Unions challenge draft rules on orientation discrimination

first_imgBritain’s major unions are mounting a legal challenge to draft regulationson sexual orientation discrimination on the grounds that they are not beingimplemented in line with the original EU Framework Directive. Seven of the TUC’s affiliated unions have lodged papers with the High Courtbecause they believe the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations2003 – which come into force on 1 December – fail to give adequate protectionto gay and lesbian workers in the areas of pension provision and working forreligious organisations. The unions, including Amicus-MSF, Unison and the National Union of Teachers,argue that allowing UK pension schemes to continue to restrict access tomarried employees (regulation 25) will amount to indirect discrimination as gaypeople are not able to marry their partners. The unions will argue that apart from a misinterpretation of the EUdirective, this regulation may also be a breach of the Human Rights Act 1998. The other aspect of the unions’ legal challenge relates to regulation 7(3),which allows employers to effectively prevent gay, lesbian or bi-sexual peoplefrom working for religious organisations such as churches, schools andcharities. The exemption was absent from the draft regulations when the Government putthem out to consultation at the beginning of the year and was introduced at thelast stage without consultation. – Last month the arbitration service Acas gave employers an opportunity tocomment on new draft guidance on the Employment Equality Regulations onReligion and Sexual Orientation, which will have the status of non-statutorycodes of practice. The codes give practical advice on how to apply the regulations andclarifies some of the grey areas. For example, it makes clear that it isillegal to discriminate against someone for not belonging to a specificreligion or belief as well as for subscribing to it. Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Unions challenge draft rules on orientation discriminationOn 1 Oct 2003 in Sexual orientation discrimination, Personnel Todaylast_img read more

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Childcare ‘Catch-22’ as public nurseries grow

first_img Comments are closed. Childcare ‘Catch-22’ as public nurseries growOn 27 Apr 2004 in Personnel Today The Government’s multi-billion pound expansion of public and voluntarychildcare sectors is creating recruitment problems for private day nurseries,according to the industry’s representative body. The problem is threatening the viability of smaller nurseries in rural andnorthern areas which are unable to increase salaries to attract staff, saidRosemary Murphy, chief executive of the National Day Nurseries Association. “The problem is getting worse,” she said. “The only way itwill [improve] is if the Government puts money in the sector through increasingtax credits. The alternative would be to increase fees, but I’m getting themessage the market cannot take it,” Murphy said. The Government spent £3.6bn on these services in 2002-03, mainly throughlocal government funding for early education and initiatives to improve theavailability of childcare, but also through the Department for Education andSkills, which spent £680m, according to the National Audit Office. In addition,parents pay a further £3bn annually towards childcare costs. Private sector nurseries face recruitment competition from public sectorschemes targeting their staff and senior management, Murphy said. “Its not recruiting staff at NVQ level three that is the problem, it isgetting management roles filled, you cannot develop managers overnight. Youneed experience and the right calibre.” Senior staff were leaving the private sector to join government initiativesto get higher salaries and further their careers, she said. Private nurserieswere offering more flexible working arrangements to try and attract staff butmany posts were still attracting no applicants. One nursery calculated that ifit were to pay staff at public sector rates, it would run up an annual deficitof £6,500, before paying for food, business rates or its mortgage, Murphy said.”People have a misunderstanding that private nurseries want to pay lessto pocket the profit. Actually, it is the only way the business issustainable.” At the beginning of the month, children’s minister Margaret Hodge confirmedproposals to develop a new pilot to extend the benefits of high quality earlyeducation and care to 6,000 two year olds in disadvantaged areas. By Lindsay Clark Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Online admin takes off as BA staff flock to use intranet site

first_imgBritish Airways (BA) has beaten its target of getting more than 80 per centof staff to carry out administrative tasks online. More than 40,000 of them now book training courses or check pensionscontributions online through a company intranet site, which has personalisedinformation for each employee. The portal’s development is part of a two-year business plan to reduce BA’spaper-based processes and prevent duplication. By March 2005, it expects tohave saved £50m by carrying out administration online. It has already started replacing paper payslips with online forms accessedvia the portal. So far, 400 senior managers have opted for electronic payslips,and the company hopes to introduce the online system for thousands of staff. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Online admin takes off as BA staff flock to use intranet siteOn 22 Jun 2004 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

