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Monday, December 22, 2014

Companies face new requirements from OSHA in 2015

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced a final rule requiring employers to notify OSHA when an employee is killed on the job or suffers a work-related hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye. The rule, which also updates the list of employers partially exempt from OSHA record-keeping requirements, will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2015, for workplaces under federal OSHA jurisdiction.



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Chamber welcomes PennStuart as newest member

The Floyd County Chamber of Commerce would like to welcome its newest member. The origins of the PennStuart firm date back to the 1890s and throughout years the firm's business-oriented approach has attracted many leading corporations in the region.



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Kentucky's jobless rate drops to 6 percent in November

Kentucky's seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate dropped to its lowest rate in more than six years in November 2014 at 6 percent from a revised 6.2 percent in October 2014, according to the Office of Employment and Training , an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. This is the lowest rate for the state since April 2008 when it was 5.9 percent.



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Affordable Care Act Considerations in Mergers and Acquisitions

With the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010 and the potential imposition of significant penalties, companies that are involved in or are considering a merger or acquisition should be focusing their attention on group health plan issues. This article describes the ACA issues that should be considered.



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Weekly Update Newsletter - December 2014 #3

DoD, GSA, and NASA Issue Proposed Rule to Amend FAR Prohibition on Contracting With Inverted Domestic Corporations Representations and Notifications The Department of Defense , General Services Administration , and National Aeronautics and Space Administration issued a proposed rule to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation to require additional actions by contractors to assist contracting officers in ensuring compliance with the Government wide statutory prohibition on the use of appropriated funds for contracts with any foreign incorporated entity that is an inverted domestic corporation or to any subsidiary of such entity, 79 Fed. Reg. 74558 .



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Nebraska Unemployment Rate Dips in November

The latest report from the Nebraska Department of Labor says the state's preliminary unemployment rate for November has dropped to 3.1 percent. The rate dipped three-tenths of a percentage point from October and is six-tenths of a point under the November 2013 rate of 3.7 percent, according to Friday's report.



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Westminster Child Abuse: Claims Of New Murders

Two whistle-blowers who had information about MPs' alleged involvement in a paedophile ring could have been murdered, according to a Labour MP who has handed a dossier of evidence to Scotland Yard. Speaking to Sky News, John Mann MP claims he has evidence relating to the suspicious deaths of two men - a former Lambeth council official named Bulick Forsythe, and a caretaker whose name he did not disclose.



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3rd Circuit Holds Dodd-Frank Retaliation Claim Subject to Arbitration

In Khazin v. TD Ameritrade the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that securities-related retaliation claims brought under Dodd-Frank pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 78u-6 are subject to arbitration agreements.



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Promoting Employee Benefits by Generation Helps Boost Enrollment

Appealing to each segment " Benefit needs by generation ," a paper from the Group Insurance division of Securian Financial Group, gives employers a general understanding of each generation's characteristics and preferences, providing a strategy for boosting enrollment. "Different generations respond to different approaches," said Paula Bilitz , director, Group Life Marketing, Securian Financial Group.



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ERISA Fiduciaries Have a Duty to Inform

SUMMARY: In this case, the court found that the employer, serving as plan administrator of a group life insurance plan providing basic and supplemental coverage, may be liable for monetary damages for breach of its fiduciary obligations because it failed to inform the employee that she needed to complete an evidence of insurability form to be eligible for supplemental coverage under the plan. FACTS: Donna Van Loo was an employee of Church's Chicken, organized as Cajun Operating Company , and participated in an employer sponsored group life insurance plan.



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Cargill planning - mass layoff' in Memphis

Cargill, which in September said it would close its corn milling facility in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S., by January 2015, now says it will begin a "mass layoff" in Memphis in February. In a notice filed Dec. 11 with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Cargill said it expects to lay off 210 union employees between the beginning of February and the end of June 2015.



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New Federal Spending Bill Includes Extensive Pension Related Provisions

Both houses of Congress recently passed and President Obama recently signed comprehensive spending legislation that includes an amendment with the provisions of the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 along with a number of other pension related provisions. Much attention has been given to a controversial provision in the MPRA that allows multiemployer pension fund trustees to reduce vested benefits for active workers as well as benefits being paid to current retirees.



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Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014

The Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 , as part of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 , H.R. 83, was passed by the House on December 11, 2014, the Senate on December 13, 2014, and signed by the president on December 16, 2014. A principal goal of the MPRA is to provide the most distressed multiemployer pension plans the flexibility to take necessary action to avoid plan insolvencies.



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City council to discuss door project

Mayor Dayton King said the council will discuss modifying the doors to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The expense could be included in the budget for capital projects in 2015, he said.



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Child abuse inquiry must 'investigate historic murders of men with child abuse evidence'

Note: We do not store your email address but your IP address will be logged to prevent abuse of this feature. Please read our Legal Terms & Policies The murders of two potential whistleblowers into child abuse 30 years ago must be part of the police investigation into sex rings, a Labour MP has said.



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Canine Companion is woman's greatest gift

Peggy Di Nocco and her service dog Felice spend every moment together. Felice helps Peggy complete tasks and keeps her company.



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Putnam, Rockland, Westchester Continue to Add Jobs

The statewide unemployment rate in New York declined from 6.0 percent to 5.9 percent in November, reaching its lowest level since September 2008, according to preliminary figures released by the New York State Department of Labor. Year over year, you can see a more dramatic decline-the state's unemployment rate was 7.1 percent in November 2013.



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ONLINE: Unite has set up a whistle-blowers' website over ambulance concerns

Unite says there are increasing concerns about possible "life-threatening issues" at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust and so has set up a secure website for workers and the public to report incidents and concerns. The service is in the process of saving A 46m in a five-year period from 2013 and recently introduced Emergency Care Assistants to ambulances to work alongside more highly-trained paramedics and reduce the number of paramedics needed on vehicles.



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Department of Justice to Include Gender Identity Under Discrimination Protection

In a memo released by the Department of Justice yesterday , Attorney General Holder directed government attorneys to no longer exclude gender identity, including transgender issues, from Title VII's protection against sex discrimination. This is the latest development in a trend showing that the federal government considers discrimination against transgender individuals to be unlawful and will actively pursue such claims.



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Teeth look like ...

The World Health Organization has estimated that 285 million people are visually impaired worldwide.1 There are different classifications relating to the degree of visual impairment. According to the International Classification of Disease, there are four levels of visual function: normal vision, moderate visual impairment, severe visual impairment, and blindness.



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DOJ Says Title VII's Sex Discrimination Prohibition Includes Gender Identity

Executive Summary: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has announced that the Department of Justice now takes the position that Title VII's prohibition against sex discrimination includes discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status. In a press release issued December 18, 2014, the Attorney General stated that he has informed all DOJ component heads and U.S. attorneys in a memo that the department will no longer assert that Title VII's prohibition against discrimination based on sex excludes discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender discrimination.



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Producers of 'Citizenfour' Movie Are Being Sued Over Snowden Leaks

Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter is noting that while the Obama administration isn't messing with "Citizenfour," an Oscar-contending documentary on Edward Snowden's allegedly heroic leaking of government secrets, a private citizen has filed a lawsuit against "unjust enrichment" from damaging national security. Unlike the recent Sony fracas, the suit doesn't seek to stop the film, just inhibit its profits.



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Congress Goes Home Leaving Social Security Administration Without a Director - " Again

Let's take quick stock of what this lame duck Congressional session has meant for middle-class Americans, especially seniors and their families: 1. Legislation that reversed 40 years of federal law protecting retirees' pensions was tucked quietly into the massive spending bill. The change will allow benefit cuts for more than 1.5 million workers; many of them part of a shrinking middle-class workforce in businesses such as construction and trucking.



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Lifetime income to reach defined contribution retirement plans but not anytime soon

Existing products don't fit within the broad regulatory guidelines governing a lifetime income option that contains a deferred annuity offered within a target-date fund New guidance from the IRS and Department of Labor on using annuities in target date funds will encourage greater use of lifetime income options in defined-contribution plans. But don't expect an immediate rush by DC plans to embrace such options.



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Avoiding Liability in Your Company During the Holiday Season

Holidays are always a joyous time of year. As a reminder, before you begin to plan your holiday festivities, take a moment to assess the potential legal liability that this holiday season may bring.



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Labor commissioner helps package, load Christmas hams

The Christie Administration continued its Fourth Annual “Season of Service” on Friday, Dec. 19,, as Commissioner Harold J. Wirths of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development loaded dozens of Christmas hams into cars and trucks outside a local supermarket to help the Sussex Help Center package donated holiday dinners and gifts for over 150 families. The packaged dinners, which will include canned foods and dry goods, were packaged by volunteers at the United Methodist Church on Bank Street in Sussex.



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Westchester, Rockland, Putnam Continue to Add Jobs

The statewide unemployment rate in New York declined from 6.0 percent to 5.9 percent in November, reaching its lowest level since September 2008, according to preliminary figures released by the New York State Department of Labor. Year over year, you can see a more dramatic decline-the state's unemployment rate was 7.1 percent in November 2013.



