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The Glass Floor: Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry

November 21, 2014 Comments off

The Glass Floor: Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry
Source: Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United

With more than 11 million employees, the restaurant industry is one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors in the country. It is also the single-largest source of sexual-harassment charges filed by women with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Women occupy most of the financially precarious restaurant jobs; more than 70% of servers are women, and more than 60% of all tipped occupations are filled by women.

Due to the two-tiered wage system that allows restaurant employers to pay as little as $2.13 an hour (the federal tipped minimum wage since 1991) to tipped workers, and the overwhelming lack of enforcement and compliance ensuring that employers pay workers the full minimum wage when tips fall short, women in tipped occupations often make a living entirely off tips. Absent a stable base wage from their employers, tipped workers are forced to tolerate inappropriate behavior from customers on whose tips they depend to feed their families, and from co-workers and management who often influence shifts and hours. However, a majority of all restaurant workers report experiencing sexual harassment.

By looking at the rate and types of sexual harassment experienced by current and former restaurant workers through national surveys and rigorous analysis, the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United and Forward Together provide the most accurate picture to date of sexual harassment in the restaurant industry in The Glass Floor: Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry.

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“There is No Freedom Here” — Silencing Dissent in the United Arab Emirates

November 20, 2014 Comments off

“There is No Freedom Here” — Silencing Dissent in the United Arab Emirates
Source: Amnesty International

Scores of activists in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been harassed, arrested and in some cases tortured in custody according to a new report by Amnesty International that sheds light on the repressive tactics widely used by the government to silence its critics.

“There is No Freedom Here:” Silencing Dissent in the UAE lifts the lid on the climate of fear that has taken hold in the country since 2011, with the authorities going to extreme lengths to stamp out any sign of dissent, criticism or calls for reform in the wake of the mass popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa.

Those targeted include lawyers, university professors, students and civil society activists, some of whom are linked to the Reform and Social Guidance Association (al-Islah), a peaceful grassroots organization that the government claims has links to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. The clampdown has also targeted their family members.

Open Doors 2014: International Students in the United States and Study Abroad by American Students are at All-Time High

November 20, 2014 Comments off

Open Doors 2014: International Students in the United States and Study Abroad by American Students are at All-Time High
Source: Institute of International Education

The 2014 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, released today, finds the number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by eight percent to a record high of 886,052 students in the 2013/14 academic year, confirming once again that the United States remains the destination of choice for higher education. The United States hosts more of the world’s 4.5 million globally mobile college and university students than any other country in the world, with almost double the number hosted by the United Kingdom, the second leading host country. The report also found that more American students—a total of 289,408—studied abroad for academic credit from their U.S. colleges and universities, although the two percent increase represents a slightly slower rate of growth than the previous year. The Open Doors® report is published annually by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

New Report: The Criminalization of Food-Sharing Practices

November 19, 2014 Comments off

New Report: The Criminalization of Food-Sharing Practices
Source: National Coalition for the Homeless

On Tuesday, October 21, Fort Lauderdale Commissioners will vote on a proposed ordinance that will severely limit the capabilities of groups to distribute food to people experiencing homelessness. According to our research, over 30 American cities that have tried to introduce similar legislation in the past two years.

The new report, Share No More: The Criminalization of Efforts to Feed People In Need, documents the recent known cases of food-sharing restrictions throughout the country. Since January 2013, 21 cities have successfully restricted the practice of sharing food with people who are experiencing homelessness while at least ten others have introduced ordinances that are pending approval.

These restrictions primarily come about in three different forms; the first is by restricting the use of public property. In this scenario, individuals and organizations are generally required to obtain a permit, often for a fee, to share food in a park or in another public space. 12 cities have recently passed legislation that imposes this type of restriction.

The second type of legislative restriction is to require groups to comply with city/county/state food-safety regulations. Since January 2013, four cities have passed legislation that required individuals and organizations to comply with their food-safety regulations when sharing food with people experiencing homelessness.

Insurer Climate Risk Disclosure Survey Report & Scorecard: 2014 Findings & Recommendations

November 19, 2014 Comments off

Insurer Climate Risk Disclosure Survey Report & Scorecard: 2014 Findings & Recommendations
Source: Ceres

Amid growing evidence that climate change is having wide-ranging global impacts that will worsen in the years ahead, Insurer Climate Risk Disclosure Survey Report & Scorecard: 2014 Findings & Recommendations, ranks the nation’s 330 largest insurance companies on what they are saying and doing to respond to escalating climate risks. The report found strong leadership among fewer than a dozen companies but generally poor responses among the vast majority.

This report summarizes responses from insurance companies to a survey on climatechange risks developed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). In 2013, insurance regulators in California, Connecticut, Minnesota, NewYork and Washington required insurers writing in excess of $100 million in direct written premiums, and licensed to operate in any of the five states, to disclose their climate- related risks using this survey.

The aim of the survey, and Ceres’ analysis of the responses, is to provide regulators,insurers, investors and other stakeholders with substantive information about the risks insurers face from climate change and the steps insurers are taking—or are not taking— to respond to those risks. Because virtually every large insurer operates in at least one of the mandatory climate risk disclosure states, this analysis effectively opens a window into the entire industry. The report distills key findings and industry trends, and includes company specific scores based on disclosed actions taken to manage climate risks. It also offers recommendations for insurers and regulators to improve the insurance sectors’ overall management of climate change risks.

America’s Youngest Outcasts

November 19, 2014 Comments off

America’s Youngest Outcasts
Source: National Center on Family Homelessness

America’s Youngest Outcasts documents the number of homeless children in every state, their well-being, their risk for child homelessness, and state level planning and policy efforts. Using findings from numerous sources that include well-established national data sets as well as our own research, we rank the states in four domains, and then develop a composite of these domains to rank the states from 1 (best) to 50 (worst). A page about the District of Columbia is also available.

Medicare Part B Enrollment: Pitfalls, Problems and Penalties Recommendations to Improve the Medicare Enrollment System for Consumers

November 18, 2014 Comments off

Medicare Part B Enrollment: Pitfalls, Problems and Penalties Recommendations to Improve the Medicare Enrollment System for Consumers
Source: Medicare Rights Center

An often-reported fact is that 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 and become Medicare-eligible each day. Less well known, and commonly misunderstood, are the rules concerning how to enroll in Medicare. While most newly eligible Medicare beneficiaries are automatically enrolled, others must make a proactive choice to enroll in one or multiple parts of the program, including Part A, Part B, Part C and Part D. Through its direct service and educational programming, the Medicare Rights Center (Medicare Rights) regularly hears from older adults and people with disabilities who erred during this transition and struggle to cope with the consequences.

In this report, Medicare Rights details common enrollment challenges facing people new to the Medicare program and the policy solutions to simplify Medicare enrollment and ensure that fewer people make costly enrollment mistakes.

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