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first_imgField of dreams? Why the government needs to rethink how occupational health is deliveredOn 6 Sep 2019 in OH service delivery, Return to work and rehabilitation, Sickness absence management, Occupational Health, Personnel Today “Build it and they will come” said the protagonist in the film Field of Dreams. But the fact they didn’t for the Fit for Work service means the government may need seriously to rethink how occupational health is delivered. Shutterstock. The government will need to widen its focus beyond traditional occupational health if it wants to build support for its reforms among smaller employers and avoid repeating the history of Fit for Work, writes Dr Syed Zakir Abbas.“Build it and they will come.” These words echoed in the ears of Kevin Costner’s protagonist, Ray Kinsella, in the Hollywood film Field of Dreams, leading the novice farmer to flatten his corn crop and build a baseball diamond in the middle of the Iowa countryside. Only, instead of welcoming an all-star team and crowds of adoring fans, he sits alone – watching intently a game nobody else can see.When Fit for Work was introduced as a national scheme, envisaged to solve workplace health, the low uptake resulted in a similar disappointment. Just like Ray Kinsella’s baseball field, nobody came. In fact, when the contract for the assessment service was terminated early, referrals were running at less than 2% of government predictions.About the authorDr Syed Zakir Abbas is chief medical officer at Unum UKThe failure of Fit for Work and its attempt to solve workplace health through a national scheme contracted from Whitehall poured cold water on ambitions for even greater state provision – policymakers envisaged eventual “integration of occupational health into primary care” as recently as in November 2017’s Improving Lives.But we could yet be in for a resetting of the agenda, with the government in July publishing its long-awaited consultation on workplace health provision and support.The ins and outs of that consultation process have been written about elsewhere but what is clear is that, while the government’s good intentions are undeniable, turning good intentions into good policy can be extraordinarily challenging.As any policy is made – documents published, stakeholders assembled, commitments made and reiterated – it builds a sense of momentum that can make it difficult to slow, stop, or steer.Policy can quickly be sent forward by this inertia into a land of unforeseen consequences. In Fit for Work’s case, promising pilots led to an ambitious green light for a service that hadn’t won the hearts and minds of employers.We, of course, cannot know what the findings of the consultation will bring or what the government will then propose to do. We’ve had some hints, such as last year when the then minister for disabled people, health and work admitted that the government had not ruled out mandating employer purchasing of occupational health services.Many assumed this could mean reforms similar to those found in the Netherlands or the Nordic countries. But the Work and Health Unit also told a conference in March that its approach would be more “nudges” than “Netherlands”.What if policymaking inertia were to send the government careering towards the conclusion that simply saw employer provision of occupational health as a panacea, as the goal in itself?Strong industry representations and policymakers’ understandable desire to deliver at pace might lead them to see occupational health as virtually the only answer to the problem of sickness absence management.Alternative modelsThis in turn could force them to spend their available research funding on standing up that case, with little time left to explore alternative models that might prove just as valid.Of course, managing sickness absence well is not the exclusive domain of traditional occupational health providers. The team I lead at Unum provides employers with group income protection access to early intervention and support services, active case management, and initiatives designed to prevent absence in the first place.Unum’s economy of scale allows any employer to have access to its team of doctors, psychologists, nurses, and vocational rehabilitation consultants whenever necessary – without any need to procure this expertise themselves.This is combined with financial support for employees, enabling employers of any size to manage the cost of absence and – crucially for policymakers – with the insurance premium element providing an economic incentive for the employer to partner with us to support a sustainable return to work.We know this is an effective model from the number of those using our rehabilitation support services that successfully return to work. Key to delivering this success is working so closely with employers and, often, change the way they view sickness absence altogether – from an unknown and unavoidable cost to something that can not only be managed but even prevented.It is this culture change that should now be the starting point for the government’s plans – supporting employers to invest in workplace health before someone falls ill, guiding them to explore all the expert help and support available, and rewarding businesses when they reintegrate staff who might otherwise have left altogether.Only by giving employers true ownership of this task can we achieve the change needed for success.Constructing a prescriptive and impossible policy ideal may well turn off smaller employers entirely – leaving officials to maintain another pristine baseball field with very few visitors.ReferencesImproving lives: the future of work, health and disability, 30 November 2017, Department for Work and Pensions and Department for Health and Social Care, (pp. 45), https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/improving-lives-the-future-of-work-health-and-disabilityOccupational health services and employers, 2 April 2019, Department for Work and Pensions and Department for Health and Social Care, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/occupational-health-services-and-employersPrivate providers of occupational health services: interim report, 2 April 2019, Department for Work and Pensions and Department for Health and Social Care, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/private-providers-of-occupational-health-services-interim-reportGovernment ‘not ruling out’ making occupational health mandatory for employers, says minister, 28 June 2018, Occupational Health & Wellbeing, https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/government-not-ruling-out-making-occupational-health-mandatory-for-employers-says-minister/OH job opportunities on Personnel TodayBrowse more OH jobs Related posts: No comments yet. Leave a Reply Click here to cancel reply.Comment Name (required) Email (will not be published) (required) Websitecenter_img Previous Article Next Article Occupational Health & Wellbeing research round-up: June 2020Covid-19 to have lasting impact on workplace healthThe potential adverse impact of the current pandemic on workers’ health extends…last_img read more