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Westminster Child Abuse: Claims Of New Murders

Two whistle-blowers who had information about MPs' involvement in a paedophile ring could have been murdered, according to a Labour MP who has handed a dossier of evidence to Scotland Yard.



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New Year, New Laws for Employment Lawyers

The following is a guest blog post by Tyler M. Paetkau , a partner with Hartnett, Smith & Paetkau in Redwood City. Tyler represents employers in all aspects of labor and employment law.



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Department of Justice to Include Gender Identity Under Discrimination Protection

In a memo released by the Department of Justice yesterday , Attorney General Holder directed government attorneys to no longer exclude gender identity, including transgender issues, from Title VII's protection against sex discrimination. This is the latest development in a trend showing that the federal government considers discrimination against transgender individuals to be unlawful and will actively pursue such claims.



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Also in the news for Dec. 22, 2014 . . .

A "novel" lawsuit is based on the idea that poor care can be inferred from nursing home staffing levels, The New York Times reported in a front-page article Friday. The ... A senior living operator has agreed to pay $40,000 to settle charges that it retaliated against an employee, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Friday.



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Whistleblowers' deaths probe call

Child abuse survivors have welcomed Theresa May's indication that a panel conducting a troubled inquiry into historical abuse could be disbanded in order for a new and more powerful body to take over. Child abuse survivors have welcomed Theresa May's indication that a panel conducting a troubled inquiry into historical abuse could be disbanded in order for a new and more powerful body to take over.



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How to Turn $10 a Day Into $1.3 Million

Warren Buffett made more than 80% of his wealth after he turned 50, and famed oil investor T. Boone Pickens' greatest wealth came after he turned 60. The point? Instead of finding some get-rich-quick scheme, it's better to use the tried-and-true wealth-building method that works just as well today as it did half a century ago. The power of time and money The process I'm talking about is as simple as it gets.



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Juneau School District to face lower enrollment next year

The Juneau School District is looking at falling enrollment as it works on next school year's budget, which could translate into losing two to three teachers. A prediction of students in kindergarten to 12th grades helps the district determine revenue coming from the state and local government.



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Construction Case Law Update - December, 2014

Employer Liability Policies & Worker's Compensation Although decedent-employee's estate had standing as a judgment creditor to sue the tortfeasor-employer's liability insurer for breach of contract to satisfy a wrongful death judgment, the employer liability policy's workers' compensation exclusion precluded coverage because the complaint alleged the employer's negligence caused the employee's death, which as a matter of law left Florida Worker's Compensation Law as the estate's exclusive remedy.



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Deal reached for students with disabilities

New Orleans public schools have agreed to ensure that students with disabilities are properly treated and educated while also being given the chance to attend the schools they want to attend, under a settlement announced Friday. The Southern Poverty Law Center sued state and city school officials in 2010, alleging students with disabilities did not have equal access to schools in New Orleans and were not protected from discrimination.



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Westminster Child Abuse: Claims Of New Murders

Two whistle-blowers who had information about MPs' involvement in a paedophile ring could have been murdered, according to a Labour MP who has handed a dossier of evidence to Scotland Yard. Speaking to Sky News, John Mann claims he has evidence relating to the suspicious deaths of two men - a former Lambeth council official named Bulick Forsythe, and a caretaker whose name he did not disclose.



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Protecting PHI: Does HIPAA compliance go far enough?

Fully protecting personal health information needs more than just HIPAA compliance. Expert Mike Chapple explains what kind of data is left unprotected under HIPAA.



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The Reschini Group Promotes Douglas Schwab

Indiana, PA, December 22, 2014 -- -- The Reschini Group promoted Douglas Schwab to Vice President & Account Executive, Property/Casualty Division. Mr. Schwab joined The Reschini Group in November 2013.



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Labor Board ruling has far-reaching impact on employers and workplace policies

Late last week, the National Labor Relations Board changed the rules on employee use of the employer's email systems for labor organizing. The Labor Board's new rule is that employee use of email for union-related communications on nonworking time must "presumptively" be permitted by employers who allow employees access to the employer's email systems.



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Yorkshire Ambulance Service whistle-blowers urged to highlight 'dangerous incidents'

Paramedics and members of the public are being encouraged to report 'dangerous incidents' involving ambulance delays on a new whistle-blowing website. Trade union Unite has set up the new website, saying it has been prompted to do so because of 'growing concerns around possible life-threatening issues at Yorkshire Ambulance Service'.



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Wanted: More Demand Planners

The overall shortage of supply chain talent is particularly critical in demand management, says Jason Breault of LifeWork Search. He explains reasons and remedies.



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Judge rules on Thai workers' reparation

U.S. District Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi had previously found that Global Horizons Inc. and Maui Pineapple Co. engaged in a pattern or practice of harassment, discriminatory conduct and retaliation against the workers.



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Sen. Kennedy RememberedSAIL AWAY

The Democratic Party's most stalwart defender of civil rights, labor rights, health care, immigration, housing and education for nearly five decades in the U.S. Senate has left us. On Tuesday night, cancer claimed the life of Edward M. Kennedy, the 77-year-old senior senator from Massachusetts.



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MondoLinks: Winter Now Upon Us All

With Hannukah at hand, and Christmas moments away, the Winter Solstice has turned the tide of day and night. And baseball churns now towards Spring! While you were away Jerry Dipoto and Arte Moreno took a few days of rest from the Winter Meetings activity, allowing the balance of us to follow more closely the rising utility costs of our holiday displays, or to focus more intently on locating that last open spot in the distant corner of the mall parking lot or, worse yet, to come up with yet one more clever excuse to avoid the arrival of Auntie Mame's ambrosia feast.



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Yorkshire Ambulance Service whistle-blowers urged to highlight 'dangerous incidents'

Congratulations, you're now registered! Let us know what news and updates you want to hear about and we'll send them straight to your inbox. Paramedics and members of the public are being encouraged to report 'dangerous incidents' involving ambulance delays on a new whistle-blowing website.



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Assisted living company to pay $40,000 to settle charges that it retaliated against employee

A senior living operator has agreed to pay $40,000 to settle charges that it retaliated against an employee, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Friday. The worker repeatedly told managers at the Cordia Senior Residence in Westmont, IL, that sexual harassment was taking place, according to the EEOC.



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Despite Legislation Banning Such Discrimination, Sexual Harassment Still Affects American Workplaces

It has been illegal to sexually harass someone in the workplace for more than 50 years. But despite Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, sexual harassment still takes place.



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Staten Island Ferry terminal pizzeria accused of fleecing 2 cooks out of overtime wages

Two cooks at a pizzeria in the Whitehall Ferry Terminal are accusing their bosses of stiffing them out of time-and-a-half overtime pay. In a class action lawsuit filed in Brooklyn federal court, the cooks, Segundo Chimbay and Fernando Penazola, say they worked 66- to 80-hour weeks at Pizza Plus at Staten Island Ferry Inc., but only received official paychecks for 40 of those hours.



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Nichols Kaster Files Overtime Lawsuit Against OneSource Building...

On December 17, 2014, a former field technician of OneSource Building Technologies, Inc. , filed a collective action lawsuit in Texas federal court on behalf of himself and all other similarly situated current and former field technicians seeking unpaid overtime wages and liquidated damages under the Fair Labor Standards Act . The suit alleges that OneSource violated the FLSA by classifying its field technicians as independent contractors, rather than employees, and failing to pay them full overtime wages when they worked more than forty hours in a workweek.



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Felkins v. City of Lakewood

Before BRISCOE, Chief Judge, HARTZ and HOLMES, Circuit Judges. Robert M. Liechty, Cross Liechty Lane PC, Greenwood Village, CO, for Plaintiff-Appellant.



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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Getting to know ... a human resources director

It was 37 years ago when Donna Grimm approached Linda Boggs about becoming part of the team of her newly-formed organization, Community-Health Professionals. At that time, the widely-known health organization was only 2 years old.



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Officers ask for support during vigil for NYPD

The event was advertised on social media late Saturday night but within just a few hours, dozens of people would show up, many of them in uniform. They gathered in front of the eternal flame at the Law Enforcement Memorial in Jefferson Square for a vigil for two of their own.



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Congress gives final OK to bill allowing multiemployer pension plan benefit cuts

Trustees of financially distressed multiemployer pension plans would be allowed to cut participants' benefits to prevent the plans from becoming insolvent under legislation given final congressional approval Saturday. The multiemployer provisions, part of a sprawling $1.1 trillion spending bill, H.R. 83, cleared the Senate Saturday on a 56-40 vote.



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Getting to know an HR director

It was 37 years ago when Donna Grimm approached Linda Boggs about becoming part of the team of her newly-formed organization, Community-Health Professionals. At that time, the widely-known health organization was only two years old.



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Lifetime income option use gets boost

New guidance from the IRS and Department of Labor on using annuities in target-date funds will encourage greater use of lifetime income options in defined contribution plans.



