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  • Los Angeles-based Farmers Insurance to pay more than $1.5 million in back wages to nearly 3,500 employees following US Labor Department investigation

    Systemic labor violations found throughout call centers in Florida, Kansas, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas

    LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles-based Farmers Insurance Inc. has agreed to pay $1,520,705 in overtime back wages to 3,459 employees following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division that disclosed significant and systemic violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime and record-keeping provisions. Violations occurred at 11 customer service call centers located in Florida, Kansas, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas.

  • Boost minimum wage, boost U.S. economy

    business sense minimum wageTwo years ago this week, 4.5 million of America’s workers enjoyed a modest pay increase, as the federal minimum wage rose from $6.55 to $7.25 an hour. The increase was the final of a three-step boost enacted in 2007. Of those getting a bump in pay, more than three-quarters were adults, nearly two-thirds were women, and nearly a half-million were single parents with children under 18.

  • Interviewing 2011 - Bring Gifts

    Jacqueline ThorpInterviewing is a necessary evil. There are numerous books written about the topic and thousands of self-proclaimed experts who try to prep us so we're ready to handle any conceivable question.

    Those are great resources and have helped millions of job candidates around the world land the job of their dreams. The reality is, however, that jobs are more competitive than ever before and the traditional interview is changing.

    You're not going to land the perfect job by just having a solid resume anymore; you need to find ways to differentiate yourself.

  • EEOC is reconsidering their policy regarding Criminal Background Checks

    Striking the Balance Between Workplace Fairness and Workplace Safety

    Removing Arbitrary Bars to Hiring People with Arrest and Conviction Records Improves Job Availability, Lowers Crime and Social Costs, Experts Tell EEOC

    WASHINGTON -- Employers often refuse to hire people with arrest and conviction records even years after they have completed their sentences, leading to recidivism and higher social services costs, experts told the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at a meeting today at agency headquarters.

  • Early Retiree Reinsurance Program Helping Retirees and Employers

    HealthcareRising costs have made it difficult for employers to provide quality, affordable health coverage for workers and retirees.

    Many Americans who retire without employer-sponsored insurance and before they are eligible for Medicare see their life savings disappear because of exorbitant premiums or inadequate coverage in the individual market. Americans shouldn’t be forced to choose between health insurance and retirement.

  • Kill Two Pension Birds with One Stone

    Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, spoke to MSNBC about Social Security and said: "Two decades from now, I'm willing to take a look at it, but I'm not willing to take a look at it right now. It is not in crisis at this stage. Leave Social Security alone. We have a lot of other places we can look that is in crisis."

    Senator Reid's remarks may kill the hopes that Social Security reforms will occur any time soon.

  • N.J. accent is the most hated by HR professionals

    Jersey ShoreAfter college, East Coast native Susan Bender Phelps, president of Odyssey Mentoring, moved to Southern California.

    Her first job was as a telephone solicitor selling solar hot water heating systems. After being on the job just two hours, her manager called me into her office and said, "You cannot talk to people like that! Your accent and the fast-talking are scaring people. Slow down and lose the accent, or you will not be able to work here."

  • Former Owners of MA Temporary Employment Agency Charged in Massive Cash Payroll Scheme

    BOSTON, Mass.- Two former owners of a Stoughton temporary employment agency were convicted late yesterday of paying more than $25 million in unreported cash to their employees as part of a conspiracy to avoid paying $7 million in taxes and hundreds of thousands dollars in workers compensation insurance premiums.

  • Data Breaches - Businesses More Concerned With Reputation Than Fines

    CyberCrimeThere has been an epidemic of data breaches in recent months, prompting action in the United States Congress to introduce new legislation to protect consumer data. A recent survey, however, found that most businesses are more concerned with their own brand integrity and reputation than whatever punitive damages might result from compliance mandates.

  • Are pesky sales calls interrupting your recruiting day?

    altTurn them into revenue with this technique.

    Whether you have a gatekeeper or not we all get sales calls that eventually leak through to our desk.

    Consider all these interruptions that can disrupt the average recruiter’s day: 

  • There’s No Place Like a Home Office: Staples Survey Shows Telecommuters are Happier and Healthier, With 25% Less Stress When Working from Home

    staples advantageFRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Want happier, loyal and more productive employees? Send them home. According to a recent survey from Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, Inc., telecommuters say they feel and work better when working from home. In fact, 86 percent of telecommuters say they are more productive in their home office.

