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ACC's Unfair Employment Practices
Postmarks  January 23, 2014


Acevedo Fires Officer in Connection With Off-Duty Employment Incident
Second APD officer fired this week
DAILY News  October 3, 2013, by Jordan Smith


The Common Law
Wrongful termination
Columns  May 6, 2005, by Luke Ellis and Nathan Moss
"...In Texas, as in most states, employment is governed by the "employment-at-will doctrine." This doctrine specifies that an employee or an employer may end the employment at any time without cause. Nevertheless, under certain conditions, an employee may sue an employer for termination, which creates what is called a "wrongful termination" lawsuit...."

The Hightower Report
The flim flam of the Employment Policy Institute
News Column  March 14, 2014, by Jim Hightower
"...For instance, the Employment Policies Institute has recently run full-page newspaper ads alerting the public and policymakers that an impressive group of some 650 economists who are supporting an increase in America's minimum wage includes many who are "radical researchers." The institute's message is that no one should listen to, much less respect, this group of economists...."

Fist Fight
A comedy that revels in low-hanging fruit
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Film Review  February 17, 2017, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...On the last day of the semester, Roosevelt High School is overrun by an onslaught of student pranks, while English teacher Mr. Campbell (Day) anxiously awaits word of his re-employment for the upcoming school year..."

Equity
High-wire drama about women working on Wall St. is also made by women
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Film Review  August 19, 2016, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Although tempting, it would be disingenuous to label this movie about women who work in the upper echelons of the finance industry The She-Wolves of Wall Street. Equity does not in the slightest share the balls-out recklessness and scofflaw attitudes of that other movie’s characters, and moreover, its intent and subtleties are more precisely directed at the invisible and unspoken barrier to women’s advancement in this employment sector: the glass ceiling...."

Austin First Fair Chance City in the South
Ban the box ordinance passes Council
DAILY News  March 25, 2016, by Amy Kamp
"...On Thursday, March 24, Austin became the first city in the South to pass a Fair Chance Hiring ordinance requiring private employers to delay asking about a job applicant’s criminal history until a conditional offer of employment has been made...."

APA Files Grievance Against APD
Association accuses Acevedo of being retaliatory in his discipline
DAILY News  January 25, 2016, by Chase Hoffberger
"...The Austin Police Association filed a grievance Friday in connection to the indefinite suspension (civil service for “firing”) of Johnny McMiller, a lieutenant with the department who lost his job on Dec. 14 for violating APD policies pertaining to honesty, insubordination, neglect of duty, and the department’s guidelines for secondary employment...."

Focus
Will Smith is a con man compromised by the reappearance of his shady ex.
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Film Review  March 6, 2015, by Kimberley Jones
"...Smith’s Nicky is a cautious con man – now there’s a fun twist – who runs his rackets like a circumspect small-business owner, providing regular employment and equal spoils to his ace team of blackmailers, cutpurses, and money launderers. When his team sets up camp in New Orleans to pillage tourists in town for the Super Bowl, he takes Jess (Robbie, the breakout from 2013’s The Wolf of Wall Street) into his tutelage..."

The Good Lie
A well-told story about four lost boys and girls of the Sudan in America gets a welcome assist from Hollywood.
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Film Review  October 3, 2014, by Kimberley Jones
"...The group – which thins over the journey and subsequent years – eventually lands in America on the eve of 9/11: Mamere (Oceng), the de facto chief, who dreams of becoming a doctor; Jeremiah (Duany), a gentle giant who does missionary work; spry Paul (Jal), whose spirit withers in America; and Mamere’s sister, Abital (Wiel), who is sent to live in Boston, far from the young men’s new home in Kansas City, Mo. In Missouri, the young men meet Witherspoon’s Carrie, an employment officer who begrudgingly takes on their case and, eventually, their cause – to reunite with Abital...."

The Immigrant
Marion Cotillard and Joaquin Phoenix star in James Gray's latest New York opus, a story about a woman turned out from Ellis Island to fend for herself on the mean streets of New York.
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Film Review  May 30, 2014, by Kimberley Jones
"...Bruno (Phoenix), who claims to be from an immigrant aid society, swoops in to help. He is expert at identifying Ewa’s immediate needs and fulfilling them: shelter, respectable employment as a seamstress in the burlesque hall he runs..."

