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The Bloomington Human Rights Commission is continuing to encourage fair labor practices in local restaurants. Since the Commission began the Fair Labor Initiative in December, the program has gained the support of more than 30 local eateries. Participating restaurants have pledged they will comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act, including minimum wage, overtime, tip-paying and record-keeping requirements. They also promise to work in compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act by providing training, safety gear, and following poster requirements. Restaurants must also pledge to abide by equal employment laws that prohibit discrimination and harassment. And they must carry Unemployment insurance and comply with workers’ compensation requirements. The Director of Bloomington’s Human Rights Commission Barbara McKinney says recent efforts to get more restaurants signed up have included getting IU students involved.
The Fair Labor Initiative has decals for the fronts of establishments that participate. The decals are round with a yellow background and feature a knife, fork and spoon graphic, along with the words “This establishment affirms its compliance with fair labor practices.” The hope is that some customers will choose where to eat based on the presence of the decals.
Much of what the Fair Labor Initiative covers is already part of federal law. But McKinney says many of the laws are difficult to enforce in restaurants. She says that this program focuses on prevention and education. She says restaurants are better off learning to follow the law rather than deal with enforcement from federal regulators.
Any business interesting in learning more about the Fair Labor Initiative can contact Barbara McKinney at 812-349-3429.