The signing of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 decreased workplace deaths and injuries in the United States. Signed by President Richard Nixon more than fifty years ago, the purpose of the law is to secure “safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources.” One reason for enacting the law was to address the substantial financial burden that workplace injuries and illnesses put on interstate commerce. However, it is estimated that as of 2018, employers still spent an average of 1 billion dollars per week on workers’ compensation costs. This high price of workplace injuries can be reduced through more rigorous education and training for employees. Employers should be required to implement increased training and education to employees. Doing so would strengthen OSHA’s regulatory effect with a decrease in workplace incidents and the high price associated with them.
Despite the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, many Americans are still returning to the office. Kastle Systems, a large security services provider, reported that an average of 32.1 percent of employees across ten big cities were returning to work as of August 11, 2021. On August 23, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) granted full approval to Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine. Polls have shown that the FDA approval will lead to an increase in vaccinations. While many people are not going back to the office, most Americans do have plans to return to work. As a result, employers are working to create return-to-work plans, while employees are left wondering about the extent of their rights. The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) covers employers with 15 or more employees, including government employers, agencies, and labor organizations. The ADA imposes restrictions on the amount and type of medical information that an employer may obtain from an employee or applicant in order to prevent discrimination on the basis of a disability. The ADA has been dissected to better understand the regulations that govern the return to the workplace.
On Friday, April 9th, Amazon successfully withstood the largest push for unionization yet for its U.S. workers when its Bessemer, Ala. warehouse employees voted ‘no’ to unionizing. The final tally of ballots showed only 738 votes in favor of joining the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (“RWDSU”) compared to 1,798 votes against it. After a tally, any party may file objections to the conduct of the election or to conduct affecting the election’s results—and the RWDSU is doing just that.
In February 2021, McKinsey and Company’s 650 global partners turned down Kevin Sneader’s bid for a second three-year term as the firm’s lead partner. The rejection marked the first time in 40 years the storied consulting firm has opted not to offer its leader a second term. The vote came as McKinsey struggles to reconcile its lucrative business model with a series of ethical lapses that have been widely reported in the press, litigated in the courts, and questioned by some of the firm’s next generation of leaders.
On March 11, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced plans to rescind two final rules that the Biden Administration said would have significantly weakened protections for workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act(“FLSA”).
As March starts and we enter Women’s History Month, Time Magazine, The New York Times, National Public Radio, CNBC, The Washington Post, and more wrote articles on the unique and disproportionate effects that COVID-19 has had on women. However, by focusing exclusively on the effect of COVID-19 on women, we ignore the impacts faced by gender non-binary people. This approach leaves many people to continue to be disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, as economic impacts cannot be addressed and answered, if they are not first acknowledged.
The United States’ current systems and its response to COVID-19 has failed to serve many people, in fact, the pandemic has amplified existing economic and social inequalities. If we are to resolve these inequalities, instead of focusing on the disproportionate effects experienced by cis-gender women, the focus should shift towards marginalized people, such as, cis and transgender women, and non-binary individuals. This article takes a limited approach due to its length, and it focuses on the effects COVID-19 has had on women, and the transgender and non-binary community, where the United States needs to acknowledge the economic inequalities these people face and change the current systems.
Friday, March 12, 2021 Symposium Summary This year’s virtual Symposium will bring together practitioners to examine current issues in Labor & Employment compliance with particular attention to issues arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. Practitioners will reflect on a variety of concerns facing employment professionals as advisor, employer, and client. Cost & CLE CLE credit will …
On February 8, 2021, Henry Moniz joined Facebook as their first Chief Compliance Officer. Moniz previously held the position of Chief Compliance Officer and Chief Audit Executive of Viacom after the company merged with CBS. A Chief Compliance Officer is the officer responsible for managing regulatory compliance problems in a company or organization. Facebook already has a compliance group but has never appointed a Chief Compliance Officer. The appointment came after the Federal Trade Commission approved a five billion dollar settlement with Facebook in July of 2019. Facebook has been at the other end of many antitrust lawsuits in connection with their acquisition of potential competitors such as Instagram and WhatsApp. These conflicts likely brought them to hire a Chief Compliance Officer in order to solve issues arising around compliance.
Over 40.3 million Americans have already received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine with a current average of 1.67 million doses administered per day. With a falling infection rate and the vaccine rollout entering a new stage, employers are reexamining their plans to safely return to the office.
On November 17, 2020, Chicago Public School (“CPS”) announced that in January 2021, CPS would have its first week of in-person learning since March of 2020. Upon the announcement, CPS parents had mixed reactions to the district’s plan to bring some students back, where some expressed excitement about the positive effect of in-person learning on their kids social and mental health, while others like the Grassroots Education Movement voiced concerns that the district had not done enough to make schools COVID-19 safe.
The return to in-person learning has been controversial and filled with conflict between teachers and the Chicago Teachers Union (“CTU”) versus the district. CTU expressed that it does not trust the district to keep the teachers and students safe, and the CTU released a statement that 71 percent of its teachers voted to continue remote learning instruction. Even with these concerns, CPS made the return by teachers mandatory. During its first week in-person, over 150 educators have been AWOL, having not shown up to school. Since then, the teachers’ protest has only become louder. CPS responded by docking the pay and locking teachers out of their remote learning platforms. Intense debate surrounds the topic, but the underlying legal principle remains, CPS cannot deny students a Free Appropriate Public Education (“FAPE”), guaranteed by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), while CPS engages in a labor dispute with the CTU.