In this Edition...

This newsletter highlights events and programs offered through the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

Subscribe to Labor Link

Worker Misclassification

Worker MisclassificationWorker misclassification, or 1099 Fraud, negatively impacts both workers and businesses. Worker misclassification is when a business misclassifies an employee as an independent contractor to avoid paying certain taxes.

Misclassified workers may not be able to receive health insurance or pension plans and could be denied unemployment benefits, workers’ compensation insurance and other benefits.

Worker misclassification also generates substantial losses to the Treasury and Social Security Medicaid Funds, as well as the state unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation funds. The reduction in funds increases the employers’ financial liability.

Some forms of misclassification occur when workers are not reported to the state or federal government but, rather, are working “off the books” or being paid “under the table” in cash. If a business intentionally or accidently misclassifies their workers, they are still in violation of the law.

In determining the existence of the independent contractor relationship, the Division of Employment Security reviews if the employer retains the right to control how the results are accomplished or only has input or the results desired. It is not necessary that the business actually direct or control the manner in which their services are performed, so long as the business retains the right do to so.

To find out if you are properly classifying your workers, take the department’s Worker Misclassification Assessment by visiting Labor's Off the Books page.

Read More...

Read Less...

Show-Me Farm Safety

Show-Me Farm SafetyShow-Me Farm Safety is an educational campaign created in partnership between the Missouri Departments of Labor and Agriculture in an effort to reduce injuries and fatalities that occur on family and commercial farms.

Unpredictable Missouri weather can cause farmers to delay planting in the spring, causing setbacks in their work schedules. Even with an urgency to get tasks finished to have a profitable year, it’s important to observe safety procedures and not make safety an afterthought.

However, farm safety isn’t exclusive to farmers and ranchers. It’s crucial for farmers and other motorists to share the road. Farmers will drive to and from their farms, often on busy highways. Tractors, especially those pulling implements or full loads, travel at slower speeds and can slow down regular traffic. Motorists need to be patient with those operating farm equipment. Although tractors may significantly slow traffic, do not attempt to pass tractors unless you can see a clear road ahead.

Farmers-If you’re driving a tractor on Missouri highways, the tractor must be equipped with one white light visible from 500 feet to the front and at least one red light visible 500 feet to the rear. Make sure you have plenty of fuel, all lights and signals work properly, adjust all mirrors, and have a slow-moving vehicle emblem on display if you are travelling at 25 mph or less.

For more information on farm safety topics including grain bins, livestock, and electricity, visit Show-Me Farm Safety.

Read More...

Read Less...

MCHR Diversity Spotlights

Fair Housing Month

MCHR Diversity Spotlight - Fair Housing MonthEach year in April, we commemorate the 1968 passage of the federal Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in housing, by celebrating Fair Housing Month. Attempts to pass a fair housing bill in 1966 and 1967 failed due to a widespread lack of support in the United States Senate. Equality in every aspect of life was a major issue in 1960s America, and inequality in housing was very evident. There was an alarming lack of affordable homes for rent or purchase by certain families due to their race or national origin. African-American and Hispanic soldiers in Vietnam made up a significant portion of the growing casualty list, yet their wives and children were prohibited from living in many residential developments throughout our country. The ramifications of this situation were not limited to housing, but included segregation in public schools, as most were often neighborhood schools. Jobs were more abundant in suburban areas, but many minority workers were locked into urban living with long and costly commutes being nearly impossible to manage.

Following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson urged Congress to approve the latest bill in honor of Dr. King's involvement in the battle for fair housing. Finally, the Fair Housing Act, also known as Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Johnson on April 11, 1968. The Fair Housing Act prohibited discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on national origin, race, religion, and sex. An amendment in 1988 strengthened The Fair Housing Act by adding administrative enforcement procedures and prohibiting discrimination based on disability and familial status.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) celebrated the first anniversary of The Fair Housing Act in the Grand Ballroom of New York's Plaza Hotel, and states around the country soon began to designate April as Fair Housing Month. Children learned about the importance of fair housing by participating in coloring and essay contests at school. Though we continue to commemorate the strides made by the passage and enforcement of these laws, there is still much work to be done.

Working in conjunction with HUD, the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR) seeks to end housing discrimination in our state. The Missouri Human Rights Act makes illegal any discriminatory action taken against an individual in any aspect of housing based upon race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, familial status (children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18) or disability. If you believe you have experienced housing discrimination, the necessary steps to file a complaint are provided in the Filing a Complaint section of MCHR website. If you desire more information about how to comply with fair housing laws, MCHR’s Show-Me Fair Housing Awareness Project offers training to housing professionals including realtors, lenders, landlords, and property managers.

