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Thursday, November 13, 2014


Original Story: detroitnews.com

Unpaid internships are a bit of a devil’s bargain: Every summer, college students donate their labor and time for experience in a chosen field, the chance to get noticed — and perhaps even hired.

The bad pay package is a given. But my guess is that very few interns also factor in a lack of legal protection: Under the laws of most states, including Michigan, unpaid interns are uniquely vulnerable to sexual harassment or other discriminatory practices. A Memphis Sexual Harassment Lawyer is dedicated to helping victims of sexual harassment, stop the harassment and recover damages for emotional damages and physical injuries that may have occurred.

In a few notorious cases, including Lihuan Wang’s 2013 lawsuit in New York, judges refused to hear cases involving unpaid interns and sexual harassment, ruling that the interns aren’t employees and thus aren’t covered by workplace laws. A Boston Employment Attorney help businesses set up policies and systems to avoid legal problems in labor and employment matters.

Syracuse University graduate student Wang claimed she’d been ushered into a hotel room by her boss, grabbed and forcibly kissed. But she lost her day in court when the judge decided there could be no hostile work environment since she wasn’t an employee.

Even the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission agreed that federal law against sexual harassment doesn’t apply to unpaid interns. A Memphis EEOC Lawyer represents clients facing employment rights violations.

These rulings helped pass protective laws for interns in Washington, D.C., Oregon and New York. They also outraged David Knezek, a Democratic state rep from Dearborn Heights, who was elected to the state Senate last week; and Matthew Marks, who spent last summer as an intern at a Lansing lobbying firm.

Knezek, a 28-year-old former Marine sergeant, introduced a bill. Today Marks, a Michigan State University senior, is organizing a legislative day for college students to “raise awareness” among legislators and Knezek’s bill. He expects more than 30 students to converge on the state Capitol.

“We are bringing in students from all over the state,” says Marks, who created the Michigan Equal Protections for Interns Coalition (www.miepiec.org) last summer. Knezek and staff members from other legislative offices are giving the students a crash course in how to talk to legislative staff members.

“We’re hoping to raise awareness and get the bill moving,” says Marks, a Deerfield, Illinois, native majoring in political theory and constitutional democracy. Marks, who interned for a Lansing lobbying firm last summer, is practicing what he learned. “I had a good situation,” he says, “But I’ve talked to students who say they did experience sexual harassment.”

The bill (HB 5691) amends the Michigan Occupational Health and Safety Act to give equal protection under the law to volunteers and unpaid interns. “Right now, Michigan State and other universities are sending thousands of students into positions where they have no recourse,” Marks says.

Knezek applauds Marks and other students at MiEPIC. “I’ve been so impressed by their commitment. They refuse to allow someone else to make decisions for them. They’ve really become instrumental in this process and are an example for students across the state,” he told me.

Even with a law, of course, students looking for employment are unlikely to challenge their employers’ conduct. But passing a law is one way to tell employers there is no open season on interns: They’re people, too.


Original Story: nytimes.com

Dov Charney was no one’s idea of a button-down executive.

For years, Mr. Charney, the founder of American Apparel, has stood like a tabloid monument to fashion industry excess, a barely restrained id in a fitted black shirt. The stories about his personal life are legion: the accusations of sexual harassment, suggestive emails, nude photos — the list goes on.

But on Wednesday, the company that Mr. Charney founded in 1998 decided enough was enough. Worried that Mr. Charney had become a liability, the board ousted him from his roles as chairman and chief executive in a coup that leaves American Apparel facing an uncertain future.

“The company has grown a lot bigger than just one person and the liabilities Dov brought to the situation began to far outweigh his strengths,” said Allan Mayer, the board’s new co-chairman. A lawyer representing Mr. Charney did not return telephone calls on Thursday.

Exactly what prompted the move was unclear. People with knowledge of the situation said an internal investigation had turned up new details about Mr. Charney’s salacious behavior — only this time, they said, American Apparel could no longer afford the potential cost. Its creditors were growing anxious after years of losses at the company. Even a suggestion of new controversy might frighten stockholders, who have watched their investment plummet in value in recent years.

