United States Department of Labor

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October 30, 2014
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By The Numbers By The Numbers: 23% of German employers utilize apprenticeship to provide a steady pipeline of trained talent, compared to just 1% of U.S. employers.

Work In Progress: The Best of Our Blog

Each week, this space will bring you the best from our (Work in Progress) blog.

Protecting the Workers Who Make the Fall Harvest Possible: Farm labor is tough and sometimes dangerous work. That's why there are strict laws designed to ensure workers are duly compensated and kept safe while they pick, gather and prepare fruits and vegetables, writes Cynthia Watson of the Wage and Hour Division.

Americans Taking the #LeadOnLeave: After millions of you watched the #LeadOnLeave video and hundreds submitted stories on why paid leave is important to you and your family, Secretary Perez picked up the phone last week to say "Thank you."

Increase Breast Cancer Awareness in 5 Steps: Whether you or a loved one has breast cancer, or if you'd simply like to know more about prevention, here is some important information, writes Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employee Benefits Security Phyllis Borzi.


Disability Inclusion Observed

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez speaks at an event recognizing National Disability Employment Month in Milwaukee, Wis. Click for a larger photo.

Across the country, organizations observed National Disability Employment Awareness Month and promoted disability inclusion at work. Employees at Langley Air Force Base held a training event on Oct. 23 for human resource professionals, hiring managers and supervisors in Hampton, Va. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez opened the event, updating participants on resources they can use to recruit, retain and advance qualified people with disabilities, including veterans. "It is my hope that Langley will become a shining star when it comes to the employment of people with disabilities — not only because it will help advance our mission at the Office of Disability Employment Policy, but because it will help advance yours," she said. In Milwaukee, more than 200 county employers gathered to celebrate NDEAM at an event sponsored by Wisconsin's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation on Oct. 28. While there, Martinez discussed federal disability employment policy priorities and how they intersect with state-level efforts, including vocational rehabilitation. "You are serving as a model for other states when it comes to promoting positive change for those with disabilities," she said. "And we in Washington really appreciate that."

Learn About NDEAM
Learn About Disability Inclusion


Looking Back at ERISA

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employee Benefits Security Phyllis C. Borzi delivers the keynote speech during the Pension Rights Center's 'Enforcement of ERISA Rights and Responsibilities' event. Photo Credit: Liz Lynch. Click for a larger photo.

When it comes to shaping retirement and health care benefits law, regulation is perhaps the most precise legal instrument. This was Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employee Benefits Security Phyllis C. Borzi's message during her keynote speech to a group of lawyers, policymakers and others assembled at the Pension Rights Center's "Enforcement of ERISA Rights and Responsibilities" event in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 24. The event, part of the center's commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, featured panel discussions on the drafting of ERISA, court interpretations of the law, and discussions of what changes might still be needed to better protect employee benefit plan participants.

Learn About ERISA at 40


Outreach on Home Care Rule

Left to right: Michael Hancock, assistant administrator for policy at the Wage and Hour Division, Jennifer Brand, assistant solicitor of labor, and Laura Fortman, deputy administrator at the Wage and Hour Division, answer questions about the home care rule in Troy, N.Y., on Oct. 22. Click for a larger photo.

A key priority for the Wage and Hour Division is to provide guidance to the regulated community about the department's home care rule prior to and after its Jan. 1 effective date. Deputy Administrator Laura Fortman, Assistant Administrator Michael Hancock, and Associate Solicitor Jennifer Brand gave a presentation at the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of New York State Annual Conference in Troy, N.Y., on Oct. 22. Among the topics were guidance on joint employment and shared living, as well as technical assistance with respect to the Fair Labor Standards Act. "In implementing this rule, we are expanding basic FLSA protections for workers while also ensuring that people with disabilities and seniors continue to have access to critical community services," Fortman said. To date, the department has engaged 50 states in an unprecedented outreach effort.