To learn more about your fair housing rights and responsibilities, attend any of the following events in your area and around Missouri throughout the month:

Central Missouri

  • Columbia: The Governor's Committee to End Homelessness meets from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 6 at the Parkade Center, Suite 235, 601 Business Loop 70 West. Attendees are encouraged to bring their lunches to the meeting. Visit the websitefor additional information.
  • Columbia: Join the Columbia Housing Authority for the April monthly meeting April 21 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the CHA administration, 201 Switzer St. For more information, call 573-443-2556 or TTY 573-874-5161.
  • Columbia: Don’t miss Columbia’s “Fair Housing Seminar” April 28 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the First State Community Bank, 300 Diego Court. This free event will focus on fair housing and best practices, including a question and answer opportunity. Lunch will be provided. RSVP by April 24 at humanrights@gocolumbiamo.com or call 573-817-5024.
  • Jefferson City: Meet Jefferson Citians at the MREC-approved program, “Beyond Fair Housing”, to broaden your fair housing knowledge April 22 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Hawthorn Bank Community Room, 3600 Amazonas Dr. To reserve your place at this free program about the Fair Housing Act, cultural differences and population diversity in the United States, RSVP at tonya@jcabor.com.

Eastern Missouri

  • St. Louis: April 10, the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council presents its 18th Annual Regional Fair Housing Training Conference from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell Blvd. The theme is “Modern Segregation: Addressing Barriers to Equality in Local Governments” and will feature speakers and workshops focusing on key topic areas affecting our neighborhoods and communities. Visit EHOC’s website for further information or to register.
  • St. Louis: The Missouri Association of Realtors will hold a number of April events including mediation training on the 23rd and 24th and an education opportunity focused on the home ownership impact of the Dodd Frank Act on the 27th. For additional details, future events or to register, visit the website.

Western Missouri

  • Kansas City: Kansas City Missouri’s Human Relations Department's hosts the 7th Annual Civil Rights/Fair Housing Summit 8:30 a.m., April 24, at the Sheraton Hotel Crown Center, 2345 McGee St. Don’t miss KCHRD’s weekly radio show airing Saturdays at 11 a.m. and featuring Fair Housing topics throughout the month of April. 
  • Kansas City: Join Kansas Citians at the weekly Wednesday lunchtime “Neighborhoods, Housing and Healthy Communities” meeting from Noon -1 p.m. at City Hall, 10th Floor, 404 East 12th St. Visit the website for additional details.

More housing information and resources are available in Missouri and across the United States:

  • The Missouri Affordable Housing Locator is a service to help individuals find quality, affordable rental housing in the state of Missouri, listing properties that are visited periodically by the Missouri Housing Development Commission for quality purposes.
  • Beyond Housing, an organization seeking to provide support and services for low-income families, has a Homeownership Center that assists current and prospective homeowners throughout the St. Louis region in their efforts to acquire and maintain their homes. The Center holds in-person training sessions on Home Buyer Education, as well as sessions online in English and Spanish. In addition, those individuals facing foreclosure can work with a foreclosure prevention counselor after completing an intake questionnaire.
  • HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research Case Studies Series highlights sustainable housing and community development projects and innovations from across the country. The revitalization of Old North St. Louis, Missouri: Crown Square Historic Rehabilitation was featured as part of the series.
  • The Governor’s Committee to End Homelessness was formed to prevent and end homelessness by establishing strategies to promote public and private coordination and collaboration, developing new strategies to evaluate and reallocate resources, removing barriers to accessing services, evaluating unmet needs and providing supportive services, implementing effective solutions to build economic security and promoting and supporting activities that prevent homelessness.
  • The Missouri Housing Development Commission provides financing to developers of affordable housing, home mortgages to qualified first-time buyers and advisory, consultative, training and educational services to non-profit housing organizations.
  • The Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council funds the Missouri Inclusive Housing Development Corporation, providing information about safe, accessible, quality, affordable housing in Missouri for those with developmental disabilities.
  • The Missouri Department of Mental Health Housing Unit provides information on fair housing for individuals with mental health issues.
  • The Missouri Statewide Independent Living Council works to gather and disseminate information, conduct training on independent living issues, provide outreach to un-served and underserved populations and work to expand and improve independent living services in the state. It also provides information specific to housing across Missouri.
  • HUD has state-specific resources available on topics such as rental help, owning a home, and homelessness and also provides contact information for its local and regional offices.
  • If you are a homeowner age 62 or older and have paid off your mortgage or paid it down a considerable amount and are currently living in your home, or if you wish to purchase a primary residence, you may be eligible to participate in the Federal Housing Administration's Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program, the only reverse mortgage insured by the federal government.
  • Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST provides information on Common Violations of the Fair Housing Act Design and Construction Requirements. The organization is supported by HUD and is an initiative designed to promote compliance with the Fair Housing Act’s design and construction requirements.
  • For advice on buying a home, renting, default, foreclosure avoidance, credit issues or reverse mortgages, search online for a housing counseling agency near you or call HUD's interactive voice system at 800-569-4287.
  • Making Home Affordable is an important part of the federal government’s comprehensive plan to stabilize the housing market by helping homeowners to avoid foreclosure. MHA programs offer a range of solutions, including mortgage relief for the unemployed, reducing monthly mortgage payments, and refinancing to take advantage of lower interest rates.
  • HUD-approved housing counseling agencies are available to provide you with the information and assistance you need to avoid foreclosure. Foreclosure prevention counseling services are provided free of charge by nonprofit housing counseling agencies working in partnership with the federal government. For a list of agencies in Missouri, visit Foreclosure Avoidance Counseling.