Mr. Mayer said Mr. Charney’s conduct, not the company’s financial performance, was behind the board’s decision. He said new facts had emerged this year, but declined to elaborate.

“The independent directors became aware of some facts we’d been previously unaware of,” Mr. Mayer said. “The only right and sensible thing to do at that point was to ask Dov to leave.”

Even if Mr. Charney’s conduct was the primary reason for his dismissal, the company’s numbers are unsettling. American Apparel’s share price has plunged more than 80 percent over the last five years. Financial institutions have demanded credit-card-style interest rates of up to 20 percent on its loans, a development that suggests how uneasy creditors are. Other financial companies flatly refused to have anything to do with American Apparel as long as Mr. Charney, 45, was at its helm.

About six weeks ago, the board began to start seriously considering forcing the founder to go.

At the end of the company’s annual meeting on Wednesday, Mr. Charney and five directors had a conference in a glass office tower in Times Square, where the board delivered the news that Mr. Charney was out. According to someone with direct knowledge of the episode, Mr. Charney was shocked.

The six men spent the next nine hours in that room, going around and around on the reasoning, as Mr. Charney made his case that the board was making a mistake. The board was unconvinced.

The company appointed John Luttrell, who has been with the company since 2011, as interim chief executive. David Danziger was appointed co-chairman of the board with Mr. Mayer. Under the terms of his contract, Mr. Charney will be suspended immediately and formally terminated after 30 days. The directors also voted to remove him as chairman.

Mr. Charney still owns 27 percent of the company’s stock.

According to a regulatory filing the company submitted on Wednesday, the decision to fire Mr. Charney comes not just with financial potential, but also with financial risk, because the move may initiate a default on some of the company’s credit facilities. If its lenders refuse to give American Apparel a waiver on the triggers, the filing warned, the effect “would have a material adverse effect on our liquidity, financial condition and results of operations, and could cause us to become bankrupt or insolvent.”

Mr. Charney, who was born in Montreal, moved to Los Angeles in 1997 to start a wholesale business that became American Apparel. Six years later, American Apparel became a retail business and immediately took off.

Early on, Mr. Charney received accolades for making clothing in the United States, even as more and more apparel production moved oversees, and for being vocal about workers’ rights. On Thursday, company executives said that neither the mission of the company — nor its suggestive marketing and advertising strategy, which has been frequently compared to soft-core pornography — would change.

“We are committed to staying true to being made in America, to being sweatshop-free, to being a high-quality basic and fashion product,” Mr. Luttrell said. “The targeted customer demographic will not change, either.”

But Mr. Charney’s penchant for inappropriate behavior has dogged him and the company for years.

In May 2005, three former employees filed two separate sexual harassment lawsuits in Los Angeles County Superior Court accusing Mr. Charney of creating an unsafe environment where women were subject to sexual misconduct and innuendo.

Nearly a year later, in February 2006, another former employee filed a complaint with the Los Angeles office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, saying she was sexually harassed by an unidentified co-worker and was fired as a result of a hostile working environment.

The commission determined in August 2010 that the company not only discriminated against Sylvia Hsu, but also against “women, as a class, on the basis of their female gender, by subjecting them to sexual harassment,” the company’s annual report said.

In early 2011, five more former female employees filed sexual harassment lawsuits against Mr. Charney, including accusations that he had asked some of them to engage in sex acts against their will.

Despite his vocal support for workers’ rights, he was forced to let go of 1,800 workers, more than 30 percent of his factory staff, in 2009 as part of an immigration sweep when a federal investigation turned up irregularities in the identity documents the workers presented when they were hired.

An additional 700 left voluntarily, which company officials said had a devastating effect on American Apparel’s productivity in 2010. His management style, which executives described as controlling and disorganized, was also a problem.

And over the last year or so, current and former executives say that Mr. Charney created disarray by pushing out a large number of employees, including members of upper-level management like the general counsel, Glenn A. Weinman, who left the company in May.

In addition to disappointing earnings in recent quarters — the company’s net losses last year were $106.3 million — the company has struggled with a new distribution center opened last year. The new center had problems with missed shipments and personnel that created extra costs for the company and lost revenue from problems with inventory.