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Former HFZ exec, alleged mob members plead guilty in construction scheme

first_imgEmail Address* John Simonlacaj and Andrew Campos (HFZ, Wikia, Getty, iStock)UPDATED, Jan. 18, 2021, 5:13 p.m.: A former HFZ executive and 11 alleged members of the Gambino crime family pleaded guilty last week in connection to a construction bribery scheme that skimmed hundreds of thousands of dollars from the developer’s luxury condo tower and other projects.John Simonlacaj, HFZ’s former managing director of development, admitted to submitting a false tax return in relation to renovation work at his home. Simonlacaj was accused of accepting free labor and materials for the renovations from CWC Contracting, a carpentry subcontractor that worked on the XI, HFZ’s $2 billion luxury condo and hotel towers along Manhattan’s High Line.Simonlacaj didn’t report the work as taxable income, according to federal prosecutors.Simonlacaj’s cousin, Mark “Chippy” Kocaj, identified as a Gambino family associate, billed HFZ for the work at Simonlacaj’s home, prosecutors said. Kocaj pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy and faces up to 20 years in prison.The wide-ranking kickback scheme raised broader questions about the real estate industry’s continued mob ties, as The Real Deal reported last April.In December 2019, Simonlacaj pleaded not guilty to tax fraud and wire fraud conspiracy charges. Having now pleaded guilty to the former charge, he faces up to three years in prison.An attorney for Simonlacaj said that prosecutors had wrongly accused his client of scheming to defraud HFZ, noting that he had been a “loyal and valued executive for 25 years” and had “never betrayed his employer.”“As part of the agreement with the Government, John did admit that he should have paid a very limited amount of tax in 2018 related to work on his residence rather than pay in 2019 when he paid all tax that could be due,” Glenn Colton, Simonlacaj’s attorney said in a statement. “For that he accepts responsibility and seeks to put this matter behind him.”An attorney for Kocaj didn’t immediately respond to requests seeking comment.Between June 2018 and June 2019, CWC allegedly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to employees of multiple development and construction companies in exchange for work and larger payouts.Andrew Campos, the owner of CWC and a Gambino family captain, pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and faces up to 20 years in prison, according to court documents. Campos and others were accused of paying CWC employees millions of dollars in cash without making the required payroll tax payments and laundering money by issuing checks for construction work that CWC never actually completed. The proceeds of the scheme, according to prosecutors, was used, among other things, to pay for the construction of Campos’ home.An attorney for Campos didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment. As part of their plea agreements, the defendants have agreed to pay $1.6 million in penalties.“With these guilty pleas, a dozen members and associates of the Gambino crime family are held accountable for committing a litany of crimes in the construction industry that enriched the Mafia at the expense of the American taxpayer, construction companies harmed by their pernicious presence and the U.S. government,” Seth DuCharme, acting U. S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement.“The defendants will now have to pay the consequences for their corrupt activities,” DuCharme added.The guilty pleas come as HFZ confronts a series of other legal and financial challenges.The Children’s Investment Fund, a London-based hedge fund that provided a $1.25 billion loan for the XI, claims that the developer is behind on its interest payments and is seeking $160 million. The hedge fund’s lawsuit could be a precursor to foreclosure proceedings. Zeckendorf Development and Suffolk Construction are reportedly in talks to take over the XI, though HFZ denies that this is the case.And last month, HFZ lost its equity stake in an industrial portfolio through a UCC foreclosure auction.Editor’s note: This story was updated to include a statement from Simonlacaj’s attorney. Contact Kathryn Brenzel Full Name* Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Message* Share via Shortlink TagsCWC ContractingHFZ Capital Grouplast_img read more