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U.S. Dept. of Labor grants recourse to employees of Hoosick Falls manufacturer

HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. >> U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson, NY-19, announced last week that the U.S. Department of Labor has approved Trade Adjustment Assistance, or TAA certification for 29 laid-off workers from Oak-Mitsui Technologies in Hoosick Falls. "While we work with local officials to attract new private sector jobs to the area, we must also ensure that workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own have the support and resources they need to get back on their feet and secure good jobs," Sen. Gillibrand stated in a press release.



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U.S. Dept. of Labor grants recourse to employees of Hoosick Falls manufacturer

HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. >> U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson, NY-19, announced last week that the U.S. Department of Labor has approved Trade Adjustment Assistance, or TAA certification for 29 laid-off workers from Oak-Mitsui Technologies in Hoosick Falls. "While we work with local officials to attract new private sector jobs to the area, we must also ensure that workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own have the support and resources they need to get back on their feet and secure good jobs," Sen. Gillibrand stated in a press release.



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Court Strikes Down DOL Wage Guidance for H-2B Workers

An appeals court vacated federal guidance that allowed employers to use privately funded surveys to set the prevailing wages for foreign workers brought into the U.S. under the H-2B visa program. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled Dec. 5, 2014, that Department of Labor regulations authorizing employers to use employer-provided wage surveys for prevailing wage determinations for H-2B workers was "arbitrary and capricious."



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Readers Write (Dec. 22): Search engines, disabilities, policing,...

I love seeing Google's annual compendium of top searches. Over the years, I've seen searches ranging from sweet to disturbing to poignant: cute photos of baby animals I didn't know existed, fetishes that made me want to bathe in Purell and pleas for medical breakthroughs.



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Family seeks compensation for late mill worker

Donald Miles carried a black metal lunch pail with him when he left home for the Joslyn Manufacturing and Supply Co. on Taylor Street those mornings in the 1940s.



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A healthy economy requires positive vision, not bitterness and blame

In his Dec. 12 letter to the editor , "Park not the answer," blaming "environmental zealots" for the demise of Great Northern Paper Co., Stu Kallgren forgot to mention a few important facts. First, it was mismanagement by a succession of corporate owners that brought down GNP, not concern over the Big A Dam, as much as that project would have been environmentally devastating.



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Background Investigations Expert Mike Coffey to Present Valuable...

HR expert and background investigations firm owner Mike Coffey will speak at three separate conferences on three consecutive days in South Texas from January 14-16, 2015. Imperative Information Group president Mike Coffey to present three educational sessions in south Texas on January 14, 15, and 16 When given the opportunity, Mike Coffey , SPHR, will always take the initiative to educate employers about the need for pre-employment background checks.



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2015 risk management outlook hinges on evolving cyber and catastrophe risks

An issue that looks to remain a primary challenge for risk management professionals and insurers alike in 2015 is cyber risk and a rising number of attacks. A series of data breaches in 2014, capped by a major breach at Home Depot Inc. and fallout from 2013's holiday shopping season breach at Target Corp. have made cyber risk "a big concern," said Stephan Upshaw, Chicago-based vice president of risk management at apartment complex owner Equity Residential.



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Health care reform developments dominate benefits management issues in 2014

Topped by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to review whether individuals can obtain premium subsidies to buy health insurance in federal exchanges, developments related to the health care reform law dominated 2014. The first major one of the year came in February, when the Treasury Department temporarily eased a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provision and earlier rules mandating that employers offer coverage or be liable for a financial penalty starting in 2015.



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Pete the Planner: You need a plan for career emergency

Pete the Planner: You need a plan for career emergency Check out this story on IndyStar.com: http://indy.st/16FbTTy Close your eyes. Wait a second.



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Congress, Obama hand Pentagon billions for unwanted military spending programs

Pentagon officials didn't want them but Congress and President Obama gave them 10 programs worth billions of dollars anyway. The 10 unwanted programs are contained in the $1.1 trillion "CRomnibus" spending bill approved by Congress and signed by the chief executive just before all of them left town for the Christmas vacation.



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Whistleblowers say fear of reprisal thwarts proper care for vets

At any hospital, patient safety and quality of care depend on the willingness of medical workers to identify problems. The goal is for medical workers to be free to speak bluntly to -- and about -- higher-ups without being ignored or punished.



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Whistleblowers say fear of reprisal thwarts proper care for vets

At any hospital, patient safety and quality of care depend on the willingness of medical workers to identify problems. The goal is for medical workers to be free to speak bluntly to -- and about -- higher-ups without being ignored or punished.



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Business beat - Sun, 21 Dec 2014 PST

Nicholas Knapton, P.S. has hired Rachael Carlisle and Lexie Schultz as staff accountants. Carlisle was previously with Banner Bank and Schultz was with Krueger Sheet Metal.



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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Congressman Meadows named Oversight Subcommittee chairman

Washington, D.C.- On Tuesday, Congressman Mark Meadows was appointed Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations. The Government Operations Subcommittee will have oversight jurisdiction over critical issues during the final two years of the Obama Presidency, including the Internal Revenue Service , the Department of Labor and public sector unions, and the Executive Office of the President.



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Family fights for compensation

For additional information about the government program regarding benefits for former Joslyn Manufacturing and Supply Co.



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Column: Report by SLED shows why Bobby Harrell wasn't prosecuted for pharmaceutical deal

It was a classic example of a powerful legislator using that power to get special favors for a business he owns, and as calls began two years ago for a criminal probe of corruption allegations concerning then-S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell, it seemed like the smokiest gun: In 2006, Harrell's Palmetto State Pharmaceuticals applied for a state permit to repackage prescription drugs to sell to doctors, who would then sell them to patients, at a profit. If that sounds like a great way to make medicine more expensive, by injecting another middle man and by encouraging doctors to prescribe more drugs than they need to, I agree, but that's not the point of this story.



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Work Related Psychological Trauma

The country is governed for the richest, for the corporations, the bankers, the land speculators, and for the exploiters of labor. The majority of mankind are working people.



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Watchdog: All I want for Christmas is a whistleblower

The Watchdog doesn't want a lot for Christmas. There's just one thing I need. I don't care about presents underneath the tree.



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Social Security agency can help genealogical researchers

A: We will be pleased to give you information about a Social Security number record. But, we charge a fee when an individual asks for information for a purpose that does not directly relate to the administration of a Social Security program.



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Singletary: No present for pensioners

Tucked into the federal spending bill were provisions that will allow certain struggling multi-employer pension plans to reduce benefits already being received by retirees. The move was a result of an alarm from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. that multi-employer plans covering more than 1 million participants are substantially underfunded and, without legislative changes, would probably fail.



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Program 331

On Saturday, NewsHour Weekend examines federal whistleblowers, people who are incentivized by the False Claims Act to expose misconduct in companies that do business with the federal government. Last year alone, the government and its whistleblowers recovered a record $6 billion in lawsuits that exposed wrongdoing.



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AVI Crowdsourcing Project Reveals More ADA Violations and More Lies in New Rochelle Schools

I have been asking readers to assist in a crowdsourcing project to review Annual Visual Inspection documents obtained over the past several months under a Freedom of Information request. Several readers have begun to take me up on that including Richard Feltenstein, the father of Jennifer Feltenstein graduated from New Rochelle High School in June, 2013, who is perhaps best well-known as one of two students left behind during a fire emergency at the high school in 2013.



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PBS NewsHour Weekend

PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND features a summary of the day's national and international news, using renowned experts to offer analysis. Each weekend broadcast will contain original, in-depth field reporting on topics including education, healthcare, the economy, energy, science and technology, religion, finance and the arts.



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Whistleblowers at military hospitals face reprisals

Beyond conducting their periodic evaluation of Womack Army Medical Center, one of the military's busiest hospitals, the inspectors who came here to Fort Bragg last March had a special task. A medical technologist had complained of dangerous shortcomings in infection prevention.



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Metro-North hit with maximum fine in retaliation case

HARTFORD, Conn. – The U.S. Department of Labor has ordered Metro-North to pay the maximum punitive damages to a railroad employee who suffered reprisals after reporting an injury.



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Relationship between nonprofit volunteers and for-profit companies raises questions

The retired Army lieutenant colonel and father of two has sold food and managed beer stands, work that generated thousands of dollars for two multibillion-dollar food service companies - first Levy Restaurants, now Aramark. But there's one thing Alvarez, 55, has never done in his years working at Raymond James Stadium: earn a paycheck.



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OSHA cites company after 2 workers are injured

In response to a complaint of an electrical shock injury, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that a 20-year employee was injured while he performed service work on an electrical panel at a Coldwater rice-cake manufacturer. Following the investigation, OSHA has cited Basic Grain Products Inc. for two repeated and five serious safety violations.



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Baseball to lobby Congress against minimum wage for minor leaguers

A young fan waits outside the stadium where the minor league team the P-Nats play in Dale City, Va. Minor league baseball players get paid peanuts - well, most of the time.



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Pennsylvania Unemployment Rate Drops to an Incredible 5.1 Percent

Rep. Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny County) made the following statement praising today's announcement by the Department of Labor and Industry that the state's unemployment rate declined by three-tenths of a percentage point in November to 5.1 percent, the lowest rate in more than six years.



