Yesterday, our new website went “live.” I want to thank John Armistead of Armistead Technologies for his many years as our webmaster (and designer of our prior website). Armistead Technologies specializes in reverse engineering (you can look it up), and John had reduced the number of websites he managed over the past few years to devote more time to his core business. Our new webmaster will continue the high quality website that John started.
As part of the transition, I decided to take down my old blogs and begin blogging anew. So, if you are looking for old material, you will not find it. If you had ever hoped to use it against me, you should have downloaded it when you first saw it. I will probably recycle some of the best stuff, however, if circumstances warrant.
Let me begin my new blogging effort by discussing the effect of the federal funds sequester on the Department of Labor, which includes OSHA, and a couple of cases reported today that prove you do not have to have a good case to file a lawsuit. As to the sequester, the Department of Labor has announced that it is moving money originally slated for assistance programs for employers to enforcement actions against employers.
That means, as far as I can tell, that the Department of Labor does not want to help businesses comply with its laws and regulations; it wants to punish them for not complying. Instead of trying to help employers understand its convoluted laws, it wants to fine employers for not understanding its convoluted laws. The mentality of the Department of Labor, and OSHA in particular, is more punitive than ever. It’s like the government deciding that rather than use money to feed its citizens, it will use that money to buy weapons to use against them. After all, compliance is more important than OSHA’s stated purpose, namely, safety.
Two cases were reported today that made me chuckle. They all seemed to be correctly decided, but I was amazed that the employee in one case and a union in the other had made the argument in the first place. An employee claimed that he was entitled to file a civil rights lawsuit after the deadline had passed because he was in jail at the time and was depressed. The court rejected that argument, fortunately, but the employer spent a great deal of money fighting it.
In the other case, a union argued to an arbitrator that a deputy sheriff could not be fired for having sex with two former inmates. The position the union took was that this violated his constitutional right to associate with anyone of his choosing. Freedom of association creates a sexual license, according to the union. The arbitrator disagreed, but I suspect the employer was worried that an arbitrator might buy that ridiculous assertion.
Unfortunately, there will be plenty of opportunities in the future to report and comment on similarly ridiculous cases. I hope I am up to the task.