Blog Posts: Workplace Compliance
Providing paid sick leave to employees could save companies money. A study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that workers who had access to paid sick leave were 28% less likely to suffer nonfatal work-related injuries than workers who did not have that access. Fewer on-the-job injuries can translate to lower expenses for employers. The study found that workers in higher-risk industries such as manufacturing, construction, agriculture and health care benefitted the most from the ability to take paid time off.
The workplace is a breeding ground for stress. A new survey found that 73% of employed Americans said they were stressed out on the job. The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Everest College, also found that low pay was the top work-related stressor for the second year in a row. There was a glimmer of good news, though: Fewer survey respondents this year, compared to last year, reported being afraid of being fired or laid off.
The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) – a public/private partnership of the federal government and the private sector — is offering a free online toolkit for companies as part of its 2012 Drive Safely Work Week campaign, designed to help employees improve their driving safety skills. This year’s version of the annual event takes place October 1 to 5, 2012.
A record number of Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) lawsuits were filed in federal court in the 12 months ending in March 2102. A total of 7,064 FLSA lawsuits were filed in that period, which was an increase from the 7,006 filed the year before, and almost five times as many as the 1,457 cases filed in 1993, according to a chart compiled by law firm Seyfarth Shaw.
Traditionally, unpaid and low-paid internships provided a way for students and recent graduates to get a foot in the door, especially in popular and competitive fields such as media. In exchange for working for little or no money, interns would learn more about their chosen fields and, most importantly, make contacts and get industry references that could help them launch their careers. In some industries, completing an internship was virtually mandatory to be considered for an entry-level job.
It’s hot out there! The latest report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found that temperatures in the U.S. from July 2011 through June 2012 were the highest ever since recordkeeping began 117 years ago. January through June 2012 was the hottest first half-year on record as well. Many workers, especially those who work outside and/or in physically demanding jobs, risk heat-related health problems. Proper environmental controls, work practices, equipment and training can all reduce or eliminate the risk.
Locating an employee who has seasonal affective disorder near exterior windows can be a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to a federal court.
A new study on workplace bullying offered a startling finding: Employees who witness bullying in their work units are even more likely to want to quit their jobs than the employees who are the bullies’ direct victims. This finding shows that the damage bullies do to morale in an organization may be even more pervasive and more costly than previously thought. Employers need to be aware that bullying can have a “mushrooming effect that goes well beyond the victims” and that “bullies can hurt the bottom line,” the study’s co-author said.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently launched a website aimed at educating nonunion workers about their rights to engage in concerted activities – that is, their rights to act together for mutual aid and protection. Although only about 5% of the NLRB’s recent caseload involved nonunion concerted activity, the Board is “actively seeking new cases as a means to educate employees about their rights and the availability of the Board's processes to remedy violations,” according to an analysis from Duane Morris, LLP.
Congress is currently considering several amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), including those that, if passed, would increase the federal minimum wage, affect whether workers in certain job categories would be exempt from minimum-wage and overtime requirements and increase protections for workers who report certain FLSA violations.