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Obama’s second term: What will it mean for employers?

 

Federal agencies will continue to interpret the laws that protect employees very broadly and enforce them very aggressively.

By Jonathan A. Segal

 

FORTUNE — Democrats have retained control of the White House and the Senate. Republicans have retained control of the House. So the voters, again, have voted for divided government.

What will it mean for workers and their employers? Much of it depends on how Republicans read and respond to the election results.

For example, the House and most Senate Republicans have opposed Democratic proposals that would offer a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and strengthen existing non-discrimination laws related to gender pay equity. Yet, exit polls suggest that the Democratic victory was in part due to big wins among Latinos and women.

MORE: Congratulations, Mr. President. Here’s how to fix the economy.

How the Republicans will respond to the election results is still up in the air. What is clear, though, is that President Obama will continue to control appointments to the administrative agencies. What is equally clear is that the administrative agencies will continue to interpret the laws that protect employees very broadly and enforce them very aggressively.

Expect the National Labor Relations Board to try to reduce the period of time for an election to take place after a union has filed a petition to represent a group of employees. Shorter election periods generally benefit unions, since unions can start to campaign long before employers even know of the campaign.

We can also expect the NLRB to continue to challenge common workplace rules, for example, rules that prohibit disparagement of an employer or its employees. The NLRB’s theory is that such rules interfere with what’s called protected concerted activity under the National Labor Relations Act. Protected concerted activity generally means that union and non-union employees alike have the right to discuss the terms and conditions of their employment, even with social media. That right may include comments that are negative, even disparaging.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will also continue to focus on social issues. For example, the EEOC recently published guidance on how victims of domestic violence could be protected from discrimination under Title VII and the ADA. The EEOC had drafted but decided not to publish guidance in other areas, for example, what are reasonable accommodations for disabled employees under the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is reasonable to expect the EEOC to consider revisiting these and other issues that it had tabled.

MORE: Election 2012: Corporate America gets feisty

And we will likely see more legislation at the state and local level that will affect the employer-employee relationship. Over the past year or so, we have seen states and local jurisdictions impose restrictions on the use of credit reports in the hiring process, the timing of criminal records checks by prospective employers, and the acquisition and use of social media at work. Expect more of the same and anticipate that the bills will tend to favor expanding employee rights.

Former U.S. Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil once said, “all politics is local.” Not only that, but most voters are employees, too.

Jonathan Segal is a partner at the law firm Duane Morris LLP, where he is a member of the firm’s employment, labor, benefits and immigration practice group. This article should not be construed as legal advice. 

 

 

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Why Was bin Laden Buried at Sea So Quickly?

By: GLEN LEVY

Osama Bin Laden on Television

Maher Attar/Sygma/Corbis

After spending many years hunting down the world’s most wanted man, why did the U.S. bury Osama bin Laden at sea within 24 hours of killing him?

The reason is bound up within Islamic practice and tradition. And that practice calls for the body of the deceased to be buried within 24 hours, according to a U.S. official, who spoke on Monday on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive national security matters.

(More on TIME.com: See the top 10 defining moments of the post-9/11 era.)

“We are ensuring that it is handled in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition,” confirmed the official. “This is something that we take very seriously. And so therefore, this is being handled in an appropriate manner.”

But the lingering question is, Why at sea? The official said that finding a country willing to accept the remains of the world’s most wanted terrorist would have been difficult, so the decision was made to bury bin Laden at sea. Furthermore, one suspects that the U.S. would not have wanted there to be a grave site for fear of it turning into a place of worship for bin Laden’s followers. There are rumors, however, that the U.S. asked Saudi Arabia to take the body (bin Laden was born there), but it allegedly refused.

(More on TIME.com: See pictures of Osama bin Laden.)

It’s believed that DNA testing would have been carried out beforehand (and indeed TIME’s Michael Scherer has had it confirmed by the White House that the DNA testing matched the slain terrorist leader) to verify that the body was that of bin Laden, as well as being proof against any conspiracy claims that could emanate to suggest that his death didn’t take place. The exact location of the burial was not revealed. (via ABC)

See TIME’s obituary of Osama bin Laden.

See pictures of Americans at Ground Zero celebrating Osama bin Laden’s death.