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Real estate makes last-minute push to kill proposed preferred equity tax

first_img Andrew CuomoCommercial Real EstatePoliticsREBNY Email Address* The proposed tax first surfaced in January 2020 and has found its way into the state’s budget resolutions. The industry opposed the tax when it was originally introduced and is now pulling out all the stops to stymie it.“Anytime you have lenders, borrowers and unions who are on the same page on an issue, it’s probably time for policy-makers to pay attention,” said Mike Flood, MBA’s senior vice president of commercial and multifamily.Other organizations that signed on to the letter include the Real Estate Board of New York, the International Council of Shopping Centers, CRE Finance Council and the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York.In the letter, the group argued that the additional tax is likely to be passed on to cash-strapped landlords and their residential and commercial tenants.“A tax on mezzanine debt and preferred equity is a tax on renters and small businesses,” the coalition wrote. They also argued the tax could deter developers from building affordable and market-rate housing.In its memo, Greenberg Traurig also highlighted the tax’s unintended consequences while raising questions about the proposal’s constitutionality. Partner Glenn Newman, the former president of the NYC Tax Commission and the NYC Tax Appeals Tribunal, argued that the state’s constitution guarantees it will not tax “intangibles,” such as money deposited in a New York bank or brokerage or private equity investments.Flood pointed out that there has never been a hearing on the proposed tax and that, based on recent statements from Cuomo and his budget director, Rubert Mujica, the additional revenue isn’t needed.Cuomo and Mujica suggested during a Monday press conference that the $7 billion in taxes the legislature proposed are not necessary, as the state is receiving $12.6 billion in federal aid and higher-than-expected tax revenues.Flood said he was open to discussing the goal of increasing transparency around previously undocumented financing, but expressed doubt that was the primary driver of the proposal.“It’s about the tax,” he said. “If it’s about disclosure, let’s have that conversation.”Flood confirmed the coalition had meetings with lawmakers on the books. When asked if investigations into Cuomo’s alleged sexual harassment were weighing on the industry, he said, “Our feelings on the tax bill would be the same no matter the dynamics in New York.”Contact Erin Hudson From left: Assembly member Harvey Epstein, State Sen. Julia Salazar, MBA’s Mike Flood and REBNY’s James Whelan (Getty, Anuja Shakya/Whelan, MBA/Flood)Real estate players are using a letter-writing campaign and threats of lawsuits to try to stop a tax on preferred equity investors from advancing in state budget negotiations.On Tuesday, 13 local and national real estate organizations sent a letter expressing concerns over the impending tax to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as well as state Senate and Assembly leaders. The next day, the Mortgage Bankers Association, which organized the petition, encouraged its 80,000-strong membership to send automated letters to their representatives.Meanwhile, lawyers at Greenberg Traurig have penned a memo to clients making a case that the proposed levy violates New York State’s constitution. Stephen Rabinowtiz, who leads the law firm’s real estate practice, said the memo is meant to educate its clients on how to protect themselves against the tax if implemented, which “could, if appropriate, include lawsuits.”ADVERTISEMENT“We work for clients,” he said. “But if we have clients who were interested in challenging the constitutionality of the statute, we would consider doing that.”The idea of taxing mezzanine debt and preferred equity investments, which is a common method for financing commercial real estate projects, is the brainchild of Sen. Julia Salazar and Assembly member Harvey Epstein. The legislators argue the move would bring additional transparency to the market and generate a stream of revenue destined for New York City’s embattled public housing projects. It’s projected to bring in $199 million next year.Read morePols take aim at private equity with plan to tax mezz debtExperts take issue with proposed tax on mezzanine loansNew York preferred equity investors face tax hike Message* Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Tags Full Name* Share via Shortlinklast_img read more

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Grant Cardone crushes lawsuit accusing him of misleading real estate investors

