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Melania Trump, Karen Pence stop at Whataburger, treat press to french fries

First lady Melania Trump, along with second lady Karen Pence, traveled to Texas on Wednesday to visit with first responders and check on Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. And if there’s anything politicians (or in this case, politicians’ spouses) love to do when they’re on a visit, it’s make a stop at a purveyor of local cuisine. Trump and Pence flew through Corpus Christi, which means Whataburger.

>> Read more trending news

According to social media reports (including tweets from reporters along for the trip, as well as a White House official), the first and second lady stopped by the venerable Texas burger chain and walked out with at least some of those famous fries. The rest of their order is unknown (so far), but the tweets about the pit stop are quite a journey.

Reporters in the press pool said the first and second lady treated them to fries.

Officials in Texas approved. The orange and the white, as ever, proved to be a unifying force.

According to the San Antonio Express-News, Trump and Pence stopped at the Whataburger at 602 Padre Island Drive. 

Kroger recalls bottled water for babies after mold complaints

The Kroger Co. is recalling bottled water for infants after customers complained they found mold in the product.

According to a news release on the Food and Drug Administration website, the recall is for 1-gallon bottles of Comforts FOR BABY Purified Water With Fluoride Added with sell-by dates from April 26, 2018, to Oct. 10, 2018. The bottles are labeled with UPC code 0 41260 37597 2, plant code 51-4140 and the text "DISTRIBUTED BY THE KROGER CO, CINCINNATI, OHIO 45202."

Kroger said the product tested positive for Talaromyces penicillium, which can spark allergic reactions.

>> Read more trending news 

"Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes and skin rash," the release said. "Allergic reactions to molds are common and can happen immediately after touching or inhaling mold spores, or later. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are also allergic to mold. Molds can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs, even in people who aren’t allergic to them."

Babies with HIV or immune-compromising conditions are particularly at risk, the release said.

The water was distributed to Kroger stores – including Food 4 Less, Jay C, Jay C Food Plus, Kroger, Kroger Marketplace, Owen’s, Payless Super Market and Ruler – in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia, the release said. The company has told stores to remove the recalled bottles from their shelves.

If you bought the bottled water, you can return it to the store for a refund, the release said. Do not drink it.

For more information, read the release on the FDA website or call 1-888-SAFEFOOD from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST Monday through Friday.

CVS agrees to buy insurance giant Aetna

CVS has agreed to buy Aetna in a $69 billion deal, The New York Times reported.

>> Read more trending news

The deal would combine the drugstore chain with one of the United States’ largest health insurers.

Under the terms of the deal, CVS will pay about $207 a share, the Times reported, quoting an anonymous source. Roughly $145 a share of that would be in cash, with the remainder in newly issued CVS stock.

An announcement could come later Sunday, the Times reported.

The deal would transform CVS’ 9,700 pharmacy storefronts into community medical hubs for primary care and basic procedures, The Washington Post reported.

If approved, the merger would allow CVS to provide a broad range of health services to Aetna’s 22 million medical members at its nationwide network of pharmacies and walk-in clinics, the Post reported.

“I think it will create more consolidation among the insurers and retailers, blurring the lines,” Ana Gupte, an analyst at Leerink Partners, told the Post.

Pizzeria apologizes after Confederate flag on delivery driver's truck sparks controversy

A delivery driver for LaRosa’s Pizzeria in Beavercreek, Ohio, is making the rounds on social media after customers complained about a Confederate flag hanging from the tailgate of his pickup truck. 

>> See the photo here

WHIO contacted the LaRosa’s corporate office in Cincinnati to confirm the report that the driver is employed by the Beavercreek location. 

Pete Buscani, executive vice president of marketing, issued the following statement Monday afternoon:

>> Read more trending news

“We’re sincerely sorry that anyone saw this and was offended by it. When they serve our Guests [sic], our Team Members [sic] represent the same community values that LaRosa’s has maintained for over 60 years. We don’t agree with this display in any way. This Team Member [sic] was appropriately reprimanded. We promise no one will see this again.”

Here’s what to do if you are sexually harassed at work

Sexual harassment is not uncommon in the workplace. In a 2015 survey of 2,235 full-time and part-time female employees, Cosmopolitan found 1 in 3 women experienced sexual harassment at work at some point in their lives.