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This week in the war on workers: $100 million in grants for the 'other four-year degree'

Too often "job training" is used by Republicans as an excuse to take government assistance away from people who need it rather than as an investment in good jobs. But there is a right way to do it, as you can see in the video above and in a Department of Labor announcement of $100 million in grants for registered apprenticeship programs.



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State looks into wage complaints from deli workers

By The Associated Press news@abc6.com The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training has confirmed that seven wage complaints from former workers of Gourmet Heaven were received and are under investigation. The workers' rights center, Fuerza Laboral, filed a complaint on behalf of seven former employees of the Gourmet Heaven deli stores, seeking more than $100,000 in unpaid wages and overtime.



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Jacksonville building contractor cited by OSHA for putting workers at risk of falling

The U.S. Department of Labor cited Jacksonville construction firm for a safety citation and proposed fine involving an October incident at a home construction site in Orange Park. The department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited M. Durrance Construction Inc. for exposing workers to dangerous falls while conducting framing work at a residential building on Hawthorn Way in Orange Park.



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News EEOC: Bank of America fired worker because he was blind

Bank of America will pay $110,000 in a settlement to a former temp worker after resolving a disability discrimination case brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC alleged that Bank of America failed to accommodate a visually impaired data entry worker and instead terminated his job, which was located at a downtown Chicago branch.



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Former Baltimore police officer loses quest to regain job after towing scandal

David Reeping, a former police officer, talks in August 2014 about three lawsuits in which the city paid out money on cases involving himself as an officer. David Reeping, a former police officer, talks in August 2014 about three lawsuits in which the city paid out money on cases involving himself as an officer.



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EDITORIAL: The chemistry we never want to think about needs thought

The chemical is not radioactive, but it is flammable and toxic -- so flammable and toxic, in fact, that what Wyatt described as "a gallon or less" spill resulted in about 10 people working inside the purification facility to be evacuated as soon as an alerting sensor sounded. Then, for several hours afterward, the building was closed and monitored.



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Pennsylvania Parents Concerned About Student Data Collection

The concept of a "permanent record" has become even scarier under Common Core, according to a group of parents in Pennsylvania. Parents Against Common Core has petitioned Gov. Tom Corbett to put a moratorium on data collection practices.



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Wilton Rep. Lavielle Concerned About Unemployment Tax

State Rep. Gail Lavielle expressed concern over an additional tax that will have employers in the state paying the highest unemployment tax in the country. "Although employers will see the increase in their federal tax bills, the state is responsible for it," said Lavielle.



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Sen. Kennedy RememberedSAIL AWAY

The Democratic Party's most stalwart defender of civil rights, labor rights, health care, immigration, housing and education for nearly five decades in the U.S. Senate has left us. On Tuesday night, cancer claimed the life of Edward M. Kennedy, the 77-year-old senior senator from Massachusetts.



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Ibson v. United Healthcare Services Inc

Before RILEY, Chief Judge, BEAM and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges. CeCelia Catherine Ibson, Des Moines, IA, pro se.



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Friday, December 19, 2014

Arizona's Minimum Wage Increases in 2015

As of January 1, 2015, the minimum wage in Arizona increases to $8.05 per hour. In 2006, the Raise the Arizona Minimum Wage for Working Arizonans Act became law.



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SIIA petitions Supreme Court to review Michigan health claims tax

The Self-Insurance Institute of America Inc. has formally petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review and overturn an appeals court decision upholding a Michigan law that imposes a 1% tax on paid health care claims. Under that law, revenue generated by the tax, which is used to help fund the state's Medicaid program, is paid by health insurers offering fully insured plans and by third-party claims administrators in the case of self-insured plans.



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How A Law From 1964 Suddenly Protects Transgender Government Workers

Attorney General Eric Holder released a memo Thursday outlining the Justice Department's decision to redefine its interpretation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to explicitly prohibit workplace discrimination against transgender people. Effective immediately, the Justice Department can now prosecute on behalf of people who claim to have been discriminated against by state and local public employers based on sex identity.



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December 19, 2014 Legal Notices

The Board of Architecture and Interior Design issued a Notice and Order to Cease and Desist and filed an Administrative Compliant against you. A copy may be obtained by contacting, David K. Minacci , Esquire, Smith , Thompson, Shaw, Minacci & ColA3n, P.A., 3520 Thomasville Road, Fourth Floor, Tallahassee, FL 32309, 402-1570.



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Hawaii's unemployment rate falls to 4%, employment in 'best condition since recession'

Hawaii's unemployment rate fell to 4 percent in November. There were 187 employers at the WorkForce 2014 job fair in Honolulu earlier this year, seen in this file photo.



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The Middle Class is Overdue for Overtime Pay Raise

Despite the robust economic recovery, the steep decline in unemployment, a surging stock market, rising investment and plummeting gas prices, wages have hardly budged . After briefly dipping during the great recession which began in late 2007, income inequality has reached levels not seen since the 1920's, while the gap between middle and upper income families is, according to the Pew Research Center, now "the widest on record."



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Kansas monthly jobs report gives mixed signals

The state showed a gain of 7,500 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs compared to November 2013, but lost 4,100 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs compared to October. Seasonal adjusting attempts to smooth out the natural variations in employment throughout the year.



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Alan Chartock: Iredale an asset, role model to the town

GREAT BARRINGTON >> Jane Iredale is just something else again. She has done more for Great Barrington than anyone else around.



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Idaho Unemployment Rate Lowest in Nearly 7 Years

Idaho's jobless rate dropped to its lowest level in nearly seven years in November-dipping below 4 percent for the first time since March 2008. The Idaho Department of Labor reported this morning that November's jobless rate was 3.9 percent, two-tenths of a percentage point lower than October.



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Unemployment rate for St. Johns County down again in November

As the unemployment rate in Florida continues its steady decline, St. Johns County has remained one of the state's best places for job seekers. According to data released Friday by the U.S. Department of Labor, St. Johns County had an unemployment rate of 4.7 percent in November, not seasonally adjusted.



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Pennsylvania jobless rate falls, hiring flattens

Pennsylvania's jobless rate has fallen to another post-recession low even as payrolls remain static and below pre-recession levels, according to employment figures released Friday. November's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Pennsylvania was 5.1 percent, which is three-tenths of a percentage point lower than the month before, according to the figures from the state Department of Labor and Industry.



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Vermont's unemployment rates down to 4.3 percent

The Vermont Department of Labor says the state's unemployment rate has decreased for November, from 4.4 percent to 4.3 percent. Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan said Friday that employers in the leisure and hospitality sector are reporting a strong start to the winter season and are hiring.



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DOJ: Title VII Covers Gender-Identity Discrimination

The US Department of Justice now reads Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit employment discrimination "based on gender identity, including transgender status." In a memo to DOJ components and the US Attorneys, dated December 15, 2014 , the Attorney General reasoned: The most straightforward reading of Title VII is that discrimination "because of ... sex" includes discrimination because an employee's gender identification is as a member of a particular sex, or because the employee is transitioning, or has transitioned, to another sex.



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Pennsylvania jobless rate falls, hiring flattens

Pennsylvania's jobless rate fell by three-tenths of a percentage point in November for the second straight month, even as payrolls remained static. The state Department of Labor and Industry said Friday that the seasonally adjusted rate in November was 5.1 percent, Pennsylvania's post-recession low.



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Ohio unemployment rate at 5 percent, a 13-year low

Unemployment in Ohio dropped to 5 percent in November, down from 5.3 percent a month earlier and hitting its lowest level since 2001, the state reported Friday. The state had 287,000 unemployed workers in November, down 18,000 compared to October, according to the Department of Job and Family Services.



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Company ignores violations, exposes workers to dangerous machinery...

For the third time since October 2013, Formed Fiber Technologies LLC has been cited for putting workers at risk of amputation and other serious injury by exposing them to dangerous, moving machine parts. The Sidney facility produces motor vehicle interior trimmings for Toyota Motor Corp., General Motors Co.



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Target Date Funds Are Setting Up Millennials For A Stock Market...

I'm the Washington D.C. bureau chief for Forbes and have worked in the bureau for more than two decades. I've spent much of that time reporting about taxes -- tax policy, tax planning, tax shelters and tax evasion.



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Texas Roadhouse accuses EEOC of using testers

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has alleged that Texas Roadhouse Inc. practices age discrimination at its stores nationwide. Texas Roadhouse Inc. has filed an amended complaint against the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission , seeking to obtain information about the federal agency's possible use of testers to build a discrimination case against the Louisville-based steakhouse chain.



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Ohio unemployment rate at 5 percent, a 13-year low

Ohio unemployment rate at 5 percent, a 13-year low Unemployment in Ohio dropped to 5 percent in November. Check out this story on mansfieldnewsjournal.com: http://ohne.ws/16zluLG Unemployment in Ohio dropped to 5 percent in November, down from 5.3 percent a month earlier and hitting its lowest level since 2001, the state reported Friday.