Learn About the Home Care Rule


Civil Rights Act's Next 50 Years

Left to right: Michael Sumner of Contra Costa County Workforce Development; Nolan Rollins of the Los Angeles Urban League; Edward Salcedo Jr., of GCAP Services, Inc.; and Kelly Jenkins-Pultz of the department's Women's Bureau participated in the California Association of Equal Rights Professionals' 35th annual training conference on Oct. 24. Click for a larger photo.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, Women's Bureau program analyst Kelly Jenkins-Pultz joined a panel of experts to discuss issues critical to establishing the future platform for civil rights in California. During the California Association of Equal Rights Professionals' 35th annual training conference on Oct. 24 in Los Angeles, Jenkins-Pultz outlined the challenges facing women in the areas of pay, education, workplace flexibility and advancement into business or nontraditional occupations. Conference attendees participated in breakout sessions to develop policy recommendations to address economic empowerment, education, women and the criminal justice system.


Labor Rights in Alaska

Mexican Consul Javier Abud Osuna (left) and Ruben Rosalez of the Wage and Hour Division sign an agreement of understanding on Oct. 23 to enhance labor rights protection, compliance and outreach in Alaska. Click for a larger photo.

The Wage and Hour Division has signed an agreement of understanding with the Consulate of Mexico in Anchorage, Alaska, that aims to enhance labor rights protection, compliance and outreach. Wage and Hour Regional Administrator Ruben Rosalez and Consul Javier Abud Osuna formalized the agreement at a ceremony on Oct. 23. Approximately 21,000 Mexicans currently live and work in Alaska, twice as many as in 2000. "The commitment represented by this formal agreement will likely ensure a greater percentage of vulnerable workers in the Hispanic community of Alaska receive the federal protections of health, safety and wages in the workplace," Rosalez said.


#DisabilityEmployment

Posting in English and Spanish, staff from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and the Office of Disability Employment Policy joined an hour-long Twitter chat hosted by the Social Security Administration's Ticket to Work Program on Oct. 24. Nearly 140 advocates, employers and organizations tweeted about the department's Section 503 rule, what it means for employers and for Social Security disability beneficiaries, online resources and useful statistics. The chat also featured ODEP's new "Who I Am" public service announcement, emphasizing the many contributions people with disabilities make to the workforce. The online discussion generated nearly 750 public posts using the hashtag #DEChat and left more than 28,000 impressions on Twitter feeds that day.

Read the Conversation
Watch the Video


Protecting FMLA Rights

The first year of a multiyear Family and Medical Leave Act initiative focused on securing corporate-wide compliance of grocery store chains and area hospitals has been completed by the Wage and Hour division's Houston District Office. Investigations conducted during fiscal year 2014 found FMLA violations at each of the visited sites. Specifically, employers failed to provide notices on military family leave and airline flight crew eligibility, rights and responsibilities notices, designation notices and recordkeeping. All investigated employers agreed to remedy the violations and to comply fully with the FMLA, which would benefit approximately 10,700 affected employees. In the current fiscal year, the Houston office will focus on FMLA compliance in the restaurant and oil and gas industries.


Misclassification Initiative

Eric Murray, director of the Wage and Hour Division's district office in Phoenix, discussed misclassification of employees at the Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants' construction conference on Oct. 29. Click for a larger photo.

Worker classification was part of the agenda at the Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants' construction conference on Oct. 29. The director of the Wage and Hour Division district office in Phoenix, Eric Murray, addressed hundreds of accounting and business professionals about a local enforcement and outreach initiative designed to ensure that construction workers are not misclassified independent contractors or non-employees. Murray also discussed the Employee Misclassification Compliance Assistance Program, a pilot program that allows Arizona-based employers with no history of Fair Labor Standards Act monetary violations to self-report labor violations and quickly resolve wage problems of workers who may be affected by misclassification issues.


Honoring Fallen Miners

A plaque memorializing two victims of an underground coal mine fire in 2006 was formally dedicated on Oct. 27 at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beaver, W.Va. Click for a larger photo.

