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Texas nursing home abuse crackdown may have merit duplicated in California

Texas lawmakers want to shutter nursing homes with a history of abuse. 

Lawmakers intend to choose the absolute worst out of the state’s 1,200 facilities and revoke their licenses. While the idea may make some sense emotionally, mentally, logically and legally, there is a very real question lingering in the suggestion – if Texas shuts down seven nursing homes out of 1,200, where are the current residents going to go?

Displaced residents would need protection, dignity, peace and good care. By shutting down nursing homes in many locations of a large state, lawmakers may leave residents with no place to go or options restricted to facilities hundreds of miles away from family.

The idea may have merit, but it definitely needs to be thought through. Is the Texas government going to build new facilities for the displaced residents? If not, legislators need to rethink their strategy to genuinely protect the seniors in care. Dealing with only a portion of the problem does not solve it.

Social media employer crosses line for non-payment of overtime wages

Non-payment of overtime to workers is not just a brick-and-mortar company issue. It is also prevalent in online social media niches. 

Consider the case of LinkedIn, one of the more prominent social media platforms for connecting and finding jobs. The company recently paid out close to $6 million in back wages and damages to 359 current and former employees after an investigation. The settlement covered workers in New York, Illinois, Nebraska and California.

LinkedIn claimed that the company did not have the right tools for one sector of its workforce. While that may explain the violation, it is the employer’s responsibility to keep abreast of all rules, regulations and laws that affect their company and workforce. Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

LinkedIn did not account for or record all hours worked during a week — either with or without malice or forethought, a direct violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The law clearly states that non-exempt workers must be paid the federal minimum hourly wage ($7.25) for all hours worked, plus time and a half overtime for putting in more than 40 hours a week.

The company must now provide compliance training, ensure all workers are aware of its policy prohibiting off-the-clock work for all non-exempt workers/managers, insist all overtime hours be recorded and paid for and stress that retaliation in the workplace for raising employment issues is not condoned.

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Muddling the language of campus sex offenses avoids real preventative effort

Instead of “no means no” when it comes to campus sex, California legislators are now moving towards laws that suggest “yes means yes.” 

Sexual assault is a serious and complex crime that cannot be condensed to “yes means yes” or any other phrase. The prevalence of college campus sexual attacks reflects an attitude that disregards the humanity and rights of the women who live there.

The increase of sexual assaults on campus is not going to be fixed by the suggestion that “yes means yes” should solve the issue of permission/consent. The complete picture of a sexual assault crime involves more than just the issue of consent. More often than not, the scenario also involves alcohol and/or other substances that affect an individual’s judgment along with a wide array of circumstances and specific factors.

Lawmakers seem hesitant to approach the actions and circumstances that lead up to an assault. They prefer to play with bills like SB 967, which requires colleges to have an “affirmative consent standard” instead, only addressing the assault itself.

SB 967 may be a step in the right direction, but it is best to remember that a solution to sexual assault cannot be established by setting a standard to separate assault from consensual sex. It cannot be sandwiched into three words. And frankly, yes may not mean yes. The circumstances of each case dictate the outcome as being a crime or not.

Legislation does not stop crime.

UC Berkeley, Princeton, Harvard, Occidental, USC and a full list of 55 colleges across the nation are under scrutiny for mishandling sexual assault cases. “Yes means yes” doesn’t even begin to deal with the roots of the problem. What lawmaker will actually address them?