What happens when an individual or group asserts a human right that interferes with another individual or group’s rights and freedoms?
If the disadvantaged group is older Americans, their rights silently slip away.
Earlier this month, a coalition of 55 top U.S. companies called The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative issued a press release touting a “long-term effort” in the Atlanta area to bring jobs to “youth” aged 16 to 24 who are not in school or unemployed. Coalition members made thousands of on-the-spot job offers at a job fair on May 3. Coalition members have held similar hiring events in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Phoenix and Seattle since the coalition’s formation six years ago.
The coalition now says it “aims to hire at least 1 million youth nationally by 2021.”
The problem is that it is illegal under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) to refuse to hire workers aged 40 and above because of their age or, alternatively, because they aren’t between the ages of 16 and 24. It also is illegal for a company to adopt a policy or practice that has a disparate impact upon older workers. Clearly, the rights of older workers to be free from invidious age discrimination in hiring have given way … but to what exactly? Continue reading “A Million Violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act?”
*The Dept. of Labor issued the final rule on May 19, 2016. The DOL more than doubled the salary threshold for eligibility for overtime for full-time salaried workers — lifting it from $23,660 to $47,476 per year. That means some 35 percent of full-time salaried workers, based on their pay, will now be eligible for overtime. PGB
The Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 CFR Part 541, makes it possible for employers to impose a kind of slavery on poorly-paid salaried employees who are exempt from the protections of the act because they are classified as “white collar” workers.
However, the U.S. Department of Labor this week released proposed amendments to the FLSA “white collar” exemption provision that would, if adopted, eventually eliminate the exempt status of an estimated 21.4 million so-called “white collar” employees.
The FLSA exemption now applies to employees whose job duties primarily involve executive, administrative, or professional duties and who earn a salary of at least $455 per week or $23,660 a year. The DOL’s proposed regulations dramatically increase the minimum salary threshold for exempt status workers to $970 per week or $50,440 per year. This represents the 40th percentile of earnings for all full-time salaried workers throughout the United States.
Low-level white collar workers are ripe for exploitation, especially during difficult economic times when jobs are scarce. During the Great Recession, many employers forced poorly-paid white collar workers to work endless or erratic unpaid overtime hours to compensate for lay-offs or short staffing. This caused predictable stress and burnout, with all of the attendant problems for individuals and families. The “white collar” exemption is particularly brutal for single parents (mostly women) who must schedule and pay for child care.
The DOL has not updated the “white collar” salary level since 2004. To prevent the proposed new salary level from becoming outdated, the DOL’s proposes automatically updating the salary level each year to reflect the applicable 40th percentile of earnings. Continue reading “The DOL Addresses ‘White Collar’ Slavery”