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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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OSHA Chief: Inequality in America Is About Workplace Hazards, Too

Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from www.nbcnews.com

Image: Assistant Labor Secretary David Michaels of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration attends a full committee hearing on Capitol Hill on June 23 in Washington, DC.
Image: Assistant Labor Secretary David Michaels of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration attends a full committee hearing on Capitol Hill on June 23 in Washington, DC.

Inequality and poverty have taken center stage in American politics in the years since the recession. Fast food workers have raised the profile of low-wage work, cities and states around the country are raising the minimum wage, and elected officials in both parties have made the struggles of poor Americans core political issues.

But David Michaels, Ph.D., M.P.H., who leads the Occupational Safety and Health Administration under the Obama administration, says that workplace inequality is more than just wages. In an interview, Michaels, who is responsible for enforcing federal laws to project workers from illness and injury, says the regulatory structures he oversees aren’t sufficient to protect vulnerable workers from harm.

NBC: The political conversation about inequality in recent years has focused on wages. You’ve made the point that when addressing inequality, we should focus more on workplace health and safety issues. Why?

Michaels: Wages are clearly a core component of the discussion of inequality and the ability to get into and stay in middle class. But workplace health and safety issues also have an enormous impact. Workplace injury and illness can push workers out of middle-class jobs and make it hard to enter into the middle class in the first place.

Studies show that workplace injury…

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Medicaid Home Care Cuts Are Unjust, Lawsuit Says

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

A federal class action lawsuit filed late Tuesday accuses New York State health officials of denying or slashing Medicaid home care services to chronically ill and disabled people without proper notice, the chance to appeal or even an explanation, protections required by law.

The lawsuit, filed in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, names three plaintiffs: an impaired 84-year-old woman living alone in Manhattan, a frail 18-year-old Brooklyn man with severe congenital disabilities, and a 65-year-old Manhattan man with diabetes and a schizoaffective disorder. But it was brought by the New York Legal Assistance Group on behalf of tens of thousands of disabled Medicaid beneficiaries who need home health care or help with daily tasks like bathing and eating.

It represents a challenge to an ambitious Medicaid overhaul by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo that shifted $6 billion in public spending on long-term services, including home care, to private managed care companies that are paid a fixed sum for each enrollee. The goal of the overhaul, which was set in motion in 2011, was saving money and improving the coordination of care. But advocates for aged and disabled people have complained that in the scramble for the most lucrative enrollees, companies are shunning frail people with the greatest needs and signing up those who could be given minimal services.

The lawsuit, filed against the state commissioners of the Department of Health and the Office of…

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