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Will Trump's Immigration Crackdown Lead to Wage Abuse?

Have you ever interacted with a cashier, gardener, nail salon employee, call center worker, home health aide, parking attendant, or restaurant server? If so, chances are the person who provided you that service was an undocumented worker.

One of Donald Trump's most popular promises during his presidential campaign was that he would immediately crack down on illegal immigration. He made good on that pledge, signing several executive orders shortly after taking office that set in motion the hiring of new U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and expanded their powers to deport undocumented individuals.

A Reflection on Workforce Development Week

Co-Written by Outten & Golden LLP Paralegal Toby Rae Irving

Last week President Trump and his daughter, Ivanka, made media appearances for what they dubbed "Workforce Development Week." The President went to Wisconsin to promote an emphasis on skill-based learning and apprenticeship training, as opposed to four-year colleges. This vision for job training was shared by President Obama who passed the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act in 2014. The act focused on the workforce needs of employers and proposes a system in which training programs are developed based on those needs. In the area of employment, the Obama Administration additionally took action to protect workers' rights, particularly within its power as an employer.

Walmart's Failures to Support Workers

Co-Written by Outten & Golden LLP Paralegal Toby Rae Irving

On June 1st the advocacy group A Better Balance: The Work and Family Legal Center released its report on Walmart's employment practices that violate the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act. The group has been involved in litigation against Walmart that particularly address the company's discriminatory practices against pregnant workers. According to the report, supervisors at Walmart habitually ignore doctors' notes and lawfully excusable reasons for absence from employees who, for each absence, receive points that, when accrued, lead to firing.

Domestic Labor and Human Trafficking: Rights and Resources

Co-Written by Outten & Golden LLP Paralegal Toby Rae Irving

The Atlantic published an article in its June 2017 by the late Alex Tizon about a woman named Eudocia Tomas Pulido, known as Lola, who was given to his family by his grandfather as a gift - as a slave. Lola spent 56 years in unpaid servitude within Tizon's family.

Cases involving human trafficking and unpaid domestic labor are not foreign to Outten & Golden, nor are they as rare as the public reaction to Tizon's article would suggest.

EEOC v. CONSOL Energy, Inc., No. 16-1230 (4th Cir. June 12, 2017)

The Fourth Circuit affirms a jury verdict and back-pay relief of $586,860 in favor of the EEOC, in a Title VII religious accommodation case where the employer stubbornly "belie[ved] that it could rely on its own understanding of scripture to limit the scope of the accommodation it offered" an employee who, because of his Christian faith, refused to use a hand scanner.

Promotion vs. Reality: Are Companies All Talk and No Action Regarding Workplace Gender Equality?

Gender equality in the workplace and eliminating the gender pay gap are hot topics in the news, with some large brands capitalizing on the discussion to attract female consumers. Using flashy ads, social media campaigns, and press releases, companies say that they're committed to making meaningful cultural changes in their workplaces.

The problem, however, is that this is often all sizzle and no steak. A closer look behind the PR messaging reveals no concrete evidence of any progress at all in these organizations. In fact, many of these companies have done very little to promote gender equality in their ranks - or are simply ignoring the issue altogether.

Three companies have made bold statements on gender equality in 2017 - Audi, Google, and REI. Two out of the three do not measure up to their own hype, while one does seem to have made demonstrable progress.

What Employees Should Know in the Wake of the 9th Circuit Pay History Ruling

Employers have the right to pay a man more than a woman for the same work if he had a higher salary at a previous job and there is a "reasonable policy" that justifies the company using past salaries to determine compensation. This was an opinion issued in April by the 9th Circuit in Rizo v. Yovino - a decision that threatens to severely undermine this country's progress on pay equity.

Why Companies Must Actively Encourage Whistleblowers

Wells Fargo. Bio-Rad. Volkswagen. Just three examples of corporations that, to their peril, either ignored or actively suppressed employee whistleblowers. They join countless other companies, large and small, that found out the hard way that a head-in-the-sand approach toward whistleblowers is not just unethical, but also poses grave threats to their bottom lines and public reputations.

Whether it is an enforcement probe, civil litigation, bad PR, or all three, failing to heed or retaliation against a whistleblower can be an extremely costly mistake. To rephrase the Watergate adage, it's not the infraction but the lack of an appropriate response that ultimately leads to the damage.

Reforming Labor and Employment Laws to Improve the Economy: Comparing American and French Approaches

This Sunday, May 7, the world will be watching France to see if the wave of populism that led to Brexit and the election of President Donald Trump will now usher in Marine Le Pen as the new French president. Le Pen leads the country's far-right National Front party and is up against the centrist Emmanuel Macron in this Sunday's runoff poll.

No matter who wins, the new French president will inherit a troubled economy. Many feel the best way to shore up France's economic status would be to reform its employment laws, which are among the most employee-friendly in the world.

Activists Challenge Wells Fargo on Many Fronts at Annual Shareholders Meeting

Activists seized on Wells Fargo's annual shareholder meeting this week to press the bank for changes to a wide range of alleged unfair practices. As the country's fourth-largest bank, Wells faces backlash from a scandal involving up to two million accounts opened without customer authorization, as well as related allegations of employment law violations - including firing whistleblowers who refused to participate in fraudulent account openings. Activists mobilizing around the Forgo Wells campaign, among others, have condemned the bank's use of forced arbitration clauses in customers' and employees' contracts, which obstruct many of these issues from coming to light because they prevent employees and consumers from banding together and taking Wells to court.

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