In today's economy, many workers are concerned about job security. However, when an illness arises in a family, a worker can be forced to take unpaid leave leaving them concerned about having a job to return to. A recent article published about unpaid leave and the need for changes in the system could be relevant for Wisconsin workers in a similar situation.
Women and minorities recognized Equal Pay Day in Milwaukee on Tuesday by holding a demonstration at the Equal Rights Division, according to a local news report. The group used the occasion to call for the strengthening of existing anti-discrimination employment laws, and State Rep. Chris Sinicki and Wisconsin State Senator Chris Larson spoke at the event.
Ever since the second presidential debate took place earlier this week, there has been a lot of buzz about the gender wage gap in America. As anyone who watched the debate knows, an audience member in the town hall asked the presidential candidates what they plan to do to enforce the right to fair pay if elected.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is having a tough time right now. Exxon-Mobile just bumped the mega-retailer from first place on the Fortune 500 list of revenue-generating U.S. companies. The company is facing allegations of bribing foreign government officials and may soon be hit with a related shareholder suit. With all of this, corporate leaders must have been relieved last week to settle a wage and hour claim brought by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Last month, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill that repealed the 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act. The law had allowed employees that have experienced compensation discrimination based on their protected status to pursue damage claims in state courts. Women especially were dismayed; the wage gap between men and women is very real.
During World War II, Rosie the Riveter became the symbol of women at work, women doing men's work for the good of society. Things changed after the war, and women have been playing catch-up ever since -- especially when it comes to wages.
Should a religious institution be bound by its written employment contract? I argued to the Wisconsin Supreme Court (WSC) yesterday that our client's religious employer should be bound by the terms of a written one-year employment contract, just like any other employer. Our client was a ministerial employee of a church who was fired for reasons other than cause in violation of the "for cause" provision in her employment agreement. The WSC acknowledged during oral argument that this will be a difficult case to decide given the constitutional protection that is afforded to churches against state interference with internal church doctrine. The issue in our case is whether such constitutional protection allows a church to avoid having a civil court enforce a contract that the church voluntarily entered with its employee. The WSC will issue a written opinion in the next 6 months which will decide for the first time whether Wisconsin courts will be permitted to make neutral inquiry into a church's decision to fire a ministerial employee in breach of a written contract.
We know of many people who are enrolled in their employer-sponsored 401(k) type plan but who are completely at sea when it comes to allocating their retirement savings. They are grateful for the benefit, but they often end up basing their investment decision on well-intentioned but arbitrary criteria. The fund is based here in Milwaukee? Check. My brother-in-law mentioned this fund over dinner one night? Check.
The United States Labor Department is asking state governments and the Internal Revenue Service to help it enforce wage and hour violations across the country. To help enforce wage and hour violations, the Labor Department is creating information sharing agreements that will forward information on businesses in breach of wage and hour laws to all cooperating authorities. As of yet, Wisconsin has not indicated its participation.
National and state wage and hour laws are important legal protections to hourly workers in Wisconsin and elsewhere in the country. Unfortunately, many workers that get paid by the hour do not receive proper compensation. In an effort to remind businesses of their responsibilities to workers, the Obama Administration is stepping up enforcement of federal wage and hour laws. According to the Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, industries like health-care, construction and tourism are especially in the lens of the enforcement effort.