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First Drip (12/19/14): Coal ash as trash, Arrests in #IAmJada, Facts about Cuban cigars

The Environmental Protection Agency is releasing its long-awaited regulations on the disposal of coal ash, the byproduct of coal-powered electricity. The report is expected to classify coal ash like garbage, rather than a hazardous material, leaving it up to states to regulate.



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Pennsylvania unemployment rate falls to 5.1 percent

Unemployment in Pennsylvania dropped to 5.1 percent in November from the October rate of 5.4 percent, the Department of Labor and Industry reported this morning. The unemployment rate, which is the percentage of people who are not working out of everyone who either has a job or is looking for one, was the lowest it has been since May 2008.



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Spending bill slashed pensions for some retirees

Tucked into the federal spending bill were provisions that will allow certain struggling multi-employer pension plans to reduce benefits already being received by retirees. The move was the result of an alarm from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. that multi-employer plans covering more than 1 million participants are substantially underfunded and, without legislative changes, will probably fail.



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Another whistleblower in Bank of America case set to collect millions

Robert Madsen, one of four whistleblowers in the federal government's $16.65 billion civil settlement with Bank of America, said keeping secret his cooperation with federal prosecutors for nearly four years had not been easy. "It's not a fun and pleasant experience," said Madsen, 47, a former employee of LandSafe, a property appraisal company that is a subsidiary of Bank of America.



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Ohio Unemployment Rate At 5 Percent, A 13-year Low

Unemployment in Ohio dropped to 5 percent in November, down from 5.3 percent a month earlier and hitting its lowest level since 2001, the state reported Friday.



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Eric Holder's Transgendered Mutilation of Title VII

In a remarkable action yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder declared that the "most straightforward reading" of Title VII's bar on discrimination "because of a sex"-indeed, the "plain meaning" of its text-is that it bars discrimination "based on gender identity, including transgender status," and that DOJ will henceforth adopt that reading. In a fog of wordplay divorced from any plausible account of the original meaning of Title VII, Holder asserts that "Title VII's prohibition against discrimination 'because of a sex' encompasses discrimination founded on sex-based considerations , including discrimination based on an employee's transitioning to, or identifying as, a different sex altogether."



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A.G. Holder Circumvents Congress, Overrides Parental Concerns in Transgender Memorandum

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, in a December 15 memorandum, asserted that "transgendered" persons should be given a special status under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Parents are deeply concerned that giving a special status to transgender persons will lead to troubling situations for their children, and religious leaders are left unsure how this arbitrary new rule will affect hiring within their ministries.



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Joint employer decision today? - DOJ takes on transgender...

NLRB WATCH: After predicting, repeatedly and wrongly, a major decision from the National Labor Relations Board - either on the Browning-Ferris "joint employer" case or on whether Northwestern athletes may unionize --Morning Shift has entered a crisis of faith. On the one hand, we keep hearing that the Browning-Ferris decision, anyway, should be hurtling down the chute any minute now.



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US announces protections for transgender workers

The Justice Department is now interpreting federal law to explicitly prohibit workplace discrimination against transgender people, according to a memo released Thursday by Attorney General Eric Holder. That means the Justice Department will be able to bring legal claims on behalf of people who say they've been discriminated against by state and local public employers based on sex identity.



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Pennsylvania Jobless Rate Falls, Hiring Flattens

TV Welcome to KDKA-TV on CBSPittsburgh.com! KDKA-TV is joining forces with the most trusted local CBS RADIO stations in Pittsburgh to give you the best Pittsburgh has to offer. KDKA-TV is part of CBS Television Stations, [] NewsRadio 1020 KDKA Welcome to NEWSRADIO 1020 KDKA on CBSPittsburgh.com! We appreciate your interest in the world's first commercial radio station! Join us on-air or online for Pittsburgh's up-to-the-minute news talk, weather and traffic reports.



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Alabama unemployment rate falls as retail adds thousands of jobs

The Alabama unemployment rate was 6 percent in November, according to a release from the Department of Labor. That's down from 6.2 percent last November, and down from 6.3 percent in October.



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Procedural Errors Don't Alter Standard of Review In ERISA Claim for Benefits

The Ninth Circuit recently held that where an ERISA plan provides the plan administrator discretionary authority to determine benefit claims, procedural violations that occur during the course of the administrative claims process "do not alter the standard of review unless those violations are so flagrant as to alter the substantive relationship between the employer and employee, thereby causing the beneficiary substantive harm." Here, Plaintiff John Nasi alleged that the district court erroneously reviewed the administrator's denial of benefits under an abuse of discretion standard.



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Pa. jobless rate falls, hiring flattens

Pennsylvania's jobless rate fell by three-tenths of a percentage point in November for the second straight month, even as payrolls remained static. The state Department of Labor and Industry said Friday that the seasonally adjusted rate in November was 5.1 percent, Pennsylvania's post-recession low.



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Pennsylvania jobless rate falls, hiring flattens

Pennsylvania's jobless rate fell by three-tenths of a percentage point in November for the second straight month, even as payrolls remained static. The state Department of Labor and Industry said Friday that the seasonally adjusted rate in November was 5.1 percent, Pennsylvania's post-recession low.



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FLSA Insurance-Adjuster Overtime Exception Buried In Appropriations Bill

Section 111 of the recently-enacted "Department of Labor Appropriations Act, 2015" directs that the federal Fair Labor Standards Act "shall be applied as if" there is an overtime exclusion for certain workers who are employed to adjust or evaluate claims resulting from or relating to a major disaster. A major disaster is defined as being "any disaster or catastrophe declared or designated by any State or Federal agency or department."



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AG Eric Holder Issues Memo Protecting Transgender Workers

Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday issued a memo stating that federal law explicitly prohibits workplace discrimination against transgender people. The Justice Department previously suggested in litigation that transgender people were not covered by Title VII, which bans sex discrimination.



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MCAA Offers NRTL Suggestions at OSHA Stakeholder Meeting.

On October 22, 2014, MCAA representatives, along with ~100 attendees from 50 organizations, attended OSHA Stakeholder Meeting to discuss questions and options regarding OSHA's Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory program. Presenters from 10 organizations gave their reactions to OSHA proposals and interacted with attendees on ways to improve said program.



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Justice Department Will Now Back Claims Of Anti-Trans Discrimination Under Title VII

Speaking on behalf of the Department of Justice yesterday, outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder clarified the department's new official position on anti-trans discrimination being encompassed within Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Previously the department refused to recognize discrimination against transgender individuals as as a form of bias based upon sex, which Title VII forbids.



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Rhode Island's Jobless Rate Falls to 7.1 Percent

Rhode Island's unemployment rate fell to 7.1 percent in November as the state added a few thousand jobs, according to a new labor report called good news by outgoing Gov. Lincoln Chafee. The state Department of Labor and Training said Thursday that the rate fell three-tenths of one percentage point from October.



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Agency cites VT Halter Marine in crane collapse

A federal agency has citied VT Halter Marine shipyard in Pascagoula for five safety violations in the collapse of two cranes that led to five employees being injured. The Sun Herald reports the accident occurred June 25 when several cranes were moving a "bow module" of a ship.



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Holyoke Public Schools respond to MassLive records request, releases...

Morales, a former teacher in Holyoke and current president of the teacher's union, was employed by the Holyoke Public Schools as a non-professional teacher status teacher last year and received a notice of non-renewal of his employment in June. Morales believes his contract was not renewed in retaliation for criticizing educational reform -- including testing, data walls and administrative changes -- in city schools.



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Statewide unemployment rate drops to 5.9% in November

The statewide unemployment rate in New York declined from 6.0% to 5.9% in November 2014, reaching its lowest level since September 2008, according to preliminary figures released today by the New York State Department of Labor. In addition, New York City's unemployment rate fell from 6.4% to 6.3%, reaching its lowest level since October 2008.



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Housing authority gets grant

Oak Terrace, a public housing complex located off Conrad Street, was awarded a grant for approximately $3.7 million as part of the state's 10-year $300 million State-Sponsored Housing Portfolio Revitalization Initiative. Warren said the housing authority will use the money to re-modernize the 194 units at Oak Terrace.



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Another Bank of America whistleblower in line for $56m

Robert Madsen , one of four whistle-blowers in the federal government's $16.65bn civil settlement with Bank of America , said keeping secret his cooperation with federal prosecutors for nearly four years had not been easy. "It's not a fun and pleasant experience," said Madsen, 47, a former employee of LandSafe, a property appraisal company that is a subsidiary of Bank of America.



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Pennsylvania Accepted into Federal Employment First Program

Employment First is a concept to facilitate the full inclusion of people with the most significant disabilities in the workplace and community in typical workplace settings where the majority of workers are not people with disabilities. The mentoring program will help the departments of Human Services , Education and Labor & Industry collaborate to align policies and develop a plan to increase school-to-work opportunities for students with disabilities.



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Region posts modest job gains in November

The Norwich-New London area gained 300 jobs in November, helping propel the Connecticut labor force to a total increase of 4,600 positions last month, according to statistics released Thursday by the state Department of Labor. It was the fourth straight monthly gain for the region, and finally pushed Norwich-New London into positive jobs territory for the year.