On Jan. 19, 2006, a conveyer belt caught fire underground in the Alma #1 Mine. Roof bolt operators Ellery Hatfield and Don Bragg became disoriented by the heavy smoke and ultimately died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Members of Hatfield's family were on hand at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy on Oct. 27 for the dedication of a plaque honoring the fallen miners. Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health, said the miners' deaths "became the impetus for changes to save lives through proper fire prevention and fire escape techniques." The academy added a new course on fire detection and monitoring to its curriculum. The course provides seven hours of classroom training as well as hands-on exercises in the Mine Simulation Laboratory in Beaver, West Virginia.


Immigration Summit in Baltimore

Department representatives participated in a panel at the 7th annual Baltimore Immigration Summit on Oct. 24. Regional Representative Robert Asaro-Angelo and Michael Stracka, director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Baltimore-Washington Area Office, highlighted department efforts, such as OSHA's temporary worker initiative, that focus on protecting immigrant and other vulnerable workers. Workplace safety and proper wages also were discussed during the panel. With the theme of "Living, Working, Growing Together," the one-day summit brought together academics, service providers, activists, community leaders and others working with and for immigrants in the region.


Equal Employment Education

Highlighting the agency's robust regulatory agenda and enforcement programs, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Director Patricia A. Shiu addressed the National Employment Law Institute on Oct. 30. The briefing, hosted in San Francisco, is one in a series held across the country to educate employers about equal employment opportunity requirements. Shiu discussed OFCCP's efforts to improve disability and veterans' employment, close the pay gap between men and women, and improve the agency's enforcement and compliance assistance programs. "Clarity for contractors, results for workers and accountability for our investigators. Those are the pillars on which we will build a stronger OFCCP as we head into our 50th year," she said to a crowd of about 150.

Learn More About OFCCP


Helping Farm Workers

The Wage and Hour Division conducted a presentation on the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agriculture Worker Protection Act during the Western Alliance of Farm Worker Advocates annual conference in Sacramento, Calif., on Oct. 20. Topics included steps necessary for the intake of labor complaints. The nearly 100 people in attendance included representatives of nonprofit organizations from California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Idaho that provide services to farm workers.


Training for Citrus Growers

As part of the Wage and Hour Division's continuing efforts to provide compliance assistance and education to the agricultural community, staff presented training on the provisions of the H-2A visa program and on the requirements of the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act to citrus growers and farm labor contractors at Florida Citrus Mutual in Lakeland, Fla. on Oct. 29. "We are delighted to have this opportunity to meet with growers and contractors to provide them with the information they need to pay their workers properly, provide safe housing and transportation, and operate in compliance with the law," said David King, WHD assistant district director in Tampa.

Watch Video on Rules for Growers


Weekly UI Claims

The department reported that the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial Unemployment Insurance claims was 287,000 for the week ending Oct. 25, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week's revised level. The four-week moving average was 281,000, down 250 from the previous week's revised average.

Read the News Release


Upcoming Deadlines & Events

Open Funding Opportunities

OFCCP — What to expect during an OFCCP Audit

November 6 — Houston, TX

OFCCP — Affirmative Action Programs: Creating an Inclusive Workplace

November 13 — Chicago, IL

OFCCP — Constructing Compliance: Building Strong EEO and Affirmative Action Programs

November 14 — Columbus, OH

OFCCP — Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health Meeting

November 6 — Washington, DC

OWCP — Traveling Resource Center to assist nuclear weapons workers

November 3 — Los Alamos, NM
November 10 — Los Alamos, NM
November 13 — Los Alamos, NM
November 17 — Los Alamos, NM
November 20 — Los Alamos, NM
November 24 — Los Alamos, NM


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What's New

Learning How Apprenticeship Creates a Talent Pipeline

A student at the Siemens Vocational Academy in Berlin makes a presentation Oct. 29 on his training and work to U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez and German Education Minister Johanna Wanka. Click for a larger photo.

