Tag Archives: discrimination

This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s

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Today’s post is an article that was shared by Tomasz Stasiuk, a Colorado lawyer, and comes from www.wisebread.com

Every once in a while, this blog gives a person a chance to take a step back and think about both personal priorities and philosophies and what is happening in the larger society and how those trends affect workers and their loved ones in the big picture. This blog post is one of those moments.

Were we, as persons, or we as a society better off “way back when”? As can be seen in the article below, I think it depends on whose “way back when” we’re focusing on.

There were definitely some positives from the article for many: buying power comes to mind. But it is possible that the negatives for others, such as society-sanctioned racial discrimination and limiting women to certain roles, outweigh the perceived positives. In fact, entire books, such as “The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap” are devoted to these issues.

I wish the article below explored worker safety in the decade of the 1950s, too, as I hope, being an idealist, that it has improved overall, both for society and individuals, since then. However, I was very glad to see salary information, as that definitely affects workers and their families or loved ones.

Though at first glance an “average yearly income” of “$3,210 in 1950” and $5,010 in 1959” seems small for a household, it was a different era regarding buying power.

I really do appreciate that prices from the 1950s are translated to today’s dollars, so you can see how both buying power was different and the evolution of consumer culture happened. This includes focusing on housing, autos, televisions, spare time, and discretionary spending.

The biggest takeaway I got from this article was both how much things have changed and also how they sometimes stay the same (and how for some, remembering the good is the only part of an experience they recall).

Society and individuals have a ways to go in eliminating discrimination, focusing on women workers, and improving worker safety. But it is fascinating that a consumer today would mostly understand “how Americans spent their money in the post-war 1950s.”

“That’s because the spending habits we consider normal were born in the post-war 1950s. Prior to that decade, few households could boast discretionary spending, and before television, there were not as many large-scale outlets that allowed advertisers to tempt consumers into unnecessary spending.

“We may no longer consider a 983 square foot house or a car with a rusted-through hole in the floor to be normal, but our expectations for spending discretionary income remain mostly the same.”

So is your household or family unit better off than you would have been “way back when”? And what will productivity, progress and success look like for a worker and family unit or loved ones in 50 years?

Only time will tell.

Americans tend to think of the 1950s as an idyllic time when the babies were booming, the jobs were plentiful, and the country was flourishing.

Our parents and grandparents had good reason to feel prosperous. The average yearly income rose from $3,210 in 1950 to $5,010 in 1959, and post-war Americans were enjoying access to products and services that were scarce during World War II. Finding good uses for disposable income in the 1950s began the American love affair with consumerism. That love affair that continues to this day — although our spending priorities may have changed somewhat over the years.

Here’s how Americans spent their money in the post-war 1950s, and how their spending habits compare to ours in the 2010s.

White Picket Fences

The American dream of owning a home has deep roots the 1950s. Not only were many of the 16 million returning WWII veterans looking to buy homes, but the GI Bill offered them liberal home loans, and the end of the war saw the beginning of the baby boom, all of which drove demand for affordable houses.

Large homebuilders met that demand. They began applying assembly-line methodology to home building — by using panelized construction and drywall rather than wet plaster — which allowed them to create “cookie cutter” tract housing, giving birth to the modern suburb. An amazing “three out of five families became homeowners, and suburban living became a national phenomenon.”

There was a dark side to this housing…

[Click here to see the rest of this post]

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Money, Unfair employment practices, women and tagged , , , , .

Is it Illegal to Discriminate Against Me on the Job Because of My Accent?

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Contrary to popular opinion, many immigrants work in professional and white-collar jobs. The explosive growth of immigration to the United States means that more immigrants will work in white-collar jobs in the United States. Since white collar jobs often require verbal communication, immigrants employed in white-collar professions and their employers will increasingly face the question of whether it is legal to discriminate on the basis of accent. 

Most federal and state courts that have addressed the issue believe that it is illegal for employees to discriminate based on accent if that discrimination is tied to nationality. Courts have even gone so far as to state that nationality and accent are intertwined, which means that they take such discrimination seriously. However, courts understand that employers have an interest in clear verbal communication. So what steps should you take if you think you are being discriminated against because of your accent? 

