News & Commentary

July 27, 2016

Hannah Belitz

Hannah Belitz is a student at Harvard Law School.

Shell oil workers began a 24-hour strike on Tuesday morning.  As both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times report, the drop in oil prices has led the industry to dramatically cut operating costs, leading to layoffs and pay cuts.  Workers are now striking in protest.  John Boland, an official of Unite, which is helping to organize the strike, told the Times that workers “understand there is a downturn in the North Sea, but the level of cuts being proposed are too much.”  In a news release, Unite stated that the workers face proposed cuts of up to 30% on pay and allowances.  The union also said that the strike will be followed by a series of other stoppages over the following weeks.

According to Politico, the EEOC has filed two lawsuits over rescinded job offers: a pregnancy discrimination suit under Title VII, and a disability discrimination suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The first suit, filed in Florida, alleges that an “insurance brokerage firm violated federal law by rescinding a job offer to a woman because of her pregnancy.”  The second suit, filed in Louisiana, alleges that “an oilfield services company violated federal law by withdrawing a job offer to an applicant because of his diabetes.”

Meanwhile, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved the Labor Department’s silica rule.  The Hill explains that although the rule was set to take effect on June 23, employers did not have to comply or collect the mandated information until OMB issued its approval.  The new rule is aimed at protecting workers from inhaling silica dust, and it significantly reduces the permitted exposure limits.

Finally, the Chicago Tribune reports that Chicago police union leaders have asked their officers to refuse to work voluntary overtime on Labor Day weekend.  A flier from the Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge 7 stated the following: “In order to show unity and protest the continued disrespect of Chicago police officers and the killings of law enforcement officers across our country, we are requesting FOP members to refrain from volunteering to work (overtime).  You’ve earned time to be with your families.”

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