Albert Nobbs
This melancholy picture is distinguished by Glenn Close's vanishing act in the titular role.
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Film Review  January 27, 2012, by Marc Savlov
"...Thus Nobbs the feminine becomes Nobbs the masculine: tight-lipped, wide-eyed, almost mannequinesque in the intensity of her/his charade. After having suffered through a miserable childhood and eventually having secured suitable employment in a Dublin hotel, Nobbs' daily routine is one of ongoing self-obliteration..."

Hop
Some films are saccharine, but Hop is pure sugar – processed sugar.
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Film Review  April 1, 2011, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Hop moves forward with the same kind of insistent drumbeat that drives the film’s theme song, “I Want Candy.” Brand voices the animated rabbit E.B., the Easter Bunny in training, who aspires to become a famous drummer instead of a magical egg-delivery agent like his father before him. (Curiously, E.B’s dad, who is voiced by Laurie, explains that the Easter Bunny’s lineage goes back 4,000 years, a movie factoid that will come as news to those who witnessed Jesus’ resurrection some 2,000 years ago.) Marsden, as Fred O’Hare, heads up the live-action portion of Hop as a slacker whose disinterest in gainful employment disappoints his parents (the woefully underused Cole and Perkins)..."

Waitress
Despite a storyline that involves an unplanned pregnancy, various affairs, spousal abuse, maternal ambivalence, and food-service employment, Waitress is an optimistic comedy about getting past your mistakes and making the best of life.
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Film Review  May 11, 2007, by Marrit Ingman
"...Shelly’s last movie, Waitress, which she wrote and directed, is also authentically weird. It doesn’t fit the romantic-comedy mold, but somehow it’s a sunnier and more playful film than many that do – despite a storyline about an unplanned pregnancy, various affairs, spousal abuse, maternal ambivalence, and food-service employment..."

Venus
Peter O'Toole, in an Oscar-caliber and -nominated performance, pulls off the tricky May-December relationship at the heart of Venus with colossal panache and sublime craft.
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Film Review  January 26, 2007, by Marc Savlov
"..."I want to be a model," she confides, warily. But instead of laughing, he secures her employment as an artist's model in a life-drawing class..."

Keeping Mum
Maggie Smith, Rowan Atkinson, Kristen Scott Thomas, and Patrick Swayze come together for this dark British comedy.
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Film Review  October 13, 2006, by Marc Savlov
"...In Keeping Mum (with an original screenplay by American author Richard Russo), two-time Oscar winner Dame Maggie Smith plays Grace, who arrives in a tiny village in Cornwall to tend house for the befuddled local vicar, Walter Goodfellow (Atkinson, playing down his usual schtick), and his family, which includes wife Gloria (Thomas), who's having an affair with her American golf pro (Swayze, satirizing his Dirty Dancing days with mixed results), and their two offspring, teen slag Holly (Egerton-Dick) and bully-bedeviled Petey (Parkes). It'd all be too, too Mary Poppins were it not for the fact that the elderly Grace's previous employment was in an asylum for the criminally insane..."

Slaves to the Underground
Putting reverse English on a timeless platitude, young director Kristine Peterson shows us some of the endless ways in which the political is personal. The characters in her achingly earnest...
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Film Review  December 12, 1997, by Russell Smith
"...The characters in her achingly earnest romantic comedy are mostly foot soldiers in Seattle's musico-political bohemia, cranking out power chords and photocopied 'zines aimed at raising the consciousness of a nation spiritually starved by bland pop culture and the digital Soma of Chairman Bill Gates. The principals are Shelly (Gross) and Suzy (Ryan), the leaders of an all-female punk band called the No Exits, and Jimmy (Bortz), a political newsletter publisher whose dwindling finances raise the awful specter of 9-5 employment..."

EEOC Rules in Favor of Hopkins
Ruling says APD's health questionnaires violate federal law
DAILY News  December 23, 2014, by Chase Hoffberger
"...On Wednesday, Dec. 17, one day before our cover story on ex-officer Jermaine Hopkins’ lengthy fallout with the Austin Police Department hit newsstands, the story’s 33-year-old subject received word that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) had ruled in his favor on one of the four complaints he filed against APD...."

The Common Law
Can I see my employment personnel file?
Columns  May 11, 2007, by Luke Ellis
"...I recently asked to see my file, and my boss refused. Don't I have a right to see my own employment personnel file?..."