This is a crowded moment to be a retailer searching for a new chief executive, as companies like J. C. Penney and Target are also looking for new leadership. But a company insider said on Thursday that several attractive candidates had already expressed interest in running American Apparel — so long as Mr. Charney was in no way involved.

On Thursday, shares in the company rose nearly 7 percent to close at 68 cents a share.


Original Story: shipandbunker.com

A wider U.S. coalition which also includes shippers has turned to the federal government for intervention over fears that prolonged labour negotiations will lead to a wide-scale shutdown of U.S. West coast ports, JOC reports. A Boston Mediation Lawyer is experienced in resolving matters without the need for trial.

The group is calling for a federally-appointed mediator to help in the discussion between The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and employer representatives Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), who have been in tense bargaining since this summer.

"The sudden change in tone is alarming and suggests that a full shutdown of every West Coast port may be imminent," wrote the coalition in a letter addressed to President Obama.

Officially, the previous labour contract expired July 1, but tensions significantly rose this week after the PMA released a statement condemning the union for potentially having "crippled operations" at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach by withholding labour.

""The ILWU's orchestrated job actions are threatening the West Coast's busiest ports and potentially billions of dollars in commerce," said the PMA. Multi-Carrier Shipping Software can reduce transportation costs for companies.

Mounting congestion has also been a problem in Southern California ports due to factors such as rising cargo volumes, according to the PMA, who used it as ammo for why the union should return to work.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach previously went on an eight-day strike in 2012, which cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Monday, November 10, 2014


Original Story: detroitnews.com

Oklahoma City – — As more states approve the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana, an Oklahoma-based electronic cigarette retailer is looking to build a national franchise.

Marijuana is illegal under federal drug laws. But voters in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., approved ballot measures Tuesday to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, joining Washington state and Colorado. And in more than a dozen other states, medical marijuana is available.

The growing availability of legal pot opens the door for Tulsa-based Palm Beach Vapors to market a method for producing a cannabis oil product that can be inhaled through a common e-cigarette, according to CEO and co-founder Chip Paul. An Atlanta Intellectual Property Lawyer is experienced in advising clients on intellectual property rights allocation.

“This is a wave that’s kind of sweeping the nation,” said Paul, whose company is looking to patent the method and has already signed licensing deals in California and Colorado for what it calls the M-System. He said he intends to set up franchise locations in other states.

The use of marijuana is currently illegal in Oklahoma, but the market for cannabis products is projected to grow as more states move to legalize it. Advocates plan a big push for legalization initiatives on 2016 ballots in California, Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada, according to Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.

Paul was one of the organizers of an Oklahoma initiative petition calling for the legalization of medical marijuana, an effort that ended in August when volunteers failed to gather the needed signatures of more than 155,000 registered voters.

The failed petition sought voter approval of classifying marijuana as an herbal drug that would be regulated by the Oklahoma Department of Health. Doctors would have been authorized to prescribe it for a variety of medical conditions.

Cannabis has a history of medicinal use to treat pain or alleviate symptoms such as nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients and people with AIDS. Paul plans to launch another petition drive in August 2015.

But Mark Woodward, spokesman for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, says the agency is concerned about the inhalation of cannabis oils via e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes work by heating liquid nicotine into an inhalable mist; cannabis oils and waxes work much the same.

Palm Beach Vapors does not buy, sell or ship marijuana but licenses the preparation method and additive that produces a vegetable glycerin base in which cannabis oils remain evenly distributed, which is key to labeling concentrations, similar to the nicotine measurements in e-cigarettes, Paul said. A Boston Intellectual Property Lawyer assists clients in obtaining patents and registering for trademarks and copyrights.

The company has applied for a patent, and expects the M-System to account for 30-40 percent of its annual revenue by 2018, provided the country continues its march toward wider legalization, Paul said.

Marijuana is still illegal in Indiana, but Nate Renschler, who has a Palm Beach Vapors franchise in Newburgh, Indiana, said that sentiment could change when state officials realize the tax benefits of legalization.

