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December 2010 Archives

Largest Cement Company in United States Ordered to Comply with FLSA

A Monterey, Mexico based cement company with its United States headquarters in Houston, Texas has been ordered by the United States Labor Department to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act. The cement company owes workers in nine states $1.5 million in back wages. The order was announced on Thursday.

Construction Company Violates Wage and Hour Laws Loses Federal Contract

A Phoenix, Arizona based construction company, Quality Builders Inc., has lost its ability to construct buildings for the federal government because it violated federal wage and hour laws. The construction company failed to pay 48 construction workers all of their wages for work completed on an apartment complex in Yuma County, Arizona.

Woman Sues Mayo Clinic on Disability Discrimination Claim

A woman who formerly worked at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota has filed a lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act against the hospital in federal court. The lawsuit alleges one violation under the Americans with Disabilities Act and another under the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

Federal Employees Receive New Option Under Family Medical Leave Act

Federal employees will receive a new option on how to use their sick time and unpaid leave time under the Family Medical Leave Act. Federal employees will be able to exchange 26 weeks of paid sick time for unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act to care for family members who have fallen ill from communicable diseases. The benefit can also be used to take care of family members serving in the military who have become ill or injured.

Santas' Employers' Apt to Violate Minimum Wage Overtime Wage Laws

Like so many other holiday workers that are hired for temporary positions, Santa impersonators are exposed to violations of the minimum wage and overtime wage laws of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The use of subcontractors by large companies to hire temporary workers can lead to wage claim violations. Often it can be hard to identify the wage claim violation and track the violation to the temporary staffing company.

Garment Factory Fined for Fair Labor Standards Act Violations

A California garment factory has lost a case against the United States Department of Labor for violating minimum wage and overtime compensation rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Orange County garment factory has been ordered to pay close to $900,000 to 115 workers.

Mayor Makes Request to State Legislature to Remove State Family and Medical Leave Act

The mayor of Anchorage, Alaska has requested that the Alaska state legislature remove the state's family and medical leave act. The request would not affect Alaska state residents covered by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. Alaska's state family and medical leave act gives public employees an additional six weeks of leave beyond what the federal law allows.

Effects of Drug Addiction and Alcoholism on Social Security Disability Determinations

Disabled individuals often suffer from depression, either independently or as a result or part of their physical disability. In many cases, individuals also self-medicate with alcohol or prescription drugs in an attempt to alleviate the pain.

December 2010 image.jpgThe Social Security Administration no longer grants disability benefits to people with drug and alcohol addiction as their primary disability or when those addictions are a material factor in the disability. An individual may struggle with addictions however as a result of their disability and in those cases, the individual may still be entitled to benefits.

First, the review of an individual with potential drug and alcohol addiction begins with medical evidence. Medical evidence comes from an acceptable medical source like a hospital, clinic or doctor. The review also considers the individual's own statement about his or her condition such as "I'm an alcoholic". If the medical evidence demonstrates a medically determinable substance abuse disorder (one in which the individual's pattern of use causes significant impairment or distress), then a determination must be made as to whether the condition is a material factor contributing to the disability. A material factor means that if the individual stopped using drugs or alcohol, they would not be disabled. Thus, if the abuse is material, the individual will not be awarded benefits.

In determining whether the substance abuse is a material factor, the decision maker will need to carefully consider which limitations would remain if the claimant stopped using drugs or alcohol and whether those remaining limitations would be disabling. If the limitations would remain and those limitations would be disabling, the individual may be awarded benefits.

It is important to note that just because an individual uses drugs or alcohol does not trigger this kind of careful evaluation. The use must be significant enough to be determined a medically determinable condition.

Blueberry Farmers Fined for Violating the Fair Labor Standards Act

Recently, the United States Labor Department cited 18 blueberry farmers in Michigan for violating child labor law standards under the Fair Labor Standards Act and migrant housing law violations. Nine labor contractors were also cited for similar violations. The farmers and contractors will pay almost $106,000 in back wages and penalties.

Another ADA Violation and Settlement

National Waste Removal Firm IESI recently settled a disability discrimination case brought by the EEOC on behalf of one its former employees. Truck driver Ronald Harper lost his job when his new supervisor found out that he's dyslexic. Dyslexia is a learning disability that causes sufferers to inappropriately or unsuccessfully interpret graphic symbols when reading. Jay Leno often famously and openly discusses his own dyslexia in the media.

Disabled Workers Should Be Retained for Fiscal Health

According to a new report created by the Brooking's Institution's Hamilton Project and the Center for American Progress, employers should be given incentives to retain disabled workers in order to avoid what has been called an unsustainable growth of people on Social Security disability income.

Living Wage Would Not Create Harm Says New Study

According to a recent study conducted by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, living wage requirements for businesses that receive government subsidies do not have a detrimental impact on business and job growth. A living wage is a base wage that covers an individual's actual costs of housing, food, clothing and other necessary living expenses. A living wage is not the same term as a minimum wage. The minimum wage is set by federal and state law. A living wage is normally thought of as covering true expenses of living where the legally imposed minimum wage is an absolute minimum an employee can be paid.

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