Labor Law Guy

Many Companies Suddenly Facing First-Ever EEOC Claims

Posted in Federal Labor Law by laborlawguy on November 3, 2009

With unemployment soaring and the job marketing languishing in the doldrums, laid-off and even currently working employees are turning to the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) for redress of wrongs, real or imagined.

Many companies are reporting their first-ever EEOC complaints springing from allegations of various forms of discrimination, usually in the workforce reduction process.

No statistics exist yet for 2009, but for 2008 overall EEOC claims jumped 28 percent from 83,000 to 95,000. Discrimination claims were likewise up by 28 percent, while retaliation claims jumped 22 percent. Retaliation, employment lawyers say, is the new lawsuit du jour.

Employees are no longer waiting for the proverbial axe to fall before filing EEOC complaints. Some are using EEOC claims as a pre-emptive strike to avoid being laid off. As one lawyer explained: “If I’m causing a fuss about something, you won’t pick me to lay off…and, if I am let go, then I’ll claim retaliation.”

The EEOC is more than happy to oblige the claimants. The agency this year has already hired 170 new field investigators to check out the claims.

‘Tis the season of “employer, beware.”

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The QALY Nightmare: Nation of ‘Useless Eaters’ Rejects the Concept

Posted in Federal Labor Law by laborlawguy on August 28, 2009

While Barack Obama, Ezekiel Emanuel and the AHRQ (U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) are licking their chops in anticipation of foisting quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) on our health care delivery system–to deny us treatment when we’re in our non-productive years, or when we’re non-productive by birth (i.e., productive=ability to work and pay ((huge)) taxes)–the Germans have thoughtfully rejected the concept as “unethical” and “unconstitutional.”

This bit of wisdom on the Germans’ part no doubt exhibits a deep-seated visceral reaction based on Adolph Hitler’s regimen of gassing away the country’s “useless eaters,” its citizens (other than Jews, who were subject to a different program) who were disabled, mentally ill or too sick or weak to work.

Meanwhile, as I noted here recently, in Great Britain QALYs are used as a yardstick to determine how much, if any, the nation’s health care system will spend on you. Presumably, if a treatment or operation will extend your life and its quality (ability to work and pay taxes, or if in retirement, live without being a drain on social resources) by a year minimum, then they’ll fork over up to $50,000 for health care. Otherwise, take two aspirin and enjoy your life–or death.

As the AHRQ notes in anticipation of fully embracing and adopting the QALY concept: “The quality adjusted life year (QALY) is a widely used measure of both quality and quantity of life that is applicable to all individuals and diseases.”

Says who? Hitler?

Sarah Palin was right to object to “death panels.” As I’ve noted all along, the Democrats’ plan for so-called health care reform is all based on the unspoken “R” word–rationing–and as Zeke Emanuel and Barack Obama have both intimated, what better place to start rationing than with non-taxpaying senior citizens?

How dare they expect a return on their Medicare and Social Security taxes–especially when they’re not even working and contributing to society (read: the federall government) anymore?

Useless eaters indeed.

HELP Bill Will Help Employers Drop Health Insurance

Posted in Federal Labor Law, Random Musings by laborlawguy on July 6, 2009

Gee, talk about an incentive to drop out of providing health insurance for one’s employees, how’s this:

The Senate’s oxymoronically (or just moronically) named HELP Committee just reissued its health care redesign that includes an employer “play or pay” mandate. So what does an employer have to pay if he doesn’t provide insurance? A whopping $750 per family or $375 per individual–per year!

I could easily see many employers dropping their plans and telling their employees to sign up for the new so-called “public option.” They’d be saving a ton and shedding themselves of administrative heartache.

However, the HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee) bill also extends Medicaid to people earning up to four times the federal poverty level–about $43,000 for a single individual and $88,000 for a family of four ($54,000 and $108,000 respectively for Alaskans).

I’d say that within the next couple of years, if this bill passes, a great majority of Americans will be on either Medicaid or the public option. In other words, just a legislative move or two from what the Obamacrats really want, which is “Medicare for all” (at least until you get too old to work when rationing will set in to save the system money).

Top Ten Regulations OSHA Gets Questions About

Posted in Federal Labor Law, Random Musings by laborlawguy on June 26, 2009

Here’s a list of the top ten enquiries sent by e-mail to OSHA about its regulations. The agency keeps tabs both by e-mail and phone enquiry, so a notation in parentheses shows the phone rank and regulation link:

  1. Powered industrial trucks (1910.178, #3)
  2. Sanitation (1910.141, #4)
  3. Hazard communication (1910.1200, #2)
  4. Bloodborne pathogens (1910.1030, #1)
  5. Personal protective equipment, general requirements (1910.132, #5)
  6. Medical services and first aid (1910.151, #6)
  7. Ergonomics (no OSHA standard, not on phone list)
  8. Electrical, general requirements (1910.303, not on phone list)
  9. Respiratory protection (1910.134, #8)
  10. Air contaminants (1910.1000, #7).

Stolen shamelessly (but with attribution) from Safety News Alert, which also notes:

“The two questions in the top-10 list of questions received by phone that aren’t on the e-mail list are about indoor air quality (no OSHA standard) and permit-required confined spaces (1910.146).”

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SEIU Adopts Tactics It Wants Outlawed for Employers

Posted in Federal Labor Law, Random Musings, State Labor Law by laborlawguy on June 24, 2009

Betraying its own selfish interests in trying to castrate business owners when it comes to union organizing, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is now employing the very tactics it wants to outlaw for employers.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the SEIU in California is blocking elections at hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities as the nascent National Union of Healthcare Workers gathers signatures and calls for elections.