“The whole country is going one way and Indiana is taking two steps back. We’ll be one of the last steps to legalize marijuana,” Renschler said, noting that the e-cigarette product is still viable regardless of what state it is sold in. He uses the Palm Beach Vapors method to sell hemp oil, which he claims is good for a person’s general well-being.

Even though marijuana is not legal in the majority of the United States, Woodward said teens are obtaining e-cigarettes and cannabis oils. “It’s an easier way for people, especially our youth, to disguise their marijuana use,” Woodward said.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Original Story: arkansasmatters.com

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Big Cat Exhibit at the Little Rock Zoo remains closed by order of City Hall following an incident Friday where a small child fell into an enclosure holding two jaguars. A Memphis Personal Injury Lawyer is reviewing the details of this case.

At last report, the injured boy's condition had been upgraded and he was expected to improve.

City Manager Bruce Moore released the following statement today:

Based on the events that occurred last Friday, I've asked Assistant City Manager James Jones to lead an internal review of the Little Rock Zoo’s “Big Cat” exhibit and Zoo emergency response procedures. I expect the review to be completed within two weeks. Until the review is complete, the top-viewing area of the “Big Cat” exhibit will remain closed to the public.

Arkansas Children's Hospital released the following statement today on the condition of the child:

On Friday, Oct. 10, a child was transported to Arkansas Children’s Hospital for treatment of injuries sustained in a fall at the Little Rock Zoo. Today, the child’s condition has been upgraded to stable with significant improvement. We respect the wishes of the child’s guardian who asked that the child’s name and any additional information not be shared at this time. Thank you for respecting the privacy of this family.


Original Story: usatoday.com

A little-noticed development is about to change the education landscape as we know it: Nearly a dozen charter school networks have grown to the size of midsized school districts. Now what? An Atlanta Charter School Lawyer has extensive experience in education law and charter school compliance matters.

This is a clear departure point. Political and philanthropic leaders who encouraged the growth of charters have to take a fresh look at their creations: Are these publicly funded, independently run schools what we had in mind?

Traditional school superintendents and teacher union leaders have to ask: Should they stop stonewalling charter school growth and collaborate instead?

Both answers should be yes.

Even the most high-performing charter networks are far from perfect. Charter schools still don't serve their fair share of special education students and there's no denying they pull money from districts, which struggle to downsize to meet diminished demand.

Even so, charters are more likely than traditional districts to succeed in educating low-income minority students, just what the politicians and philanthropic leaders who backed them had hoped.

Although most traditional school leaders continue to push back against charters, a few enterprising superintendents are pioneering a different approach: collaboration. A Cobb County Charter School Lawyer specializes in K-12 school finance and charter school law.

Green light

Last week, New York City-based Success Academy charter schools got green lighted to open 14 more schools over the next two years, bringing the network to 50 schools serving 16,300 students.

Success Academy is hardly the largest of the high-performing charter network operators. By 2020, KIPP plans to serve 120,000 students in multiple states. Texas-based IDEA charter schools are on track to serve 40,000 students by then. The same year, Houston-based YES Prep anticipates serving over 20,000 students in several states.

Collaborative models

As charters become an accepted and major force in education, farsighted politicians and school leaders see the potential in working with the charters. In Denver, for example, the school system invited several locally developed charters into their buildings, an innovation that led to academic gains for students.

In the Spring Branch district in Houston, a superintendent uses an infusion of KIPP and YES Prep schools as a lever to re-invent the entire way that district operates, benefiting kids in charter schools and in traditional public schools.

Tennessee created an "achievement school district" that welcomes the nation's best charter groups into that state to turn around troubled schools. In New Orleans, nearly all students now attend charter schools, a development that has been bumpy but produces clear academic gains for the students there and gets smoother every year.

Neerav Kingsland, who formerly ran New Schools for New Orleans, argues that the city's model requiring a common application process and common expulsion practices, while national charter groups keep their special classroom culture, should be copied nationally. "You keep the governance local, which is important, but the school operations go national," Kingsland says.

The moment when charter schools turn from isolated experiments to something resembling their own school districts doesn't have to be scary. Charter schools are doing what they were designed to do. And Denver-style collaboration should become the model for the future.