As the department prepares to launch a major push to expand apprenticeship across the country, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez traveled to Germany to learn about its apprenticeship models. German businesses have 16 times as many apprentices per capita as the United States, and apprenticeship is considered an essential component of how German businesses recruit and train workers. Soon after landing in Frankfurt, Perez toured a Jobs information Center, a public employment service that provides students and workers with career information. He also traveled to the Volkswagen facility in Wolfsburg to learn how apprenticeships are being used by one of the country's leading companies. The Volkswagen program employs state-of-the-art training tools to ensure its workers keep up with changing technologies. In Berlin, Perez met with a medium-sized health care company as well as Siemens, a multinational engineering corporation, to learn how apprenticeship can be valuable for businesses of all sizes and in every industry. Capping off his visit, he engaged in a roundtable discussion with representatives of German work councils. The councils play a critical role in building collaborative relationships between businesses and workers to ensure economic success for both.

Read the Secretary's Travel Diary
Learn About DOL's Commitment to Expand Apprenticeship

Boosting Workers Through Paid Leave and Living Wages

Secretary Perez meets with culinary arts apprentices at Westminster Kingway College Victoria Centre in London on Oct. 30. Click for a larger photo.

Champions of paid leave and a living wage met with Secretary Perez for a discussion at the U.S. Embassy in London on Oct. 30. An innovative campaign in Britain by a coalition of employers, trade unions and non-governmental organizations seeks to establish a living wage and encourages employers to participate voluntarily. Remarkably, employers in the London Living Wage program are also responsible for ensuring a living wage for direct employees and subcontractors. By the most recent estimate, more than 200 large employers have agreed to participate, benefitting approximately 19,000 workers. Perez also continued his immersion into innovative apprenticeship models with visits to West Kingsway College Victoria Center, which provides apprenticeship programs in novel occupations like creative media and culinary arts, and to TechQuarters, an information technology service with five apprentices. In addition, Perez held a roundtable with employers at Microsoft to learn what compels U.K. companies to participate in apprenticeship programs.

Learn About London's Living Wage

Troops in Germany Prepare for Civilian Employment

Secretary Perez discusses the challenges facing members of the armed forces as they transition to civilian careers on Oct. 27 at the U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz's Pulaski Barracks in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Click for a larger photo.

The department's Employment Workshop, a part of the government's Transition Assistance Program, seeks to prepare service members for a smooth transition to the civilian workforce. The three-day workshop is particularly important overseas, including at the U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz's Pulaski Barracks in Kaiserslautern, Germany. The facility is the largest American military installation outside the United States with around 50,000 U.S. citizens. Secretary Perez met with Army TAP staff and Employment Workshop instructors during a recent visit to the base. He also sat down for a roundtable discussion with service members who had completed the training to discuss what concerns they have about their upcoming transitions, asking them what was working, and where they saw room for improvement. "So many skills learned and honed in the military are transferable to the civilian economy: leadership, teamwork, punctuality, dedication to the mission," Perez told them. "Employers back home are eager to hire you; you will be tremendous assets in a host of industries. But the TAP workshop is critical to enhancing your career readiness."

Learn About Transition Assistance Program


National News

Third Quarter Mine Fatality Data Released

Eight miners were killed in mining deaths during the third quarter of 2014, according to a summary released on Oct. 28 by the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Of the five fatalities in metal and nonmetal mining, two miners died in powered haulage accidents when they were pinned by a front-end loader and a forklift respectively, one miner died in an electrical accident, one died as a result of falling material and one was killed in a fall. Of the three fatalities in coal mining, one miner died in an electrical accident, another was killed in a machinery accident, and the third died as a result of a powered haulage accident when he was crushed by diesel equipment. "These deaths are a harsh reminder of why mines must be vigilant in ensuring effective safety programs and fostering a culture of safety first," Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Joseph A. Main said. "Our hearts go out to the families of these miners."

Read the News Release
See a Summary of Fatal Accidents

Honoring the First Responders of Mine Disasters

Teams of miners trained in first aid and rescue work participate in the first national mine safety demonstration in Pittsburgh on Oct. 30, 1911. Read the News Release.