Behind the battle lies the brutal takeover of United Healthcare Workers West (UHW West) earlier this year when SEIU President Andy Stern installed some henchmen at UHW and then accused the native leadership of embezzelment. The ousted UHW quickly morphed into the National Union of Healthcare Workers and is now battling SEIU for representation of healthcare workers in the Golden State.

Stern is fighting back like any good employer by trying to block elections while accusing the rival union of illegal tactics.

So far, two elections have been held, and each union has won one.

Since unions are unions no matter if one or more of them is an aggrieved party, it matters little who wins, but it would be nice to see Stern get his much-deserved comeuppance.

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Canada Health Care Going Private, While We Go Socialist

Posted in Federal Labor Law, Random Musings by laborlawguy on June 9, 2009

Sometimes it’s hard to figure out how and why politicians see a different reality than those of us who live in it, but then I snap back to the cold logic of a politician’s raison d’etre–“How do I get the most votes?”

For Barack Obama and the Democrats, getting “the most votes” means putting everybody on a federal health care lifeline. The reasoning goes something like this: “If they can’t get their health care without us (no matter how awful, indifferent or unavailable it is), then they’ll have to vote for us. We’ll be in power forever!”

Other countries offer perfect examples of all the ills and evils of nationalized medicine, but that doesn’t deter the likes of Ted Kennedy or Barack Obama since, as noted above, the goal is not health care optimization, but vote optimization.

Canada’s system is so broken that, in emergency cases and for cases requiring specialized care, the country often sends patients to the U.S. for treatment. Either that, or they come on their own, knowing they face sure death in the Canadian system.

Here’s the story of how Canada is privatizing health care just as we are ruining, I mean, nationalizing our very vehicle of survival: “Canada’s Obamacare Precedent.”

Democrats Seek to End Agriculture in New York

Posted in Federal Labor Law, Random Musings, State Labor Law by laborlawguy on June 8, 2009

I’m picking this up from a blog I just stumbled upon. The author is someone named Homer, whose name appears under a drawing of Homer Simpson.

Homer’s take is a little different from my headline–he claims the Democrats in the state legislature are trying to drive out farmers from upstate New York because they tend to vote Republican.

The Democrats’ vehicle to do this is something called the Farm Workers Fair Practices Act.

Let’s have Homer explain it:

In short, it would subject farmers to a host of labor regulations including: requiring 8 hour days, paid overtime, providing workers a day of rest each week, mandatory payment of unemployment insurance for small farm employers (even for seasonal workers), and coverage for disability insurance for off the job injuries. And of course, it would make it easier for workers to unionize and then immediately send contribution checks to Susan John.

As he goes on to explain, farming is a unique industry, which is seasonal and requires working sun-up to sundown during the planting and harvesting seasons. That’s why farm labor has always been exempted from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and other labor laws. The New York Farm Bureau predicts devastation to the tune of $200 million a year if the bill passes.

Thought the EFCA was bad? New York just one-upped D.C.

Public Perceptions v. ‘The Experts’ in Health Care Matters

Posted in Federal Labor Law, Random Musings by laborlawguy on June 5, 2009

I’ve shamelessly stolen the graph below that shows the differences of opinion between the public and the so-called experts on how well, or poorly, our health care system is performing–and why.

I took it from the Kaiser Family Foundation Web site and the article by Drew Altman, Ph.D., entitled “Pulling It Together”:

health-care-comparison

LUST, One of the New Acronyms Coming Out of D.C.

Posted in Federal Labor Law, Random Musings by laborlawguy on June 2, 2009

At least the bureaucrats and fat-cat legislators in our nation’s capital are having fun spending our trillions (last count: $7 trillion to fight the current recession!), and I’m not referring to the rampant abuse of expense accounts that the Wall Street Journal has been exposing.

Rather, I’m referencing a new string of interesting acronyms coming our unanointed heads’ way. LUST, from my headline, refers to the Leaking Underground Storage Tank trust, and is used in the phrase “LUST Recovery.” (What they’re recovering, I’m not altogether sure.)

More a propos of the type of people who make a living in D.C. is the RAT Board, or the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board.

Now for the clincher: Try pronouncing this acronym, FCCCER.

You don’t even want to know what it means.

(But I’ll tell you anyway: It stands for Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research, the group that will one day to be happy to deny you a medicine or medical treatment because it’s simply not cost-effective.  When they do, just call them by their acronym and pronounce as it looks, FCCCER.)

EEOC Sues Strip Club for Firing 56-Year-Old Waitress

Posted in Federal Labor Law, Random Musings, State Labor Law by laborlawguy on May 14, 2009

I stumbled upon this attorney’s employment law blog that focuses on the bizarre, humorous and unusual in case law (Wal-Mart execs dressed in drag and filmed at a meeting, for instance).

On his site, CurrentEmployment.net, Tim Eavenson brings up the tale of a lawsuit filed this past week by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against a strip club that burned to the ground–two years ago.

However, the year before the club’s demise, the owners of Cover Girls in Houston had fired 56-year-old Mary Bassi, who had waited tables there for nigh on to 15 years and raked in almost $100K a year from a loyal suite of customers. Younger babes were seen taking her place.

Bassi says the bosses used to call her “old” and make jokes at her expense about Alzheimer’s.

Meanwhile, the suit will go on because the owners also operated four other Houston strip clubs. Bassi, now 59, is working for a competitor. I wonder if her loyal customers followed her over to the competition.

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