Yuki Noguchi

Autumn Weese thinks she was fired last month, but she isn't entirely sure. Weese told her boss at an Arkansas coffee shop she needed to cut back her hours as she pursued her master's degree.

"The last email I got from her said that she ... 'totally understood the situation,' " Weese says. But then colleagues started telling her how sorry they were to hear she was leaving in two weeks. That was when Weese started suspecting she had been fired.

Since the mass killing at a Parkland, Fla., high school earlier this month, many teachers have called on their state pension funds to sell their stakes in gun-makers. Private investment firms including BlackRock and Blackstone are reviewing their firearms investments in response to clients' demands.

But even those sympathetic to their position say divesting from those companies doesn't lead to industry change.

A new NPR/Marist poll finds that 1 in 5 jobs in America is held by a worker under contract. Within a decade, contractors and freelancers could make up half of the American workforce. In a weeklong series, NPR explores many aspects of this change.

As more victims speak out about their allegations, employers — including NPR — are having to confront the failure of their sexual harassment training and reporting systems.

Even trainers themselves say the system has failed.

"We have been checking the box for decades," says Patricia Wise, an employment attorney who served on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commision's task force on harassment. "I don't think people have been very motivated."

Former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein's ouster from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences following numerous allegations of sexual misconduct have prompted others on social media to open up about workplace harassment complaints that have gone unheeded.

The attorneys general of 41 U.S. states said Tuesday that they're banding together to investigate the makers and distributors of powerful opioid painkillers that have, over the past decade, led to a spike in opiate addictions and overdose deaths.

Roughly half of Florida's homes and businesses remained without electricity on Tuesday, two days after Hurricane Irma plowed through the state. A lot of the business recovery efforts there will depend on how quickly power can be restored.

On her way to work Tuesday morning, Carol McDaniel, vice president of human resources for the Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, made her way through darkened neighborhoods.

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State legislatures and city halls are battling over who gets to set the minimum wage, and increasingly, the states are winning.

After dozens of city and county governments voted to raise their local minimum wage ordinances in the last several years, states have been responding by passing laws requiring cities to abide by statewide minimums. So far, 27 states have passed such laws.

Micromanagement is routinely the top complaint people have about their bosses, and in today's good job market where workers have more options, that's a bigger problem for employers.

People might have their own definition of when a manager crosses into being too controlling, but most people would probably agree that Marjon Bell's former boss would fit.

Carol McDaniel has a perennial challenge: Attracting highly specialized acute-care certified neonatal nurse practitioners to come work for Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla.

They are "always in short supply, high demand, and [it is a] very, very small group of people," says McDaniel, the hospital's director of talent acquisition.

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Ride-hailing firm Uber has fired about 20 of its employees, including some senior executives, after an investigation into more than 200 sexual harassment and other workplace-misconduct claims.

The company is not commenting on the findings of the report from Perkins Coie, which was hired after former Uber engineer Susan Fowler last year alleged that she was sexually harassed, and her complaints disregarded by the company's human resources department.

Fox News star Bill O'Reilly has been ousted from the network after fresh allegations of sexual harassment surfaced last month, and the TV franchise again faces scrutiny over whether its culture perpetuates such behavior. Fox already ousted its CEO, Roger Ailes, over claims of sexual harassment, and The New York Times reported the network has already paid out $13 million to settle five claims against O'Reilly since 2002.

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Rarely has a U.S. president been so willing to use his platform as both bullhorn and cudgel to exert public pressure on individual companies.

But one of the hallmarks of President Trump's approach to economic policy since his election has been his willingness to publicly endorse — and shame — companies in order to advance his message.

President-elect Donald Trump rode to electoral victory in part on discontent with Washington. He promised to "drain the swamp" — referring to the nation's capital. And No. 2 on his "Contract With The American Voter," listing activities for his first 100 days, is a hiring freeze on all civilian federal jobs that aren't involved in public safety or public health.

It's once again time for the annual ritual of fear and loathing, also known as the performance review — at least for the companies that still do them.

Many have abandoned the old way of evaluating their employees in recent years. Last year, even General Electric — whose former CEO Jack Welch championed the system often known as "rank and yank" — did away with its annual review.

What's taking the old system's place? A hodgepodge of experiments, essentially.

At 4.9 percent, the nation's unemployment rate is half of what it was at the height of the Great Recession. But that number hides a big problem: Millions of men in their prime working years have dropped out of the workforce — meaning they aren't working or even looking for a job.

It's a trend that's held true for decades and has economists puzzled.

Trevor Burbank is single, 27 years old, and has been house hunting in Nashville for the last year.

"My rent's going up in August, so I have to figure out what I'm doing," he says.

The last time Burbank looked for a place was five years ago. He decided to use his down payment to start a business instead.

"There was a house that I really liked that was going for $60,000, and I saw the house being sold in the past few months for just shy of $300,000," Burbank says.

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A handful of companies are offering parental benefits that go way beyond just paid leave, to include things like surrogacy reimbursement, egg freezing or breast milk shipping for traveling mothers.

As competition for talent heats up, companies see it as a relatively cheap way to recruit, retain and motivate their employee base.

Many of the department stores that once anchored bustling shopping malls continue to close. Macy's will shutter 36 additional stores this year; 78 Kmart and Sears locations will also close. What to do with that vast, vacant space?

There is no traffic, and no problem finding parking at Owings Mills Mall in Maryland. The 5,000 or so parking spaces are all vacant. A J.C. Penney closed last month and a Macy's closed last year.

When it opened in 1986, it was anchored by a Saks Fifth Avenue and catered to well-to-do Baltimore suburbanites.

It's been a good week for employees of Chobani. They learned that they could eventually own about 10 percent of the rapidly expanding Greek yogurt company. That could potentially make millionaires of some workers, if the privately held company is sold or goes public.

It's a grand gesture, and reflects a rising trend in employee ownership.

In coming weeks, the White House is expected to finalize key new rules on overtime pay that could benefit an estimated 6 million lower-paid salaried workers. Workers' advocates say it's a long-awaited change. Most employer groups vocally oppose the new rules, because they might have to raise their minimum salaries, pay overtime — or limit their workers' hours.

Much of the debate has pitted workers against employers.

The Civil Rights Act bans sex discrimination, but does it cover sexual orientation?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says it does — and it wants this position validated by federal courts. This month, the EEOC filed its first-ever lawsuits charging employers with discrimination against gay and lesbian employees.

In a relatively rare victory for abused workers, Vail Run Resort in Colorado recently agreed to pay more than $1 million to settle a sexual harassment case. The case was brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of members of the hotel's housekeeping employees.

The company failed to address attempted rapes of its housekeeping staff. As part of the settlement, the company will have a monitor for five years and will be required to do extensive sexual-harassment training of its managers.

A string of attacks on cities, schools and workplaces has prompted many employers to turn to a new area of security for their employees: active-shooter training.

Until about a decade ago, workplace security focused mostly on preventing theft. Now, businesses are trying to give their employees guidelines on how to escape or handle armed intruders.

Last November, Amazon did the unthinkable for an online retailer known for undercutting brick-and-mortar bookstores: It opened a walk-in store in Seattle. Now, there's talk that Amazon plans hundreds of them.

On an investor call Tuesday, Sandeep Mathrani, CEO of mall operator General Growth Properties, said: "You've got Amazon opening bricks and mortar bookstores, and their goal is to open, as I understand, 300 to 400 bookstores."

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