How not to sugarcoat a bad employment report

UC Berkeley economist Brad DeLong calls “nuh-uh” on the Obama administration’s wan attempt to put the best face on Friday’s dispiriting employment report, pointing to the “absolute and total complete disaster” lurking not far beneath the “flat-lining employment-to-population ratio.”


Jason Furman, the White House chief economist, underscored that the private sector has added jobs for 46 consecutive months, though he could hardly avoid noting that the December figure was a meager gain of 74,000 (attributed by most to that all-purpose winter rascal, the weather). The overall unemployment rate is still “trending down,” Furman said, to 6.7% in December, the lowest since October 2008.

Furman acknowledged, as how could he not, that the sour note in the statistics is the rate of long-term unemployed (those jobless for more than six months), which is tenaciously high.

DeLong’s gloss focuses on a trend unmentioned by Furman, which is that the reason for the decline in the unemployment rate is that “labor force participation is falling.” If those dropping out of the labor force fail to return

Low-wage workers pay the price of nickel-and-diming by employers

The continuing push for higher minimum wages across the country has much to recommend it, but the campaign shouldn’t keep us from recognizing a truly insidious practice that impoverishes low-wage workers all the more. It’s known as wage theft.


Wage theft, as documented in surveys, regulatory actions and lawsuits from around the country, takes many forms: Forcing hourly employees off the clock by putting them to work before they can clock in or after they clock out. Manipulating their time cards to cheat them of overtime pay. Preventing them from taking legally mandated breaks or shaving down their lunch hours. Disciplining or firing them for filing lawful complaints.

Nickel-and-diming pays well, for the employer.

A study published in 2010 by a network of employment rights organizations calculated that employment and labor law violations cost low-wage workers in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles alone an estimated $56.4 million a week. In Los Angeles, where the survey was conducted by UCLA’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, the respondents lost

Management/Employee Liabilities When to Call in a Coach

Management styles can differ between reasonable people. Some employees respond more effectively to a more forceful approach while some employees react better when individually empowered. When employers fail to employ proper motivational techniques, productivity and morale may suffer. Employers who do not understand the nature of the problem may exacerbate it with ham fisted approaches. It is in these situations where executive coaches can be useful.


Increasing Organizational Morale

Morale is important for any business. Poor organizational morale will lead to friction between the organization’s various departments and an unwillingness to voice concerns to management. Interdepartmental friction and poor communication between organizational strata will substantially reduce productivity and decrease the amount of valid information that managers have to make vital decisions.

Low morale can also lead to high turnover. New employees must be oriented, trained, and otherwise integrated into the organization while departing employees take their training and skills to competitors. Employee retention is a problem for many businesses. There is a tendency among certain managers to dismiss elevated turnover rates as seasonal fluctuations or attribute them to external factors. While a consultant can

How to Take Advantage of an Aviation Degree

The aviation field is in need of many capable and qualified individuals to fly commercially and privately. A degree in aviation not only allows for people to fly the most state of the art machines in the business, but it also can provide a living for those with the heart and mind for flying. It is not a degree for the faint of heart, but rather one that must be acquired with both adventure and curiosity. For the right person, it is possible to take advantage of such a degree to further one’s career and also one’s outlook on life.

One way a person can benefit from earning a degree in aviation is through flying jets commercially for passengers from around the globe. It is a living that allows people to see the world, and to speedily get from point A to point B. Life with an aviation degree can have all the excitement as it did when people first started flying commercially many years ago. There are exotic locations for pilots and crew members to benefit, and working for an airline can be a stable means of income with a growing population, and airline passage that is

Just Like the Old Days

During a hot night a couple of weeks ago, I turned on the air conditioner. All was well for a few minutes, until the air conditioner shut off and a loud rattle came from the garage. I went downstairs to check it out, and the air conditioner was smoking. I called the fire department to help and they rushed over to put out the smoke. The air conditioner was beyond repair so, I contacted a company for AC installation in Manhattan, NY to give me a new one. I didn’t get much sleep the rest of that night and had to go into work tired.