Blind Leading the Sighted
Yellow Cab of Austin has become an employment option for people who are visually impaired
News Story  June 9, 2006, by R.U. Steinberg
"...Sadler said he recently helped form a coalition to help increase public awareness about issues for people without physical sight. "The blind need to be taught they can be independent and businesses need to be shown we can work just as well – if not better – than 'normal people.' Our unemployment rate is 70 to 80%, which is a disaster."..."

No Commitment Necessary
As the economy takes a dive, many high tech workers find themselves stuck on the temping treadmill
News Story  March 9, 2001, by Erica C. Barnett
"...Temporary and contract jobs, despite recruiters' talk of "flexibility" and "options," are often lower-paying, rarely offer benefits, and tend to be less stable than permanent jobs even in the volatile high tech industry. If your boss decides he doesn't like you, your desk better be packed up by noon, because your "contract" is between the company you're working for and the employment agency that hired you..."

Getting Outside the Box
Will City Council decide to give job applicants with criminal records a "fair chance"?
News Story  October 8, 2015, by Amy Kamp
"...They'll be expected to find jobs and housing while complying with the requirements of their parole or probation. Unfortunately for them, housing and employment discrimination are rampant...."

Broken News
Times Warner's struggling news channel lashes out at defectors
News Story  July 14, 2000, by Erica C. Barnett
"...I have $30 in my checking account."A Binding Contract The fact that the lawsuit has even been filed (by local heavyweights Fulbright & Jaworski, no less), more than the amount Time Warner is seeking, says everything there is to know about the cable behemoth's attitude toward recruitment and retention. Hansson's contract -- a maze of confusing legal terms and clauses setting limitations on her future employment -- is written in a manner that virtually prohibits her from leaving News 8 for any reason until the term of the contract is complete..."

Meanwhile, Back at the Salt Mines
News Story  June 6, 1997
"...For more on school-to-work at AISD, check out the district's comprehensive plan online at http://www.austin.isd.tenet.edu/complan/school_wk.html. American Institute for Learning (472-3395) "provides basic and remedial education and pre-vocation employment to at-risk youth." The Institute, which comprises the old Creative Rapid Learning Center, is online at http://www.ail.org..."

Six Figures of Sick Pay
Did Acevedo backpedal on a suspension to avoid arbitration?
News Story  September 8, 2016, by Chase Hoffberger
"...McMiller lost his job in part because of the role Acevedo concluded the lieutenant played following the June 6, 2015 actions of Nathaniel Roberts. Roberts, then a sergeant at APD, was working a secondary employment with Capital Metro (for which APD holds a law enforcement contract) when he arrived early for his shift, knocked off for five-and-a-half hours to fix his house up for a potential sale, then missed out on the clock-out at 1:30am the next day..."

House Arrest
APD brass decided they had a problem with Officer Jermaine Hopkins – so they assigned him to stay-at-home duty until they could figure out what to do with him. That was a really bad idea.
News Story  December 18, 2014, by Chase Hoffberger
"...On Aug. 7, 2013, Hopkins filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint, on the same grounds..."

Point Austin: Fire 'At Will'
Extending 'just cause' protections to all city workers
News Column  August 3, 2012, by Michael King
"...Sponsored by Coun­cil Member Laura Morrison, the proposal would place on the ballot a charter amendment that, if approved by the voters, would extend some basic civil service protections to all city employees. As Morrison explained it this week, the central goal would be to move city employees from an "at will" employment system to a "just cause" system..."

After the Storm
Austin's Louisiana exiles remain suspended between before and after
News Story  August 25, 2006, by Cheryl Smith
"...The fact that Reed was able to line up a job isn't that surprising, at least according to Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers. "Blacks who have returned to the city are working: Their employment rate was 60% last quarter, about the same as the national average for black workers," notes Jared Bernstein, a senior economist at the labor-focused Economic Policy Institute, in a recent data analysis..."

The Common Law
Additional legal issues affecting nonprofits
Columns  July 30, 2004, by Luke Ellis
"...Yes, in certain circumstances. Texas is considered an "employment at will" state, which means that, as a general rule, an employer can fire an employee for a good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all..."

Naked City
The Screwed Can't Sue
News Story  June 7, 2002, by Jordan Smith
"...Despite a challenge by Halliburton, two lower courts upheld Myers' right to sue. Since Myers' employment is at-will (as with all non-union employees in Texas), the Houston's 14th Court of Appeals found that Halliburton's program constituted an "illusory" promise..."

