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Employee Rights in the US for 2014: First Quarter

There have been some monumental changes to employee rights in the United States so far in 2014 that are worth investigating. Some of these changes were put in motion a while back, such as the changes to minimum wage laws. But there have been other worker rights stories that have occurred within 2014 and some of them could change the way corporations operate.

Dish Network Forced To Compensate Whistle Blower

In March 2014, OSHA told Dish Network that it had to pay a whistle blower back wages and damages for firing the employee after he spoke out against a vendor. The significance here is that the government stood up for the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in a way that sent a strong message to all United States employers.

Many American workers do not realize that it is OSHA which enforces whistle blower provisions of the work laws. With this ruling, the government is encouraging employees to point out corporate indiscretions and not fear losing their jobs.

The Minimum Wage Goes Up

The federal minimum wage was not raised in 2014 for all United States workers, but there were some states that did bring up their minimum wages in 2014. The United States federal government raised the minimum wages of employees of government contractors, but not the entire country.

In all, 14 states raised their minimum wages in 2014 to levels that are beyond the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour. The state of Washington has the highest minimum wage at $9.32 per hour, with California and Oregon close behind at $9.00 per hour. All in all, 21 states have a minimum wage that is higher than the federal minimum.

Labor Laws Are No Longer Posted In Work Places

In 2011, the National Labor Relations Board made it mandatory for all businesses to hang informational posters about federal work laws in areas of the workplace where all employees could see them. The Supreme Court later ruled that the posters were not to be hung in workplaces at all.

The NLRB had until January 2014 to appeal the ruling, but it has decided to allow the ruling to stand without opposition. It is unclear as to why a rule requiring labor law posters to be hung in corporate workplaces has gathered so much attention around the country, and it is also unclear as to why the posters have become such a divisive element in the battle between employers and organized labor.

Now that the posters are no longer mandatory, the NLRB says it will pursue other avenues for informing employees of their rights.



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