Weekly HR news wrap: Wal-mart's challenge to the NLRB

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Privately run retirement plans proposed
A proposal to create retirement plans run by the private sector has been introduced to the federal Senate. Called the Universal, Secure and Adaptable Retirement Funds Act, it would benefit those who don’t have access to retirement plans through employment. It follows the heels of Obama’s new MyRA plans, announced during the State of the Union last week.

Wal-mart challenges feds
Wal-Mart Stores Inc has told the National Labor Relations Board that the company was within its rights when it disciplined workers for striking. The challenge is in response to a formal NLRB complaint filed in January accusing the company of illegally punishing workers who considered participating in strikes in November 2012.

Celebrity chef to fork out $5million in employee settlement
High-profile New York City chef Mario Batali has been ordered to repay 1,100 staff from his Italian restaurants, in what the New York Daily News has called the biggest tip skimming settlement ever. Lawyers for the plaintiffs argued that he regularly skimmed up to 5% off staff tips between 2004 and 2012. The settlement will total $5.25million.

Record high use of US work eligibility checks in 2013
E-verify, the federal government service that allows employers to check candidates’ eligibility to work, was used by nearly half a million companies in 2013, the US Department of Homeland Security announced. Nearly 24million checks were conducted, up on about 20million in 2012. The department did not release the proportion of checks which come up clear.

1,000 workers join suit against feds
The government shutdown is – thankfully – behind us now, but for many government employees, the struggle is not over. This week, more than 1,000 workers joined the lawsuit against the government, which was originally filed in October on behalf of five prison employees. The plaintiffs say the Fair Labor Standards Act entitles them to damages because their paychecks did not arrive on time while the government was shut down between October 1 and October 16.

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