Margo Frasier Under Review
The retired Police Monitor stands accused of handling secondary work on city time
News Story  April 27, 2017, by Chase Hoffberger
"...Retired Police Monitor Margo Frasier is the subject of a new complaint from the Office of the City Auditor. On Tuesday, chief investigator Nathan Wiebe filed paperwork to the city's Ethics Review Commission alleging that Frasier used city time and resources to handle some menial secondary employment tasks..."

Notes on Kamp: Easing the Stigma
Fair Chance ordinance is a good start in helping people with criminal records rejoin society
News Column  March 24, 2016, by Amy Kamp
"...This week is the culmination of over a year's worth of effort by criminal justice reform advocates to improve employment opportunities for people with criminal records. If Council Member Greg Casar's Fair Chance Hiring resolution passes, private employers will have to wait until a conditional offer of employment has been made before asking about or considering a job applicant's criminal history...."

Acevedo Issues Two Suspensions
One cop indefinitely suspended for lying
DAILY News  December 21, 2015, by Chase Hoffberger
"...Nathaniel Roberts’ recent 60-day suspension. McMiller was Roberts’ supervisor on a secondary employment job running law enforcement for Cap Metro, where they worked in APD uniform..."

Why Rail?
The city is pushing for a 2012 vote to build urban rail. The critics are asking, 'Who needs it?'
News Story  April 8, 2011, by Lee Nichols
"...Most important of all are its anticipated destinations. If it gets fully built, it will connect the still-growing Mueller neighborhood, Hancock Center, and the redeveloping Riverside area with the major employment centers of the University of Texas and the Capitol complex, something the Red Line – which terminates at the southeast corner of Downtown, well away from those destinations – fails to do..."

The Common Law
Sexual harassment at work - what is it?
Columns  December 8, 2006, by Luke Ellis
"...The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission describes sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment...."

Naked City
Headlines and happenings from Austin and beyond
News Story  November 3, 2006
"...• After months of speculation and waiting, Austin Police Association President Mike Sheffield announced publicly that he will retire in December from his role as police union boss and as an APD detective. Sheffield has been with the department for 28 years and has led the union for eight, a tenure that has seen the nearly 1,400-member police association become a cohesive and powerful group – sometimes to the chagrin of City Hall, notably during employment-contract-bargaining sessions when the city often appeared decidedly less savvy than union leaders..."

Culinary Studies
Cooking Schools in Austin
Food Story  January 19, 2001, by MM Pack
"...The focus of TCA's culinary curriculum is on classical, traditional European cuisine, augmented by core general education courses and a strong business and management component. According to Giblin, the program positions students for employment in hotels and restaurants..."

Postmarks
Readers react to last week's cover story on the murder of Lauryn Paige Fuller.
Columns  February 25, 2000
"...What bothers me is how a publication such as yourselves, being neither wholly original in execution of content nor style (every major city has a version of you or vice versa), allows what little journalistic integrity that remains in our society to go unchecked. How can you happily run this Mojo's ad and then happily run on page 129 a four-color, quarter-page employment ad for the company you allow to be trashed? Am I wrong or is this a conflict of interest? Too, not only is The Austin Chronicle biting the hand that feeds it, but aren't you all also quietly telling the many industries of Austin (local and national) that "we are the new whore of Austin and we'll run any ad no matter the circumstance or how it may portray your business for which we run ads also"?..."

Austin Interfaith
Organizing Austin One Congregation at a Time
News Story  July 21, 1995, by Robert Bryce
"...Austin Interfaith then convinced the city to provide another $300,0000 for a summer youth employment program for students aged 12-18. Once the funding was in place, member congregations provided 15 hours of job training for the students, who then went through an employment selection process..."

How to Raise Worker Wages
Organize, arrive, persist, persist, persist
News Story  March 30, 2017, by Jack Craver
"...While attempts to scale back criminalization of the American poor have gained support from leaders across the political spectrum, there is a clear left-right divide when it comes to helping those with convictions find fair paths toward employment. Repub­licans who control the Texas Legislature are pushing legislation via HB 577 to undo Austin's Fair Chance ordinance, which bars employers from asking job applicants about criminal convictions prior to making a conditional offer of employment. What's Your Status?..."

