Weekly HR news wrap: “Best company for mothers” sued for gender bias, no unions for Amazon

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Military vets given preference by NY law
When hiring temporary staff, recruiters working for the state of New York will now be forced to give preference to military veterans. In the past, the state had filled them with standard employees provided by temporary staffing providers. It is unclear whether the state will continue to use standard for-profit temporary staffing companies to provide veterans as well as other workers.

Apple, Google, Adobe and Intel face 60,000 employees in court
Silicon Valley workers are ready to fight some of America’s largest software companies after a Court of Appeals allowed 60,000 workers sue as a group. The seven defendants, including Google, Apple, Adobe and Intel, said damages could exceed $9billion if the employees win the case. Employees are accusing the defendants of a conspiracy to artificially suppress wages by confidentially agreeing not to recruit each other’s employees.

Amazon technicians vote against union
Amazon employees in a Delaware fulfillment center have voted 21-6 against unionization with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Amazon has yet to be involved with any unions, despite some efforts to lobby for unions in Seattle and Germany.

Target rolls back health insurance for part-timers
In response to ACA legislation, Target has rolled back its heath care benefits for part-time employees. Starting April 1, health insurance will be discontinued for part-time retail staff, who will receive $500 cash to get insurance of their own. However, this may be a win-win situation, as less than 10% of its total retail staff was participating in the plan previously.

$250m gender bias suit against ‘best company’ for working mothers
A flagrant admittance that a female sales representative’s pregnancy led to her demotion has landed Merck in a $250million lawsuit. Female sales representatives have filed a class action against the pharmaceutical giant, claiming a boys’ club culture exists at the company. Ironically, Merck has been listed on the Working Mother 100 Best Companies list for 26 years, most recently in 2013, for their apparently female-friendly workplace.

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