Today’s News & Commentary — January 12, 2017

The New York Times’s “Live Briefing” is tracking Day 3 of the Trump Administration’s Cabinet confirmation hearings. Today, General James Mattis, nominee for defense secretary, Rep. Mike Pompeo, nominee for CIA director, and Dr. Ben Carson, nominee for housing and urban development secretary will testify.

According to Business Insider, Amazon announced today that it would create more than 100,000 full-time jobs with benefits in the United States over the next 18 months, growing its U.S. workforce to over 280,000. Although Amazon has also been drastically expanding automation projects in some fulfillment centers, many of these new jobs will reportedly range from engineering to software-development positions.

In response to growing demand by customers, U.S. produce industry groups published a proposal for eliminating worker abuse in produce supply chains. As reported in the Los Angeles Times, the plan, termed the “Ethical Charter is an “attempt to get the network of growers, distributors and retailers to follow basic values governing the treatment of workers, many of whom toil on large export farms in Mexico.” The two-page proposal sets out the aspirational goal of creating a channel for laborers to submit complaints, and calls for involved parties to “respect all laws and principles inspired by ‘international expectations.’” Individuals critical of the plan have lambasted the plan for feeble enforcement provisions, a lack of details or auditing processes, and ineffective methods of dealing with contract labor concerns.

Earlier this week in Karlo v. Pittsburgh Glass Works, the Third Circuit created a circuit split by holding that “‘subgroup’ disparate-impact claims are cognizable under the ADEA.” As reported in JD Supra, under this ruling, employees in a subgroup over 40 can bring disparate impact ADEA claims against their employer alleging that they were “disfavored relative to younger employees,” even if the younger employees are themselves 40 or older.  The court parted from the Second, Sixth, and Eighth Circuits and relied on precedent in O’Connor v. Consolidated Coin Caterers. The opinion stated that “the fact that one person in the protected class has lost out to another person in the protected class is thus irrelevant, so long as he has lost out because of his age.”

The New York Times published a beautiful series of photos by Xyza Bacani, documenting the struggle of illegally trafficked migrant workers in Hong Kong and New York.