Stoners on the job: Nearly 10% of Americans went to work high

Today’s post was shared by Workers Comp Brief and comes from www.cnbc.com

Showing up to work high? You’re not alone.

A new report has found nearly 1 in 10 Americans are showing up to work high on marijuana. Mashable.com conducted the survey in partnership with SurveyMonkey, and found 9.7 percent of Americans fessed up to smoking cannabis before showing up to the office.

The data analyzed the marijuana and prescription drug habits of 534 Americans. What’s more, nearly 81 percent said they scored their cannabis illegally, according to the survey.

Cannabis and the workplace seem quite linked lately. Entrepreneur and venture capitalist Peter Thiel recently chimed in on marijuana and work. While criticizing Twitter during an appearance on CNBC Wednesday, Thiel said Twitter is a "… horribly mismanaged company—probably a lot of pot smoking going on there."

According to separate data from Employers, a small-business insurance company, 10 percent of small businesses reported that employees showed up in 2013 under the influence of at least one controlled substance, with marijuana coming in at 5.1 percent.

Marijuana sales overall are taking off as recreational use of cannabis is legal in Colorado and Washington state, and pot can be purchased for medicinal use in 23 states and Washington, D.C.

So what’s an employer to do?

Companies have different strategies and opinions on testing. But the vast majority of U.S. employers aren’t required to test for drugs. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, many state and local governments have…

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Rate Increase for 2015 WA Workers’ Compensation Premiums

L&I proposes 1.8 percent average rise in workers’ comp rates in 2015 — slightly less than wage inflation

TUMWATER – Tens of thousands of workers in our state are injured on the job every year, and our workers’ compensation system is there, ready to help them, their families and their employers. As both wages for workers and health care costs go up, the cost of providing this insurance goes up too.

The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) is proposing an average 1.8 percent rate increase for 2015 workers’ compensation premiums, which is just under the current rate of wage inflation. The increase comes out to about 1 cent per hour worked.

Employers and workers around Washington pay into the workers’ compensation system so they’re covered if someone gets hurt on the job or becomes ill from a workplace exposure. Last year, L&I covered more than 80,000 work-related injury and illness claims in Washington state.

The proposed premium increase will help cover wage and disability benefits, as well as medical costs for treatment of injuries and illnesses. It will also allow L&I to continue to build reserves to protect against the unexpected.

 

Cutting workers’ compensation costs

“This measured increase will help make sure we have a healthy workers’ compensation system that’s always ready to help workers when they need it,” said L&I Director Joel Sacks. “The proposal keeps with our long-term plan to keep rates steady and predictable, help injured workers heal and return to work, and reduce costs by improving operations.” 

L&I has several initiatives underway to improve its ability to get injured workers healed and back to work while reducing costs and improving service. To do this, the agency is focused on:

  • Promoting injury prevention.

  • Ensuring injured workers receive quality health care.

  • Providing services to support employers who want to keep injured workers on a job.

  • Improving the workers’ compensation claims process.

The Stay at Work Program is one example of agency work to help injured workers and employers, and save money. This fall, L&I launched a second campaign to promote the program. Through Stay at Work, the state reimburses employers for part of the cost of providing light-duty work to injured employees. The employees get to keep working and are more likely to recover faster.

 

Keeping the system healthy and rates steady

L&I is using wage inflation as a benchmark to keep workers’ compensation rates steady and predictable. Washington’s most recent wage inflation number is 2 percent. As wages climb, the cost of providing workers’ compensation coverage rises.

“Raising rates this small amount helps keep costs in check for businesses, helps our system keep up with inflation and assures we have a reserve available for the tough times. It makes good financial sense,” said Sacks.

 

Public hearings on the proposed rates will be held in: 

  • Bellingham, Oct. 22, 9 a.m., Whatcom Community College.

  • Spokane, Oct. 23, 9 a.m., CenterPlace Event Center.

