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National Equal Pay Day

Kelly Mulloy Myers

April 9, 2013 marked this year’s “National Equal Pay Day” which symbolically marks the day in 2013 women must work to in order to earn what her male counterparts earned in 2012.

When the Equal Pay Act was passed by John F. Kennedy fifty years ago, women made 59 cents for every dollar a man earned.  In 2013, women have gained ground in paycheck equality but still only bring home 77 cents for every dollar male workers make.  The pay disparity does vary across industry.  PolitiFact, a fact checking website, reports that female computer programmers, for instance, make 95 cents for every dollar a male colleague makes.  A female personal financial advisor makes only 58 cents for every dollar her male counterpart earns.  Even when pay studies adjust for factors such as industry, education and seniority, a difference in pay between female workers and male workers stubbornly persists.  In 2012, Bloomberg analyzed 2010 census bureau data and determined that out of 265 industries, women fared better in terms of pay in only one, the service worker category.

President Obama, whose first law signed in office was the Lily Ledbetter Equal Pay Act which extended the time frame for filing equal pay lawsuits, issued a Presidential Proclamation stating, in part, “To grow our middle class and spur progress in the years ahead, we need to address longstanding inequity that keeps women from earning a living equal to their efforts. That is why I have made pay equity a top priority — from signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act days after I took office to cracking down on equal pay law violations wherever they occur. And to back our belief in equality with the weight of law, I continue to call on the Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.”

The Paycheck Fairness Act would expand the Equal Pay Act to close loopholes and allow employees to lift the wage shroud of secrecy and share salary information with their coworkers. It would also require employers to show that pay disparities between their male and female employees are related to job performance, not gender.  The legislation has been introduced numerous times in Congress, but has failed to pass.  Hopefully, our daughters won’t mark the 75th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act still facing wage inequity in the workplace.

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Pete Rose Reinstated by Major League Baseball

Randy Freking

In an Easter gift to baseball fans, Major League Baseball Commissioner confessed he has been wrong for 20 years and has rescinded the lifetime ban on baseball’s Hit King, Peter Edward Rose, aka “Charlie Hustle”.  Appropriately, Mr. Selig took his action on Opening Day Eve and the Reds are expected to name Rose to replace current manager Dusty Baker, and Rose is planning to return as a part-time player to enhance his statistics.

According to the announcement from Selig, Pete will now be eligible for the Hall of Fame, and Selig promised to throw the weight of his office behind Rose’s election.

In a 60 Minutes interview, Selig commented:  “Mr. Rose – then the preeminent player/manager in baseball – signed an agreement in 1989 in good faith that was intended to assist MLB, and he was assured by the then Commissioner that one year would be the length of his banishment from baseball. Our goal was to avoid the Reds from becoming a dynasty under Mr. Rose’s leadership throughout the 1990s, and we certainly accomplished that purpose. After over 20 years, it is now time to recognize that Cincinnati deserves a baseball dynasty because it is the greatest baseball town in the world.”

Employment lawyers in Cincinnati rejoiced, noting that all discipline should fit the alleged crime. One advocate said “if a suspension doesn’t fit the crime, you should serve no time.” This seems appropos to Mr. Rose’s situation.

Your friends at Freking and Betz wish you a happy April Fool’s Day.

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“Queen Bee Syndrome” in 2013??

Randy Freking

The “Queen Bee Syndrome” – originally coined in the 1970s – is getting more and more attention as female executives have made controversial decisions (Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer)and published controversial books (Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg).  It has long been believed that women who have reached positions of power would be a mentor to those females who followed, but many believe that something has gone wrong in the professional sisterhood.

Four decades ago, an article in Psychology Today found that women who achieved success in male-dominated environments were at times likely to oppose the rise of other women. According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, this syndrome is alive and well.

The theory is that this generation of queen bees are no less determined to secure their hard-won places as alpha females.  It is indeed ironic: the very women that have complained for decades about unequal treatment now perpetuate many of the same problems by turning on other females.

In employment discrimination cases brought by females, employers often invoke a defense that is disingenuous: that women cannot discriminate against other women.  Just like the fact that older managers can discriminate against older employees, these recent studies demonstrate that anyone can act upon either conscious or subconscious biases, even if those biases are against members of their own “protected class.”

For more information, read the Wall Street Journal article The Tyranny of the Queen Bee and the related article “Office Conflict: Women and the Catty Trap.”

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Proposed Ohio Sales Tax Threatens to Restrict Access to Justice

Charlie McGinnis

Governor Kasich recently proposed an extensive broadening of Ohio’s sales tax to cover many items and services not previously taxed.  One of those is fees for legal services – meaning you could pay more for legal services if this tax is enacted.

This isn’t just a tax imposed at the corporate level.  It would impose an additional burden on individual Ohioans seeking legal services on many levels.  If you are seeking representation to protect your rights as an employee in the work place, having your wills drafted, or seeking damages for personal injury or for any other reasons, Ohio would collect a sales tax on the fees you pay.

Imposing a sales tax on necessary legal services will create an additional barrier for those seeking representation in our legal system. Individual rights in Ohio have already been restricted in recent years with the enactment of various laws effecting amounts you can recover  for your damages in personal injury or malpractice, consumer cases and employee rights.  Increasing the  cost of legal representation through a sales tax serves as a disincentive for individuals and small businesses to seek legal representation.  Large businesses who employ their own in-house counsel for representation would not be taxed.  This widens the divide of access to the court system for individuals and small businesses.

If you are concerned about this proposal and its impact on your rights, please contact your state representatives in Columbus to oppose this change.

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KY Residents Call Your State Rep Today to Oppose SB9

Mark Napier

On Feb. 5, the nursing home industryintroduced SB 9 in the KY Senate. The bill calls for the creation of a medical review panel system to screen proposed malpractice complaints against long-term care facilities such as nursing homes. SB 9 passed the Senate on Feb. 13 with Republicans voting for it and Democrats against it. The bill now moves to the KY House.
Instead of focusing on improving the quality of care for seniors or persons in need of long-term care, the industry is again seeking to avoid accountability. Overall, Kentucky nursing homes need much improvement. Kentucky ranks the worst in the nation in average number of deficiencies per nursing home according to the publication Nursing Home Inspect. And, according to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Nursing Home Compare Database, 2012, forty per cent of Kentucky nursing homes rank overall “below average” or “much below average.”

The Louisville Courier-Journal issued an editorial against SB9 (click here).   So did The Lexington Herald (click here).

If you are a Kentucky resident, please call your state representative today at 1-800-372-7181 and urge him or her to vote NO against any bill that reduces accountability for KY nursing homes. To find out who are your legislators, click here.

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