The COVID-19 pandemic is a worldwide crisis of epic proportions. It has created enormous challenges, some of which are apparent, such as health and economic impacts that are without equal in our lifetimes. More challenges undoubtedly await us, some of which we may not even imagine. On the other hand, the crisis may present opportunities for us to learn and to improve in our personal and professional lives.
You may know that federal law prohibits an employer or prospective employer from treating an employee or prospective employee differently because she is pregnant. But can an employer maintain a list of employees it knows to be pregnant? As with many other issues in employment law, the permissibility of such a practice likely depends on the circumstances, the intent, and the manner in which the list is maintained and distributed.
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.
It is not news that college athletics are big business. March Madness holds the entire country's rapt attention each year, and the revenues it generates for the NCAA are significant. The broadcast rights are worth more than $1 billion annually as of 2016. And, while the NCAA has indicated that 90% of that money goes to the benefit of the athletes, that may not truly be the case. March Madness is over, but many question whether the NCAA promulgates another form of madness, its amateurism rules that forbid compensation of college athletes.
Political discussions seem to be happening everywhere today. And, more often than not, they can get quite heated. From tense family dinner tables to disagreements with complete strangers, people are voicing their opinions - loudly.
Professional athletes are often likened to warriors and lionized for pushing their bodies to the breaking point, ignoring pain, and remaining stoic. Most accept that some injuries - sprains, pulled muscles, etc. - are part of the job. More and more, however, professional athletes are drawing a line when it comes to preventable injuries that can be attributed to the often willful negligence of the teams and leagues that employ them.
Back in 2012, forbes caused a stir when it published an article detailing how Target was tracking customer purchases so closely that it figured out a teen was pregnant before she had even told her parents. for many people, it was their first real glimpse of how big data - the ever-growing mass of our electronically-stored personal information - is being analyzed to predict behaviors and spot trends. The idea that a retailer could have such detailed knowledge of the most intimate aspects of our lives raised many concerns about how that information was being used.
Illinois recently enacted legislation purportedly giving workers across the state greater flexibility when using their sick leave benefits. The Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act, which takes effect on January 1, 2017, is a noble attempt to balance people's family caregiving duties with their job responsibilities, but to many, its protections don't go far enough.
Being laid off is likely one of the most stressful events employees and their families will face. It means looking for a new job and wrestling with the financial uncertainty that comes with being out of work.