01-20-2020  9:42 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

The Skanner in Step With Changing Times

Celebrating a history of service

Starbucks, Home of the $4 Latte, is Moving Into Poor Areas

Starbucks plans to open or remodel 85 stores by 2025 in rural and urban communities across the U.S. The effort will bring to 100 the number of "community stores" Starbucks has opened since it announced the program in 2015

Native American Curriculum Rolls Out in Oregon Classrooms

The state developed the curriculum, as required by Senate Bill 13, with the input of Native leaders for 18 months, but is still behind. A soft roll-out begins this month

Community Surprised at Police Chief’s Departure, Concerned by Quick Replacement

Deputy Chief Jami Resch immediately named as successor.

NEWS BRIEFS

Annual “Salute to Greatness” Luncheon Celebrating Students, Community & Civic Leaders

Keynote Speaker: Ms. Rukaiyah Adams, Chair of Oregon Investment Council & Chief Investment Officer at Meyer Memorial Trust....

Grant High School Students to Read Their Own Work at Broadway Books

Local author and writing instructor Joanna Rose will lead thegroup of young writers at the event to be held on Wednesday, January 22 ...

AG Rosenblum Announces $4 Million Settlement with CenturyLink

Since 2014, Oregon DOJ has received more than 1,200 consumer complaints about CenturyLink ...

Black Guest at Downtown Portland Hotel Sues Over ‘No Party’ Promise

Felicia Gonzales claims the front desk clerk at the Residence Inn told her that all guests had to sign the policy, but she watched...

National Urban League Warns Trump Administration: Don't Weaken Community Reinvestment Act to Allow Racial Discrimination in Lending

Proposed changes to the Community Reinvestment Act could further limit access to the American Dream ...

Classes cancelled at Beaverton High following fire

BEAVERTON, Ore. (AP) — Classes at a high school in Beaverton, Oregon, will be cancelled Tuesday following a weekend fire.KOIN reports that investigators concluded on Sunday that the “failure of a small refrigerator” in one of the Beaverton High School classrooms started the...

Idaho lawmakers consider changes in primary voting rules

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Voters will have about two weeks to choose a political party if they want to vote in Idaho's Democratic and Republican presidential primaries in March following action by a House panel on Monday.The State Affairs Committee sent to the full House legislation that will take...

New Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz predicts success

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Eli Drinkwitz was saying all the right things after being introduced as the new football coach at Missouri, laying out his vision for the once-proud program with unwavering confidence and bold proclamations.Then the former Appalachian State coach made a minor...

LSU's Burrow, Auburn's Brown named AP SEC players of year

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is a unanimous selection as the offensive player of the year on The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference football team.The top-ranked Tigers also have the SEC’s coach of the year in Ed Orgeron and the newcomer of the year in freshman cornerback Derek...

OPINION

Martin Luther King Day is an Opportunity for Service

Find out where you can volunteer and make a difference to the community ...

Looking to 2020 — Put Your Vote to WORK!

Ronald Reagan, who turned his back on organized labor and started America’s middle-class into a tailspin, has recently been voted by this administration’s NLRB into the Labor Hall of Fame ...

How Putting Purpose Into Your New Year’s Resolutions Can Bring Meaning and Results

Only 4% of people report following through on all of the resolutions they personally set ...

I Was Just Thinking… Mama in the Classroom

I wrote my first column in 1988 for a local newspaper about a beloved Dallas guidance counselor and teacher that most students called “Mama” ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Pro-gun rally by thousands in Virginia ends peacefully

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Tens of thousands of gun-rights activists from around the country rallied peacefully at the Virginia Capitol on Monday to protest plans by the state's Democratic leadership to pass gun-control legislation — a move that has become a key flash point in the national...

Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Faith, politics mix on holiday

ATLANTA (AP) — Against the backdrop of a presidential election year, Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. holiday found leaders still wrestling over how to best embody the slain civil rights leader.In Atlanta, Republicans told a sometimes cool crowd at Ebenezer Baptist Church, King's onetime...

2020 Democratic contenders link arms in MLK Jr. Day march

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Democratic presidential candidates hit pause on their recent feuds Monday as they walked shoulder to shoulder through the streets of South Carolina’s capital city to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and rally around their push to defeat President Donald...

ENTERTAINMENT

Robert De Niro gets political as he accepts SAG Awards honor

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Robert De Niro received the Screen Actors Guild lifetime achievement award Sunday to praise for his illustrious career and thunderous applause from his fellow performers, but spent much of his acceptance speech on politics. “There's right and there's wrong, and...

Prince Harry: 'No other option' but to cut royal ties

LONDON (AP) — Prince Harry said Sunday that he felt “great sadness” but found “no other option” to cutting almost all of his and his wife Meghan’s royal ties in the hopes of achieving a more peaceful life.The comments were Harry’s first public...