Here’s what you should know about sexual harassment in the workplace, according to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Department of Labor:

What is sexual harassment?

Generally, sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. It violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin and religion.

Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees.

According to the Department of Labor, there are two forms of sexual harassment:

  • Quid pro quo: Involves an employment decision based on submission to the sexual harassment, such as promotion, assignment or keeping your job
  • Hostile work environment: Sexual harassment makes workplace hostile, intimidating, abusive or offensive

Are there state laws with more protections against sexual harassment in addition to Title VII?

Some states have adopted stronger protections. Harassment can include, but is not limited to:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances;
  • Requests for sexual favors;
  • Other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature;
  • Non-sexual but offensive remarks about a person’s sex.

Harassment is illegal when:

  • Conduct is unwelcome;
  • Conduct is “based on the victim’s protected status”;
  • Subjectively abusive to person affected;
  • “Severe and pervasive” enough to create a work environment that a “reasonable person” would find hostile.

What factors are used to determine of harassment is “severe and pervasive” enough?

  • Frequency of unwelcome conduct;
  • Severity of conduct;
  • Whether conduct was physically threatening/humiliating or “mere offensive utterance”;
  • Where conduct “unreasonably” interfered with work performance;
  • Effect on employee’s psychological well-being;
  • Whether harasser was a superior at the organization.

From the Department of Labor:

Each factor is considered, but none are required or dispositive. Hostile work environment cases are often difficult to recognize, because the particular facts of each situation determine whether offensive conduct has crossed the line from “ordinary tribulations of the workplace, such as the sporadic use of abusive language . . . and occasional teasing,” to unlawful harassment.

However, the intent of the Department of Labor's Harassing Conduct Policy is to provide a process for addressing incidents of unwelcome conduct long before they become severe and pervasive enough to create a hostile work environment under the law.

Does the gender of the victim or harasser matter?

No. Both the victim and harasser can be either a woman or a man — or both can be the same sex.

Does the title of the harasser matter?

No. The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another department, a coworker, an employee of a separate employer, a client or a customer.

What about teasing?

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments or isolated incidents that are “not very serious.”

However, teasing becomes illegal when:

  • The behavior becomes frequent or severe;
  • The behavior creates a hostile or offensive work environment;
  • The behavior results in an adverse employment decision (victim is fired or demoted).

What if you weren’t directly harassed but you feel affected?

You do not have to be the victim of direct harassment to be affected by the offensive conduct. It is still considered sexual harassment, according to the EEOC.

What should you do if you experience sexual harassment?

Inform the harasser at once that the behavior is unwelcome, then directly use “any employer complaint mechanism or grievance system available.” 

This may include reaching out to your direct manager or employer or talking to your company’s human resources department. Check your employee handbook for more information.

If you really can’t find someone you trust, labor and law employment attorney Nannina Angioni suggests you contact the Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

Experts also recommend filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Find directions on the EEOC’s website.

You may also want to continue keeping a record of the discriminatory activity and seek support from friends and family.

What if speaking out is too difficult?

“Some victims will never report abuse, and they have that right,” psychologist Nekeshia Hammond told NBC News. “It’s a case by case thing, and sometimes there’s a reason for staying silent — if you feel your safety is threatened, or if you’re literally on the verge of having an emotional breakdown and will be unable to function. But you need to reach out to someone.”

Hammond recommends calling the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), which includes free services and confidential support.

Can staying silent work against me, legally?

According to the Department of Labor, “the department cannot correct harassing conduct if a supervisor, manager or other Department official does not become aware of it.”

In fact, when an employee “unreasonably fails to report harassing conduct,” the department can use this as a defense against a suit for harassment.

Additionally, if you file a complaint with the EEOC, it’s recommended you do so within 180 days of the discriminatory activity.

» RELATED: Woman says she lost work hours after reporting sexual harassment

How does the EEOC investigate allegations of sexual harassment?

The department looks at the circumstances of the misconduct, the nature of the sexual advances and the context in which the incidents allegedly occurred.

“A determination on the allegations is made from the facts on a case-by-case basis,” the EEOC website states.

How can companies stop sexual harassment from occurring?

According to the EEOC, prevention is the best tool. Employers should be vocal about the intolerance of sexual harassment and establish a complaint and grievance system.