Mine rescue is among the riskiest and most challenging emergency responses undertaken in this country, and the Mine Safety and Health Administration has designated Oct. 30 as Mine Rescue Day. The designation was made to honor the men and women who brave treacherous conditions underground in the wake of a mine fire, explosion or cave-in to rescue their trapped and injured colleagues. "We owe these volunteers from the mining community the best training and support available for such high-risk missions," said Joseph A. Main, the assistant secretary of labor who heads MSHA. "And on Mine Rescue Day, we especially owe them the recognition they deserve for putting their own lives on the line to help their fellow miners."

Read the News Release
Watch the Video
Read the Blog


International Scene

$750,000 Awarded for Worker Rights Project in Georgia

The American Center for International Labor Solidarity, also known as the Solidarity Center, has been awarded a $750,000 cooperative agreement by the department to implement a project to advance worker rights in the country of Georgia. The Government of Georgia has indicated its willingness to bring the country's labor laws into compliance with International Labor Organization standards and establish an effective enforcement mechanism. This project will help achieve those goals by improving worker organizations' ability to effectively engage the government and employers. In particular, the project will seek to improve worker organizations' capacity to conduct outreach and training for members regarding Georgian labor law and enforcement, with a focus on rights related to occupational safety and health. It will also seek to increase worker organizations' effectiveness in representing workers in collective bargaining, dispute resolution, legal proceedings and dialogue with the government and employers.

Read the News Release


News You Can Use

Transit Careers Added to Virtual Career Network

The Virtual Career Network, an online resource supported by the department and other public and private organizations, has expanded to provide career exploration tools for the transit sector. With nearly half of the 400,000 public transportation workforce expected to retire in the next 10 years, demand for skilled workers in this sector is expected to increase substantially. The network provides important information to students and workers on 50 transit-sector occupations that are expected to have the highest demand. Users can learn how previous experience, such as military or on-the-job training, can be applied toward a transit career, take free online courses and find sources of financial aid. Launched in 2012, the network aims to profile low- to mid-skill, in-demand occupations across all high-growth economic sectors. The network's original focus was on health care occupations, but is expected to further expand into other high-demand occupations such as advanced manufacturing, information technology and cybersecurity.

Learn About the Virtual Career Network


DOL Working for You

'It Was My First Job. I Did Not Know the Law.'

Guadalupe Martinez. Click for a larger photo.

A wage and hour claim that began in 2008 may yield thousands of dollars in pay returned to cook Guadalupe Martinez and her co-workers in Southern California. Thanks to the Wage and Hour Division's office in West Covina, Calif., and the subsequent legal action undertaken by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Central District of California, her employer was found guilty of obstructing the department's investigation into his failure to pay overtime to Martinez and several of her co-workers at the El Toro Market in Hemet, Calif. Martinez often worked 10-to12 hours daily without overtime. In addition, her employer further cut her paycheck short, alleging the need to withhold money due to "tax purposes" and other bogus reasons. With the announcement of the ruling on Oct. 20, Martinez and her co-workers finally prevailed by standing up for their rights. Initially, she did not know that what he was doing was wrong. "It was my first job. I did not know the law," said Martinez. "But as time passed by, I started to learn. It was not fair what he was doing. The rules are the rules, and they apply to all workers, not just some."


DOL in Action

Zip-line Worker in Fatal Fall Lacked Safety Protections

A new employee at a Hawaii zip-line course, who had been working for only three days, fell from a platform to her death in a ravine because of inadequate safety protections, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration found. Patricia Rabellizsa, an employee of the Pi'iholo Ranch Zip-Line Course, where she received riders arriving from another platform, died in May. The operator's policy made it optional for employees to wear restraining lanyards connected to their harnesses. "When working 120 feet above a ravine, properly connected safety harnesses are absolutely mandatory, not optional," said Ken Atha, OSHA regional administrator. "This young woman's tragic death could have been prevented had her employers valued her safety as much as they valued customer fun."