  • Richland, Oct. 24, 9 a.m., Richland Community Center.

  • Tumwater, Oct. 27, 9 a.m., L&I Building.

  • Tukwila, Oct. 28, 9 a.m., L&I Office, Gateway Corporate Center.

  • Vancouver, Oct. 30, 9 a.m., Northwest Regional Training Center.

 

People can comment at the public hearings or in writing to Jo Anne Attwood, administrative regulations analyst, P. O. Box 41448, Olympia, WA 98504-4148; or email joanne.attwood@Lni.wa.gov. All comments must be received by 5 p.m., Nov. 3, 2014.

More information regarding the rates proposal is available at www.Rates.Lni.wa.gov. Final rates will be adopted by Dec. 1 and go into effect Jan. 1, 2015.

 

Workers’ Comp Facts:

  • L&I is the state’s primary workers’ compensation insurance provider, covering 2.4 million workers and more than 160,000 employers.

  • The proposed rate is an average. An individual employer’s actual rate change may be more or less depending on that employer’s industry and history of claims that result in wage replacement and/or disability benefits.

  • More than 80,000 claims are accepted each year through the Washington State Workers’ Compensation State Fund. 

Photo credit: Mostly Muppet / Foter / CC BY

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SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY: THE TRUTH BEHIND MISCHARACTERIZATIONS BY POLITICIANS AND THE MEDIA

A thought-provoking article about the Social Security Disability (SSD) program appeared in the August 25, 2014 edition of The Hill, a newspaper published for and about the U.S. Congress. The article was authored by Barbara Silverstone, Executive Director of NOSSCR, the National Organization of Social Security Claimant’s Representatives. Ms. Silverstone’s complete article can be accessed on the The Hill’s website.

Ms. Silverstone dispels with factual data some of the myths currently being peddled by certain members of Congress and media outlets. Ms. Silverstone points out the eligibility criteria for SSD are extremely strict, and the burden is on the person applying for benefits to prove, with medical records – not mere assertions, the severity of his or her disabling condition(s). Only about 40% of applications are approved, a fact that belies the claim there is a systematic bias toward approving applicants who are not actually disabled. The current approval rate is the lowest it has been in 40 years.

Ms. Silverstone notes that recent Congressional investigations into allegations of fraud have not identified any cases of fraud beyond those that the Social Security Administration itself has uncovered. She discusses, in particular, the 2012 investigation of Senator Coburn. His staff reviewed about 300 appeals decisions, but failed to identify a single individual who was approved for benefits that should have been denied. Congress complains that the Social Security Administration does not do enough to identify potential fraud in the program, but at the same time Congress has cut Social Security’s budget, providing about $1 billion less than requested over the past three years! As a result, Social Security has lost more than 11,000 employees since 2011. This inevitably has impacted the agency’s ability to serve the American people in many aspects of its operation.

Lawsuit claims incarcerated juvenile seriously injured

Today’s post was shared by The Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and comes from www.reviewjournal.com

By YESENIA AMARO
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

A lawsuit filed Thursday on behalf of a juvenile inmate alleges he suffered permanent injuries from the combination of a physical attack and use of force by correctional officers while housed at the Nevada Youth Training Center in Elko.

The complaint was filed in Clark County District Court by Al Lasso, a personal injury attorney in Las Vegas. The plaintiff, Daniel Vargas, who was transferred to the Northern Nevada facility in October, lost eyesight after he alleges officers attacked him and hogtied him in November, securing his limbs together behind his back.

“We don’t want any other child to go through what Daniel and other children up there have had to go through,” Lasso said, who added his client was not doing interviews.

Last month, Family Court Judge William Voy ordered 12 Clark County youth to be returned to his jurisdiction after reports that youth were being “hobbled” at the Elko facility. The lawsuit claims Vargas was one of those inmates.

Hobbling is defined as using a 2-foot-chain to connect the wrist restraint to the ankle restraint, preventing the person from standing upright, according to state officials.