I was working the entire week, so I requested that the installation take place over the weekend. I had to spend the rest of the week sweating with a box fan blowing the same hot air on me over and over. Continue reading “Just Like the Old Days”

Rescinding Of A Determined Employment Contract

With the right to employment comes another essential related right which is the right to choice of one’s employment. The right to choice of one’s employment gives the freedom to people to undertake work of their own choice and not toil in the field in which they do not wish to put their labor. Laboring against the will of one’s self can be considered to be forced labor which is illegal in UAE and most of the other countries in the world. Employment contract is an agreement between the employer and the employee where the employee agrees to work for the employer for a fixed period of time and for a specific job – role. Employment contracts sometimes do not fix the duration of employment in which case the contract is known as an undetermined contract whereas determined employment contracts are contracts that bind the employee to the employer for a fixed period of time. Employment contracts are not considered as forms of forced labor as both the employee and employer willingly enter into it but in the long run it may be considered as forced labor as the main aim to fix a duration is to ensure

Employment Law Advice for Small to Medium Businesses

For those of you who are starting a business or to existing business owners, the rules surrounding employment law can become very complicated when you are looking to employ other people. However, as difficult as it may be, it is important for you to become familiar with these rules in order to comply with you legal responsibilities as an employer. Different laws will apply to different countries, so it is essential to become aware of the laws that will be applicable to you so that you can protect your business and prevent any future litigation. Here are some main areas of employment law that you will need to be familiar with.

Contract of Employment

It will be necessary to provide your employees with a written statement of the terms of employment when they start their employment with you. The main topics you would need to account for within the terms of employment, include, the name of the parties to the agreement, job description, hours of work, details of pay, both employer and employee obligations, place of work and holiday pay entitlement. Although this list is not complete and you may want to add some extra

Preventing Sexual Discrimination in Chinese Employment Law

Although China has established laws to ensure fair treatment and equality in the workplace for all its citizens, the country is still some way from achieving employment laws that match the western world’s treatment of employees.

Discrimination in employment is not a new occurrence in The People’s Republic of China, but as the country continues its recent progression of economic and social reforms, the Chinese government has increased its desire to end the sexually discriminatory employment policies that exist throughout the country. This includes upholding laws that forbid jobs to be advertised with gender specific requirements, like those that state applicants should be “male only” or “male preferred”.

A recent example of legal action against the unfairness of China’s labour and employment laws occurred in Beijing, where the private training institute Juren School was sued by a young female job-seeker named Cao Ju, who asserted that her application for the position of ‘administrative assistant’ was snubbed at the expense of the company’s preference towards male hiring employees. This is an unquestionable case of discriminatory behaviour as the job advertisement published on the internet clearly stated that men only need apply. Miss Ju sued for RMB

3 Common Employment Law Questions Answered

Sometimes employment law can be difficult to comprehend. Here are three common work place situations and their legal ramifications.


There are three potential areas of legal exposure:

· unfair dismissal;

· unlawful termination; and

· discrimination

From time to time an employee will have to leave your employment due to long term health issues. They may decide to resign or you may have to eventually consider dismissing them. It is beneficial to consider as many ways possible to help them back to work – dismissal should be a last resort and could be deemed unfair if not managed properly.

If continued employment is no longer achievable because there are no reasonable adjustments that can be made, it may be fair for you to dismiss them.

The Fair Work Act 2009 states that an employer must not dismiss an employee because the employee is temporarily absent from work due to illness or injury.

The Fair Work Regulation 2009 provides that it is not a “temporary absence” if the employees absence from work extends for more than 3 months, or the total absences of

When You Find Out Your Employee’s Medical Leave of Absence Was Really Spent at Disneyland

Dishonest workplace absences are nothing new. In fact, over 30 per cent of employees have called in sick when they’re not actually sick, according to a national CareerBuilder survey of more than 3,400 workers across varying industries and company sizes.

Outside of one-to-two day medical leaves, what can employer’s do when faced with a long term medical leave of absence that might be fraudulent?

Back to Bob Smith, for example. There’s no debating that Diane Jones does have a new Disney coffee mug sitting on her desk. But how should the employer handle the situation?

Before accusing Bob of ditching work for the theme park, first verify what is correct and current:

  • Is it possible Bob ordered the gifts on line?
  • Is it possible the gifts had been sitting in Bob’s closet since his last vacation?
  • Were the gifts really even from Bob? Is there nefarious intent on the co-workers part in revealing this recent ‘gift’ information?

Unfortunately, most employers don’t have the time or the resources to enact detective-like investigations when determining the legitimacy of absences. The key in these medical leaves is to look at the surrounding circumstances to determine if the

Stopping an Employee Working for a Competitor – Do Restrictive Covenants Really Work

This is an issue that rears its head very regularly. The employer has invested a lot of time and resources in training the employee and providing that employee with experience that ultimately would be attractive to competitors. The general approach to such covenants is that the narrower the restriction the more likely such covenants will bind the employee. To illustrate that point, if the period of the non-compete clause is six months, as opposed to twelve months, and refers only to a competitor in, say, a local town as opposed to the entire State, then it is more likely that the restrictive covenant will bind the employee. That can fairly be described as the general approach of the law, but of course much depends on the facts of each case, and two cases illustrate that point.