Read more: http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/05/02/why-was-bin-laden-buried-at-sea-so-quickly/#ixzz1LEjXfvEX

 

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Empathy; According to Barack Obama

Regardless of your politics, I think we can all learn from this.  This is taken from pp 80-81 of his book –  The Audacity of Hope.

“…it was in my relationship with my grandfather that I think I internalized the full meaning of empathy.  Because my mother’s work took her overseas, I often lived with my grandparents during my high school years, and without a father present in the house, my grandfather bore the brunt of much of my adolescent rebellion.  He himself was not always easy to get along with; he was at once warmhearted and quick to anger, and in part because his career had not been particularly successful, his feelings could also be easily bruised.  By the time  I was sixteen we were arguing all the time, usually about me failing to abide by what I considered to be an endless series of petty and arbitrary rules – filling up the gas tank whenever I borrowed his car, say, or making sure that I rinsed out the milk carton before I put it in the garbage.

With a certain talent for rhetoric, as well as an absolute certainty about the merits of my own views, I found that I could generally win these arguments, in the narrow sense of leaving my grandfather flustered, angry, and sounding unreasonable.  But at some point, perhaps in my senior year, such victories started to feel less satisfying.  I started thinking about the struggles and disappointments he had seen in his life.  I started to appreciate his need to feel respected in his own home.  I realized that abiding by his rules would cost me little, but to him it would mean a lot.  I recognized that sometimes he really did have a point, and that in insisting on getting my own way all the time, without regard to his feelings or needs, I was in some way diminishing myself.”

Authors note:  Being right is only half the battle, sometimes less.  If we learn to care about those around us and truly strive to do the next right thing, we all win.  It is easy, and often a very hollow feeling, to bully through an argument or confrontation only to find that the matter could have far more easily been addressed with cooperation and loving-kindness.  Of this I have been guilty far too often.  Thank you for reminding me, Mr. President.

 

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Merry Freeking Christmas on Capitol Hill, or Two Families of Four in a Winnebago…

 I’m not saying what kind of job the Democrat majority did trying to get along with the Party of No, but the outcome is surely messed up.  Now we have both parties agreeing that there is no solution to the unemployment benefit extensions.  Great.
I teach Social Media to a group of professionals in Silicon Valley who are going through “career transition.”  It is called ProMatch.  These are highly educated people who are working their asses off to try and better themselves.  They go to business meetings twice a week.  They attend several career enhancement workshops a month. They attend networking functions weekly and reach out through their profiles and tweets and links.

They are also at the end of their ropes.   There are only so many “great jobs” selling kitchen appliances at Orchard Supply.  I implore you to forward this to your Congress Persons. We all need to step up to the plate.  Let’s use the grass roots power of we the people to spread this message. It got Obama elected.  Tweet it, Face Book it, Digg it, Make it Delicious and for god’s sake lets all stay LinkedIn.  This crap has got to stop.

Steve Ulrich

LinkedIn:   http://www.linkedin.com/in/steveulrichmktg
Blog
http://bayintegratedmarketing.com/
Website
www.bayintegratedmarketing.com
Twitter@steveulrichmktg

This is from last May,  It seemed bleak then.

AN (ANONYMOUS) OPEN LETTER,

I am no different from millions of Americans. I have several college degrees. I have saved human lives, educated children, and given freely to charity. I was let go from my place of employment due to the economic problems in the country, and through no fault of my own, a little over two years ago. Many of the unemployed are highly educated and are told over and over and over that we are way too qualified to do the jobs for which we apply. We do not care, we just want a job!

Now our unemployment extensions are ending and we will have no money coming in at all. Most of us have sold everything we had owned of any value and have gone through all of our savings trying to get any job at all, while keeping our heads just barely above water. This means that by April 15th there will be over ONE MILLION unemployed and uncompensated people in the state of New Jersey alone! We will be losing our homes and being evicted if we are renting. I have been making phone calls to State Senators, State Government, U.S. Senators and the Federal Government, through The White House comment line, as well as emailing through The White House website. There needs to be a Tier 5 legislation addressed immediately before millions upon millions of people receive their last Tier 4 check and have absolutely nothing on which to live through no fault of their own.

 

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