Read the News Release

Musculoskeletal Disorder Hazards Found at Alabama Poultry Plant

Wayne Farms LLC, which makes products under brand names Dutch Quality House and Platinum Harvest, has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for exposing workers to dangerous machinery, fall and musculoskeletal disorder hazards. OSHA issued 11 citations to the poultry processing plant in Jack, Ala., including failure to protect workers from moving parts of a machine during servicing and maintenance work, exposing employees to the stressors of repetitive lifting, and filling totes to carry that can weigh in excess of 75 pounds. Proposed penalties total $102,600.

Read the News Release

St. Louis Steel Fabricator 'Does Not Put Safety First'

Continental Fabricators Inc. has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for serious safety and health violations. The St. Louis-based steel fabricator, which has an injury rate higher than the national average, was issued 15 citations involving amputation, confined spaces and electrical hazards. OSHA has proposed penalties of $52,500. "Continental Fabricators demonstrates a company culture that does not put safety first. Workers should not be suffering fractures, sprains and muscular injuries on the job. These injuries are preventable by using personal protective equipment and following safety procedures," said Bill McDonald, OSHA's area director in St. Louis.

Read the News Release

Texas Restaurant Violated Child Labor Laws

Café Venture Co., doing business as Fuddruckers in Midland, Texas, will pay $6,600 in civil money penalties after an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division found the restaurant violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by allowing minors to operate dangerous machinery. Additionally, the restaurant scheduled and routinely allowed 14- and 15-year-old workers to close its store after 9 p.m. The company has agreed to comply with child labor laws in the future.

Former Union Officials Sentenced for Embezzlement

JC Stamps, former executive director and founder of the National Union of Protective Services Associations and the National Union of Law Enforcement Associations, both located in Washington, D.C., recently was sentenced to nine months of confinement in a community correctional facility, three years of supervised probation, 100 hours of community service, and was ordered to pay restitution of $192,091. In June, Stamps pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for embezzling from the two unions and NUPSA's health and welfare fund. Stamps' co-conspirator, Patricia Moore, former employee and secretary-treasurer of NUPSA, was sentenced to 150 days of home confinement with electronic monitoring, four years of supervised probation, and was ordered to pay restitution of $107,346. This follows Moore's 2011 guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud from NUPSA and NULEA. A joint investigation was conducted by the Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of the Inspector General and the Employee Benefits Security Administration.

Read the News Release

Hot Wheel City to Pay $97,500 to Detroit Workers

Hot Wheel City Inc. and general manager Nael Abouna signed a consent judgment agreeing to pay 61 Detroit-area employees $97,500 in unpaid wages and damages to resolve a lawsuit brought by the department. The lawsuit, filed with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, was the result of an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division, which determined that the company violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay employees minimum wage and overtime and by failing to keep required records.

Read the News Release

Unpaid Overtime Secured for Restaurant Workers in San Diego

The department has secured $44,226 in overtime back wages and an additional $44,266 in damages for 12 Adalberto's Mexican Food employees in San Diego. Wage and Hour investigators found that the company did not pay at time and one-half the workers' regular rates of pay for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. Instead, the employees received straight time for overtime. Employees regularly worked six days per week in excess of 40 hours.

Read the News Release

Arizona Group Home Fails to Pay Overtime

Stellar Healthcare, a group home chain in Scottsdale, Ariz., has agreed to pay $25,605 in back wages due to 28 employees. Investigators established that the employer paid straight time for overtime hours worked to hourly employees. Stellar Healthcare failed to combine all hours worked by employees at multiple facilities during the same workweek for overtime purposes. None of the affected employees was paid additional half time for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

Railway Disciplined Worker for Taking Doctor-Ordered Leave

BNSF Railway Co. has been found in violation of the Federal Railroad Safety Act by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA's investigation upheld allegations that the company disciplined an employee assigned to its station in Ottumwa, Iowa, for following a physician's treatment plan. The company has been ordered to pay the conductor $12,000 in damages, remove disciplinary information from the employee's personnel record, and provide whistleblower rights information to all its employees. "Workers should never be forced to choose between staying healthy or facing disciplinary action," said Marcia P. Drumm, OSHA's acting regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo.

