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Supreme Court: Employee can sue for retaliation against fired lover

January 31, 2011 --

Supreme Court Rules That Employer Can Be Sued For Retaliating Against Fiancé Of Worker Who Filed Discrimination Claim
By Barran Liebman
Oregon law firm

In a new ruling that expands the legal protections against retaliation, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on January 24, 2011, that an employee who claims he was fired because his fiancé filed a sex discrimination charge may sue their mutual employer for retaliation under federal law. The case is Thompson v. North American Stainless, LP.

Thompson and his fiancé both worked for North American Stainless (NAS). He claimed that after his fiancé filed a sex discrimination charge against NAS with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the company retaliated by firing him. Thompson sued under Title VII, claiming that NAS fired him to retaliate against his fiancé for filing her charge with the EEOC. The structure of the claim was certainly unusual — it would probably not have raised questions if his fiancé had sued on the theory that the company fired her fiancé to retaliate against her. But the twist here was that she would not have suffered any financial loss — since he was the one who lost the job.

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Conspiracy: U.S. Chamber secretly behind Egypt troubles

January 30, 2011 --

by David Chavern
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Reaching a new low, John Podesta’s Center for American Progress has now decided to blame the US Chamber of Commerce for unrest in Egypt! What’s next – holding us responsible for snow storms in the Northeast and volcanoes in Iceland? Showing an penchant for international conspiracy theories worthy of Robert Ludlum and the John Birch Society, C.A.P. somehow ties together the Mubarak regime, the activities of an individual who is President of the AmCham in Cairo and John Negroponte into some theory whereby the U.S. Chamber has been repressing democracy in Egypt. Wow! The Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberg Group have nothing on us.

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Ad Watch: Accenture scores with sheep graphic

January 29, 2011 --

Oregon Small Business Association,

Accenture is a business consulting firm who deserves our ad of the month for their simple yet effective ad promoting their business advice services.

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Oregon job growth pulling ahead of nation

January 28, 2011 --

California Lutheran University,
CLU Center for Economic Research & Forecasting
Bill Watkins

While the NBER (National Bureau of Economic Research), the arbitrators of recession start and end dates, declared the United States recession officially over in June 2009, the country has only recently generated positive job growth, weak positive job growth, but positive, and it is welcome. This has been a long and painful recession, and while millions are still unemployed, I believe we are finally seeing the initial (tepid) stages of a sustained recovery.

Oregon’s jobs recovery has lagged the United States by a few months. However, in October and November, Oregon’s job gains were much stronger than the United States job growth. One result of the Oregon’s job growth acceleration is that, on a year-over-year basis, Oregon’s job performance actually outpaced that of the United States in November.

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What Obama’s speech means for business

January 27, 2011 --

President Obama on Competitiveness: Impacts on Business
By Bill Conerly,
Conerly Consulting
, Businomics

The President’s State of the Union message spent a good deal of time on competitiveness, and rightfully so. So let’s talk about what business can expect from efforts to improve the nation’s competitiveness.

SOU To begin, the nation does not really compete. Workers compete for jobs, consumers compete to buy stuff, businesses compete for sales and productive resources. The government, per se, does not engage in global economic competition.

That means you, as business leader, worker or consumer, are responsible for your own success or failure, at least as a first approximation.

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California: Worker E-mails not protected — not even with a lawyer

January 26, 2011 --

By Tony DeCristoforo
Stoel Rives LLP,
Oregon Law Firm

A clear and comprehensive computer policy is an essential component of any employee handbook. Last week, a California appellate court ruled that when such a policy is in place, an employee who uses the company computer to e-mail her attorney about perceived harassment and discrimination in the workplace waives the attorney-client privilege.

In Holmes v. Petrovich Development Company, the plaintiff alleged that she was the victim of sexual harassment and retaliation arising from her employer’s response to her pregnancy. Before quitting her job, the plaintiff used her work computer to send e-mails to her attorney regarding possible legal action. As might be expected, the employer subsequently located these e-mails on its computer system, and used the e-mails as part of its defense of the employee’s lawsuit.

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Property Tax Appeals Draining Cities and States

January 25, 2011 --

Property Tax Appeals Draining Cities and States
By Oregon Small Business Association

As Americans watched the real estate market decline 30.5 percent below the April 2006 peak, according to the 20-city S&P/Case-Shiller index , many homeowners decided to appeal their property tax rate. Property owners are appealing their taxes by submitting an appraisal and other records to local or state appeals boards or courts claiming that a tax assessment is too high. The increase in appeals has significantly increased city and state debt because decreased property tax revenue means more pressure on local governments to cut services.

Nationally, revenue from property taxes rose 7.8 percent to $90.5 billion. The money was distributed by sending $87.7 billion to local governments and $2.8 billion to the states.

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Top 20 Oregon business complaints by industry

January 24, 2011 --

Top 20 Oregon business complaints by industry
By Oregon Better Business Bureau,

Top Complaints
1.  Auto Dealers – New Cars
2.  Auto Dealers – Used Cars
3.  Identity Theft Protection & Prevention Services
4.  Photographic Equipment & Supplies – Retail
5.  Video Tapes Discs Sales & Rentals

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Restaurant tip pooling now legal in Oregon

January 23, 2011 --

Restaurant tip pooling now legal in Oregon
By Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association,

Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) has achieved a big management victory for table service restaurants. Employers can now require servers to participate in a tip pool that redistributes some of their tips to the back of the house without violating federal wage and hour law.

In 2009, an attorney filed a suit (Cumbie V. Woody Woo, Inc.) against Vita Café a small restaurant in Portland, claiming they were using an illegal tip pool among their employees. The original district court ruling – instead of addressing the specifics involved around the individual restaurant – declared that tip pools in Oregon are not illegal since the state does not allow a tip credit.

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35% Health Care Tax Credit is a sham

January 22, 2011 --

35% Health Care Tax Credit is a sham
by Greg Galdabini
By U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The House was smart to pass legislation this week repealing the health care reform law enacted last year. The law is so flawed and complex that even a provision as seemingly beneficial to small businesses as the 35% tax credit for the purchase of employee health care has turned out to be major disappointment to some.

Here’s an excerpt from an article that reports on the experience of Alex Bryant, owner of Weld Direct Corporation in Florida:

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