Answering yes-yes means a win-win for kids.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Original Story: news.monster.com

Businesses; jobs and the workplaces are changing faster than ever before. Skills which were considered ‘hot’ until yesterday are no longer considered even special today. With the change in business due to competition and customers expectations soaring high; today the employees are evaluated on many additional parameters they aren’t even aware of. Fact is employees are constantly being observed to check if they have the critical yet unwritten ‘virtues’ to fit into the new roles & responsibilities needed for the organizations present success and future growth.

Follows 10… Oh! OK 9 signs that your career is getting ‘killed’ silently and you are gradually loosing the plot at the workplace without your knowledge.

1.If you are considered a Rambo…a one man army

You have won many awards in the past for great performance and have the personal ability to steer any project to success. You have always been a successful lone warrior. You never need anyone’s help and asking for help is a big embarrassment for you.

But you know; today’s work is too complex to be handled with just ‘personal heroism’. Today’s businesses need ‘collective’ efforts & intelligence to succeed. You need to collaborate with your peers; customers & partners every time. Today your success in the organization would depend more on how connected; collaborative & ‘social’ you are and less on how ‘capable’ you are as an individual.

2. If you are always worried about your work-life balance

Your idea of work-life balance is a 9 to 5 job. You haven’t yet discovered that there is nothing like work life balance. Actually life & work are integral to each other. You cannot separate them. You have to build a ‘synergy’ to do justice to both your personal and work lives. They cannot be delimited by time. Fact of the matter is you could never win doing the ‘balancing act’. You have to find ways how both gel well into a holistically rewarding experience for you.

3. If you and your desktop are inseparable

You have always loved your desktop computer. After all; it stores all software and documents you need for your work. You become uncomfortable if someone wants you to work on a ‘cloud’ application from a different computer. Where ever you are; you can start your work only when you are back at your desktop.

4. If for you work means phone calls; emails & face-to-face meetings

Your idea of work is to read/send emails; answer phone calls and if both don’t work have face to face meetings. You know these methods are big time wastes but you still continue with them. You are yet to catch up with the idea of using new communication methods like video chat; social collaboration & mobility at work. Remember, a meeting is an event where ‘minutes’ are taken and hours wasted. ” A conference call = 1 person talking and 26 people continuing to do their email” says Dr. Eddie Obeng a well known business guru.

5. If you find downloading Apps on your phone and using them cumbersome

You have a gleaming smartphone in your pocket but that’s only to attend calls and send emails. You don’t search or download apps in it to make your work easy. You wonder why the millennials in your office often ask you ‘ Why do you do this manually. Don’t you have an app for it?’

6. If you often wonder why some people bother so much about ‘virtual’ badges; levels or points

For you the perfect incentive is only bonuses & cash awards. You are motivated only when you get a salary hike or a promotion. Winning online badges & points doesn’t make sense for you. You are not able to figure out why someone would strive for ‘recognition’ as an ‘expert’ without any monetary rewards.

7. If you keep new ideas too close to your chest

You keep your ideas to yourself waiting for the perfect time to unleash it before the senior most guys. You feel they might get ‘stolen’ by your colleagues if you share them on employee’s internal social network.

8. If you trust on your conventional wisdom only and not on ‘data’.

Old perceptions are fading fast and what we have always considered right is turning out to be big myths. Thanks to the massive data today people easily have access to. No doubt your intuition/gut feelings are important but they need the support of data insights too.

9. Last but not least; if you still aren’t convinced that it could happen in 2015.

Great that you are an optimist! Loosing the job doesn’t necessarily mean you would immediately stop getting the paychecks. But the process could start in any or all of the following ways:

a) You getting isolated within the team

b) You not being included in important projects

c) You being sent on forced sabbatical

d) You not taken to customer meets

e) Millennials stopping interactions with you

f) Your boss & senior management start ignoring you.

If there is evidence of above signs in your work it simply indicates that you are gradually loosing your battle at the workplace and it should be addressed urgently. It makes a lot of sense to get pumped up and be the change agent for your self.