  • Oregon launches Wellness at Work

    Two years of collaboration between the Oregon Health Authority and business leaders has resulted in a new initiative called Wellness@Work. The initiative's

    Workplace wellness is important for workers to stay healthy, but also helps cut costs for businesses, especially welcome in the current economic climate. Healthy workers means less  absenteeism and lower costs for health care, disability and workers' compensation. While Oregon faces high unemployment and a budget shortfall, the state is spending 16% of the general fund budget on health care.

  • Has Hollywood met reality

    Turn on most of the talk shows these days and almost everyone in recent days has had Tom Hanks on promoting his new film Larry Crowne. For those of you not aware of the plot,Tom Hanks plays the part of an employee who often has been rated by management and fellow employees as the best employee of the month for a big-box retailer.

  • Speeding Labor Elections Unfair to Companies, Employers Say

    Speeding labor elections would deny companies a fair chance of persuading workers to reject organized representation, employers are telling U.S. regulators.

    The National Labor Relations Board, which investigates unfair-labor practices, is considering adoption of steps sought by unions that would lead to quicker votes. More than 60 speakers are scheduled to testify before the board on the proposed rule today and tomorrow.

  • Spam: Unwanted Text Messages and Email

    emailBackground

    Many consumers find unsolicited email – also known as spam – annoying and time-consuming. In addition, unwanted messages sent to wireless phones and other wireless devices can be intrusive and costly. In 2003, Congress enacted the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act to curb spam. As required by the Act, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted rules that prohibit sending unwanted commercial email messages to wireless devices without prior permission.

  • HR LunchBreak: Affecting the VALUE of Your Workforce

    As an HR professional, do you believe your work affects the value of your organization’s workforce?  That’s a bit of a complex question, so please considerate it carefully.  As you muddle through the minutia, or ponder how to develop a more strategic HR department, or approve and reject new employee programs or HR services, do you believe your daily activities and decisions directly affect how valuable your worforce is to your company?

  • Increasing Candidate Shelf-Life (Part 2 of 2)

    In part 1 of this article, I wrote about why it is so important to keep our candidate database current, really current!

    You can increase your candidate shelf-life through email, in particular, bur remember to limit your efforts. After all, sending a message that says, in so many words, "I want to know how to reach you!"can backfire when interpreted by a candidate as a self-serving ploy by a recruiter.

  • S.F. weighs protecting ex-cons seeking homes, jobs

    ex convicts, employment careers discriminationEx-convicts may soon become a "protected class" in San Francisco - joining African Americans, Latinos, gays, transgender people, pregnant women and the disabled.

    A proposal being circulated at City Hall would make it illegal for landlords and employers to discriminate against applicants solely because they were "previously incarcerated."

    Sex offenders and perpetrators of some violent crimes would not be covered.

  • A Review of the Supreme Court’s 2010 – 2011 Term

    altAs the United States Supreme Court’s 2010-2011 term drew to a close, commentators observed several trends in its holdings. In particular, cases involving the First Amendment dominated the term, and the Court imposed substantial barriers to class actions. These latter decisions, in particular, hold major implications for employers.

  • Employment Class Actions Survive Despite Wal-Mart Ruling

    employment class actionThe end of the road for a class-action discrimination lawsuit brought by female employees of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has not spelled doom for employment lawsuits facing other big U.S. companies.

    A landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision last month siding with the world’s largest retailer was widely seen as a blow to many other would-be class-action plaintiffs.

  • The U.S. has waged a war on jobs

    As long as Wall Street and venture capitalists continue to reward corporations for off-shoring and downsizing, we continue to play the fool when we express shock that the U.S. economy is not creating many new jobs.

    FORTUNE -- The U.S. seems to be shocked that its economy isn't creating many jobs, and each monthly report on the unemployment rate and the number of new jobs somehow stimulates more handwringing.

  • 10 middle-class jobs that are rapidly vanishing

    Travel agents, proofreaders, transit security all are seeing big declines

    “The American dream is dead for the majority of America,” financial guru Suze Orman told Forbes last year, speaking about her upcoming book "The Money Class."

    The dream she was referring to isn’t a Cinderella story. Rather, Orman believes the hope of someday owning a home, of working one job for life and retiring at 65 has been crushed by the financial crisis.

  • Analysis of the Supreme Court Ruling in Wal-Mart V. Dukes

    As noted in a prior alert on June 21, 2011, the Supreme Court ruled against the plaintiffs in Wal-Mart v. Dukes [2011 U.S. LEXIS 4567, 6/2011]. As noted in that alert, the ruling was unanimous on one issue and divided on another issue. The bottom line is that the plaintiffs have lost on the issue of class certification, and must now advance their cases individually. Bear with me as I recount the issues in this case.

