April 10 marked Equal Pay Day this year. If that sounds like something to celebrate, it isn't. Equal Pay Day is about showing how much more work women must do before they have earned the same salary as men. An average man who began work on January 1, 2017 and ended work on December 31, 2017 earned the same amount as a woman who worked from January 1, 2017 to April 10, 2018.
What happens in New Jersey has national implications. Early this month, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley made good on his promise to release details on confidential settlements as well as the costs and fees associated for them for a number of lawsuits that plagued the state government just this year alone. Two of the large cases showed one settlement for over $1 million in the Department of Labor and one in the Department of Social Services for $2 million.
The minimum wage has been a hot button issue for some time now. Lawmakers are acting at the city, state and federal levels to control minimum wage levels based on their political leanings. Many on the left are working to see that full-time workers are not poverty-ridden. On the right, the interests of corporations and business owners dictate policy. The battle between workers and employers ignores one of the primary problems with minimum wage laws - they are not enforced in any comprehensive or reliable way.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has released its final numbers for 2017. According to the agency, it responded to more than 540,000 calls to its toll free number and an additional 155,000 reports to it field offices. A review of the cases that led to charges being filed with the agency shows that nearly half of them involved claims that an employer retaliated against an employee in violation of the law.
There are too many problems in the world to be passionate about them all. It is only natural that some societal problems will simply escape public notice until an event draws our attention. Anyone working in employment law is well aware of gender-based inequality. The recent attention given to high-profile cases of sexual harassment, sexual assault and other misconduct by men in politics, entertainment and business may, hopefully, bring about change.
Many people who find themselves the victim of sexual harassment or workplace discrimination are reluctant to report it to human resources. HR departments are, ostensibly, the right place to direct complaints about mistreatment. In reality, many of these departments work to protect executives from the consequences of their actions. Reporting a complaint to HR often leads nowhere. If action is taken, it's as likely to lead to retaliation against the victim as it is action against the perpetrator.
Bad driving is a threat to drivers, pedestrians and cyclists on roads all over the nation. Motor vehicle accidents claim tens of thousands of lives a year. Recently, there has been an uptick in fatal accidents per mile driven. Driving safety appears to be on the decline.
When it comes to parental leave, the U.S. lags far behind other developed countries in terms of employee rights. American employers are required to provide woefully little to employees who have children. Despite the paucity of parental leave rights, companies still find ways to run afoul of the law in establishing their policies. In many cases, the failure comes from an antiquated view of what family life really is.
According to the National Safety Council, motor vehicle deaths have risen by 14 percent since 2014. The reasons for the increase are a matter of significant discussion among safety experts. The most common culprits discussed are increasing traffic congestion, more speeding and a rise in distracted driving. Part of the discussion is whether one of the tools used to curb distracted driving deaths may actually be contributing to them.
Employers are allowed to conduct themselves in any number of horrible ways. Some employers regularly make stupid decisions when it comes to work policies, hiring and firing decisions and more. The law does not protect workers from every bad decision made by an incompetent boss. The law does, however, protect employees who are denied overtime, or who are harassed, bullied or discriminated against for a protected reason.