Learn more about workplace sexual harassment at dol.gov and eeoc.gov.

Arby’s to acquire Buffalo Wild Wings for more than $2 billion

Restaurant chain Arby’s will acquire Buffalo Wild Wings for more than $2 billion.

>> Read more trending news

Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. officials announced Tuesday that it will pay $157 per share for Buffalo Wild Wings, a transaction valued at approximately $2.9 billion -- including Buffalo Wild Wings’ debt. The transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of 2018.

“Buffalo Wild Wings is one of the most distinctive and successful entertainment and casual dining restaurant companies in America,” said Paul Brown, CEO of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. “We are excited to welcome a brand with such a rich heritage, led by an exceptionally talented team. We look forward to leveraging the combined strengths of both organizations into a truly differentiated and transformative multi-brand restaurant company.”

Arby’s is majority owned by affiliates of Roark Capital Group, an Atlanta-based private equity firm. Arby’s has more than 3,300 restaurants in seven countries, and Buffalo Wild Wings currently has more than 1,250 locations in 10 countries.

>> Related: Arby’s expands sale of deer meat sandwich, tests elk meat

>> Related: Why is Buffalo Wild Wings nicknamed BW3s?

Anonymous donor gives more than $12,000 to Walmart employees for Black Friday work

All across the country last week, families joined together to celebrate Thanksgiving and ring in the beginning of the holiday season. And much of that celebration was possible because of retail workers who routinely work on Thanksgiving and Black Friday every year. 

>> Reporter gets upset over lack of Black Friday shoppers

Now, 125 lucky Texas Walmart employees who worked through Thanksgiving and Black Friday received anonymous donations for working over the long holiday weekend. 

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

According to a news release, the employees received an anonymous $100 donation through the Earnin app, which allows people to access a day’s pay immediately after a shift is over. The more than $12,000 in donations were made through an anonymous donor with no ties to the Wal-Mart Corp., according to the news release.

>> On Statesman.com: If you’re in a giving mood, you don’t have to wait until Giving Tuesday. Here are this year’s Season For Caring families.

One of the workers who received a donation is in Austin. 

“This is the best news I could have gotten today,” Stephani Kohl said. “I definitely needed this break. I'll be able to get my babies a couple extra presents.”

Erick Rock of Dallas said the donation made his Black Friday shift worth all the hassle. 

>> Read more trending news

“I wasn’t thrilled about working on Black Friday because I knew what to expect. For this to come up after a day’s work literally lit my day and brought me to near tears.”

Should companies hire more remote workers? CEOs, employees weigh in

Should companies hire more remote workers?

Wooed by the appeal of waking up later and working in pajamas, many company employees would answer with an emphatic “yes.” 

And some company leaders agree. 

“The happiest and most productive companies are staffed by teams who work remotely,” says Brian de Haaff, CEO of product roadmap software Aha!.

>> Read more trending news 

De Haaff, who leads a team of remote workers, believes remote work gives employers access to a larger talent pool, while giving remote workers more freedom, better health, a bigger sense of accomplishment and more room to be productive.

De Haaf, who says remote workers are outperforming office-bound employees, cites benefits for remote workers as follows:

  • No need to settle for a job within driving distance of one’s home
  • No need to rush home for family duties -- you’re already there
  • No commute means more time for sleep and exercise
  • Distance makes the heart grow fonder, not complacent, which means working remotely leads to more meaningful conversations with co-workers
  • Fewer office distractions means more time to be productive

“Remote work leads to happier and more productive teams. And when workers are happy and productive, they bring their best to each day -- which in turn leads to happier customers,” de Haaff wrote in a LinkedIn blog post. “In other words, everyone benefits.”

But Richard Laermer, CEO of RLM Public Relations, believes otherwise. 

“I think people have to be trusted,” Laermer told Bloomberg. “But the working-from-home thing has to be on a per-person basis, and it can’t be very often. It just doesn’t work.”

Laermer, who once let his workers do their jobs remotely often, used to believe that “you can get your work done anywhere, as long as you actually get it done.” But he had a change of heart after employees took advantage of the perk by being unavailable online and refusing to go into the office for meetings.

Other companies, including Yahoo, IBM and Best Buy, which once allowed more workers to do their jobs remotely, have rolled back at-home allowances, with some claiming remote workers are more likely to get distracted by non-work-related tasks.

