Category Archives: Uncategorized

The High Road: Investing in Your Workers

Today’s post comes from the United States Department of Labor.

Congress still hasn’t answered President Obama’s call to raise the national minimum wage. But states and localities are acting on their own, through legislative action and ballot measure. And across the country, forward-thinking businesses are leading by example. In community after community, I’ve visited with employers who know that paying workers a fair wage isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s also good for business.

boston beer collage
boston beer collage

Nobody would argue that Boston Beer Company founder and chairman Jim Koch doesn’t know what he’s doing. He produces America’s most successful craft beer, Sam Adams, served in bars, restaurants, stores and entertainment venues nationwide. His brewery has won more awards in international beer-tasting competitions that any other. I had the pleasure of meeting with Jim earlier this week, touring the Boston brewery, and learning about how he treats his 1,200 employees. “You can’t have engaged employees if you don’t invest in them,” he says. That’s why Jim offers his employees paid sick leave and starts everyone, including part-time workers, well above the minimum wage.

letter logic
letter logic

Later in Nashville, I met with a handful of small business owners who similarly value their employees, recognizing that the high road is the smart road. Among
them is Sherry Stewart Deutschmann who founded and runs LetterLogic, a company that processes statements, letters and checks for…

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Employer Fraud and Recommendations from New York State Supreme Court’s Grand Jury Report

Today’s post was shared by Jon L Gelman and comes from legaltalknetwork.com

A recent Grand Jury Report from the New York State Supreme Court brought recommendations of change to handle Employer Fraud in Workers’ Compensation. Among the recommended areas of change are the application process, criminal statutes, and the method of collecting data. On this episode of Workers Comp Matters, host interviews Gilda Mariani of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. Together they discuss the results of the Grand Jury Report and the subsequent victims of premium fraud. Tune in to learn more about employee classifications, the involuntary insurance market, and drivers of cost for workers’ compensation insurance.

Gilda Mariani is with the New York County District Attorney’s Office, having held supervisory positions including Deputy Chief of its former Frauds Bureau as well as Chief of its former Money Laundering and Tax Crimes Unit. She has had a significant role in drafting legislation, including the New York Money Laundering Statute and the misdemeanor crime of Providing a Juror with a Gratuity. She has conducted several investigations that have led to issuance of Reports by the New York County Grand Jury, including the Grand Jury Report released in March 2014  on workers’ compensation reform. Mariani is also a recipient of the Robert M. Morgenthau Award by the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York.

Special thanks to our sponsor, PInow.

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Immigrant children lack legal representation, rights groups allege in lawsuit

Today’s post was shared by The Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and comes from www.oregonlive.com

Border crisis Demonstration

Demonstrators march near the White House after a news conference of immigrant families and children’s advocates. Meanwhile, in Seattle, a coalition of immigrant rights groups is suing the federal government over the lack of legal representation for minors during deportation hearings. (The Associated Press)

SEATTLE — A coalition of immigrant rights advocacy groups is suing the federal government over the fact that few minors have legal representation during deportation proceedings.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in federal court in Seattle on behalf of eight plaintiffs, all minors. The plaintiffs are from Mexico and Central America, and they range in age from 10 to 17.

At deportation hearings, immigrants must hire their own lawyers or find someone to represent them pro bono, while the federal government has attorneys arguing for them to leave the U.S.

The groups say as a result, thousands of immigrant children end up with no legal representation at deportation proceedings every year. And they say the issue could be compounded with the recent influx minors attempting to enter the country through the southern border.

The Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security did not immediately comment.

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Lawsuit Contends Surveillance Database Is Too Lax on Reporting Criteria

Today’s post was shared by The Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and comes from www.nytimes.com

WASHINGTON — Intent on not overlooking clues about any terrorist plots after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the government spread a now-familiar slogan: “If you see something, say something.” Less visibly, it built a national database to better harness reports of suspicious activity in the hunt for terrorists.

On Thursday, five California men opened a legal front over the recurring tensions between collective security measures and individual rights by filing a lawsuit that challenges the Suspicious Activity Reporting database. They contend that it is too easy for people engaged in innocuous activities to be put into the database and scrutinized as if they were a threat.

The plaintiffs include two white photographers who were confronted by security guards at a natural gas tank and by the police at a refinery; an Egyptian-American who tried to buy a large number of computers at a Best Buy store; a Pakistani-American who was looking around in a train station with his mother, who wore a Muslim head scarf; and a white Muslim convert who was looking at a flight simulator game on the Internet.

Each contends that he was added to the database for his behavior, although only two, according to previously disclosed government documents, have been able to prove it. The lawsuit argues that federal standards are too lax in allowing a security guard’s or a police officer’s report to be uploaded into the national database.

