On March 15, 2011 Governor Gary Herbert signed the Immigration Accountability and Enforcement Amendments Act. The ceremony took place at the state capitol in Salt Lake City.
Under the new Utah immigration law, undocumented workers would pay $2.500 for a guest worker permit that allows them to be employed in Utah. Undocumented workers could also apply for a family permit, which would allow all members of the immediate family to work in Utah.
The new law goes into effect on July 1, 2013.Implementation is complex, because currently the guest worker and his employer would still be in violation of federal immigration laws, including the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act or IRCA of 1986. That law imposes penalties on any employer (more…)
The Utah E-Verify law that went into effect on July 1, 2010 offers some unique benefits to employers.
While the law does not require that all Utah employers use E-Verify, an employer who does so will be able to avoid penalties and fines under state law, if the employer unintentionally hires an undocumented worker.
The Utah E-Verify law does not protect an employer who knowingly hires illegal workers, even if they pass E-Verify using forged documents or inaccurate information. Nor does it protect Utah employers from federal sanctions if they are found to have hired illegal aliens. However, in the past some employers have escaped federal as well as state penalties when they could show a good-faith effort to determine that employees were legally authorized to work in the U.S. Using E-Verify (more…)
Three Minnesota community colleges will receive more than $5 million to train workers in the fastest-growing industries, thanks to recent US Department of Labor grants. The schools beat out more than 200 other applicants to win the highly competitive grants from the ETA, the federal Employee Training Administration.
Surprisingly, Advanced Manufacturing is one of the fastest-growing industries in Utah and the US. Highly skilled workers in the field command good salaries, and have excellent career growth to supervisory and management positions.
Manufacturing jobs were once considered boring and repetitive. Today, employees are likely to be using delicate equipment to produce highly specialized products.
Manufacturing is growing as fast as other “hot” industries, including biotechnology, healthcare and energy.
In fact, employers have trouble finding enough qualified workers for the manufacturing positions available. That’s why the US Department of Labor recently awarded two grants totaling almost $4 million in Utah. Two community colleges, in partnership with local employers, will train workers with the necessary skills.
Several acts of violence in the workplace have occurred in recent months merely reinforce OSHA recommendations.
OSHA reports that incidents of workplace homicide have declined in recent years, from a high of 200+ in the early 1990s to 96 in 2006. However, homicide is still one of the most common causes of fatal injuries at work.
Every Utah employer needs a plan to prevent workplace violence, and an emergency response protocol. OSHA even recommends that employers have “violence drills” the same way they conduct “fire drills.”
On February 2, an armed man attempted to rob a Lane Bryant store in Tinley Park, Illinois (Chicago suburb). Six women were in the store, including two women who walked in during the robbery attempt. The gunman forced them into the back room where he bound them with duct tape.
The store manager, however, had managed to call 911 during the robbery. When the gunman learned of the call, he went berserk and shot all six women. A police officer was nearby and arrived on the scene within one minute, but the shooter had already fled. Of the 6 women, 5 were dead. The one woman who survived provided a description of the killer. Police distributed a composite sketch and began searching for the suspect.
Six city council members were attacked by an armed political activist on February 7, in Kirkwood Missouri. The gunman, who had been ejected from two previous council meetings, burst in and opened fire. The mayor was wounded, but survived. Unfortunately, the other five members, three city officials and two police officers, were killed.
A gunman on the campus of Northern Illinois University (NIU) in DeKalb, Illinois broke into a lecture hall and shot 22 people on February 14. Of the 22, 16 were injured and 6 were killed. The shooter, a former graduate student at NIU, then turned the gun on himself.
The shooter, Steven Kazmierczak, had just transferred to another Illinois University graduate school to study social work. His professors described him as a calm, award-winning student. Police reports described him as irritable and unpredictable, because he’d been off his medications for three weeks. Jessica Baty, Kazmierczak’s girlfriend, insisted he was simply stressed from school, but not abnormally so.
These incidents are tragic evidence of the need for companies to establish safety measures against violence at work. These safety measures must include training for managers and employees on how to respond when violence occurs, and what steps can help prevent future violent acts in the workplace.
Recently, tragic episodes of workplace violence occurred in Missouri and Illinois. They are not, however, the only such cases. In 2007, several episodes occurred, including the massacre at Virginia Tech.
The Virginia Tech episode remains the worst such tragedy in 2007. In that shooting, a heavily armed young man killed 32 students and staff and wounded another 17 before fatally turning his weapon on himself as police officers moved in on him. The young man, Seung-Hui Cho, had chained the doors of a campus building shut before opening fire.
At the University of Wisconsin Madison a man attempted “suicide by cop’” hoping to provoke a shootout with police that would leave him dead, law enforcement officers said. The man threatened to blow up a nearby hospital and fired shots near the building on September 25. The bomb threat was later discovered to be false.
OSHA, (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) said the shooter demonstrated many of the danger signs of impending workplace violence. Cho was not seeking treatment for his history of mental problems. He had an unhealthy interest in weapons, and had a tendency to developed what have been called irrational crushes on women who were hardly known to them. Once developing the crushes, he would engage in stalker-like behavior and become jealous. Cho would go into fits of rage.