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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Occupy Your Workplace: Changes To Employment Laws That Would Make a Difference

Just like the Tea Party on the other side, the Occupy Wall Street movement is on the brink of having real political power. Everyone wants to know -- what do they want? What changes will they ask for? With unemployment still hovering at 9% and people scared they will lose their jobs for blinking wrong, America needs real changes to its employment laws. When I wrote my article, 10 Workplace Rights You Think You Have -- But Don't, many commenters were angry -- with me. They thought I must be wrong. I wasn't.

It's time workers started paying attention to the laws that protect them, and the laws that ought to. As a lawyer who has practiced employee-side employment law for over 25 years and who has seen how bad law can devastate hard-working Americans, here are some changes I'd suggest if I were advising the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Read more in The Huffington Post. I'd love to see your comments there.



Thanks to Gina Misiroglu of Red Room for putting me in touch with the Huffington Post!

7 comments:

  1. yup. laws such as these would make a difference. that difference defined as resulting in a more socialistic society. you must believe in the philosophical concept of determinism rather than the concept of free will.

    a fair wage huh? would you also have a law that guaranteed every owner of a business a fair profit? myself, i don't think you would.

    would you also like a law that an employee cannot quit his job without cause?

    fairness is a relative concept. what you consider as fair may not be considered as fair to me or anyone else. fairness can only be had in an individual environment not in a collective environment.

    corporations are not people? show me a corporation without people and i'll agree. this is a term synonymous with a particular type of a business collective. there can be no corporation without people. and if corporations are taxed then they have every right to participate in the political arena. that is, if you believe in the concept of "no taxation without representation"

    people should be able to work for any company they want? in other words, an owner of a company should not be able to hire anyone he wants, huh?

    you have presented many socialistic and deterministic ideas. ideas that would turn the power pyramid upside down and try to balance it on its peak instead of on its base. how long do you expect that pyramid to stand when balanced on its peak?

    with all due respect, Donna, you present a very biased and prejudicial viewpoint of the business world.

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  2. Griper, everyone has their own bias. Mine is that corporations have not been good citizens lately. These charts tell the story: http://www.businessinsider.com/what-wall-street-protesters-are-so-angry-about-2011-10

    My suggestion about fair pay applies only to publicly-traded corporations. Once they go public, it is our right to regulate them, including the pay of their executives. The extravagant pay at the top does not relate to any actual financial success, nor does it "trickle down." Companies and banks we've thrown money and tax breaks at with the excuse that we need to do this so they'll keep creating jobs have kept the money, given it to their executives, and not come through with the jobs.

    My point about people being able to work where they want applies to noncompete agreements, which are being used as weaponry in my business to bully employees into indentured servitude.

    As to corporations consisting of people, I agree. The people who make up corporations have civil rights. Corporations are fictitious entities. They should not be held up as equal to living, breathing people for purposes of campaign contributions and other civil rights.

    I'm very sick of the attacks on working people coming from the wealthy 1%. It's time for working people to fight back to retain their rights and for fairness. Otherwise, all will be back to the bad old days of sweat shops. Anyone who thinks it can't happen isn't paying attention.

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  3. I disagree with the Griper on most points. For one, I hate how everyone makes the argument that having a minimum wage is just one small step away from socialism... it's like nobody understands what socialism means.

    For one, corporations should NOT have the same rights as individuals because they cannot be held accountable for what they do like individuals can. Can you throw a corporation in jail? Corporations have only one motive, personal profit, and every political move they make is to that end. Why would you give more power to a super rich, completely amoral person that can pay whatever fines you charge it, but can't be punished in any other way that humans can be?

    I definitely agree with the fair pay bit too. I wrote a post on my blog about this: http://businessforgoodnotevil.blogspot.com/2011/10/innovate-why-i-invented-it-and-why-its.html : I don't fault businesses for offering ludicrous salaries. I fault executives who would rather take tens of millions of dollars for themselves then re-invest some of that in their company, give decent wages at the bottom, etc.

    And I DEF don't understand how wanting fair wages makes any difference in determinism vs. free will. And the "power pyramid" already IS turned on it's head: the top 1% of people have all the political power, all the social capital, and all the money.

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  4. Donna,
    "Otherwise, all will be back to the bad old days of sweat shops. Anyone who thinks it can't happen isn't paying attention."

    i don't deny that possibility. that is one of the inherent risks in a free enterprise economic system. and it is a risk any advocate of free enterprise must accept. there are no guarantees of success this type of system only opportunities of success. but i will guarantee this. over-regulation will assure that it will happen.

    "My suggestion about fair pay applies only to publicly-traded corporations. Once they go public, it is our right to regulate them, including the pay of their executives."

    they may be publicly traded but they still are privately owned. and ownership has always been the determinant of who makes the decisions. the only way they could be declared as publicly owned is if the government takes it.

    "Corporations are fictitious entities."

    if this is true then on what basis are they taxed? how can you tax something fictitious? is the taxes they pay fictitious also? is the money they give to political parties fictitious?
    if corporations are fictitious as you say then that only leaves one thing that is real, people. thus corporations consists of the owners of the corporation like any business, doesn't it?

    the only thing different is the protection that the law gives the owners of a corporation. and this is to protect the innocent owners even tho it may protect the guilty also from prosecution of wrong doings. and this as you know is one of the cornerstones of our system of justice, isn't it?

    "My point about people being able to work where they want applies to noncompete agreements,"

    if your reasoning for this is true then why would anyone want to work for someone who demands that? that sounds like the use of force to me not working where a person wants to. and as far as i know nobody is forced to work for anyone in this State. slavery went away a long time ago.
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    Kim,
    " I hate how everyone makes the argument that having a minimum wage is just one small step away from socialism..."

    it is not one small step away from it. it is one small step to it. it is the application of force in an area where mutual agreement should be used. that is the whole purpose of an interview, to come to a mutually agreed upon decision of employment, isn't it? only slaves work for a forced wage. that is one of the benefits of the right of liberty.

    "And I DEF don't understand how wanting fair wages makes any difference in determinism vs. free will."

    where did i say that the wanting of fair wages was the problem? the only thing i said that fairness is a relative concept not an objective concept. and you cannot enforce a relative concept without doing an injustice to someone. that is a fact.

    and the rich are not the only ones who possess ownership in corporations. and have you ever figured it out mathematically just how much those millions would add to the wages at the bottom of a huge corporation? all you are projecting to me when speaking like that is class envy, not righteous indignation.

    as for determinism vs free will, "force" is the determinant factor. the physical sciences has proven that.

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  5. "I'll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one." Sign at Occupy Wall Street protest. I don't really have anything to add to that one.

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  6. Employment Lawyer MA Comment:

    We don't want a law that an employee cannot quit his job without cause and as far as i know nobody is forced to work for anyone in this country.

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  7. True, Mac. However, employers hold it against prospective employees if they hop around, if they're unemployed, or if they've left a job after a short period. Ticked off former employers can tank people by giving bad references. Nobody holds it against a company if they have high turnover. Nobody calls former employees for references on companies. The former employee has almost no ammunition against the unscrupulous employer. There has to be a balance. Employees need to have some rights to balance the almost unlimited power their employers have.

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