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Same-sex spouses included in US Family and Medical Leave Act


Gay Star News | March 3, 2015

The US Department of Labor has issued new rulings that revise the definition of spouse in the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) 1993. The new ruling recognizes same-sex spouses.

The ruling was issued last week (25 February) and will take effect on 27 March. Eligible employees who are in a recognized same-sex marriage will be able to take federal, job-protected FMLA leave – up to 12 work weeks a year – to care for their spouse or family member.

Prior to the revision, employees were only entitled to FMLA leave if their state of residence recognized their opposite-sex marriage.

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EEOC ruling: Walmart discriminated against lesbian employee


| LGBT Nation | February 18, 2015

BOSTON — A federal agency says Walmart discriminated against a lesbian employee who sought health coverage for her ailing wife and has ordered “a just resolution” for violating her civil rights.

WalmartThe U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ordered the retail giant to work with Jacqueline Cote of New Bedford, Massachusetts, who hopes the determination will help her pay off $100,000 in medical bills.

In a Jan. 29 EEOC ruling, obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, the agency said Cote “was treated differently and denied benefits because of her sex.”

Cote tried to enroll her partner in Walmart’s health plan repeatedly starting in 2008, but coverage was denied and the company didn’t provide it until 2014. In 2012, Cote’s wife, Diana Smithson, was diagnosed with cancer.

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Approximately 80,000 LGBT Workers in Kentucky Lack Statewide Protections against Ongoing Employment Discrimination


For Immediate Distribution
February 25, 2015

Contact:
Laura Rodriguez, lrodriguez@rabengroup.com, (310) 956-2425(310) 956-2425
Donald Gatlin, dgatlin@rabengroup.com, (202) 587-2871(202) 587-2871

LOS ANGELES — Approximately 80,000 LGBT workers in Kentucky are vulnerable to employment discrimination absent explicit statewide legal protections, according to a new report co-authored by Christy Mallory, Senior Counsel, and Brad Sears, Executive Director, at the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute. Currently, seven localities in Kentucky have ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in public and private sector employment, but approximately 77% of Kentucky’s workforce is not covered by these laws.

“A statewide law prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity would bring new protections to thousands of workers without burdening courts and agencies,” Mallory said. “Most likely, the cost of handling complaints filed under the law could be absorbed into the existing enforcement system with no need for additional staff or resources.”

The report finds evidence of ongoing discrimination against LGBT people in Kentucky:

• Public opinion polls have found that 78% of Kentucky residents think that LGBT people experience a moderate amount to a lot of discrimination in the state.
• Several recent instances of employment discrimination against LGBT people in Kentucky have been documented in the media and lawsuits; these include reports from a children’s day care center worker, a state government employee, and a public school administrator.
• Survey data show that, nationally, 21% of LGBT respondents report being treated unfairly by an employer in hiring, pay, or promotions. Among transgender survey respondents, 78% report having experienced harassment or mistreatment at work.

Employer policies and public opinion indicate support for non-discrimination protections for LGBT people in Kentucky:

• The state prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in government employment by executive order.
• All eight of the Fortune 1000 companies based in Kentucky prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, while five of those companies also prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.
• In response to a national poll conducted in 2011, 70% of respondents from Kentucky said that employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity should be prohibited in the U.S.

A statewide law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity would not be burdensome or costly to enforce:

• The law would result in approximately 38 additional complaints being filed each year with the Kentucky Human Rights Commission.
• The anticipated new complaints could most likely be absorbed into the existing system with no need for additional staff and negligible costs.

Findings from the Kentucky report are consistent with national data.

For full report, click here.

– See more at: http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/press/press-releases/kentucky-nd-2015/#sthash.HpUkDb3f.dpuf

Bitcoin Most Disruptive Technology of Last 500 Years–Investor


Supreme Court lets stand ruling that firing woman for breastfeeding not sexist since men can lactate


Baby with father (Shutterstock.com)

A Staggeringly Lopsided Economic Recovery


Zoë Carpenter | The Nation | January 27, 2015

Blighted row houses in Baltimore

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Just how strong is the economic recovery? Democrats have offered somewhat contradictory answers to that question recently. The picture President Obama painted in last week’s State of the Union address was mostly rosy. “The shadow of crisis has passed,” he declared, citing “a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, and booming energy production.” And indeed, the US economy added more jobs in 2014 than it has since 1999, and unemployment is at its lowest point in more than six years.

The competing, bleaker, view—described most forcefully by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren—is that the good numbers don’t accurately reflect the reality lived by America’s workers. Middle-class families “are working harder than ever, but they can’t get ahead,” Warren argued in an early January speech. “Opportunity is slipping away. Many feel like the game is rigged against them—and they are right.” The tide may be rising, but it’s failing to lift most of the boats.

A new report from the Economic Policy Institute demonstrates as much. In the vast majority of US states, the top 1 percent of earners captured at least half of the income gains during the first three years of the economic recovery. In seventeen states, the 1 percent raked in all of the income growth. Those at the top of the economic ladder in Nevada, for example, saw their incomes grow by 40 percent between 2009 and 2012; meanwhile, other Nevadans incomes actually declined, by 16 percent.

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New Poll: 58 Percent of Voters Support Breaking Up “Big Banks Like Citigroup”


Citibank is the third largest bank in the U.S., behind JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. (photo: WNYC)
Citibank is the third largest bank in the U.S., behind JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. (photo: WNYC)

Christina Rexrode | The Wall Street Journal | Reader Supported News | January 24, 2015

here’s not a lot of love for the big banks these days.

Case in point: A poll to be released Tuesday by a group called the Progressive Change Institute found that a majority of U.S. voters would be quite happy for Citigroup Inc.C -1.92% and other big banks to be broken into pieces. According to the poll, 58% of likely voters said they would support breaking up “big banks like Citigroup.”

To be sure, the Progressive Change Institute is hardly neutral on the question: It organized a protest at Citigroup’s New York headquarters last month, after Sen. Elizabeth Warren blasted the bank for its part in rolling back a small piece of the Dodd-Frank financial-reform bill. And the question is hardly worded neutrally either: It asks voters if they’d like to break up the big banks, “which played a big role in the financial crisis and recently demonstrated they still have too much power by lobbying for and winning the repeal of a major reform designed to stop Wall Street abuse and taxpayer bailouts.”

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