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University settles disabilities case

The University of Cincinnati has reached an agreement with the Education Department to ensure that the school's websites are more accessible to people with disabilities.



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New ResponsibleAg Program Highlighted In Senate Hearing

NEW RESPONSIBLEAG PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTED IN SENATE HEARING Dec. 19, 2014 Source: ResponsibleAg news release On Dec. 11, the U.S. Senate Committees on Environment and Public Works and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions held a hearing to receive an update on President Obama's Executive Order 13650 - Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security to enhance the safety and security of chemical facilities and to reduce the risks associated with hazardous chemicals to workers and communities.



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False Claims Act: The Little Engine That Could

Holding wrongdoers to account helps to uphold the public trust held by government, recover hard-earned tax dollars lost to fraud and strengthen our system of voluntary tax compliance. A federal law I beefed up nearly three decades ago has helped the U.S. Justice Department recoup nearly $45 billion through the False Claims Act.



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Employee Represented by Nichols Kaster, PLLP Files Overtime Lawsuit...

The Complaint alleges that Apollo willfully denied its Field Employees overtime pay by implementing a pay plan that did not provide for overtime premiums on certain job assignments. An employer should not be allowed to pick and choose on a weekly basis when its employees should or should not be paid overtime and cannot contract around the law's requirements.



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Connecticut adds 4,600 jobs in November

Connecticut added more jobs in November, a 10th month of employment growth over the last year -- pointing to a stronger recovery, according to local economists. At the same time, the unemployment rate rose slightly, as discouraged workers returned to the labor market.



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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Capital Region tops upstate job gains

By Bethany Bump Gazette Reporter The Capital Region had the most job gains of any upstate metropolitan area in November, according to preliminary figures released today by the state Department of Labor.



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It's long past time for overtime pay for the middle class

Despite the robust economic recovery, the steep decline in unemployment, a surging stock market, rising investment and plummeting gas prices, wages have hardly budged . After briefly dipping during the great recession which began in late 2007, income inequality has reached levels not seen since the 1920s, while the gap between middle- and upper-income families is, according to the Pew Research Center, now "the widest on record."



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Chabad of California fined for misuse of federal funds

Chabad-Lubavitch of California must pay nearly $850,000 in damages for misappropriating federal grant money, a federal judge has ruled. Chabad failed to pay for the installation of video surveillance equipment at several of its buildings from a Depart-ment of Homeland Security grant of $272,495, the Los Angeles Times reported Dec. 13. Instead, Chabad used the money for operating expenses such as employee payroll, building repairs and utility bills.



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2nd Ohio university settles disabilities complaint

The University of Cincinnati has reached an agreement with the Education Department to ensure that the school's websites are more accessible to people with disabilities. The agreement announced Thursday by the federal department's Office of Civil Rights is aimed at putting the 42,600-student university in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.



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US announces protections for transgender workers

That means the Justice Department will be able to bring claims on behalf of people who say they've been fired by a public employer based on gender identity. In defending lawsuits, the federal government also will no longer take the position that the Civil Rights Act does not protect against workplace discrimination on the basis of gender status.



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Justice Department announces protections for transgender workers who allege discrimination

That means the Justice Department will be able to bring claims on behalf of people who say they've been fired by a public employer based on gender identity. In defending lawsuits, the federal government also will no longer take the position that the Civil Rights Act does not protect against workplace discrimination on the basis of gender status.



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What to Know About the EU's Obesity Ruling

Europe's highest court ruled today that obesity can, under certain circumstances, be considered a disability, taking a step forward against obesity discrimination, experts say. The European Court of Justice heard the case of a child-care worker identified in the ruling as "Mr. Kaltoft," who claimed he had been fired from his job because of his weight.



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Bartlett medical billing company lays off up to 54 employees

The company, which is at 8010 Stage Hills Boulevard, on Oct. 2 notified the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development that it would make the layoffs Dec. 1. So far in December, four companies in Shelby County have notified the state of layoffs - a total of up to 485 jobs, including at Delta Air Lines Inc. and at Cargill .



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Albany, New York area leads upstate in job growth, adds 4,500 private sector jobs

The Albany, New York metro area added 4,500 private sector jobs from November 2013 to November 2014, the most of any upstate region. The state's unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 percent in November 2014, the lowest level in more than six years, according to new data released by the state Department of Labor.



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Employers Should Start Preparing Now for Big Changes Coming to Multiemployer Pension Plans

Yesterday, President Obama signed into law the most comprehensive legislation affecting multiemployer pension plans since the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980. The Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 is intended to shore up the finances of the multiemployer pension insurance program, which the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation recently announced would become insolvent within the next 10 years.



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Lesbians have more money than you - here's why

The pay gap between lesbian and straight women in the UK is nearly as big as the average pay gap between women and men, according to a new study . Lesbians do even better in America, earning 20% more than their straight counterparts, the research from Anglia Ruskin university found.



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U.S. Supreme Court Unanimously Rules Time Spent Undergoing Mandatory...

In a decision that will certainly benefit employers facing claims of pre-shift and post-shift off-the-clock work, on December 9, 2014, the United States Supreme Court unanimously held that employees' time spent waiting to undergo and undergoing antitheft security screenings before leaving their place of employment each day is not compensable hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act . The employer, Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. , provided warehouse staffing to Amazon.com.



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January Workshops at the Presque Isle CareerCenter

The Presque Isle CareerCenter announces January programming for job seekers and those who are considering training for a new career. "The CareerCenters provide Mainers with tools for an effective job search," said Governor Paul R. LePage.



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4 Key Lessons from Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk

While helpful to some employers, Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk does not fundamentally change the law of compensable working time.



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Cargill notifies state of 'mass layoff' in Memphis in 2015

Cargill Inc., which is closing its corn mill on Presidents Island, has notified the state that it will begin a "mass layoff" in Memphis this February. The company expects to lay off 210 union employees between the beginning of February and the end of June 2015, according to a noticed filed with the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development.



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ResCare loses state contract, will lay off 40+ Memphis employees

ResCare Inc. will lay off roughly 40-45 employees in Memphis after losing a contract to oversee some state-run welfare services. Louisville-based ResCare, a leading national provider of services for people with disabilities, filed a notice with the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development in October that it will lay off as many as 137 employees by the end of December .



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Wage Suit Filed Against VC Super 8 Owner

The U.S. Department of Labor is suing the owner of the Valley City Super 8 Motel and several other hotels for allegedly failing to pay minimum wage and overtime rates in North Dakota and Montana. The complaint says that Bharat "Brian" Patel owes about $100,000 in back wages and $100,000 in damages to front-desk clerks, housekeeping staff and other hotel employees.



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Legal notices, Dec. 17, 2014

INVITATION TO BID. Sealed bids will be received by the Town of Winthrop at Town Hall located at 206 Riverside Avenue , Winthrop, Washington, 98862 until 11:00 A.M. on January 7, 2015 and there publicly opened and read.



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Employment and Immigration Issues Facing Banks

These lawsuits are hard to defend and typically settle up front. The settlements are substantial.



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Delta will lay off more Memphis airport employees in February

Atlanta-based Delta notified the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development on Dec. 2 that it will lay off 84 non-union employees Feb. 1 at its facility at 2491 Winchester Road in Memphis. The layoffs come as Delta prepares to drop three nonstop flight destinations at Memphis , including all of its Chicago flights at the end of December, as I reported earlier this week and last.



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Region gains 300 jobs in November

The Norwich-New London area gained 300 jobs in November, helping propel the Connecticut labor force to a total increase of 4,600 positions last month, according to statistics released today by the state Department of Labor. It was the fourth straight monthly gain for the region, and finally pushed Norwich-New London into positive jobs territory throughout the year.



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Syracuse is the state's job-loss leader for November

The Syracuse area lost 900 jobs in November when compared with the previous year, according to new numbers released from the state Department of Labor. The region lost more private sector jobs than anywhere else in the state.



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Company cited for exposing workers to falls

M. Durrance Construction Inc. of Jacksonville was cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for exposing workers to dangerous falls during framing work at a home on Hawthorn Way in Orange Park. The October inspection was initiated as part of the agency's Regional Emphasis Program on Falls in Construction, officials said.



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Nebraska Unemployment Applicants Reminded They Can File Online

The Nebraska Department of Labor is reminding unemployment applicants to file online to avoid long wait times as some seasonal employment comes to an end. "While Nebraska's unemployment rate remains one of the lowest in the country, we are one of many states that experience seasonal fluctuations in claim activity," said John Albin, acting labor commissioner.



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Connecticut Economy Booming: Best Year Since 1997

Connecticut's economy is roaring, with 4,600 jobs added in November, 4,300 in October, and more than 25,000 new jobs over the last 12 months. The last time the state's job base grew by more than 25,000 was 1997.