first_imgGrant Cardone (Getty)A legal offensive that attempted to use Grant Cardone’s outsized social media presence against him has failed.U.S. District Judge John F. Walter last week dismissed a lawsuit filed by disgruntled investor Luis Pino in Los Angeles against the real estate crowdfunding guru and his Aventura-based company Cardone Capital.In dismissing the case, Walter concluded that Pino failed to adequately allege that Cardone made material misstatements and omissions about a 15 percent annual rate of return on any investments made to Cardone Capital’s real estate funds; as well as the likelihood and amount of cash distributions for investors; and the acquisition and financing of properties purchased by the Cardone funds.Cardone told The Real Deal that he blamed Pino’s lawyers for filing a weak case that had no merit.ADVERTISEMENT“It is a shame that in our society, ambulance seeking, vampiric blood-drinking litigation attorneys attempt to threaten people like me who are trying to build businesses,” Cardone said. “The case was completely baseless. There was zero truth to the allegations.”Pino’s lawyers, Krysta Kauble Pachman and Marc Seltzer, did not immediately respond to phone and email messages seeking comment.Pino, an Inglewood, California resident who invested $10,000 in two Cardone funds in September 2019, alleged that Cardone Capital ignored warnings from a Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement lawyer. The lawyer’s warnings were to remove misleading claims about a monthly distribution investors would receive that amounted to about a 15 percent annual return on investment, according to the suit.Pino’s complaint, which sought class action status on behalf of other Cardone Capital investors, alleged that Cardone pitched a wealthy lifestyle similar to his, if people put money into his real estate crowdfunding business.The lawsuit cited a Sept. 17, 2019 Instagram video post in which Cardone said a $220,000 investment could net a $660,000 position in one of the funds, and could also earn about $12,000 to $15,000 in distributions to investors. Pino also claimed, among other allegations, that Cardone’s statements about the funds making monthly distributions were misleading because Cardone suspended payments in April and May 20, at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.Judge Walter concluded that documents provided to investors known as “Offering Circulars” clearly disclosed that “the timing and amount of distributions are the sole discretion of our manager,” and that the distributions resumed in June 2020. In fact, that month Pino received a distribution that was three times larger than the regular monthly distribution, to make up for the lack of disbursements in April and May of last year, the ruling states.Walter also found that Pino failed to prove that Cardone misled investors into believing that he, and not them, would be responsible for making all debt service payments on any acquired properties. According to the judge’s ruling, the Offering Circulars make clear that Cardone and the investors would be jointly responsible for the debt, which he also disclosed in social media posts.“Every single one of the claims was thrown out and completely dismissed,” Cardone said. “We created Cardone Capital to help the little guy, and we were validated. We have continued to buy about one billion dollars’ worth of real estate while this was going on.”Attorneys specializing in securities litigation think he is an easy target because of his boisterous social media postings, Cardone added.“They saw that I have a following on Youtube and Instagram, and that I have a big mouth,” he said. “I knew we wouldn’t lose because we didn’t do anything wrong.” Share via Shortlink Tags Crowdfundinggrant cardoneMultifamilyReal Estate Lawsuits Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlinklast_img read more

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first_imgNine species of marine littoral Halacaridae were collected from Husvik Harbour, South Georgia, all of which are new to the fauna of the island. These include Isobactrus microdens Newell, Rhombognathus auster Bartsch, R. multisetosus Newell, R. plumifer Trouessart, Agauopsis inflatus Newell, Halacarellus novellus Bartsch and Pugh, H. porellus Bartsch and Pugh, Lohmannella bihamata Viets and L. grandipora Newell. The halacarid fauna is similar to that of southern South America, though depauperate and dominated by a single species, R. auster , which was found in large numbers and at all levels of the littoral zone. Low diversity probably results from isolation and/or severe climatic factors. Isolation includes both that of suitable habitable shores and the remoteness of South Georgia itself. The main climatic limitation is exposure to freezing air and icing during winter non-submergent neap tides.last_img read more

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first_imgThe Antarctic Peninsula region has exprienced a long-term warming trend over the twentieth century, with the 1971-90 mean at Faraday being 1.9°C warmer than the mean over 1903-41 based on expedition reports. For the period prior to 1900, there is conflicting evidence from different data sources. An initial interpretation of isotopic data from ice cores suggests that the nineteenth century was warmer than the twentieth century. In contrast, snow accumulation rate data for the nineteenth century from the same ice cores suggest lower temperatures. Here we investigate these facts by studying the links between atmospheric temperature over the Antarctic Peninsula, circulation parameters and isotopic data over the period of instrumental records. We show that the relationships between these variables are complex and highly spatially variable. In particular, the correlations between temperature and δ 18O and δD are generally of the order r = 0.5 or less on timescales of one to five years. Conflicts between evidence from accumulation rate and isotopic data appear to reflect the influence of source-region effects on the isotope records. To unravel the complex isotopic records available for the Peninsula region better; additional cores must be analysed for both δ 18O and 8D at the same site.last_img read more

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Some thoughts on precautionary measures for the krill fishery

first_imgThe concept of precautionary measures for krill is discussed. A precautionary catch limit, based on the potential yield model developed by the CCAMLR Scientific Committee’s Working Group on Krill (WG-Krill) is discussed and it is concluded that such a method is appropriate in setting an overall precautionary catch limit in large areas, such as Statistical Area 48, but the approach requires considerable refinement to provide a sufficient safeguard for land-based predators. A new approach is described which takes account of the requirements of land-based predators. Implementation of the approach is discussed and the question of how the method relates to the current CCAMLR Ecosystem Monitoring Program (CEMP) is considered.last_img read more

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