Reproductive rights advocates have reason to celebrate. A Brooklyn federal judge has ordered the Food and Drug Administration FDA to make the “morning after” pill available to women of all ages and without a prescription.
Abortion opponents are making use of a new way to restrict access to abortion – by using the authority states have over the new health insurance exchanges, which will be up and running in a year.At least 21 states have legislation in place or in the works that will stop health insurance companies from paying for abortions for women.
Office romance – its almost inevitable. In the age of sexual harassment, wrongful termination and even assault at work, how do employers deal effectively with office romance? Entreprenuer.com recently published an article with tips for employers on drafting workable office romance policies. “You used to be able to just say ‘No office romances’ but today, they’ll just go underground. Then, if you find out, you’re forced to fire them because they violated your no-romance policy.” (via Entreprenuer.com)
Instead, employers are encouraged to develop written “office romance” policies. Here are five things to include in your policy:
1. Require disclosure.
When it becomes clear that a romance is blossoming, it is important that supervisors and management are made aware. Employer may need to get involved if there are any problems, such as if a supervisor is dating a person who is a direct or indirect subordinate. Since this could trigger sexual harassment concerns, reassigning one or both of the employees may be a consideration for management.
2. Create a “Love Contract.”
Once an employee relationship is revealed, employers are encouraged to require the employees to sign an written acknowledgement of the “office romance” and sexual harassment policies as well as a statement that the relationship is consensual. This is designed to help protect both the employer and the employees. It is also an opportunity to set expectations, including a reminder that any show of favoritism or disruption of the workplace can be grounds for reprimand or dismissal.
3. Advise against PDA.
Public displays of affection – including touching or kissing – can create an uncomfortable working environment. Not only is this a morale problem, it can potentially create a “hostile work environment” if it is ongoing, which could lead to a type of sexual harassment lawsuit.
4. Keep tabs on office sentiment.
It is important to understand employees’ perception of an office romance, particularly to determine whether or not there is a perception of favoritism amongst those romantically involved.
5. Get legal counsel.
As always, you should have an attorney draft (or at least review) any employment policy you put in place to make sure it is in compliance with all local, state and federal laws and regulations. When it comes to office romance policies especially, an attorney can help you draft a policy to best navigate the potential problems with sexual harassment and discrimination.
This article is incredibly concerning. Most people probably are not aware that a so-called “black box” in your car could be recording your every move – your speed, whether you’re wearing your seatbelt, how you react to driving conditions, etc. While this data could come in handy if you’re the victim of an accident (to help prove your case), it raises serious privacy concerns.
Here is an excerpt from the Fox News article about this important privacy issue:
In the next few days, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to propose long-delayed regulations requiring auto manufacturers to include event data recorders — better known as “black boxes” — in all new cars and light trucks. But the agency is behind the curve. Automakers have been quietly tucking the devices, which automatically record the actions of drivers and the responses of their vehicles in a continuous information loop, into most new cars for years.
When a car is involved in a crash or when its airbags deploy, inputs from the vehicle’s sensors during the 5 to 10 seconds before impact are automatically preserved. That’s usually enough to record things like how fast the car was traveling and whether the driver applied the brake, was steering erratically or had a seat belt on.
The idea is to gather information that can help investigators determine the cause of accidents and lead to safer vehicles. But privacy advocates say government regulators and automakers are spreading an intrusive technology without first putting in place policies to prevent misuse of the information collected.
Data collected by the recorders is increasingly showing up in lawsuits, criminal cases and high-profile accidents. Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray initially said that he wasn’t speeding and that he was wearing his seat belt when he crashed a government-owned car last year. But the Ford Crown Victoria’s data recorder told a different story: It showed the car was traveling more than 100 mph and Murray wasn’t belted in.
In 2007, then-New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine was seriously injured in the crash of an SUV driven by a state trooper. Corzine was a passenger. The SUV’s recorder showed the vehicle was traveling 91 mph on a parkway where the speed limit was 65 mph, and Corzine didn’t have his seat belt on.
There’s no opt-out. It’s extremely difficult for car owners to disable the recorders. Although some vehicle models have had recorders since the early 1990s, a federal requirement that automakers disclose their existence in owner’s manuals didn’t go into effect until three months ago. Automakers who voluntarily put recorders in vehicles are also now required to gather a minimum of 15 types of data.
[T]he Traffic Safety Administration is also considering expanding the data requirement to include as many as 30 additional types of data such as whether the vehicle’s electronic stability control was engaged, the driver’s seat position or whether the front-seat passenger was belted in. Some manufacturers already are collecting the information.
Despite privacy complaints, the traffic safety administration so far hasn’t put any limits on how the information can be used. About a dozen states have some law regarding data recorders, but the rest do not.
“Right now we’re in an environment where there are no rules, there are no limits, there are no consequences and there is no transparency,” said Lillie Coney, associate director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a privacy advocacy group. “Most people who are operating a motor vehicle have no idea this technology is integrated into their vehicle.”
Part of the concern is that the increasing computerization of cars and the growing transmission of data to and from vehicles could lead to unintended uses of recorder data.
“Basically your car is a computer now, so it can record all kinds of information,” said Gloria Bergquist, vice president of the Alliance of Automotive Manufacturers. “It’s a lot of the same issues you have about your computer or your smartphone and whether Google or someone else has access to the data.”
Most Americans believe that their medical information is somewhat safe. You’d probably be as shocked as us to learn that 9 in 10 hospitals surveyed have had a data breach in the past two years, according to this news article. Yikes!
Last week Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta revealed that 900 ambulance patients might have had their personal information stolen by an employee of the company who runs the hospitals billing system. Investigators are trying to figure out whether the information, which included social security numbers, was used for any illegal purpose. The data breach might be an inconvenience for Grady and its patients, but its not an uncommon one. Grady is actually in rather large company. About nine in 10 surveyed U.S. hospitals have had a data breach over the past two years, with close to half reporting more than 5 breaches, according to a new report released Thursday by the Ponemon Institute. Some 2,800 records are compromised, on average, per breach, Ponemon said.
A woman who was raped by a party bus driver can hold the insurer for the bus company liable for a $2 million judgment, a federal judge ruled. Gustavo Rosales was driving the party bus chartered by American Bus Lines and operated by VIP Club Bus dba Nitelife Express on Jan. 27, 2008, even though he had a history of violent criminal acts against women, according to the complaint. After Rosales drove the bus to its second stop of the night, a club in San Francisco called Kellys Mission Rock, bouncers allegedly denied entry to Lillian Gradillas and another passenger who did not have ID. Gradillas said it was raining and after midnight, so she and the other female passenger accepted Rosales invitation to wait with him and his nephew on the bus. Rosales then drove the bus to a dark parking lot away from the bar and locked the doors. While the other woman used the bathroom, Rosales nephew guarded as Rosales repeatedly raped Gradillas, according to the complaint. Gradillas says Rosales is now in prison after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting her.
A jury has awarded a former model on “The Price Is Right” more than $7.7 million in punitive damages after determining the show discriminated against her because of her pregnancy.The decision Wednesday came one day after the panel determined producers discriminated against Brandi Cochran. They awarded her nearly $777,000 in actual damages.Bing: Price is Right hires first male modelThe shows producers, FremantleMedia North America and The Price Is Right Productions Inc., vow to appeal the verdict and say they expect to be vindicated.Cochran said she was rejected by the game shows producers when she tried to return from maternity leave in 2010.Producers said they were satisfied with the five models they had when the 41-year-old sought to return.Cochran says she is humbled by the award and hopes it raises issues of pregnancy discrimination in all workplaces