  1. Apply for a promotion for which you are qualified: Discrimination is only actionable if the company takes some action against you. One so-called adverse action is a failure to promote. If you are a trusted and valued employee, a company will often give you a reason why you were not promoted. If this reason is related to your accent, you can often get a decision maker to say as much. Legally, this is considered direct evidence of discrimination.
  2. If possible, reach out to other foreign-born employees in your workplace: If other foreign-born employees are being discriminated against for the same or similar reasons, it makes sense to work with them, as it can show a pattern by the employer. Also, when employees work together to fight discrimination, they are not just protected by civil rights laws, but they are also protected under the National Labor Relations Act.
  3. If possible, contact an employment attorney in your area before you decide to take action:  Every situation is different, and laws vary from state to state. A lawyer can give you tips about how to potentially build a case, can give you advice about actions and tactics to avoid, and can advise you about any legal deadlines that might apply to your potential case.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in employment law and tagged , , , , .

Pregnant Workers Should Get Workers’ Compensation If They Have a Claim

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pregnany at wrokA new law went into effect during 2015 in Nebraska that requires employers of 15 or more employees to accommodate pregnant workers on the job. This is a significant change that affects working women by expanding workplace protections for those who become pregnant.

Nebraska’s protections for pregnant employees go beyond even the standards for pregnancy discrimination under federal law. The new law also protects women with post-childbirth medical conditions and women who choose to breastfeed or pump.

This law means that pregnant women in Nebraska will be able stay on the job longer and will have an easier time returning to work.

This accommodation includes obtaining “equipment for sitting, more frequent or longer breaks, periodic rest, assistance with manual labor, job restructuring, light-duty assignments, modified work schedules, temporary transfers to less strenuous or hazardous work, time off to recover from childbirth, or break time and appropriate facilities for breastfeeding or expressing breastmilk.” Nebraska Revised Statute 48-1102 (11)

These changes outlaw discrimination against a pregnant woman with respect to hiring, advancement, discharge, training and other terms, conditions and privileges of employment. These protections extend to a pregnant employee before, during and after a pregnancy.

Unfortunately, pregnancy doesn’t mean that women can avoid work injuries, especially in female-dominated fields like nursing and human-services support. Sometimes employers and/or insurers will attempt to use the excuse that since an employee is going to be out because of pregnancy that they do not have to pay temporary disability benefits to an injured worker who is suffering from a work injury.

But when an occupational or work injury and a non-occupational injury, combine to cause disability, employers still have to pay those disability benefits. Nebraska’s new law on pregnancy doesn’t change that fact. If anything, smart and ethical employers will attempt to accommodate injured pregnant employees in legitimate light-duty jobs so they do not have to pay disability benefits.

In addition, when a pregnant employee is injured on the job and is receiving workers’ compensation benefits and later is ordered by her physician not to perform certain work activities or is in need of bed rest due to the pregnancy, an injured and pregnant employee’s workers’ compensation benefits cannot be reduced or suspended on account of the pregnancy in both Nebraska and Iowa.

However, not all employers and workers’ compensation insurance carriers understand or follow the law. If you are injured and not receiving workers’ compensation benefits because your employer says that they could accommodate your job but for you being pregnant, you need to call a firm that handles both discrimination and workers’ compensation law. You should also call an employment lawyer if you are pregnant and being forced to take unpaid leave rather than having your job duties modified or changed.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Employment, employment law, Health, Nebraska, Workers' Compensation and tagged , , , .

Insensitive? Yes. Crabby? Yes. Illegal Discrimination? Probably Not.

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Advertisement from the McCook, Nebraska, newspaper via Michael Schwanke’s Facebook page

KWCH (Wichita, Kansas) television reporter Michael Schwanke posted a help-wanted ad from a McCook, Nebraska, auto-glass shop on his Facebook page that has gone viral on social media and brings up some basic truths about employment law. Here is the meme:

The overarching theme here is that regular and reliable attendance and a good attitude are essential job functions for this particular job, as they are for most jobs. Do some of these requirements seem unlawful? Maybe on their face, but they probably aren’t when you do the analysis. Here are few that might raise red flags and why they probably aren’t illegal.

Have no baby sitter every day” Yes, it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of being a parent. However, most jobs require reliable and regular attendance. Sure, problems with child care can be reasonably expected, but if it becomes a pattern and it disrupts work, then it is a legitimate reason for termination.

