Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 8:34 am
The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court tussled over the meaning of the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act Wednesday. The issue is whether the law allows companies to suspend pregnant workers, while allowing other workers with temporary disabilities to remain on the job.
Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 2:52 pm
You've heard it before — that quip to describe crazy college days: "I minored in beer studies."
Well, now you can.
Paul Smith's College, a small, isolated campus in the northernmost reaches of upstate New York's Adirondack Mountains, is among a handful of higher education institutions tapping the ever more potent keg of the craft beer explosion.
Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 1:00 pm
Updated at 12:05 p.m. ET.
Federal regulators had given Takata Corp. until Tuesday to widen its recall of air bags to the entire U.S., but the Japanese company appeared to ignore that demand, causing one House lawmaker to say today that her constituents were "literally afraid to drive their cars."
"The rebranding is a symbol of changes in the way our business works and our product lines that have been long in the making," Alexei Krivoruchko, Kalashnikov's chief executive, said at Tuesday's unveiling. "The new brand will reflect our main principles: reliability, responsibility and technological efficiency."
Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 5:59 pm
Yukiko Koyama kicked around Tokyo for a few years looking for the right job. For a while, she designed costumes for classical ballet dancers. But she longed to work in the great outdoors, and to find a job she could really sink her teeth into.
Two years ago, she found just the right thing for her: sinking a chainsaw's teeth into the pine forests of Matsumoto City in landlocked Nagano prefecture. Forests there on the central island of Honshu have been growing since the end of World War II, and many are in need of weeding.
Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 10:12 am
Russia's economy has taken a series of heavy hits in the past few months, and now it seems to be in the midst of a perfect storm.
The country depends heavily on oil exports, and prices are down sharply. The Russian currency is losing value fast. And U.S. and European sanctions, imposed after Russia's takeover of Crimea, are biting hard.
President Vladimir Putin remains defiant, saying sanctions will never bring Russia to its knees.
Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 12:00 pm
Women's reproductive rights are once again before the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday. Only this time, pregnancy discrimination is the issue and pro-life and pro-choice groups are on the same side, opposed by business groups.
Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 4:14 pm
Thanksgiving kicks off holiday party season, and at office holiday parties around the country, this means co-workers will make merry and mischief.
This time of year, Minneapolis attorney Kate Bischoff is a busy woman.
"I often represent clients who are handling the aftermath of a holiday party when it has gone off the rails," Bischoff says.
This includes, but is not limited to, bosses hitting on interns. There was also the case in which a manager gave a direct report a sexually explicit gift. Perhaps it was a joke, but it resulted in a harassment claim.
Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 11:20 am
Microsoft Office announced Tuesday that it's moving on from Clip Art, the image service that proved oh-so-popular in many a school paper and work presentation for years:
"The Office.com Clip Art and image library has closed shop. Customers can still add images to their documents, presentations, and other files that they have saved to their devices (phones, tablets, and PCs), OneDrive, and SharePoint."
Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 8:44 am
When it needs to serve 75,000 raw oysters to 3,000 people in one weekend, Washington D.C.'s landmark Old Ebbitt Grill calls in reinforcements. It hires expert oyster shuckers to help out with its Oyster Riot event each year. And for most of the last 20 years, those experts have included 59-year-old George Hastings.
Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 3:55 pm
Since Tim Cook has been CEO of Apple, the company's market capitalization (or the value of its outstanding shares) has increased by more than $300 billion. On Nov. 26, it reached its highest level yet, almost $698 billion.
Numerically, this is a feat. Quartz says, "In nominal terms no company has ever been as big as Apple." Of course, Quartz goes on to say that, adjusted for inflation, Microsoft was bigger at its 1990s peak.
Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 9:23 am
Gas stations have long been synonymous with cold pizza, dried-out doughnuts and mediocre hot dogs rotating on unappetizing roller grills. But in cities like Miami, Kansas City, and even Saxapahaw, N.C., among others, patrons can fuel up on gourmet grub and top off their tanks in one stop.
Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 1:13 pm
By a 44-5 vote, Chicago's City Council set a minimum-wage target of $13 an hour, to be reached by the middle of 2019. The move comes after Illinois passed a nonbinding advisory last month that calls for the state to raise its minimum pay level to $10 by the start of next year.
The current minimum wage in Chicago and the rest of Illinois is $8.25. Under the ordinance, the city's minimum wage will rise to $10 by next July and go up in increments each summer thereafter.
Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 5:55 pm
A new analysis takes aim at one of political science's evergreen topics: What do donors get in exchange for their campaign contributions?
The answer, according to three researchers at Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business, is that "investments in on-going access to policymakers are associated with future tax benefits."
Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 6:33 am
Do it or else. Increasingly, that's the message from employers who are offering financial incentives to workers who take part in wellness programs that include screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol and body mass index.
But the programs are under fire from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which filed suit against Honeywell International in October charging that the company's wellness program isn't voluntary and thus violates federal law.
Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 5:18 pm
For three years, Erin Maynard ran a store called The Geeky Cauldron out of her home in Phoenix. On the online artisan marketplace Etsy, she sold jewelry inspired by themes from popular books, films and TV shows: think vampires and wizards. For the most part, it made her decent income, but month-to-month sales were a roller coaster: Some months, sales topped $5,000, while other months they barely cracked $1,000.
Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 7:04 am
It's been nearly a year since Colorado made recreational marijuana legal, and since then, pot has become a billion-dollar business in the state. And some growers have made it a mission to make it legitimate and mainstream.
"Change the face," says pot entrepreneur Brooke Gehring. "But really, not to be the stereotype of what they think is stoner culture, but to realize they are true business people that are operating these companies."
Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 12:57 am
A recent hack of Sony Pictures resulted in a leak of at least five of the company's movies and the disabling of its corporate networks and email. The attack began last Monday, when screens at Sony displayed the words "Hacked By #GOP," as well as images of a skull. (#GOP reportedly stands for Guardians of Peace.) According to NBC News, an accompanying message "threatened to release 'secrets and top secrets' of the company."
Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 5:24 am
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In the pattern of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, tomorrow is labeled Giving Tuesday. Charities want to attract new donors. It's the third Giving Tuesday and the biggest so far, as NPR's Pam Fessler reports.
Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 5:42 pm
For many online retailers, Cyber Monday is likely to be the peak shopping day of the year. To handle the onslaught of orders, Amazon has begun rolling out a new robot army.
The Amazon order-fulfillment center in Tracy, Calif., is more than a million square feet — or 28 football fields, if you prefer — filled with orange and yellow bins flying this way and that on conveyor belts. Chances are, if you ordered a bunch of items in the San Francisco Bay Area recently, Amazon put that box together here.
Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 12:46 pm
All of us are familiar with the sound a smartphone makes when an email or text has arrived. Our somewhat Pavlovian response is to pick up the device, see who the message is from and read it.
In Germany, a growing number of these emails come from the boss contacting employees after work. That's not healthy, say experts on work-related stress, including psychologist Gerdamarie Schmitz in Berlin, who is feeling the technological encroachment herself.