In a recent Irish case the judgment does in my view illustrate the difficulties for employers. In that case the employee worked for a telecommunications company and there was clause in the contract that restricted him from working for a competitor for a period of 6 months. He was offered employment by a direct competitor,and gave notice of his resignation

5 Tips For Employees Facing Security Clearance Issues

The following are 5 easy tips for federal employees and government contractors to consider when they face potential problem areas in the processing of their security clearances. Usually, an applicant first discovers a potential problem when they begin to review the principal form used to apply for such clearances, the SF-86 / e-QIP. Quite often the issue arises from a review of a question that cannot be answered with a clear “no.” (example: Have you been arrested in the past 7 years?).

Some quick tips for a clearance applicant include the following:

1. Be Honest: This is one of the most basic and important tips. It is often not the underlying issue that results in a security clearance denial (example: an arrest for driving under the influence), but rather when the clearance applicant is not truthful about the incident. It is a lot easier for an attorney to mitigate security clearance concerns involving an arrest, than it is to defend against an allegation that an individual was not honest in their initial application.

2. Advance Preparation for Security Clearance Problem Areas: If an individual is aware that there could potentially be a security clearance

Three Arguments to Bring a Discrimination Suit When Suing Is the Right Choice

Why would you file a suit for discrimination or harassment at work? You’re a peace loving person who just wants to do his or her job, and go home to enjoy the family. Besides, you ask yourself, how can I prove it?

There are three reasons to file a case for discrimination:

1) Your efforts to enter an early dialogue and resolution of your employment grievances have reached an impasse despite your best efforts to be transparent and reasonable;

2) You know the company treated you unfairly in deciding to let you go, and you strongly suspect, even if you cannot put your finger on it, that it was because you were an older worker, or that you took some time off for a serious health condition, or because you weren’t a member of the “old boys” club.

3) You have obtained expert legal counsel who informed you of the strengths and weaknesses of your case, giving it to you straight. Your questions about financial costs, and risks of losing were answered forthrightly, and you’re ready to make the investment.

This third reason includes an assessment of just what you have to

Don’t Follow Your Doctor’s Orders – Your Legal Rights As an Injured Worker

Rosalie is a bus driver. Before the end of her shift, on a particularly rainy day, Rosalie walked up and down the aisle to make sure that no personal belongings were left on the bus. She slipped in a puddle that had formed on the floor from the rain that had been tracked in from her route. Instinctually, Rosalie tried to break her fall by holding out her hands, which resulted in a fractured wrist. Fortunately, Rosalie did not hit her head, but she also strained her back when she fell. Because Rosalie had already returned to the bus station, she was able to yell for help and seek medical attention right away. It was obvious that Rosalie’s wrist was broken so she was sent to the emergency room right away which resulted in surgery to correct her fracture. While the surgeon told her that it would take about 6 – 9 weeks for her wrist to heal, she could start “light” duty at work and physical therapy after a couple of weeks depending on how well she was healing. After about 3 weeks, Rosalie returned to work and was given “light” office duty as she wouldn’t

The Risks of Mistakenly Treating “Employees” As Independent Contractors

Small businesses often prefer to treat workers as independent contractors for any number of reasons: avoiding the bother of calculating and paying employee withholdings; escaping the employer’s required expenses for unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, and other costs; and, freedom from overtime and other wage and hour regulations. In short, treating employees as “independent contractors” can exert a strong attraction on a small business.

Like many other strong temptations, treating an employee as an independent contractor can also lead directly to hell if the employee is not one. The litany of hellish consequences, both for an employer and for its responsible officers and equity owners, is sobering.

First there are the unpaid withholdings for which not only the employer but also its responsible officers and directors may have joint and several personal liability. Officers, directors, members, managers, partners and limited liability partners are also personally liable, jointly and severally, with their business entity and each other for all claims’ costs, civil penalties and attorney fees if it’s determined that the ” independent contractor” was really an “employee” when they were injured while working. ORS 656.735.

When a misclassified employee is injured on the job, they

Do Privately Owned Companies Get Away With More FLSA and EEOC Violations

In the purest definition, privately owned companies do not need to meet the same strict Securities and Exchange Commission filing requirements as do public companies. This means they are not required by law (in most instances) to disclose detailed financial and operating information; they have much more latitude in deciding what types of information to make available to the public.

