On October 1, 2013, the “Safe Act” becomes effective. The Safe Act provides 20 days of unpaid leave to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. The employer can require that this unpaid leave be covered under FMLA, New Jersey FMLA, vacation, or personal leave.
The purpose of the Safe Act is to provide New Jersey victims with time to deal with matters related to an incident of domestic abuse or sexual assault. The Safe Act covers:
- The employee,
- The employee’s child,
- The employee’s parent,
- The employee’s spouse,
- The employee’s domestic partner, or
- The employee’s civil union partner.
Within 12 months of the incident, the Safe Act’s purpose is to provide the victim of domestic abuse or sexual assault can:
- Seek medical attention for, or recover from, physical or psychological injuries;
- Obtain servies from victim services organization;
- Obtain psychological or other counseling;
- Participate in safety planning, temporarily or permanent relocate, or undertake other actions to increase safety;
- Seek legal assistance or remedies; or
- Attend, participate in, or prepare for court proceedings.
If the employer violates the Safe Act, the employee can ask for the following remedies: (1) Reinstatement; (2) compensation for lost wages and benefits; (3) an injunction; (4) attorney’s fees and costs; (5) civil find of $1,000 to $2,000 for a first time violation; and (6) a fine of $5,000 for any subsequent violations.
via Labor Employment Law Blog: New Jersey Provides Unpaid Leave to Victims of Domestic Violence.
The E.E.O.C. (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) issued a press release about an important decision coming from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
In this decision, the court held that the company unlawfully discriminated against a female employee when they fired her. In this case, the female employee was lactating or expressing milk. The female employee asked her employer if she would be able to pump breast milk at work. The company then fired the employee.
The court relied on the Title VII of Civil Rights Act, which was amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1987. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act provided that a company could not discriminate against a female worker on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the argument that “pregnancy-related conditions” ended on the day the mother gave birth. In its decision, the court explained that lactation was a physiological condition distinct to women who have undergone a pregnancy. In other words, women, not men, lactate or express milk. Therefore, a company discriminates based on sex when it fires a woman for lactating.
via Fifth Circuit Holds Lactation Discrimination is Unlawful Sex Discrimination.
The National Labor Relations Board today made public a webpage that describes the rights of employees to act together for their mutual aid and protection, even if they are not in a union.
The page, at http://www.nlrb.gov/concerted-activity, tells the stories of more than a dozen recent cases involving protected concerted activity, which can be viewed by clicking points on a map. Among the cases: A construction crew fired after refusing to work in the rain near exposed electrical wires; a customer service representative who lost her job after discussing her wages with a coworker; an engineer at a vegetable packing plant fired after reporting safety concerns affecting other employees; a paramedic fired after posting work-related grievances on Facebook; and poultry workers fired after discussing their grievances with a newspaper reporter.
Some cases were quickly settled after charges were filed, while others progressed to a Board decision or to federal appellate courts. They were selected to show a variety of situations, but they have in common a finding at some point in the NLRB process that the activity that the employees undertook was protected under federal labor law.
The right to engage in certain types of concerted activity was written into the original 1935 National Labor Relations Act’s Section 7, which states that: “Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection, and shall also have the right to refrain from any or all such activities.”
That right has been upheld in numerous decisions by appellate courts and by the U.S. Supreme Court over the years. Non-union concerted activity accounts for more than 5% of the agency’s recent caseload.
via NLRB launches webpage describing Protected Concerted Activity | NLRB.
Midlevel law firm associates billed an average of 2,037 hours last year, a finding that likely explains a drop in their satisfaction levels.
According to an American Lawyer survey, midlevel associate satisfaction has dropped to its lowest level since 2004. One DLA Piper associate responding to the survey of third-, fourth- and fifth-year associates made the connection. “Firms got too lean [after the recession] and consequently realized that associates will work more and more if asked,” the associate wrote. “Quality of life has therefore decreased.”
On the bright side, compensation is up, the story says. The average base salary for midlevel associates this year is $185,319, a 4 percent increase. The average average year-end bonus is $19,746, up 5 percent.
via Billable Hours Rise and Midlevel Associate Satisfaction Drops – News – ABA Journal.