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  • What's Your Employer's Philosophy: Work to Live or Live to Work?
    In 2006, Treehouse CEO Ryan Carson decided to give employees of the Portland, Oregon-based technology education company three-day weekends every week, arguing that living to work instead of working to live is not the best (or at least only) key to a company's profitability and overall success. But, that doesn't mean that his decision was motivated solely by a desire to be a more humane boss. Employers making similar decisions are just as interested in the bottom line as they are in making workers' lives better. It turns out, working less sometimes means producing more – and better – work.
  • Portland, Maine Accidentally Gives Tipped Workers a Raise
    Language matters, especially when it comes to legislation. Recently, we had proof of this when the Affordable Care Act nearly deflated thanks to an alternate interpretation of the phrase "established by the state." Now, city officials in Portland, Maine, find themselves in a similar bind: confusion over the language in a recent bill to raise the city's minimum wage to $10.10 an hour led city council to nearly double tipped workers' wages, from $3.75 to $6.35 an hour, as of January 1. The accidental raise was met with dismay from restaurant owners and delight from labor organizers. Both dismay and delight, however, might be short-lived.
  • Bill Would Allow Companies to Fire Unwed Mothers
    The recent Supreme Court ruling that determined same-sex couples have the same marriage rights as opposite-sex couples has been met with both celebration and consternation. On the consternation side, the most immediate outcome has been in the form of the First Amendment Defense Act, a bill with the stated purpose of protecting employers from discrimination, if they act "in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage." This would obviously have big implications for same-sex couples, but it would also potentially affect other workers whose personal lives don't match their employers' beliefs, including unmarried women who have children.
  • What You Need to Know Employment Discrimination After the Same-Sex Marriage Ruling
    One of the major frontiers in the fight for equality for people of all sexual orientations has been the battle for marriage equality. The United States Supreme Court has now finally ruled that same-sex couples have the same marriage rights nationwide as their opposite-sex counterparts. Unfortunately, this is far from the end of the fight. Discrimination based on sexual orientation is still extremely common in the workplace, and in much of the country it is still completely legal.
  • What You Should Know About Religious Headwear in the Workplace
    Religion plays a fundamental role in many people's lives. For some, practicing religion is a much more active process than just attending services. Some religions require adherents to wear specific clothing, for example. This can create issues when a religious person seeks out employment, because those of a mind to discriminate based on religious beliefs can easily identify followers of certain religions based on that clothing. Fortunately, there are laws preventing this and a recent United States Supreme Court decision has reaffirmed these protections against religious discrimination.
  • Prospective Employers Asking for W-2 Forms: A Cover for Discrimination?
    In the current economy, the hiring process and salary negotiations are already slanted toward employers and against employees. This makes a new trend among employers to require potential hires to provide previous W-2 forms – sometimes years' worth of them – particularly worrying. But is it illegal?
  • PayScale's VIP Blog Roundup: Do I Get Paid Extra for Working on the Holiday?
    If you're headed into work this weekend instead of hanging around a barbecue, waiting for the fireworks to start, you're probably already a little annoyed. If you're not getting paid extra for it, you might even upgrade annoyed to downright mad. In this week's roundup, we look at expert advice on determining whether you're likely to get paid more for working holidays – plus, insight on goal-setting and how to redeem a job interview, once it starts going horribly wrong.
  • Obama Will Expand Overtime to 40 Percent of Salaried American Workers
    Yesterday, President Obama announced a rule change that will expand time-and-half eligibility to around 5 million Americans. By raising the overtime threshold from $23,660 a year to $50,440, the president will grant overtime to workers who were previously ineligible for overtime pay, despite earning low wages and working more than 40 hours a week.
  • How the Supreme Court Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage Could Affect Employee Benefits
    On Friday, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, effectively legalizing gay marriage in the 13 states in which it wasn't permitted by law. In his majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy said, "Rising from the most basic human needs, marriage is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations." Some of those more practical needs are about to be at the forefront of your employer's HR policies in the coming months. Here's what you can expect to see, in terms of changes to your employee benefits.