But what of other employment practices? Recruitment, hiring processes, retention and termination policies? Are privately owned businesses exempt from federal labor laws? The simple answer is no.

If you’ve found yourself working for a privately owned business that is engaged in wrongful labor practices you might be unsure of where to go and to whom to report your misgivings. Should you contact a private attorney? Is there an agency you can call and report your concerns?

Reporting FLSA Violations

The Fair Labor Standards Act [FLSA] is a federal statute of the United States. It is a compliance based statute that ensures companies are following federal labor guidelines. FLSA regulations could affect a wide range of your employment policy, including (among other areas) wages and overtime pay. So, do these compliance guidelines affect employees in

Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act How Are These Related To Each Other

Discrimination has many forms and offenders have different means of doing it. This sad state of things has continued to exist. There might be a perceivable drop in the incidence of different forms of discrimination in the workplace. However, there are some discriminating acts, such as giving irrational differences in the pay given to different employees that actually deserve to get more. This is a more serious problem in a way because of its subtle approach that causes real, tangible effects to the victims of it.

The Equal Pay Act

Originated in 1963, this United States federal law amended the Fair Labor Standards Act that aims to abolish wage disparity based on sex. With this law, one receives equal pay for equal work. While there is no need for jobs to be identical, as long as these are substantially equal. All forms of pay are covered by this law. It includes salary, overtime pay, bonuses, stock options, profit sharing and bonus plans, life insurance, vacation and holiday pay, cleaning or gasoline allowances, hotel accommodations, reimbursement for travel expenses, and benefits. If a case of inequality happens, a company can never lower or reduce the wages

Simple trick that will make people open your emails

I get more than 500 emails a day, on 4 different accounts. It’s hard to pay attention to all of them. There are emails you know you can ignore, and some you know you have to read. But there are so many you simply don’t know.

The trick to notice anything is for it to stand out. But how do you get an email to stand out? There are not too many elements to an email header that you can play with.

This reminds me of my first trip to Tokyo. The sheer amount of street advertisement was overwhelming. How can anyone see anything here? How can one advertisement stand out over the others? It was impossible for me to notice anything among all the colors and pictures all around me.

Except for one advertisement that caught my attention. I don’t even know what the street “sign” was for, but there were several people (live…) who were strapped to the building wall, playing soccer with a ball held by a string. This is how far you needed to go to grab my attention.

So what about email? There used to be a time when

3 actually useful job perks you didn’t know you wanted

These days, it’s all about the perks: companies, possibly in lieu of an abundance of jobs or exorbitant salaries, have made an effort to outdo each other in the perk department. Netflix upped the ante in 2015 by announcing a year of paid family leave, and Facebook went as far as to offer egg freezing. And while those are certainly offers that will make you pause, the majority of us not working at the world’s most sought-after tech jobs may wonder what’s left on the table for the regular folk. Enter: these interesting offers.

While smaller companies struggle to present competitive packages to new employees, perks and benefits can be a great place of leverage for hirees. When there isn’t a lot of cash left over, it can be appealing for companies to take the hit in other forms of investment.

These may not be the perks you find in your next offer, but be inspired: great benefits are around the corner; you just have to know what you’re looking for!

College Classes

Your company may not have a tutor on hand to teach you the finer points of theoretical physics, but that doesn’t

Starting a Business in Azerbaijan

Emil is a young computer programmer. His friend Ali is a web designer. They live in sunny Baku- the capital city of Azerbaijan. They have a dream – to establish an IT company and grow it into a large company. But they know that starting and doing business requires complying with laws. They also want to attract investments in the future.
Emin and Ali approached Remells Law Firm for a legal advice. Remells has advised them as follows:
Corporate Registration
Remells recommended Emil and Ali establish a limited liability company. Emil and Ali have established “XYZ” limited liability company (hereafter – XYZ LLC).
Sole Entrepreneur: There are several ways of conducting

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business in Azerbaijan. One can do business as a sole entrepreneur. A person needs to register with the Azerbaijani tax authorities to obtain the status of a sole entrepreneur. The tax authority issues the entrepreneur a tax ID (Azerbaijani: VOEN) and the person fulfills his/her tax obligations using that tax ID. However, there are certain risks of being a sole entrepreneur. Sole entrepreneur’s liability is not limited. For instance, assume Emil and Ali create a product and