Read More...

Read Less...

Holocaust Rememberance Day

Holocaust Rememberance DayFormer U.S. Senator, John Danforth originated Joint Resolution 1014, which established April 28 and 29, 1979, as national “Days of Remembrance of Victims of the Holocaust.” The Resolution was signed by President Carter in 1978 and designated the dates American troops liberated the Dachau concentration camp as annual dates of tribute. In 1980, the United States Congress established the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. The Council was tasked both with creating a national Holocaust commemoration and with the formation of a national memorial museum. Established in 1993, the Holocaust Memorial Museum began its existence as an enduring memorial to remember and honor all Holocaust victims, as well as an educational resource to promote understanding and prevent future atrocities. The annual week of remembrance begins the Sunday preceding the Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom HaShoah, which is celebrated the 27th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan. This year, Yom HaShoah begins the evening of April 15 and continues through April 16.

The Holocaust is remembered internationally Jan. 27, which marks the day Auschwitz death camp was freed by Soviet troops. In 2005, the United Nations resolution 60/7 designated this date as the official International Day of Commemoration of those lost in the Holocaust. Two years later, the United Nations broadened its focus, passing resolution 61/255, which rejected any denial of the Holocaust.

In Missouri, we enjoy protection from discrimination in employment, housing, and places of public accommodations through enforcement of the Missouri Human Rights Act. The Missouri Human Rights Act protects all Missourians from adverse treatment due to their religion or other protected category, and the Missouri Commission on Human Rights, a state agency, enforces the Missouri Human Rights Act by investigating complaints made by persons who believe they have been discriminated against in employment, housing, or places of public accommodation. To determine if the Missouri Human Rights Act applies to your situation, take this assessment.

Honor Holocaust Remembrance Day by exploring the following resources and state-wide events.

  • Find national and local events by visiting the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s online listings, or get tips for organizing your own remembrance event.  Visit the student section for educational resources designed specifically for scholars. Obtain themed remembrance resources including poster sets, videos, essays, and power point presentations by visiting the United States Holocost Memorial Museum online.
  • The Second Generation Speakers Bureau will share holocaust narratives from their parents to 7th to 12th grade students April 16. Visit the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education online for further information and to learn about Holocaust facts and misconceptions.  A complete listing of remembrance events may be found at the Midwest Center for Holocost Education website or by visiting the Kansas City metropolitan location at 5801 West 115 Street, Overland Park, Kansas.
  • Attend the Day of Remembrance - Remembering the Holocaust through Music and Art at 6:30 p.m., April 21 at Metropolitan Community College, Maple Woods Campus, Student Center Arbor Room, 2601 Northeast Barry Road, Kansas City. For additional information on this free event, email jim.murray@mcckc.edu.
  • The Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell Boulevard, St. Louis, will offer State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda now through Sept. 7. Call 314-746-4599 for details.
  • The Holocaust Museum and Learning Center, 12 Millstone Campus Drive, St. Louis, will feature Capturing Hearts and Minds: Images of Nazi Propaganda and Disinformation April 14 through Sept. 7 from 7 to 9 p.m. For directions or additional details, visit the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center online.
  • Join University of Missouri students and the MU Counseling Center, Columbia Campus, April 23 from 7 to 9 p.m., to remember Holocaust victims in a collaborative event co-sponsored by the Jewish Student Organization and the Triangle Coalition. For additional information or directions call 573-884-7750.

Read More...

Read Less...