  • What You Should Know About the Whistleblower Protection Act
    Whistleblowers are a vital part of our society. Without them, corruption and unfair and unsafe practices would continue unabated. These brave men and women have differing legal protections based upon what they blow the whistle on, whom they blow the whistle on, and where they live. One law that protects some is the Whistleblower Protection Act, which was supplemented in 2012 by the Whistleblower Protections Enhancement Act.
  • Spotlight on Disney-Layoff Debacle
    It feels a bit like deja vu. Didn't we just hear all that hubbub about Disney laying off workers? It was a sordid tale that involved 250 workers laid off from "the happiest place" on Earth, and then asked to train their replacements (who were an apparent part of an outsourcing directive via H-1B visas). Disney's debacle was only one of the most publicized incidents of such layoffs, and that bad PR may just have made a difference. After all, Disney just canceled similar plans to lay off more than 30 IT workers earlier this month.
  • Your Right to Compare Salaries
    How do employers get away with paying a protected class of employee less than other workers, despite laws that make it illegal? By allowing each staff member to negotiate his or her own salary, and then discouraging employees from sharing salary information. This discouragement interferes with your ability to prove discrimination. Fortunately, you have rights.
  • 4 Ways to Survive Fragrance Sensitivity in the Office
    Around 5,000 different fragrances permeate our personal care products. What smells clean and fresh to one person is a harbinger of an allergy attack for someone with fragrance sensitivity, which can result in sneezing, headaches, skin reactions, even difficulty breathing. Antihistamines can help, but the best treatment is reducing exposure. The question is, how far does your employer have to go to accommodate your condition?
  • Oregon to Employers: No, You Can't Make Workers Have a Facebook Account
    Technology moves faster than law. As a result, the era of social media has been a tricky one for workers' rights. Various state and federal courts have settled questions about whether employers can ask their employees for access to their accounts and whether complaining about work on social networks counts as collective bargaining. The latest frontier in social media-related employment law: mandating that workers maintain social media accounts in the first place.
  • Covert Discrimination: What You Need to Know About Coded Job Listings
    Sometimes employment discrimination is obvious; for example, a particularly bigoted manager or supervisor may use racial slurs or explicitly admit to discriminatory intent. Those cases are rare, however. More often than not it is much harder to prove employment discrimination because employers who want to discriminate have become quite good at hiding their intentions. One trick these employers use is using coded language in their job postings. They list job qualifications that are a pretext for eliminating certain job candidates. This is particularly common when it comes to age discrimination.
  • What You Need to Know About Genetic Information Discrimination
    Most people have heard of discrimination based on race, sex, age, and disability. However, you may not have ever heard of genetic information discrimination unless you have been a victim of this sort of illegal employment practice or know someone who has.
  • Disney Workers Laid Off and Asked to Train Foreign Replacements
    Imagine receiving notice that you'd just lost your job. It'd be devastating. But, then, just think about being asked to train your replacement over a series of months – as you discovered that the jobs had been transferred to labor imported from other countries on a temporary visa for highly skilled technical workers. Would that kind of a situation feel like some kind of new level of hell? That's just what happened to workers at Disney, who found themselves facing unemployment ... and training the workers who would soon take over their jobs.
  • You Can Be a Victim of Employment Discrimination Without Even Working
    We often think of employment discrimination as being something that happens to people who already have jobs. A woman may be denied a raise because of her sex, or an older person may be forced into retirement because of his age. But employment discrimination also happens on the front end of employment, when hiring decisions are being made. So if you are looking for a job, you need to understand your rights.
  • What's Really Behind That Manicure?
    Nail technician: It's one of those careers that seems almost hidden, overlooked, and even ignored. And, when you last went into a nail salon to get your manicure or pedicure, you probably had no idea about the reality of the working conditions the women workers are often forced to endure across the country.
  • What You Need to Know About Your Right to Unionize
    Unions' position in America has changed drastically over the last few generations. Large swaths of our population used to work in industries like manufacturing and many of those industries were unionized. Then companies began outsourcing jobs to other countries, and more and more Americans found themselves in service industry positions that often are non-union positions. Only you can know whether a union is right for you, but if you think it may be and you are not currently a union member, you need to understand what your legal rights are when it comes to unionizing.