Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Sunday, February 12, 2012, LL Cool J did something that was very courageous in today’s environment. He offered the following prayer:
That such a prayer was offered and so warmly welcomed on national television before such a decisively secular crowd -- with nary a complaint -- is reflective, I think, of something culturally significant:Heavenly Father, we thank you for sharing our sister Whitney with us. Today our thoughts are with her mother, her daughter, and all of her loved ones. And although she is gone too soon, we remain truly blessed to have been touched by her beautiful spirit, and to have the legacy of her music to cherish and share forever. Amen.
The vast majority of people in this country believe in God. They also believe in prayer and take comfort in the practice of praying, especially when they are struggling to make sense of a broken world. As such, despite some rogue objections on occasion, there's no need to shy away from this type of public expression of faith. It is healty and it is helpful.
How LL Cool J prayed is just how most prayers in public settings have been traditionally offered over the years. Personally I pray in Jesus' name. But Sunday night's host prayed as one might expect one pray before a secular crowd. He simply acknowledged God and expressed gratitude for the life of a recording artist whom millions of people appreciated for over 20 years. In doing so LL Cool J subtly reminder viewers that there is a boss of the universe -- and we're not Him.
That is not controversial or divisive. It is a good thing!
He probably could not have offered this prayer at a football game or school graduation.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
In Kellar, the former employee was hired in 2001 as a cutter's helper and three years later she was promoted to the position of sewing manager. She had a variety of responsibilities and was paid on an hourly basis.
According to the employee, she regularly arrived at work between 15 and 25 minutes before her 5:00 a.m. shift. She then spent at least 20 minutes unlocking doors, turning on lights and preparing coffee for other employees. No one told her she needed to come in before her shift. She came in early because she felt it would have been a "hassle" to show up precisely at her designated start time and still get her subordinates' workstations "up and running" so they could go straight to work when they arrived.
In February 2009, the employee resigned and sued her employer for overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The employee's sister, who also worked for the employer, claimed that her sister did not work before the start of her shift but chatted and drank coffee. In addition, the employee was aware that the employer's handbook required preapproval for working overtime. Kellar also admitted that she never 1) told the owners about working before the start of her shift; 2) reported errors with her pay checks; 3) requested overtime pay, or 4) suggested to HR that her schedule needed to be adjusted to account for her preshift work.
The district court dismissed the employee's complaint because her preshift activities were preliminary and minimal. The lower court also found that the employer did not know she was engaging in preshift work. The worker appealed but, while the Court of Appeals disagreed with the district court that the preshift work was preliminary and minimal, the appeals court did find that the employer did not know or have reason to know that the employee was working prior to her shift. Troy Thompson, "Employee Not Entitled to Overtime When Employer Unaware of Work," www.axley.com (Jan. 10, 2012).
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage, overtime pay and recordkeeping standards for employees.
Hours worked ordinarily include all the time during which an employee is required to be on the employer's premises, on duty, or at a prescribed workplace. Under the FLSA, non-exempt employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 hours per workweek at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay.
To state a claim for overtime under the FLSA, the employee must show that the employer had actual or constructive knowledge of the overtime work performed. Constructive knowledge is a legal term that means the employer is presumed to know something regardless of whether the employer does, in fact, have knowledge. An employer is presumed to have constructive knowledge if knowledge is obtainable by the exercise of reasonable care. Thus, if the employer should have known, exercising reasonable care, that the employee in this case was working overtime, the court may have ruled for the employee.
Employers should keep detailed time records for employees. In addition, managers and supervisors must be observant and know if workers are starting to work early or staying late after their shifts to make sure there is no expectation of overtime. A policy, like the employer's policy requiring preauthorization of overtime in this case, can be an important risk reduction tool.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Monday, February 6, 2012
Major Tax Reform Bill Introduced in Minnesota
H.1908, introduced on January 24, provides for a complete overhaul of the Minnesota state tax system by eliminating personal and business income taxes, with revenues lost to be made up through broadening the base (and increasing the rate) for general sales and use taxes. More specifically the bill calls for "...expanding the base of the general sales and use tax in this state to all sales of taxable property and services, regardless of the location of the seller or method of transfer, and increasing the general sales and use tax rate to a rate necessary to replace the estimated revenues that, absent the prohibition, would have been collected in the first year of the prohibition. 'Taxable property and services' means any tangible property, digital goods, or service, including leaseholds of any term or rents with respect to the property, consumed or used in this state."
Written by Charles Marcus
There is nothing wrong with setbacks, in fact, I believe that if we don't have obstacles to overcome along the way we won't learn and grow. Thomas Watson, the founder of IBM, once said, 'If you want to increase your rate of success, you better be prepared to increase your rate of failure.'
We all have hopes and dreams for the future. Today the slate is wiped clean for all of us as we start afresh. Why not take a few moments to think about your dreams and goals for the year that starts today? In what areas do you want to grow? What is truly important to you? What challenges do you want to take on? Most of us don't realize what we can accomplish when we unleash the hidden talents that we possess.
To help you make this year your best ever, take a few moments to ponder these 11 suggestions:
1. Challenge yourself
Have a clear vision and focus of what you want to achieve and set a time frame. Challenge yourself to be the best you can be at all times. Visualize what you want to accomplish. See it in your mind. Write down your goals, have a plan of action, and never doubt you will be successful.
2. Find the love factor
Surround yourself with loving, supportive people. Stay away from the dream stealers, the people who would bring you down. Cherish the special people in your life and let them know you cherish them.
3. Dedicate quality time
Life is so precious; make the most of each and every day. Rise early; spend some quality time by yourself as well as with those you care about. Go for a walk, workout, read a book. Value not only the time you spend with your loved ones, but also the time you spend by yourself.
4. Stretch your comfort zone
Do at least one thing a day, which makes you feel uncomfortable. Push yourself; you will be amazed how far you can go. Remember: on the other side of fear is freedom. To remain stagnant is not to grow. To reach your full potential, you must rise above the fray and soar like an eagle.
5. Be passionate
Show passion in everything you do. Let it show in your body language, in your smile, in your voice. Let your eyes sparkle. Let the world see and hear your enthusiasm and let it feel your passion.
6. Serve others
Be a role model and mentor for people. Volunteer in your community and help others achieve their goals. Your world will be enriched and a better place for sharing your talents and giving freely of your time. Leave a lasting legacy.
7. Don't sweat the small stuff