According to The New York Times, people employed in the fields of community and social services; science, engineering and architecture; and education, training and library, are less likely to work remotely. And that may be fair, The Atlantic reported, as jobs in those fields -- and others -- often require in-person interactions with clients and customers or “collaborative efficiency,” necessary for solving problems as a group.

But many workers and studies show working remotely has benefits that can’t be denied.

Bloomberg points out that more telecommuters means more savings for companies because they don’t have to pay fees and monthly costs to rent out large office buildings.

“People do their best work when they are given the autonomy to work where they need to,” Michael Beach, a business adviser, wrote on a LinkedIn forum about remote work. “The ideal situation is allowing people to work at the office and at home and let them decide how best to deliver the results that you're counting on them to produce.”

“Depends on the professional and the scope of work activities,” Lori Ann Reese, a brand manager and content specialist, wrote on the same forum. “Culture of the business, nature of the job duties, and strengths of the worker are all factors that decide whether it ‘works’ or does not.”

Regardless of one’s view, remote work is growing. According to the Society of Human Resource Management, remote work has increased 20 percent in the last 20 years. And a Gallup report found that “flexible scheduling and work-from-home opportunities play a major role in an employee’s decision to take or leave a job.”

'Bikini baristas' in court battle over dress code law

The city of Everett, Washington, is looking to crack down on the dress code of “bikini baristas,” but the baristas are not backing down.

The baristas are arguing that their skimpy costumes fall under freedom of expression.

In recent court filings, the city claimed the coffee stands have a history of prostitution, sexual assault and exploitation.

One of Everett's new laws requires the workers to wear a minimum of tank tops and shorts. It specifically applies to employees at "quick service" restaurants, which also include fast food and food trucks.

>> Read more trending news

The other redefined the city's lewd conduct ordinance and created a new crime of facilitating lewd conduct. Both ordinances took effect in early September.

But seven bikini baristas and the owner of a chain of the coffee stands called "Hillbilly Hotties" sued the city to block the dress code in September, saying it's vague, unlawfully targets women, and denies them the ability to communicate through their attire. 

KIRO-TV asked a constitutional law attorney about that argument. 

“That is not a frivolous argument. One can see that this is conduct which may not be pure speech, but nevertheless is a conduct that does enjoy constitutional protections. The question is how much constitutional protection,” said constitutional law attorney Jeffrey Needle.

The Everett City Council unanimously passed the ordinances in August but halted the ban while the case is in court. 

A senior U.S. district court judge heard the arguments Tuesday in a federal Seattle court.

60+ people fall ill after company Thanksgiving party

Some 1,800 people may have been exposed to a foodborne illness at a Thanksgiving dinner.

>> Watch the news report here

The catered sit-down event was at the Toyo Tire plant in Bartow County, Georgia.

WSB-TV's Berndt Petersen spoke with one of the employees who got sick. The employee, who asked not to be identified, said he dug into the meal and everything tasted fine.

>> Top Thanksgiving food safety tips

But he says later that day, he and a bunch of co-workers felt awful.

“I started getting really bad stomach cramps, and the only food I ate I threw up," the employee said.

“We know that a large number of people, about 60 that we've had reports of so far, possibly more, have gone to local emergency departments with symptoms of foodborne illness," said Logan Boss with the Georgia Department of Public Health.

>> Thanksgiving 2017: The best and worst times to drive and fly this Thanksgiving

Boss told Petersen that two patients had to be admitted to Cartersville Medical Center.

The caterer for the event was Angelo's Pizza and Bistro, located about 20 minutes from the plant.

>> 56 stores confirm they will be closed on Thanksgiving Day 2017

The owner would not go on camera on the advice of his lawyer, but while Petersen was at the restaurant, he saw employees scrubbing the place from top to bottom.

In the meantime, the Toyo Tire worker said it was a Thanksgiving meal he'll never forget.

“Everything I ate for three days, I threw up. So, finally last night, my wife made me go to the hospital. When I did, they diagnosed me with salmonella," the employee told Petersen.

>> Read more trending news

The attorney for Angelo's Pizza said the owner and his family are heartbroken over this and offer deepest sympathies to those affected.

They have voluntarily closed the restaurant pending a health department inspection.

Calls to a Toyo Tire representative were not returned.

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