Read the News Release

Property Management Company in Phoenix to Pay Overtime Wages

Dick James & Associates, a property management company operating in Phoenix, has agreed to pay $68,801 in back wages due to eight workers for overtime violations. An investigation by the Wage and Hour Division established that the Sacramento, Calif.-based employer failed to pay additional time and one half the regular hourly rate to maintenance personnel who routinely worked up to 50 hours a week at two apartment complexes in Phoenix. The employer claimed that the overtime pay was credited toward the lodging costs of the apartments furnished to the workers.

Machine Hazards Endangered Workers at Ohio Plant

Workers at the Kronis Coatings Division of Jay Industries Inc. were repeatedly exposed to amputation hazards from moving machinery parts during service and maintenance work. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the company, based in Mansfield, Ohio, with one repeat and four serious safety violations, which carry proposed penalties of $62,400. "Kronis Coatings Division has continually exposed workers to dangerous, moving machinery, which can cause life-altering injury, including amputation," said Kim Nelson, OSHA's area director in Toledo, Ohio.

Read the News Release

Dallas Business Owners Sued for Missing Retirement Funds

Jeffrey and Patricia Brast, owners of Special Care Home Oxygen & Medical Equipment Inc., formerly located in Richardson, Texas, were sued by the Employee Benefits Security Administration to recover $171,000 missing from the profit-sharing plan. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, alleges that the owners violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by withdrawing the full amount of the plan's assets in October 2009 and using those assets to keep the struggling company operating.

California Contractor to Pay Back Wages, Damages to Workers

A Southern California carpentry contractor has agreed to pay $111,305 in overtime back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to 29 workers following an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division. Investigators found Next Level Door & Millwork Inc., of Indio, Calif., in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime and record-keeping provisions. Employees were required to report to the shop to pick up materials and tools or to drive the company truck to the job site. Workers also were required to return the items to the shop after leaving the job site, and the employer failed to pay for that time.

Read the News Release

Pennsylvania Contractor Ignores Trenching Hazards

C & G Refrigeration Inc. in Hanover, Pa., was cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with four willful and one serious violation related to trenching hazards. During a complaint investigation in August, OSHA found that C & G exposed workers to potentially deadly trenching hazards while they performed underground utility work at a residence in Hanover. The plumbing, heating and air conditioning contractor previously was cited by OSHA in April 2013 with four safety violations after a trench collapse at a work site in Hanover. C & G was placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program due to the willful violations, and faces $64,680 in proposed penalties.

Read the News Release

Chicago Baking Plant Cited in Fatal Machinery Accident

A Chicago baking plant has been cited for six serious violations following the May fatality of a 31-year-old engineer whose head was struck by an unguarded rotating gear arm on a piece of bakery equipment. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Alpha Baking Co. Inc. for six serious safety violations following the tragic incident. "This tragic loss of life could have been prevented by ensuring workers were not exposed to dangerous equipment without safety mechanisms," said Angeline Loftus, OSHA's area director at its Chicago North Office.

Read the News Release

Illinois Homebuilder Faces Fines for Safety Hazard

Bosco Custom Homes Inc. has been issued penalties totaling $174,240 for failure to provide fall protection to workers on three separate residential framing projects. Furthermore, the Illinois company did not turn over documents to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to prove it fixed hazards identified in a previous inspection. "Bosco Custom Homes has failed to fix safety hazards related to falls. This shows an inexcusable and deliberate lack of care for the safety and health of the company's employees," said Jake Scott, OSHA's area director in North Aurora.

Read the News Release

Nuclear Worker Outreach in Kentucky

Town hall meetings in Paducah, Ky., were hosted recently by the Office of Workers' Compensation Program's Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation. The meetings served as a forum for providing current and former nuclear weapons workers, including those who worked at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, with information about the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act. Nearly 200 individuals attended and learned more about the benefits available to them under EEOICPA. To date, $584.3 million in EEOICPA compensation and medical benefits has been paid to 4,895 Kentucky claimants.

Learn More About DEEOIC
Learn More About EEOICPA

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