The complaint alleges that at the end of November, Vargas woke up in accordance with facility policy and went to the bathroom to wash his hands and brush his teeth.

But because Vargas desperately needed to use the restroom and proceeded to the stall before brushing his teeth, officers attacked…

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Fallin Gives Work Comp Commission Opportunity To Improve After A Request For Their Resignation

Today’s post was shared by Workers Comp Brief and comes from kgou.org


Oklahoma Workers Compensation Commission Credit Oklahoma Workers Compensation Commission

Governor Mary Fallin is not asking the three members of the Workers Compensation Commission to resign but will give them time to work toward their goals, according to her spokesman.

“At this time, the governor has asked the commissioners to work hard to reduce the case backlog and deliver on the promise of a more fair, efficient and effective workers’ compensation system. She is giving them the opportunity to work hard towards those goals,” Alex Weintz, Fallin’s spokesman, said in an email Tuesday.

“As evidenced by the reduction in workers compensation premium rates and drop in numbers of adversarial cases being filed, the commissioners have already made significant progress.”

Weintz comments came in response to Oklahoma State American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations’ President Jim Curry’s request that Fallin ask for the resignation of the Workers Compensation Commission’s three members.

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KGOU is a community-supported news organization and relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online, or by contacting our Membership department.

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Why Are Men Leaving The American Workforce?

Today’s post was shared by Trucker Lawyers and comes from www.npr.org

It was a great time to be an American man in the workplace after World War II. Hiring was strong for both white-collar jobs and factory work while industries like autos, aviation and steel were booming. By the 1960s, that started to change.
It was a great time to be an American man in the workplace after World War II. Hiring was strong for both white-collar jobs and factory work while industries like autos, aviation and steel were booming. By the 1960s, that started to change.

It was a great time to be an American man in the workplace after World War II. Hiring was strong for both white-collar jobs and factory work while industries like autos, aviation and steel were booming. By the 1960s, that started to change. Three Lions/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Three Lions/Getty Images

It was a great time to be an American man in the workplace after World War II. Hiring was strong for both white-collar jobs and factory work while industries like autos, aviation and steel were booming. By the 1960s, that started to change.

Three Lions/Getty Images

There’s a long, unfolding story about work in America that often gets overlooked. It’s the story of men opting out of work altogether. These are men who have vanished from the labor force — men who don’t have a job and aren’t looking for one.

To describe this historic development with the context it deserves, we start with the American economy after World War II. It was firing on all cylinders, dominant globally, confident and dynamic. It was a great time to be an American man in the workplace. Hiring was strong for white-collar jobs and factory work. Industries like autos, aviation and steel were booming.

If you were a man in the 1950s, you had a job, says…

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OSHA Chief: Inequality in America Is About Workplace Hazards, Too

Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from www.nbcnews.com

Image: Assistant Labor Secretary David Michaels of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration attends a full committee hearing on Capitol Hill on June 23 in Washington, DC.
Image: Assistant Labor Secretary David Michaels of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration attends a full committee hearing on Capitol Hill on June 23 in Washington, DC.

Inequality and poverty have taken center stage in American politics in the years since the recession. Fast food workers have raised the profile of low-wage work, cities and states around the country are raising the minimum wage, and elected officials in both parties have made the struggles of poor Americans core political issues.

But David Michaels, Ph.D., M.P.H., who leads the Occupational Safety and Health Administration under the Obama administration, says that workplace inequality is more than just wages. In an interview, Michaels, who is responsible for enforcing federal laws to project workers from illness and injury, says the regulatory structures he oversees aren’t sufficient to protect vulnerable workers from harm.

NBC: The political conversation about inequality in recent years has focused on wages. You’ve made the point that when addressing inequality, we should focus more on workplace health and safety issues. Why?

