan Barr reports that a GAO report recently provided to Congress recomments that the Pentagon needs to  create a comprehensive communications strategy to employees and unions as it prepares to launch the National Security Personnel System. Defense unions content that one of the NSPS's key changes is designed to weaken collective bargaining rights.

August 16, 2005 in Government Reports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Basic Materials on The Small Business Health Fairness Act, H.R. 525 as passed by the House

The Small Business Health Fairness Act (H.R. 525) would create association health plans (AHPs), allowing small businesses to band together through associations and purchase health care for employees and their families at a lower cost.  The House passed the bill on July 27th. The roll call was  263-165, with the support of 36 Democrats.

Here's some down 'n dirty research:

Bill as Passed House: HTML | PDF

House Report 109-041: HTML | PDF 

CRS Bill Summary

CBO Cost Estimate

- Joe Hodnicki

August 16, 2005 in Beltway Developments | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 15, 2005

Child Labor Coalition

The Child Labor Coalition (CLC) exists to serve as a national network for the exchange of information about child labor; to provide a forum and a unified voice on protecting working minors and ending child labor exploitation; and to develop informational and educational outreach to the public and private sectors to combat child labor abuses and promote progressive initiatives and legislation. In addition to promoting information regarding the Coalition’s political campaigns, the CLC website offers visitors information about proposed and pending U.S. federal legislation on child labor, and links to related U.S. initiatives and agency reports.  Researchers will be interested in the site’s large section on child labor in the U.S., including state-by-state surveys.  The Coalition’s site also focuses on child labor around the world, providing links to best practices reports, as well as international treaties, conventions, and initiatives.

Source: Cornell Law Library, InSite (August 15, 2005)

August 15, 2005 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Homeland Security Blocked from Unilaterally Implementing New Work Rules

The Washington Post is reporting that a decision Friday by U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer  has blocked plans to revise personnel and pay rules at the Department of Homeland Security, saying the government-wide change of labor rules fails to protect workers' right to bargain collectively. At issue are employee assignments and technology use.

- Joe Hodnicki

August 14, 2005 in Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 12, 2005

Hair Salons Sued Over Alleged Language Ban

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the operators of 22 Supercuts hair salons in the Chicago area barred Hispanic employees from speaking Spanish to one another even while on break, a federal lawsuit alleged Thursday.

The suit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accused the owners of the stores, Primps L.L.C. and Management Advantage Group Inc., of discriminating on the basis of national origin with their "English only" rule.

August 12, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sutter Health's Lockout Ruled an Unfair Labor Practice

Sacbee, the online division of The Sacramento Bee, is reporting that the NLRB's general counsel has determined that eight Bay Area Sutter Health centers violated federal labor law by locking out union employees for four days following their one-day strike last December.

August 12, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Birmingham to Spend Millions to Fix ADA Violations

The Associated Press is reporting that Birmingham officials have reached an agreement with the DOL to spend millions of dollars to bring city facilities into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. A DOL inspection in December found more than one thousand violations of ADA guidelines at 53 city buildings.

August 12, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Whirlpool Corp. Agrees to Pay $850,000 in Back Wages to Settle Discrimination Claims

The Department of Labor is reporting that Whirlpool has enter into a consent decree that settles the DOL's allegations that Whirlpool engaged in hiring discrimination from March 1, 1997 to February 28, 1998. The company admits no liability. In addition to paying the back wages, Whirlpool will hire 48 of the rejected African-American applicants.

- Joe Hodnicki

August 11, 2005 in Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Census Bureau Report Shows New York Leads in Wages, Los Angeles in Number of Businesses

The US Census just released the 2003 County Business Patterns. Findings include:

"New York County (Manhattan), N.Y., had the highest payroll per employee among the nation's largest counties, while Los Angeles County, Calif., had the highest number of business establishments, according to 2003 County Business Patterns, released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. The updated report contains a variety of information on businesses in more than 1,000 industries from the national level down to states and more than 3,100 counties. It provides data on the number of establishments, number of employees and quarterly and annual payroll based on the 2002 North American Industry Classification System."

Summary | Full Report

- Joe Hodnicki

August 11, 2005 in Government Reports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)