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Obama Can Restore Overtime Pay to 1975 Levels With a Stroke of His Pen, by @Gaius_Publius

Obama Can Restore Overtime Pay to 1975 Levels With a Stroke of His Pen by Gaius Publius Let me repeat the title, including the words I cut out: Obama Can Restore Overtime Pay to 1975 Levels With a Stroke of His Pen - And Give an Immediate Raise to 54% of Salaried Workers Consider that for a second. An immediate raise for 54% of salaried workers.



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DOJ Recovers Nearly $6 Billion under False Claims Act in 2014

The Department of Justice obtained a record $5.69 billion from civil cases involving fraud and false claims against the government in the fiscal year ending September 30. This marks the first year the DOJ recovered more than $5 billion under the False Claims Act and brings the total amount recovered since 2009 to $22.75 billion, representing more than half of all recoveries under the FCA in the past 28 years. Most of these FCA actions were prompted by the law's whistleblower - or qui tam - provisions that offer up to 30% of any recovery for individuals - referred to as qui tam relators - who bring claims on the government's behalf.



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Jacksonville building contractor cited by OSHA for putting workers at risk of falling

The U.S. Department of Labor cited Jacksonville construction firm for a safety citation and proposed fine involving an October incident at a home construction site in Orange Park. The department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited M. Durrance Construction Inc. for exposing workers to dangerous falls while conducting framing work at a residential building on Hawthorn Way in Orange Park.



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Advance Copies of 2014 Form 5500 Available

Advance informational copies of the 2014 Form 5500 annual return/report and related instructions were recently released by the U.S. Department of Labor, the Internal Revenue Service and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. These advance copies are for informational purposes only and cannot be used to file an annual return/report. Employer-provided retirement and health benefit plans that are required to electronically file an annual return/report regarding their financial conditions, investments and operations generally satisfy that requirement by filing Form 5500 or Form 5500-SF and any required attachments.



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Jobless claims fall to 289,000

First-time claims for unemployment fell to 289,000 in the week ending Dec. 13, the Department of Labor reported Thursday. The four-week moving average of claims for initial benefits fell to 298,750, down 750 from the week before.



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CBS' 60 Minutes Piece Highlights Mental Illness and Insurance...

CBS' 60 Minutes Piece Highlights Mental Illness and Insurance Denial of Benefits, Leading Expert Lisa Kantor of Kantor Law Offers Expert Opinion on this Report Taking people out of residential facilities too soon can cause unforeseen collateral damage to patients and their loved ones, says Kantor We fight to get consistent compliance within the law. So many people are affected and without us, the worst often happens.



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Department of labor and illegal termination

I filed a formal complaint against the Department of labor and requested an investigation into my evidence of Fraud for illegal termination of employment during my active duty call up. In order to preserve the Public Trust an open and honest investigation into my evidence is required.



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Underpaid Bay Area caregivers to get more than $600,000 from employers in back wages

Two dozen Filipino caregivers who worked more than 40 hours a week but were paid far below minimum wage by their Bay Area employers will get more than $600,000 thanks to a federal investigation, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The owners of five care facilities serving the ill or elderly reached an agreement with the Department of Labor after a two-year investigation, federal officials said.



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Supreme Court rules employees not entitled to pay for time spent in security screenings

The U.S. Supreme Court recently found that warehouse employees were not entitled to compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act for time spent waiting to pass through anti-theft security screenings after their shifts ended because the security screens were not "integral and indispensable" to their "principal work activities." On December 9, 2014, the United States Supreme Court added another chapter to its analysis of "compensable time" under the Fair Labor Standards Act.



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DOJ Recovers Nearly $6 Billion under False Claims Act in 2014

The Department of Justice obtained a record $5.69 billion from civil cases involving fraud and false claims against the government in the fiscal year ending September 30. This marks the first year the DOJ recovered more than $5 billion under the False Claims Act and brings the total amount recovered since 2009 to $22.75 billion, representing more than half of all recoveries under the FCA in the past 28 years. Most of these FCA actions were prompted by the law's whistleblower - or qui tam - provisions that offer up to 30% of any recovery for individuals - referred to as qui tam relators - who bring claims on the government's behalf.



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Cars vs. pedestrians in Harrisburg: Who's winning? #HBGNext

Even after 9 in the morning, heavy traffic on Harrisburg's Front Street can make it difficult for residents to get to Riverfront Park. Front Street was second on the public's list of most dangerous places in the entire three-county region for pedestrians and bikers, in a survey published earlier this year by the region's transportation planners at HATS .



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Does the Pregnancy Discrimination Act Require Light Duty Assignments for Pregnant Workers?

The Supreme Court recently heard oral argument in Young v. UPS , a case that could drastically impact accommodation policies for pregnant employees.



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'CRomnibus' Spending Bill Makes Significant Changes to Law Governing Multiemployer Pension Plans

The Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014, part of the trillion-dollar government funding legislation approved by the House of Representatives on December 11, the Senate on December 13, and signed by President Obama on December 16, makes significant changes to the law governing multiemployer pension plans. Some of the most important changes are summarized below.



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Civil Rights Act Helps Break Sports Boundaries

BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS Here is a timeline of some important dates in Virginia Tech history, most of which, but not all, relate to athletics: 1966 Linda Adams, Jacquelyn Butler, Linda Edmonds, Freddie Hairston, Marguerite Harper, and Chiquita Hudson becomes the first black females to enroll at Tech 1967 Jerry Gaines becomes the first black athlete to participate for Tech, earning a full scholarship in track and field 1969 John Dobbins becomes the first black athlete to play football at Tech, though he didn't play as a freshman 1978 Anne and Lynne Jones, twin sisters, become the first women to receive scholarships at Tech, joining the women's tennis team 1979 Sandy Berry Copeland becomes the first black female to receive a scholarship at Tech, joining the women's basketball team 1985 Bruce Smith becomes the school's first overall top selection in an NFL Draft, going to the Buffalo Bills ... (more)



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Ban on smokers not likely to catch fire in Mohave County

It's a nasty habit - even most smokers will admit that - but should employers, including those funded by taxpayer dollars, get more involved in controlling it than they already are? The Pima County Board of Supervisors delayed a decision Tuesday to ban the hiring of prospective employees who smoke or use tobacco products. The county administrator asked the board to hold off until Feb. 10 while he gathers more information.



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Getting smarter on crime

Baby Boomers and older Americans may recall the " War on Crime " initiative of the mid-1960s. Beginning with a task force under President Lyndon Johnson , it became part of "law and order" candidate Richard Nixon 's 1968 presidential campaign.



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Give Americans the overtime pay they've earned

Progressives are angry at the president for caving in to Republicans on the CRomnibus budget bill, and rightly so-the rollback of post-Great Recession regulations on financial derivatives is simply inexcusable. But there is a way for President Obama to win back his party's base with a bold strike on behalf of the middle class: Raise the overtime pay threshold .



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2014's Top Ten Ethics and Compliance Issues from the NAVEX Global Blog

Newly redesigned blog is a place where industry experts tackle the most pressing challenges and exciting opportunities in ethics and compliance Ethics and compliance software and solution provider NAVEX Global today announced 2014's top ten issues from their Ethics and Compliance Matters blog http://ift.tt/1zzbOvr . "Our newly redesigned blog is a place where industry experts tackle the most pressing challenges and exciting opportunities in ethics and compliance," said Diane Brown, vice president and head of operations for the NAVEX Global Advisory Services team.



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Union's Christmas message over ambulance service whistleblowing

A CHRISTMAS tree featuring messages of support for a union campaign to defend safety at Yorkshire Ambulance Service has been unveiled in Bradford. The whistleblowers claim Emergency Care Assistants , who receive only a fraction of a paramedic's training, are being dispatched to possible emergencies, putting patients' lives at risk.



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Harris v. Department of Correction

GRUENDEL, SHELDON, and SULLIVAN, Js. Paul Harris, self-represented, the appellant .



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United Alliance Services Offers Free Risk Assessments in MA, CT, RI

Wareham, MA, December 18, 2014 -- -- In order to support safety awareness in the workplace, United Alliance Services is offering complimentary two-hour risk assessments and safety compliance audits to companies in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. The risk assessment is the first step to uncovering safety issues and hazards that may be unaddressed or undiscovered.



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InComm Partners with Edenred UK to Launch a Mobile, Real Time Digital ...

Edenred is one of the leading providers of employee benefits and incentive solutions, improving the efficiency of organisations and making employees' lives easier. Many well-known and popular gift cards, including Currys PC World, can be purchased through Edenred's Instant Savings eGift Card Platform, both on desktop and on mobiles.



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New Crawford Advisors Webinar: Wellness Plans On Trial - EEOC...

Join Crawford Advisors General Counsel and Vice President-Compliance, Patrick Haynes, as he reviews the EEOC's litigation against employer's wellness plans. Wisconsin-based Orion Energy Systems allegedly violated federal law by requiring an employee to submit to medical exams and other inquiries that, according to the EEOC, were not consistent with business necessity as part of a "wellness program", The case, was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Green Bay Division.



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QBI Introduces an Important New Fiduciary Service for Retirement Plan...

QBI affiliate Fiduciary Administration, LLC will provide employers an ERISA 3 fiduciary program to reduce their compliance burden and risk of liability in managing a qualified retirement plan. With this service, employers have the opportunity to relax about several important fiduciary obligations and focus on what matters most to them."