Michaels: Wages are clearly a core component of the discussion of inequality and the ability to get into and stay in middle class. But workplace health and safety issues also have an enormous impact. Workplace injury and illness can push workers out of middle-class jobs and make it hard to enter into the middle class in the first place.

Studies show that workplace injury…

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What to Expect When You’re Expecting: Fair Treatment Under the Law

Today’s post was shared by US Dept. of Labor and comes from social.dol.gov

Editor’s note: This is the first blog post in “Working Families, a Reality Series” by Women’s Bureau Director Latifa Lyles exploring issues that affect women and families in the 21st-century workplace.

Last month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced that Triple T Foods, a pet food processor in Arkansas, will pay a $30,000 settlement to a former employee for a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit in which the employee got fired on the day she announced she was pregnant.

Here we are, 36 years after the passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and some employers still view child-bearing and employment as mutually exclusive activities.

The Women’s Bureau recently posted a series of charts with data about mothers and families on our website, and the numbers show that being a mother in the workforce is increasingly the norm. It is not surprising that the vast majority of mothers – 7 out of 10 – work, and women are the sole or primary financial support for their families now more than ever. What’s more, over two-thirds of women work during their first pregnancy. Yet, pregnancy discrimination persists in many forms, in all stages of employment – hiring, firing and promotion – and in all stages of pregnancy.

Employment protections for workers who are pregnant or nursing:


Map of pregnancy discrimination laws in the United States
Map of pregnancy discrimination laws in the U.S.

Click on the map to learn about pregnancy discrimination laws by state.

Cases like…

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Disability Rights are Civil Rights

Today’s post was shared by US Labor Department and comes from social.dol.gov

President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Civil Rights Act

President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Earlier this month, we as a nation celebrated the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Just minutes before putting pen to paper on that historic day, President Lyndon B. Johnson went on television to address the nation, articulating the law’s fundamental purpose: to create a better, more inclusive society for all Americans.

“Those who founded our country knew that freedom would be secure only if each generation fought to renew and enlarge its meaning,” he said in his address, going on to acknowledge the many leaders, both black and white, who worked tirelessly to get what he often referred to as “an American bill” onto his desk.

At the time, I was 5 years old and 3,000 miles away in southern California, doing the typical things 5-year-olds do. But, there were others older than me listening who took those words to heart in a way that would have a profound impact on my life. In the 1960s, the unified disability rights movement was just emerging, and its leaders learned a great deal from those who brought the Civil Rights Act to fruition.

Twenty-six years later, those leaders found themselves at the White House looking on as another president signed landmark civil rights legislation renewing and enlarging America’s ideal of equality — the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which was authorized by President George H.W. Bush on July 26,…

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Job Corps is My Calling

Today’s post was shared by US Dept. of Labor and comes from social.dol.gov

Editor’s note: As we continue to post Job Corps stories in honor of its 50th anniversary, we want to hear from you. Submit your story through our Web form here − or share on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #JobCorps50.

Anne Marie Scheer drives 106 miles round trip daily to attend classes at the Muhlenberg Job Corps Center. It’s an extraordinary signal of her commitment to her future. At 25, she is juggling child-care responsibilities with the time she needs to complete her training for launch her career. Anne Marie has successfully completed the Heavy Equipment Operators and Construction Equipment Mechanics courses, and is now working to complete the truck driving course before transferring to advanced mechanics training.

Muhlenberg Job Corps Center sign
Center sign

As a longtime Job Corps center director who has counseled hundreds of students, I can say that Anne’s dedication to her career goals is amazing. She continues to work harder and harder to reach each new level of training.

It’s students like Anne Marie that inspire me and my fellow Job Corps center directors. They keep us focused on the transformational potential of this program, even when the deep structural injustices that we see every day weigh on us. The Muhlenberg campus has proudly served more than 16,000 students since it opened in 1973. Many of these students, like Anne Marie, are and have been exceptional — serving as role models, even though they often don’t appreciate their…

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Published by Causey Law Firm