Is the city of Detroit violating international human rights law? That's what some U.N. experts are asking after the city disconnected water service at thousands of homes where residents haven't paid their bills. The shutoffs have sparked outrage among some residents and is one of the most contentious issues facing the city since it filed for bankruptcy last year. Two U.N. human rights experts are planning to visit Detroit this weekend to investigate the problem. The disconnections in Detroit appear to conflict with a U.N. resolution that declares clean drinking water and sanitation as "essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights." Businesses and residents are trying to adapt to the city's crumbling water system. The water department is even improvising, and earlier this year jerry-rigged a system of plastic pipe, garden hoses, duct tape and towels to bring water from a downtown fire hydrant to two nearby businesses. The makeshift system provided water for a coffee … [Read more...] about Are Detroit’s water shutoffs a violation of international law?
Injured workers law group
TALLAHASSEE — Meeting in a rare Saturday session, the Florida Senate approved revamping regulations for payday loans and supported expanding workers’ compensation insurance benefits for police and firefighters who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.Senators voted 31-5 to pass a measure (SB 920) that would allow payday lenders to make larger loans for longer periods of time. The industry-backed proposal also has sailed through House committees, though it has drawn opposition from some consumer advocates.The bill would allow the businesses to make “installment” loans up to $1,000, with repayment over 60 to 90 days. Current law limits the high-interest loans to $500 for periods of seven to 31 days.Supporters say the proposal was prompted by potential changes in federal regulations that could affect the types of smaller-dollar, shorter-term loans made by payday lenders in Florida. Also, supporters contend that payday loans play a key role for many low-income … [Read more...] about Florida Senate backs changes in payday loans, workers’ comp
Florida employees who use fake IDs and identities no longer would face a felony workers comp fraud charge under a proposal lawmakers are considering that would benefit unauthorized immigrants.The current workers comp law in Florida, passed in 2003, makes it a crime for undocumented immigrants to apply for a job or benefits using false identifying information like Social Security numbers. The proposal, introduced by Democratic Sen. Gary Farmer of Fort Lauderdale, would only punish workers who provide false information related to eligibility for benefits, like lying about an accident. Undocumented workers are eligible for workers' compensation benefits in Florida and other states. More: Florida legislators discuss change in law that punishes injured immigrant workers More:Companies profit from undocumented laborers, dump them after injuries More: Undocumented immigrant workers face prosecution in other states after suffering … [Read more...] about Florida’s disposable workers: Bill would help unauthorized immigrants injured on the job
A federal agency is now investigating the latest of multiple injuries to employees who care for a violent Sauk County mental patient. Last week, Occupational Safety and Health Administration spokesman Scott Allen said the agency was not aware of a Dec. 17 incident that resulted in criminal charges against 31-year-old patient Jeremy R. Felix. In a follow up email this week, Allen confirmed that OSHA now has “an open investigation.” The charges against Felix are the latest in a series of incidents in which employees of the company that cares for him allegedly have been attacked and injured. Neighbors, law enforcement and state lawmakers have previously raised concerns about the state’s placement of Felix in a community setting, rather than a mental health facility. Felix has a history of becoming violent with caretakers that dates back to 2010, according to Wisconsin court records. In 2013, multiple Dungarvin Wisconsin employees who cared for Felix at his … [Read more...] about OSHA investigating mental patient’s alleged attack on care workers
As an administrative law judge hearing worker’s compensation cases in Wisconsin for three decades, Joe Schaeve said he often knew how certain doctors hired by employers and insurance companies would rule even before opening their reports. “It winds up with the doctor saying ‘Not work related’ or ‘It’s all in his mind,’ ” said Schaeve, who retired in May. “You can almost sense it coming when you spend 30 years reading these reports.” Schaeve said a few of the experts’ opinions were so predictable that “it’s almost a waste of time to read the report because you know what it’s going to say.” The opinions came from “independent medical examiners,” or IMEs. These doctors are hired by employers or insurance companies seeking to dispute claims for lost wages, extent of disability, loss of earning capacity and necessity for treatment. Such claims can cost hundreds of thousands of … [Read more...] about Long-time judge: Some ‘independent’ doctors routinely rule against injured workers