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New Social Media Web Platform for Whistleblowers Announced

A new website, http://ift.tt/1AgJa2o , has been created by the national not-for-profit Foundation for the Child Victims of the Family Courts to facilitate the publication of new articles and posts by whistle blowers about a wide range of controversial topics that need immediate airing to expose official corruption, dangerous practices and malfeasance in America. A new website, http://ift.tt/1AgJa2o has been created to facilitate the publication of new, anonymous but vetted articles and posts by whistle blowers about a wide range of controversial topics that need immediate airing to expose official corruption, dangerous practices and malfeasance in America.



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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Fed law expands savings options for disabled

Advocates for the disabled are lauding a new federal law that allows families to provide savings accounts to cover long-term health needs of their disabled family members. Long sought-after by families, these savings accounts can be used to cover expenses for daily necessities such as medical and dental care, education, employment training, housing and transportation.



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Who controls Congress? Banks

Editor's note: Rick McGahey teaches economics and public policy at the Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy at The New School. He served as executive director of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee and as assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Labor in the Clinton administration.



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Former MPUSD head files claim against Monterey after pothole fall

Marilyn K. Shepherd claims she fell in a pothole in Monterey. . Monterey >> The former head of Monterey Peninsula schools has filed an $800,000 claim against Monterey after she tripped on a pothole, seriously injuring her ankle.



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BofA 'Hustle' whistleblower earns $57 mln payout in second case

A former executive of Countrywide Financial, who led a jury to find parent company Bank of America Corp liable for fraud over shoddy mortgages the company sold, will receive a $57 million award for another whistleblower case against his former employer, according to federal court documents. Edward O'Donnell had filed a whistleblower lawsuit that accused Countrywide of defrauding government-backed mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by selling them loans that were not as good as the company represented them to be.



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Movie of the Year: 'Selma'

Those lyrics can be heard in John Legend and Common 's "Glory," a new song that plays during the end credits of Selma and makes the connection between the 50-year-old events depicted in the movie and the current events continuing to affect the nation. No, the movie isn't about or related to Rosa Parks, but that line represents the beginnings of the African-American Civil Rights Movement that 10 years later was still unfinished, even after the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and obviously remains unfinished to this day.



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The Employment Law Authority - December 2014

On December 9, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the time workers spend undergoing security screenings is not compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act . According to Justice Thomas, writing for a unanimous Court, the security screenings at issue were not the principal activities the employees were employed to perform and were not "integral and indispensable" to those activities.



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"...And Justice for All?"

I used to joke with a black woman I worked with at Cincinnati Magazine that "racial strife makes me sleepy," during Barack Obama's run-up to the Democratic primary when white supremacy was rearing its ugly head for the long haul. I am not tired of being black - whatever that means to The Looker - just exhausted to my bones by what blackness becomes when it's folded into blacks and the police, blacks and judges, blacks who are judges and blacks and jury verdicts.



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Another Day, Another Rule for Federal Contractors

As we previously noted , federal contractors have been besieged in recent months with regulatory changes and enforcement initiatives advanced by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and various divisions within the Department of Labor . The holiday season has not offered any relief, as the DOL recently announced its final rule implementing Executive Order 13672 on December 3, 2014.



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Arizona Restaurant to Fork Over $115,000 in Back Wages

Yet another restaurant has been stealing from its employees: According to the Phoenix Business Journal , Uncle Bear's Grill & Bar, a local chain, will reimburse employees over $115,000 in overtime pay. An investigation into the restaurant by the Department of Labor found that the restaurant failed to properly compensate 54 of its employees.



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After-hours Time Spent by Employees for Required Security Checks Is...

In Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk et al. , the United States Supreme Court ruled unanimously that workers who fill orders in Amazon.com warehouses need not be paid for the time they are required to spend waiting for and subsequently going through security screenings at the completion of their work day.



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Paralysis and workers' compensation

Each workplace injury presents its own set of challenges. Some of these injuries, however, present far greater challenges than others and paralysis falls into that category.



http://ift.tt/1sFR8RO

Civil Rights Act Helps Break Sports Boundaries

BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS Here is a timeline of some important dates in Virginia Tech history, most of which, but not all, relate to athletics: 1966 Linda Adams, Jacquelyn Butler, Linda Edmonds, Freddie Hairston, Marguerite Harper, and Chiquita Hudson becomes the first black females to enroll at Tech 1967 Jerry Gaines becomes the first black athlete to participate for Tech, earning a full scholarship in track and field 1969 John Dobbins becomes the first black athlete to play football at Tech, though he didn't play as a freshman 1978 Anne and Lynne Jones, twin sisters, become the first women to receive scholarships at Tech, joining the women's tennis team 1979 Sandy Berry Copeland becomes the first black female to receive a scholarship at Tech, joining the women's basketball team 1985 Bruce Smith becomes the school's first overall top selection in an NFL Draft, going to the Buffalo Bills ... (more)



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Obama On International Day of Persons With Disabilities

Each year, the United States joins with the international community to celebrate the inherent dignity and worth of every person. In America and in countries around the world, individuals with disabilities support families, strengthen their communities, and contribute to the global economy.



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New year busiest time for claims

Maine Department of Labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette, in a Dec. 17 press release, urged people who anticipate filing unemployment claims from now through early in the new year to file online and to make sure that they are fully registered on the Maine Job Bank. The first week of January is usually the busiest week of the year for unemployment claims as post-holiday seasonal layoffs occur at businesses around the state.



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Singletary: Don't let debt keep you awake at night

National Public Radio's David Greene and Robert Smith have been hosting a series of money talks around the country this year concerning personal finances. Greene, host of NPR's "Morning Edition," and Smith, correspondent for "Planet Money," start off by asking audience members and panelists who join them, myself included, "What keeps you up at night?" Two recent news events punctuate why we all should be concerned about our retirement readiness, even people who have been diligent financial stewards.



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$4.5 million wage settlement for Pa. and WVa. workers in oil and natural gas industry

On Tuesday, December 9, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that it has reached agreement with numerous employers in the oil and natural gas industry in Pennsylvania and West Virginia to provide 5,310 workers with almost $4.5 million in back wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act . The DOL press release may be found here .



http://ift.tt/1BYSUjJ

Another Day, Another Rule for Federal Contractors

As we previously noted , federal contractors have been besieged in recent months with regulatory changes and enforcement initiatives advanced by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and various divisions within the Department of Labor . The holiday season has not offered any relief, as the DOL recently announced its final rule implementing Executive Order 13672 on December 3, 2014.



http://ift.tt/1BYSWrP

Walmart's New Pregnant Worker Protections Aren't...

When Walmart revised its policy toward pregnant employees back in March , the women who had helped force the company's hand warned that the new rules left the retail giant too much wiggle room. A federal complaint filed Wednesday suggests those fears have been realized in the past nine months.



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The Employment Law Authority - December 2014

On December 9, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the time workers spend undergoing security screenings is not compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act . According to Justice Thomas, writing for a unanimous Court, the security screenings at issue were not the principal activities the employees were employed to perform and were not "integral and indispensable" to those activities.



http://ift.tt/1vZD4xc

EU trade secrets directive threat to health, environment, free speech and worker mobility

A new draft EU directive currently looked at by the European Parliament wants to protect companies' "trade secrets", but uses definitions so large and exceptions so weak that it could seriously endanger the work of journalists, whistle-blowers, unionists and researchers as well as severely limiting corporate accountability as well as the transparency of corporate data used for regulation. We publish a joint statement together with many other groups for the directive to be radically amended .



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Public Notice - Mount Vernon ISD - 12/18/2014

Competitive sealed proposals for Mount Vernon ISD Gym and Field House Building and Science and Fine Arts Addition and Renovation are being accepted by Mount Vernon Independent School District.



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Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Holds Whistleblower Protection Is Not Available

The False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. 3729 et seq. , provides for triple damages and a penalty ranging from $5,500 to $11,000 per claim for anyone who knowingly submits or causes the submission of a false or fraudulent claim to the United States.



http://ift.tt/1DOFrx1

Advance Copies of 2014 Form 5500 Available

Advance informational copies of the 2014 Form 5500 annual return/report and related instructions were recently released by the U.S. Department of Labor, the Internal Revenue Service and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. These advance copies are for informational purposes only and cannot be used to file an annual return/report. Employer-provided retirement and health benefit plans that are required to electronically file an annual return/report regarding their financial conditions, investments and operations generally satisfy that requirement by filing Form 5500 or Form 5500-SF and any required attachments.



http://ift.tt/1J3eZj9

NLRB Reaffirms Its D.R. Horton Decision, Ruling That Employment...

Subsequently, that opinion was rejected by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, on which we reported on , and disagreed with by other courts. Notwithstanding these adverse court decisions, on October 28, 2014, the NLRB reaffirmed D.R. Horton, ruling that the arbitration agreements of Murphy Oil USA Inc., which barred employees from pursuing class actions, were unlawful.



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