The Tipping Point
By raising menu prices and eliminating gratuity, restaurateurs hope they've found the recipe for a better quality of life for staff
Food Story  March 24, 2016, by Veronica Meewes
"...Since 1991, the corporate restaurant industry has maintained a sub-minimum wage of $2.13 an hour for tipped workers, yielding in a median income of $14,596 a year. RAISE (Restaurants Advancing Industry Standards in Employment), an association of 150 business owners across the country, is working hard to require restaurants to pay all employees at least minimum wage, a step nine states (plus cities like Seattle and Oakland) have already taken...."

More Trouble for Hopkins
Suspended APD officer incurs new sanctions
News Story  May 28, 2015, by Chase Hoffberger
"...Manley's email says Hop­kins' actions are in violation of APD Policies 949 and 935. Policy 949 pertains to secondary employment and bars officers from engaging in "any type of secondary employment which may bring the Department into disrepute or impair the operation and/or efficiency of the Department." (It also requires those seeking secondary employment to receive approval from APD's Real Time Crime Center, one's chain of command, and APD's Special Events Unit.) Policy 935, which covers court appearances, dictates that employees will notify their supervisors of any subpoenas or agreements they've made to testify in court, and mandates that officers will not receive compensation for testimony as an expert witness without the approval of Chief Art Acevedo or a designee...."

The Hightower Report
Pulling the curtain on an anti-minimum wage front group
News Column  April 18, 2014, by Jim Hightower
"...But, no – it's not a group at all, just a curtain. Who's behind it? Something that goes by the name of the Employment Policies Institute, which sounds rock solid, but it, too, is just a curtain...."

Department of Justice Initiates Inquiry into AFD
Fire department hiring woes continue
DAILY News  April 25, 2013, by Jordan Smith
"...Title VII prohibits an employer from intentional discrimination as well as from using a "neutral employment practice that results in a disparate impact" on a person based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, "unless such practice is 'job related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity,'" and there is no other practice that would "result in less disparate impact and equally serve the employer's legitimate interests," reads the letter, penned by the chief of the DOJ's employment litigation section...."

Parks, Wildlife, and Racism
Wardens recount longstanding, institutional discrimination against African-Americans at TP&W
News Story  August 10, 2012, by Patricia J. Ruland
"...But Sgt. Melvin Fowler of Pflugerville, who is black, and Warden John Rao, of Clear Lake, who is white – both veteran wardens with more than two decades of experience – have spoken out by filing formal complaints against the agency with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission...."

The Color of Fire
The Austin Fire Department is making another attempt at staff diversity – will it do any better this time?
News Story  May 13, 2011, by Josh Rosenblatt
"...The problem is, not long after these cognitive tests became the norm in hiring, it was determined that (like many such standardized tests) they have what is known as a high "adverse impact." According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, that means that there is a "substantially different rate of selection in hiring, promotion or other employment decision which works to the disadvantage of members of a race, sex or ethnic group." In other words, certain "subclasses" of applicants don't do as well in certain parts of a hiring process as others..."

Arnold Terminates Another Medi-Pot Law
The Governator strikes again, vetoing protections for medi-pot patients
DAILY News  October 3, 2008, by Jordan Smith
"...But Schwarzenegger wasn't having it. "I am concerned with interference in employment decisions as they relate to marijuana use," he wrote in a veto message to Leno..."

The Common Law
Noncompete Agreements
Columns  July 25, 2008, by Chris Oddo
"...In short, you will need a lawyer to review your contract, especially the limitations your employer wants to impose on your future employment, the circumstances in which you signed the contract, what sort of training or confidential information your employer gave you after you signed the noncompete agreement, and what sort of work you will be doing for your new employer...."

City Manager Futrell Responds: Explaining High-Level Ethical Principles
Postmarks  December 19, 2006
"...15]. He then tries to draw a parallel about how I handle my job as city manager and my husband's employment to a past conflict-of-interest case involving a contract project manager on a major city utility project..."

State Enviro Agency Accused of Racism
Three longtime African-American employees of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality go public with charges that they were denied opportunities for advancement and systematically blocked from salary increases
News Story  February 10, 2006, by Daniel Mottola
"...Having sought the backing of the Austin NAACP, the African-American workers, part of the Support Services division, where they oversee millions of dollars of state contracts, have gone public with charges that they were denied opportunities for advancement and systematically blocked from salary increases. Not satisfied with an internal TCEQ investigation last fall that they deemed inconclusive and rushed, the three filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency charged with enforcing civil rights laws..."

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