'Parasite' parties, Leo greets young fans inside SAG Awards

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Off-camera and during commercials, the stars at the Screen Actors Guild Awards got to rub shoulders, give congratulatory kisses, and meet for the first or the 50th time. Here are some of the more memorable moments from inside Sunday night's ceremony at the Shrine...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

James Dean revival spurs debate on raising the digital dead

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The men bringing James Dean back to life for a forthcoming film are aiming not just to...

China coronavirus claims 4th victim as more screenings added

BEIJING (AP) — A fourth person has died in an outbreak of a new coronavirus in China, authorities said...

Prince Harry hopes for calmer future, but not much chance

LONDON (AP) — Prince Harry says he's taking a “leap of faith’’ as he steps back from...

Prince Harry hopes for calmer future, but not much chance

LONDON (AP) — Prince Harry says he's taking a “leap of faith’’ as he steps back from...

Nepalese-owned operators take lead on world's highest peaks

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Once relegated to support staff, Nepalese climbers famous for their skills on the...

Putin sends his constitutional proposals to Parliament

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday submitted to parliament a package of...

McMenamins
Blair Hickman and Christie Thompson Propublica

In 1994, Bridget O'Connor began an internship at Rockland Psychiatric Center, where one of the doctors allegedly began to refer to her as Miss Sexual Harassment, told her that she should participate in an orgy, and suggested that she remove her clothing before meeting with him. Other women in the office made similar claims.

Yet when O'Connor filed a lawsuit, her sexual harassment claims were dismissed because she was an unpaid intern. A federal appeals court affirmed the decision to throw out the claim.

Unpaid interns miss out on wages and employment benefits, but they can also find themselves in "legal limbo" when it comes to civil rights, according to law professor and intern labor rights advocate David Yamada. The O'Connor decision (the leading ruling on the matter, according to Yamada) held that because they don't get a paycheck, unpaid interns are not "employees" under the Civil Rights Act -- and thus, they're not protected.

Federal policies echo court rulings. The laws enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, including the Civil Rights Act, don't cover interns unless they receive "significant remuneration," according to commission spokesperson Joseph Olivares.

"At least with respect to the federal law that we enforce, an unpaid intern would not be legally protected by our laws prohibiting sexual harassment," Olivares said in an email to ProPublica.

It's unclear how many interns are sexually harassed at work. The commission doesn't keep those statistics, according to Olivares. And as the Chicago Tribune detailed in 2011, interns often don't know where to turn when faced with harassment or can fear retaliation from bosses they look to for future jobs or recommendations.

"You can understand perhaps why there haven't been more cases," said Yamada. "If you're a young student, and have been trying to get a career off the ground, the bind that puts someone in is significant, because there's retaliation."

Olivares noted that while federal laws don't protect unpaid interns, company policies and state or local laws could sometimes broaden workplace protections.

In June, Oregon passed a law expanding discrimination and harassment protections to interns, whether they are paid or not. According to Charlie Burr, spokespersonfor the state's Bureau of Labor and Industries, Oregon is the first state to pass such protections.

"Those principles of protecting people in the workplace have been in place for a long time, but they've never applied to interns," said Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian. "It really left them with few options."

Oregon's law protects interns from sexual harassment and discrimination based on race, religion, gender, disability, and sexual orientation and covers wrongful termination tied to discrimination — but it doesn't create an employment relationship or impact wages, an issue the state was careful to avoid, according to Avakian.

The idea for the law came from Carole Delogu, a former unpaid intern in the state's Bureau of Labor and Industries, after she read an article in the Public Interest Law Journal on the workplace protections not afforded to interns.

"I was in disbelief," Delogu said, of her reaction to the loophole. "Interns are in a fragile place, they want to get their foot in the door, so they don't complain."

So Delogu brought her concerns to the Labor bureau, and helped draft a proposal to close the gap in protections. Under the new law, Delogu hopes "more people will be able to stand up for their rights."

D.C. has made similar strides to protect interns. Council member Mary Cheh lobbied successfully to extend the D.C. Human Rights Act protections against sexual harassment to interns after hearing the story of one intern's sexual harassment claims against her employer, a massage and body therapy center in Friendship Heights. The intern's case was dismissed because she was unpaid.

Yet as Maurice Pianko, attorney and founder of Intern Justice, points out: if for-profit employers paid their interns when they should (and usually they should be paid), protection from discrimination and sexual harassment would automatically apply.

"It's a surprise to me to see that there are still companies not paying their employees," Pianko said. "If any general counsel wants to find out the law they can, and honestly I don't know what they're thinking." 

 

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