Week in Review

May 04, 2015

Minimum Wage hike on the Horizon?
It's been almost 8 years since Congress last raised the national minimum wage. On Capitol Hill, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez joined lawmakers, business owners and workers at a news conference on April 30 to support newly introduced legislation to raise the national minimum wage. Sponsored by Washington Sen. Patty Murray and Virginia Rep. Bobby Scott, the measure would raise the wage gradually to $12 per hour by 2020, indexing it thereafter, and would also eliminate the tipped minimum wage. "It's been almost eight years since Congress last raised the national minimum wage," said Perez. "This step is overdue. We've waited long enough." Perez has championed the call for raising the wage while hearing from workers and meeting with supportive business owners around the country. Raising the national minimum wage is the right thing to do, where giving low-wage workers a boost benefits them, businesses and the American economy, he noted. Twenty states increased their minimum wage in January 2015 which could be a precursor to a national movement.

Supreme Court hears oral arguments on same-sex marriage
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on April 28th on gay marriage, in which justices considered two questions: Does the 14th Amendment require states to license same-sex marriages? And does it require them to recognize those marriages performed in other states? The justices' ruling, expected in late June, will determine whether same-sex marriage becomes legal nationwide or whether states retain the authority to ban it. As of now, same-sex marriages are allowed in thirty-six states, with bans remaining in the other fourteen but all are under court challenge.

Comcast to pay nearly $190K to settle OFCCP charges of sex, racial discrimination
Comcast Corporation has agreed to pay $187, 0000 in back wages and interest to 96 former and current female employees and 100 minority job applicants to settle OFCCP allegations of sex and racial discrimination at the federal contractor's establishment in Everett, Washington, the agency announced. According to OFCCP investigators, between March 2006 and September 2007, Comcast steered 96 women into lower-paying positions that assisted customers with cable services rather than higher-paid positions providing customer assistance for Internet services because these positions were considered "technical." In addition, investigators determined that Comcast disproportionately rejected 100 African American, Asian, and Hispanic applicants for call center jobs because its hiring tests were neither uniformly applied nor validated as related to the job. A conciliation agreement was reached on April 30, 2015, that requires Comcast to:
Pay a total of $53,633.48 in back pay and interest to 96 current and former female employees;
Pay $133,366.52 in back pay and interest to 100 African-American, Asian and Hispanic applicants; and
Hire up to 31 members of the affected class as call center positions become available