Americans have differing opinions on the Affordable Care Act, which is often referred to as Obamacare. Last year, the individual mandate went into effect, which required a large percentage of Americans to obtain health insurance or risk having to pay a penalty when tax time arrives. This year, a similarly contentious part of the law goes partially into effect: the employer mandate. What this means is that at least some employees finally have a right, of sorts, to have their employers pay for a portion of their health insurance.
Despite the reality that everyone gets sick at some point and the fact that public health experts advise us to stay home when it happens to us, there are still many workers in the United States who do not have any paid sick leave. For many working-class and middle-class employees, this means effectively that they have no sick leave at all, because they cannot afford to miss out on a day's wages. However, there is a possibility that this problem could be fixed, at least for employees of large and mid-sized employers.
The recent firing of Atlanta's fire chief shows that what you do on your own time can still get you fired. While the details of the story bring up questions about religious discrimination as well as potential discrimination based on sexual orientation, at its heart is an employer's decision to fire an employee for something he did outside of work.
Typically, when people think of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), they think of two parts of it: the part that protects disabled people from workplace discrimination and the part that requires buildings to take steps to be accessible to disabled people. What most people do not realize is that there is also a very important portion of the law that protects those who are in some way associated with a disabled person from being discriminated against at work because of that association.
If you've been waiting for a fatter paycheck to find you in 2015, so far the news has been discouraging. Unemployment rates are down, which is exciting news, but we still haven't seen an improvement in wages. Here's why a lower unemployment rate hasn't translated to higher pay -- yet.
We like to think that employers take an employee's whole record into account when making a decision as to whether the employee should lose his or her job. But sometimes just one mistake can be enough to end an employment relationship, which can be absolutely devastating for the employee.
Whether you are applying to serve fast food, work on a construction site, style hair, teach, or be a tattoo artist, almost all job applications have had one thing in common for years. They ask the question, "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" And whether your answer is yes because of a silly trespassing charge you picked up as the result of a childhood prank or your answer is yes because you spent serious time in prison at some point in your past, the result has historically been the same. Either you tell the truth and you don't get the job because you have a conviction, or you lie and you run the risk of ultimately being fired when your employer does a background check. Either way, for generations you have had no recourse. However, in some parts of the country this is changing as various states and municipalities enact "Ban the Box" legislation.
If you worked during the holiday, instead of taking a vacation, you're not the only one. There's a growing trend among American workers toward more strategic planning of vacation opportunities -- taking advantage of every possible dollar and allotted hour to build a vacation experience that you and your family won't ever forget.
With the holiday season upon us, many business are extending their hours. While this is convenient for shoppers and provides some otherwise unemployed workers with seasonal employment, it also comes with longer hours and sometimes extremely inconvenient hours for workers. Some jobs, unfortunately, must be performed on holidays, like those of emergency room doctors, prison guards, and firefighters.
However, each year more retail and other non-emergency/security workers find themselves working the holidays. Many assume these workers are receiving overtime wages for working on days like Thanksgiving or Christmas. Unfortunately, that is often not the case.
The employee security-screening process doesn't have a reputation for being a pleasant experience. You've probably heard some of the horror stories, with long wait times and lost (or mistakenly taken) items. Perhaps the worst part about the experience for workers is that it's dead time -- you don't get paid for standing there, and you can't get that precious time back.
In early December, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) heard an extremely important case for pregnant workers. The question is whether pregnant women are entitled to reasonable accommodations in the workplace. Peggy Young, the woman who started the suit, argues that they are, while her former employer, UPS, argues that they should not have to provide such accommodations. The result of the case will affect every pregnant worker and those workers' families and co-workers from here on, so the stakes are quite high.
There are rules governing whether employers may classify workers as employees or independent contractors. Sometimes people are hired (or contracted) as one type of worker, when their work fits the definition of the other. Here is how you can tell if your legal status matches the work you do.
As a general rule, employers are not allowed to discriminate based on certain factors like sex and sometimes age. However, what many people do not understand is that anti-discrimination laws like the Civil Rights Act or the Age Discrimination in Employment Act actually do allow for discrimination under some circumstances. One time employers are allowed to discriminate is if they are doing so because of a "bona fide occupational qualification." Both federal and most state anti-discrimination laws also allow for this defense.
The labor movement has given the American worker benefits that today are often taken for granted, such as overtime laws, child labor laws, and minimum wages. The right to bargain collectively gives employees the power to demand reasonable treatment without the threat of being replaced by somebody less noisy. However, unions are far from perfect.