“Have court often” There is a move to limit the use of criminal background checks in order to help ex-felons get hired, so maybe this looks bad. But again, “have court often” means that you are currently involved with the court system. If current legal issues keep you away from work too often, that could be a reason for termination. I believe that criminal background checks in employment often disproportionately affect minorities. However, barring any expression of animus against a particular race or nationality, the desire to not have your employees miss work often because of court appearances is a legitimate concern of a business owner.

“Oversleep” Sometimes medical conditions and the side effects of medications can make it difficult to wake up. Assuming your employer is covered by disability-discrimination laws, a situation like that would be covered. But again, if your job actually requires you to be present and working at a certain time and you can’t reliably meet that requirement, then your employer has a reason to fire you.

A review of the comments on the Facebook posting showed that most of the commenters were sympathetic with the employer. Regardless of what I think about those comments as an employee advocate, people with those types of attitudes and feelings are going to be the ultimate deciders of whether an employer wrongfully terminated or otherwise violated the rights of a client of mine. So if you are terminated for a reason you think was wrong or otherwise mistreated by an employer, make sure that you did your best to fulfill your duties as an employee – especially in regards to attendance.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Employment, employment law, Harassment, Wrongful Termination and tagged , , , , .

How Gays and Lesbians Can Protect Their Civil Rights in the Workplace, Part 1

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The recent Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage marks a major expansion of civil rights in this country. The decision will also give some additional legal protections to gay, lesbian and transgender individuals in the workplace. In the wake of the decision, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that sexual orientation is covered by federal anti-discrimination laws. So what do these developments mean, and how can gay and lesbian individuals protect their newly won civil rights?

What does the EEOC ruling mean to gays and lesbians in the workplace?

The EEOC ruling means that the EEOC will investigate charges of sexual-orientation discrimination. This is important because filing a charge with the EEOC or a fair-employment agency is a requirement for filing a lawsuit. To file with the EEOC, an employee must file within 180 days of the last act of discrimination. They may have longer if a state or local law recognizes that type of discrimination and has a longer time for filing. In a state like Nebraska, where sexual orientation isn’t recognized by our anti-discrimination laws, it is a much safer route to file with the EEOC within 180 days. Check with your state or local equal-opportunity commission to see if they will also file your charge with the EEOC, even if they don’t recognize sexual orientation as a class. Again, beware of deadlines. Nebraska normally allows 300 days for a charge of discrimination, but it is safer to assume you only have 180 days to file a charge based on sexual orientation. Remember that filing a charge means that an investigator has written out your charge and that you have signed and notarized the charge. This takes time, so if you want to file a discrimination charge, you need to move quickly.

What does the same-sex marriage decision mean for gays and lesbians in the workplace?

The decision should grant anti-discrimination protections in the workplace to gays and lesbians in same-sex marriages based on the family status under Title VII and likely under similar state and local laws. The decision doesn’t change the fact that many federal courts hold that discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender individuals is a form of unlawful sex discrimination. If your sexual-orientation discrimination decision involves your marital status, be sure to add that into your charge. If you are past the 180-day EEOC deadline, you may be able to still meet a longer state deadline. The same could also be said of filing a sexual-orientation discrimination complaint as a sex- or gender-discrimination complaint.

What the Supreme Court and EEOC decisions don’t mean

Ultimately gays, lesbians and transgender individuals will only get the full protections of anti-discrimination laws in the workplace when either courts and or legislative bodies explicitly expand those protections to them. The Obergefell decision didn’t do that. The EEOC doesn’t make law, and its interpretations of the law aren’t binding like those of a court decision. Furthermore, federal courts are giving increasingly less deference to the opinions of agencies like the EEOC and increasingly willing to second guess how the EEOC operates. Unless you live in the District of Columbia or one of the 22 states, such as Iowa, or a city such as Omaha that prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace, then your road to the courthouse in a discrimination claim is unclear. However, in states like Nebraska that don’t explicitly ban sexual-orientation discrimination under state law, the road to workplace justice for gays and lesbians has gotten easier in the last few weeks.

In addition, the Equality Act was recently introduced in Congress. “The law, whose language was provided to the Advocate, would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act and other federal law to protect LGBT people from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and other arenas,” according to an article in Politico.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in employment law, United States Supreme Court and tagged , , , , .