The Justice Department did not…

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Patient Access To Physicians Notes: An Experiment of Psychological Importance

Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from well.blogs.nytimes.com

Photo Today’s post is shared from the NYTimes.com  What would happen if all workers’ compensation patients had access to all their treating physician’s records including pschiatric care? Would such access assist in limiting and increasing litigation for continued medical care and the need for medical treatment?

David Baldwin wasn’t sure how he had come across the other day in group therapy at the hospital, near the co-op apartment where he lives with his rescue cat, Zoey. He struggles with bipolar disorder, severe anxiety and depression. Like so many patients, he secretly wondered what his therapist thought of him.

But unlike those patients, Mr. Baldwin, 64, was able to find out, swiftly and privately. Pulling his black leather swivel chair to his desk, he logged onto a hospital website and eagerly perused his therapist’s session notes.

The clinical social worker, Stephen O’Neill, wrote that Mr. Baldwin’s self-consciousness about his disorder kept him isolated. Because he longed to connect with others, this was particularly self-defeating, Mr. O’Neill observed. But during the session, he had also discussed how he had helped out neighbors in his co-op.

“This seems greatly appreciated, and he noted his clear enjoyment in helping others,” Mr. O’Neill wrote. “This greatly assists his self-esteem.”

A smile animated Mr. Baldwin’s broad, amiable features. “I have a tough time recognizing that…

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More than $1.6M in unpaid overtime for 1,543 workers in the Gulf Coast recovered by US Labor Department

Today’s post was shared by US Labor Department and comes from www.dol.gov

News Release

WHD News Release: [07/10/2014]

Ongoing initiative reveals evasive pay practices in the temporary staffing industry

HOUMA, La. — B & D Contracting Inc., a labor recruiting and staffing agency that caters to oil field services and maritime fabrication facilities along the Gulf Coast, has agreed to pay $1,660,438 in back wages to 1,543 current and former employees. An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor found that the company engaged in improper pay and record-keeping practices that resulted in employees being denied overtime compensation in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The employees were assigned to client work sites throughout Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to work as welders, pipe fitters and shipfitters.

Investigators from the Wage and Hour Division’s New Orleans District Office found the company mischaracterized certain wages as per diem payments and impermissibly excluded these wages when calculating overtime premiums, denying employees earned overtime compensation.

"Temporary staffing agencies serve valuable and legitimate business needs in today’s economy," said Dr. David Weil, administrator for the Wage and Hour Division, "But employers may not manipulate these arrangements and use evasive pay practices to avoid paying workers their rightful wages."

"The labor violations we found in this case are not unique to B & D Contracting Inc.," said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the…

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National Prevention Council Annual Status Reports

Today’s post was shared by US Labor Department and comes from www.surgeongeneral.gov

Every year, the Council submits a report describing national progress in meeting specific prevention, health promotion, and public health goals defined in the National Prevention Strategy to the President and the relevant committees of Congress.

National Prevention Council’s 2014 Annual Status Report

The National Prevention Council’s 2014 Annual Status Report illustrates how Council departments are working across the federal government to incorporate health in diverse sectors like housing, transportation, and education to advance the Strategy and influence the health of individuals, families, and communities. In addition, the report highlights how partners across the country are advancing the National Prevention Strategy in organizations ranging from health care systems to workforce agencies and national foundations to local non-profits.  

Read the National Prevention Council 2014 Annual Status Report (PDF – 4.8 MB) 

The above file is currently undergoing remediation for compliance with Section 508. The remediation will be complete by July 31, 2014. In the interim, should you need accessibility assistance with the file, please contact the Office of the Surgeon General at Surgeon.General@hhs.gov.

Previous Annual Status Reports

Read the National Prevention Council 2012 Annual Status Report  (PDF – 490 KB)

Read the National Prevention Council 2011 Annual…

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Lawsuit claims DEA paid man with crack

Today’s post was shared by The Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and comes from krqe.com

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) – Federal agents paid a struggling addict in crack cocaine for his help with an undercover investigation into a Las Vegas, New Mexico drug operation, a new lawsuit claims.

According to court papers filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque, Aaron Romero, 38, was approached by DEA agents in 2011 to assist with drug deals in exchange for portions of the drugs obtained by authorities. But Romero’s participation in “Operation Smack City” reignited a previous crack addiction as he became a victim of recklessness on behalf of DEA agents, causing severe emotional and physical harm, the lawsuit said.

“The United States government and the defendants affirmatively and intentionally established a pattern of distribution of crack cocaine to (Romero) in order to utilize his addiction to crack cocaine to further the investigation and to ‘stack drug related charges’ against him,” the lawsuit said, which names five DEA agents.

Romero was later charged with distribution of drugs but federal prosecutors dropped the charges in January, according to his attorney, Erlinda Ocampo Johnson.

The lawsuit says the arrangement was in violation of DEA policy since the agency did not get prior approval from prosecutors.

Elizabeth Martinez, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Albuquerque, said the office declined to comment on the case.

“He was targeted because he was a known drug addict,” Johnson said….

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