  • DOJ sues company for discrimination during hiring process

    Justice Department Files Lawsuit Alleging Immigration-Related Employment Discrimination by Farmland Foods Inc. in Missouri

    WASHINGTON - The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit against Farmland Foods Inc., a major producer of pork products in the United States, alleging that it engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination by imposing unnecessary documentary requirements on non-U.S. citizens when establishing their authority to work in the United States. Farmland Foods, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods Inc., is headquartered in Kansas City, Mo. 

  • Verizon to Pay $20 Million to Settle Nationwide EEOC Disability Suit

    Largest ADA Settlement in EEOC History for Hundreds of Employees Terminated or Disciplined Based on Rigid Attendance Policy

    BALTIMORE – Telecommunications giant Verizon Communications will pay $20 million and provide significant equitable relief to resolve a nationwide class disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.  The suit, filed against 24 named subsidiaries of Verizon Communications, said the company unlawfully denied reasonable accommodations to hundreds of employees and disciplined and/or fired them pursuant to Verizon’s “no fault” attendance plans.

  • Fact Sheet - Break Time for Nursing Mothers under the FLSA

    wage and hour nursing mothers FLSAFact Sheet #73: Break Time for Nursing Mothers under the FLSA

    This fact sheet provides general information on the break time requirement for nursing mothers in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”), which took effect when the PPACA was signed into law on March 23, 2010 (P.L. 111-148).  This law amended Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

  • Pew Research : In Two Years of Economic Recovery, Women Lost Jobs, Men Found Them

    womenworkplace

    The sluggish recovery from the Great Recession has been better for men than for women. From the end of the recession in June 2009 through May 2011, men gained 768,000 jobs and lowered their unemployment rate by 1.1 percentage points to 9.5%.1 Women, by contrast, lost 218,000 jobs during the same period, and their unemployment rate increased by 0.2 percentage points to 8.5%, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

  • Justice Department Sues Nation’s Largest Mortgage Insurance Provider for Discrimination Against Women on Paid Maternity Leave

    WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today that it has sued the Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation (MGIC), the nation’s largest mortgage insurance company, and two of its underwriters, Elgina Cunningham and Kelly Kane, for violating the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against women on paid maternity leave.

  • Conflict is Inevitable. Combat is not!

    Why are we so afraid of conflict? Because we associate it with combat.

    Why are we afraid of combat? Because we don’t want to get hurt.

    In the workplace, the fear of conflict stunts creativity, growth and collaboration.So, if we want to get those three important ingredients for productivity and job satisfaction back, we need to learn how to manage conflict effectively for all concerned.

  • The Fiscal Impact of States' Anti-Immigrant Legislation

    It has been just over a year since the passage of Arizona’s ill-fated anti-immigrant law, S.B. 1070. In its wake, many states put copycat bills on their agendas for the 2011 legislative session. But as most states wrap up their legislative session for the year, only a handful (Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, and South Carolina) actually passed anti-immigrant bills, while 26 others rejected them.

  • California Supreme Court Expands Reach Of State Overtime Laws

    On June 30, 2011, the California Supreme Court ruled that work performed in California by nonresident employees for California-based employers is covered by the California Labor Code and its unfair competition laws. That means that employees residing in states outside California but working (even occasionally) in California may bring lawsuits against their California employers for unfair competition based on violations of California's generous overtime requirements. This is not good news for employers.

  • Hiring Bias Creates "Unemployed Professional to Poverty" Class

    "CEO to Food Stamps" is happening now in America

    AXcess News (Chicago) - Most professionals, and almost all executives, have learned to man or woman up in hard times.  They wear a mask that displays confidence and projects success to the world, because they know there’s no whining in business.

    The Great Recession has made executives a little more willing to be honest, but only if they are projecting a positive and confident “turn-around” future outlook no matter how dire the future may be in reality. 
  • Massive botnet 'indestructible,' say researchers

    4.5M-strong botnet 'most sophisticated threat today' to Windows PCs

    Computerworld - A new and improved botnet that has infected more than four million PCs is "practically indestructible," security researchers say.

    "TDL-4," the name for both the bot Trojan that infects machines and the ensuing collection of compromised computers,

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HCX Facts

US investment in the Netherlands from 2000 to 2010 was nine times more than US investment in China during the same period. US investment in the UK was more than seven times more, and in Ireland nearly three times more, than in China. (Source: Transatlantic Economy 2011

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