Labor Dept. Moves to Expand Religion Exemption for Hiring and Firing

The Labor Department has proposed a rule that would allow more federal contractors to base employment decisions on religion, a move that rights advocates said could be used to discriminate against workers for all manner of reasons. The proposal, announced on Wednesday, seeks “to provide the broadest protection of religious exercise recognized by the Constitution and other laws,” the Labor Department said in a statement. It applies to a wide variety of organizations and companies that claim a religious goal as part of their mission. Naomi Goldberg, policy research director…

Couple’s Suit Over Parental Leave Is New Challenge to Big Law Firm

Jones Day, one of the nation’s largest law firms, faced a harsh spotlight this year when six female lawyers filed a class-action complaint saying they had faced gender and pregnancy discrimination while working there and had been subjected to a “fraternity culture.” Now the glare has intensified, with a couple formerly employed at Jones Day charging in a federal lawsuit that the firm discriminated in its parental-leave policies and that the husband was fired after he questioned the practice. The complaint, filed Tuesday, maintains that the firm and some of…

Fraud Case Against Bus Maker Shows Risks of Pay Promises in City Contracts

In recent decades, government agencies across the country have used their buying power to benefit American workers. When cities begin development projects or buy expensive equipment, they sometimes award contracts or subsidies contingent on job creation, or they impose wage requirements. The Obama administration required federal contractors to pay workers more than $10 an hour and to provide paid sick leave. But enforcing such provisions can be a challenge, especially for local governments. Now, a fraud complaint against a major contractor is raising questions about the effectiveness of such commitments…

Trump’s Labor Pick Has Defended Corporations, and One Killer Whale

Arguing for SeaWorld Before a Future Supreme Court Justice In 2010, a killer whale attacked and killed a SeaWorld trainer named Dawn Brancheau. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a division of the Labor Department, investigated and concluded that SeaWorld either knew or should have known that the whale posed a threat to humans and should have taken steps to protect trainers. The government’s argument prevailed before an administrative law judge, and then again in federal court, where Mr. Scalia’s firm represented SeaWorld. When the company appealed to a…

Trump’s New Top Labor Official Is Expected to Advance an Anti-Labor Agenda

Congressional Republicans, members of their staffs and conservative activists regularly flew first class to Saipan, an island just north of Guam in the Pacific Ocean. They slept at the beachfront Hyatt Regency, and dined on fresh Japanese cuisine. The junkets in the late 1990s were organized by Patrick Pizzella. The Northern Mariana Islands, a commonwealth of the United States, had hired him to ensure that Congress did not impose federal minimum wage and immigration laws in a place where some workers earned less than $1 an hour. Mr. Pizzella, a…