As we approach the end of 2012, but not the end of the world according to some interpretations of the Mayan calendar, some things are changing and some things are staying the same. The changes include:
IRS Mileage Rates for 2013. For 2013, the IRS has established new mileage rates for use of a car: 56.5 cents per mile for business miles, 24 cents per mile for medical or moving, and 14 cents per mile in service of charitable organizations.
Stupid People Do Stupid Things On Social Media. In the aftermath of the tragic murders in Newtown, Al.com reported that Dakota Kent, a 21 year old Blount County man, was jailed for posting terrorist threats on his Facebook account. What did he say? "I am so irritated I could shoot up an elementary school", "I can't be the only one who thought that was @#%! funny", "[a]nd if you want to help the families get through this, send them a #@(ing 'I'm sorry your kid got shot card,' ", and "[h]e used over 100 rounds and only killed 26. They should just be lucky he was a bad shot." What an idiot.
To prove that even lawyers do stupid things, in New Orleans, the United States Attorney, Jim Letten recently resigned his post. Mr. Letten was the well respected, long standing U.S. Attorney who served through several presidencies, which is unusual. What happened? Main Justice reported that Sal Perricone, a Senior Assistant U.S. Attorney resigned earlier this year. 1st Assistant U.S. Attorney Jan Mann resigned earlier this week. Why? They were both caught editorializing, under pseudonyms, on NOLA.com about pending cases they were working on. Both are possibly facing ethics charges and perjury charges as the result of testimony they gave to the court while investigating the allegations. I would recommend reading this article so see how dangerous it can be to post on social media and/or blogs.
Trouble for the NLRB. The U.S House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Governmental Reform issued a report on December 13 entitled "President Obama's Pre-Union Board: The NLRB's Metamorphosis from Independent Regulator to Dysfunctional Union Advocate." This 33 page report finds that "...[T]he NLRB appears to be sacrificing fairness to 'job creators' in order to promote pre-union polices. To make matters worse, its leadership disregarded ethics and internal rules along the way." Very strong language. The report levels multiple charges against the NLRB, including internal communications deemed to have a pro-union bias, allegations of financial conflict of interest with former board member Terence Flynn and acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon, and rushing to issue 2 substantive rules in 2011 that ignored past precedent. These rules required employers to post a notice of employee's rights under the NLRA and changing the procedures for union organizing elections. To make matters even worse for the NLRB, on December 12, just one day before this report was released, the Board overturned 50 years of precedence when it ruled, in a 3-1 decision, that a dues checkoff provision will survive the termination of a collective bargaining agreement.
EEOC Approves Strategic Enforcement Plan. As part of it's overall strategic plan for 2012-2016, the EEOC recently approved it's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP). According to it's press release, the SEP identifies 6 national priorities as the focus of this integrated enforcement effort:
1. Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring.
2. Protecting immigrant, migrant and other vulnerable workers.
3. Addressing emerging and developing employment discrimination issues.
4. Enforcing equal pay laws.
5. Preserving access to the legal system.
6. Preventing harassment through systemic enforcement and targeted outreach.
It will be interesting to see how the EEOC follows up with their SEP.
I hope everyone has a Joyous Holiday Season and a Happy New Year! I will be back next year with more.