4 Legal Decisions That Fell on the Side of Workers in 2015

Some of the legal decisions that were made in 2015 didn't do much to help workers. For example, Wisconsin was added to the list of Right-to-Work states this year. Many feel that these laws, which change how unions collect fees from the workers they represent, hurt unions and the middle class. In other disappointing news, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the Integrity Staffing Solutions vs. Busk case, mandating that companies are not required to compensate workers for the time they spend in security-screening at the end of their shifts – or for any task that's not an "integral and indispensable" part of their job, for that matter. But thankfully, the legal news for workers wasn't all bad this past year. So, let's focus on the good, shall we?

Independent Contractors: Are You Secretly an Employee?

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.

Know Your Rights as a Pregnant Employee

The laws protecting pregnant women at work are getting stronger, but some workers are still being discriminated against. Know your rights so you can stand up for yourself before you are taken advantage of or subjected to illegal treatment.

Waitresses Are the Most Sexually Harassed Occupation

The restaurant industry has a unique business model. Rather than business owners budgeting to pay employees, restaurant owners depend upon customers "voluntarily" giving waitresses and waiters tips in return for "good service." That pay structure can lead to a dangerously imbalanced power dynamic between customer and waiter. No wonder, then, that a recent report from Restaurant Opportunities Center United found that two-thirds of female employees in the food service industry have been sexually harassed. In fact, 37 percent of Employment Opportunity Commission harassment claims come from women in the restaurant business.

Franchise Owners Upset About Seattle’s Minimum Wage Laws

Seattle's new minimum wage of $15 per hour is more than twice the current federal minimum wage of $7.25. Some say businesses will suffer and employers will be unable to hire workers. Franchise owners in Seattle have an additional gripe: many are claiming that franchises are unfairly grouped under the umbrella of large businesses.

Some NFL Cheerleaders Earn Less Than Minimum Wage

Most of us don't work in exchange for perks. Instead, we agree to pay that equals at least the minimum wage and expect to be paid for hours worked. Unless, of course, you are a cheerleader. Recent lawsuits brought against several NFL teams are shedding light on the alleged exploitation of women who are employed as cheerleaders.