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MA is latest of 19 states to pass laws protecting pregnant and nursing mothers

Dive Brief:

  • Nineteen states now have laws protecting pregnant women and nursing mothers, Engineering News-Record (ENR) reports.
  • The Massachusetts House passed a bill on May 10 requiring employers to provide nursing mothers with a private, non-bathroom area. The bill also requires employers to provide mothers with reasonable accommodations, such as a lighter workload, unless the employer would face undue hardship. The state’s Senate is expected to approve the bill.
  • According to ENR, the states’ laws extend protections for pregnant and nursing mothers beyond federal law, and most of them — 13 out of the 19 — were passed within the last four years.

Dive Insight:

Legal protection for pregnant women and nursing mothers is yet another area of employment law in which states have taken their own measures. That growing list includes paid family leave, “ban the box” and pay equity laws.

Pregnant women and nursing mothers in traditionally male-dominated jobs, such as construction or architecture, might require private areas to take care of maternal issues, like pumping breast milk. They will almost certainly need to be given less strenuous tasks and assignments in addition to more frequent breaks.

Kathleen Dobson, safety director at Alberici Constructors, told ENR that some employers don’t understand the federal rules; employers might not even know that pregnant workers are considered disabled under the law and therefore entitled to reasonable accommodations. Wal-Mart employees recently sued the company for denying pregnant workers the same reasonable accommodations as other disabled workers.

With 13 out of 19 states passing laws protecting pregnant women and nursing mothers within a relatively short time, more states will likely follow. Employers must monitor possible changes in their own state’s laws, which often are more extensive than federal law.

Source: HR Dive

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Earth Day Timeline

Established in 1970, Earth Day has become a worldwide holiday celebrated by over 1 billion people in 2010. Galvanized by the mounting evidence of environmental damage due to pollution and inspired by the student organizations protesting the Vietnam War, Earth Day was conceived by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, who wanted a new way to educate people about protecting the Earth. Discover more about the history of Earth Day, the events that influenced it and the progress made in the years since its inception.

June 4, 1916: Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson born in Clear Lake, Wisconsin. Nelson, a World War II veteran, served in the Wisconsin State Senate and as the Badger State’s governor before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 1962.

1962: Rachel Carson publishes Silent Spring. The best seller sounded an alarm about the potential dangers and consequences of widespread pesticide use, and helped raise the environmental consciousness of the American public.

1963: Senator Nelson accompanies President John F. Kennedy on a speaking tour around the U.S. to raise awareness about environmental issues; however, protecting the environment remains a low priority for most politicians and citizens.

1969: Chemical waste released into Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River causes it to catch fire. The event becomes symbolic of how industrial pollution is damaging America’s natural resources.

1969: Inspired by the “teach-ins” held by Vietnam War protestors on U.S. college campuses, Senator Gaylord Nelson announces the idea for Earth Day, a large-scale, grassroots demonstration against the degradation of America’s natural resources.

April 22, 1970: 20 million people participate in inaugural Earth Day activities around the United States.

1970: Environmental advocacy group Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) founded. Today, the group has over 1 million members, a staff of over 300 scientists, lawyers and other specialists and offices in New York City, Beijing, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

December 1970: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established by President Richard Nixon in order to protect human health and safeguard the natural environment— air, water and land. Before the agency was founded, “the federal government was not structured to make a coordinated attack on the pollutants that harm human health and degrade the environment,” according to EPA.gov. Today, the organization, which is based in Washington, D.C., has over 17,000 employees, 10 regional offices and more than 12 labs.

1971: Environmental activist organization Greenpeace founded. Today, the group, which has campaigned against nuclear power, whaling and global warming, among other issues, has offices in 40 countries around the world.

1972: Congress passes the Clean Water Act, which limits pollutants in rivers, lakes and streams.

1973: Congress passes the Endangered Species Act to protect animals and their ecosystems.

1980: After 18 years in the U.S. Senate, during which time he advocated for numerous environmental causes, Gaylord Nelson loses his race for a fourth-term in office. After leaving the Senate, Nelson becomes a counselor for The Wilderness Society, an environmental group.

1990: The 20th anniversary Earth Day celebrations go global, with participants in over 140 countries.

1995: Gaylord Nelson receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest award given to a civilian, in honor of his environmental work. President Bill Clinton says of Nelson: “As the father of Earth Day, he is the grandfather of all that grew out of that event.”

2000: Hundreds of millions of people in 184 countries celebrate the 30th anniversary of Earth Day, with a focus on “clean energy.”

July 3, 2005: Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson dies at age 89. His New York Times obituary notes that in addition to his Earth Day work, Nelson “was a principal sponsor of laws that preserved the 2,000-mile Appalachian Trail, established fuel efficiency standards in automobiles, sought to control damage from strip mining and led to a ban on the insecticide DDT.”

2007: Capacity crowds attend Green Apple Festival Earth Day events in New York City, San Francisco and Chicago. More than 40,000 people show up for Earth Day festivities at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, setting a single-day attendance record. Earth Day Network members host 10,000 Earth Day events around the world.

2010: In honor of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day a Climate Rally and Concert was held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

See full article on History.com

We’re is Going Green!

We manage the employment related regulatory compliance for our clients. This responsibility includes payroll, employee related taxes, employee benefits administration, workers compensation administration, 401(k) administration, human resource management and consulting and HR data management. The amount of forms and documentation required for these responsibilities is enormous and the printed paper burden has always been large. We have invested in new software to digitize a majority of the forms that were previously printed and stored as required by state and federal regulations. Through new processes and software, those records will now be captured in PDF form as a digital record and will be securely stored on our software. When documents need to be produced, they will be accessible to our internal staff, where the PDF versions can be printed or securely emailed as needed. This process will be far more efficient, using a tiny fraction of the paper previously used. Not needing to search through massive filing cabinets will allow us to track and locate information more rapidly. This will also enhance our Disaster Recovery system as we will have all of the digital records stored offsite on our software. While this is a capital investment for us, we feel that it is necessary to be more efficient as well as environmentally friendly.

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