According to the author of this article, as employers cut perks that cost money, they’re looking for new perks that don’t cost money. Some employers are now allowing employees to bring their pets to work. There can be problems with such a perk, but a stressed employee will have a friend with him or her everyday to help alleviate the stress. If this becomes a significant trend, employers may decide to further cut costs by replacing employees with animals. And that’s when the Animal Employment Protection Act comes into play.
For the past two years, I’ve had a post commemorating Veterans Day. In 2008, the post gave a history of Veterans Day. In 2009, I wrote of Veterans Day in conjunction with the tragedy at Fort Hood. This year, I’m a day late because of a bit too much travel this week. It’s important every year for all of us — employers, employees, citizens — to remember the fallen and all veterans on this day.
A Los Angeles public school teacher killed himself after the Los Angeles Times recently published the database of “value added analysis” for all LA public school teachers on which the teacher in question didn’t fare well. The “value added analysis” uses improvements in student test scores to evaluate teacher effectiveness. The analysis is designed to replace the tenure system with a performance system. Its critics use the teacher in question as proof of its flaws. This teacher was regarded by his students and colleagues as a good teacher. He tututored students before school started and stayed with them after school if necessary.
I’ve been thinking about people I greatly admire. I’ve limited my thoughts to people I know. What is it about them that causes my admiration? As I compiled my list, I noticed that these people come from all walks of life. Some of them are leaders; some are not. Some are highly successful (as we normally think of success); some are not. My list contains significant diversity, however one defines diversity. So, what is it that makes them admirable to me?
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of worker fatalities, and distracted driving increases the risk of such accidents. Texting is the distraction of all distractions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that the risk of a crash for a driver who is texting is more than 23 times higher than an undistracted driver. President Obama has signed an executive order banning texting by federal employees while driving government vehicles. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued regulatory guidance prohibiting commercial vehicle drivers from texting. Now OSHA has entered the fight against texting while driving. (Here and here.)
I have previously posted a survey of the laws in all 50 states concerning an employee’s right to vote. In case you’ve just heard about the survey, I’m giving you a link to the post again, so you can easily find it. In addition to the voting laws themselves, the post contains some practical tips concerning employee voting. Click here.
The owner of a chain of McDonald’s restaurants in Ohio sent a letter to his employees about the upcoming elections. The letter accompanied employee paychecks and said that employee wages could only be raised “if the right people” were elected. If others were elected, “we will not” raise wages. The letter encouraged employees to vote for Republican candidates in the Governor’s race, the U.S. Senate race, and a congressional district race. Then the walls of legal hell collapsed on the franchise owner.
Much has been written about how the great recession has changed things forever. Those over 50 and unemployed may never work again. Consumerism will never be the same. Home ownership as the primary means of saving and investing is history. Today’s children won’t have nearly as good a life as we’ve had. The workplace will never again provide security and a reasonable living for most people.
Given the media coverage infidelity receives, it’s legitimate for spouses, particularly wives, to worry about straying husbands, particularly those in high-powered jobs. When Eliot Spitzer’s sexual indiscretions forced his resignation as governor of New York, I analyzed his situation in the context of a previously little known medical phenomenon: The Man Gene. With my subsequent Man Gene posts, it seems all I’ve done is make women mad at me and make others conclude that I’m mad. I remain undeterred. The Man Gene exists, and it wreaks havoc everywhere, including the workplace.
The recent hubbub over Virginia Thomas asking Anita Hill to apologize to her husband, Justice Clarence Thomas, got me to thinking. Almost 20 years had past since the original Hill/Thomas conflict. It’s still referred to occasionally, but it hasn’t been an issue for a long time. After the substantial media coverage of Mrs. Thomas request for an apology, Thomas’ long-time former girlfriend decided to come forward with allegations that her relationship with Thomas made her aware of Thomas’ addiction to pornography. More media coverage.
Much has been written on this subject, and I’m not sure I can add much. It seems that most people are outraged; want Juan Williams rehired; and accuse NPR of wrongful termination. A firing always gets people upset. The more public the firing of a well-known person, the greater the chance for outrage. It’s not like Juan Williams is the first person to ever be fired for subjective reasons.
Citizens are angry. They’re angry with Democrats and Republicans. Some say there’s no difference between the two parties. Both are interested in power, not results. Right now, candidates from both parties are saying that this has been true in the past, but it won’t be anymore if whoever is talking is elected. Washington is the problem. Send outsiders, and change for the better will occur.
No one was disciplined or fired in connection with the Christmas day (2009) attempted airplane bombing. No supervisor of Major Nidal Hasan (the Fort Hood shooter) was disciplined or fired in connection with their failure to act on clear signs that Hasan was a danger to himself and others. (Here) And now (here and here), no one is being disciplined or fired in connection with the suicide bombing in 2009 at an Afghan base, which killed seven CIA employees. It’s clear now that critical warnings about the suicide bomber simply weren’t reported to other CIA.
An analogy between Macbeth and one of the most bizarre, polarizing, and deeply personal confirmation hearings ever conducted by the U.S. Senate in 1991 on the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court may not seem clear. Not the first time my analogies have been off the wall. But there’s a legitimate HR or employment point here.
November 2 is just two weeks away. The mid-term elections are almost here. It’s predicted that there will be a lot of new faces in Congress next year. Remember, it was generally believed that the 2008 elections would usher in all kinds of new labor and employment laws. That hasn’t happened. It’s generally believed that the results of the mid-term elections will mean very little activity on the labor and employment front. It will be interesting to see if we are as wrong about the mid-term elections as we were about the 2008 elections.
I’ve done a video training series with the help of M. Lee Smith Publishers called “Super Supervisors.” When this series was done, no one had heard of Luis Urzua, the shift foreman of the Chilean miners who were trapped a half mile under ground for more than two months. We’ve heard of him now, and he is a “super supervisor.” He wasn’t perfect, but having been selected as a shift foreman, Urzua was considered to be the best of the best. As it turned out, he was.
On the same day that there was riveting, excruciating testimony at the hearing in Texas on the Fort Hood massacre, a miracle was occurring in Chile. On November 4, 2009, at the safest military facility in the U.S., an army psychiatrist went on a shooting rampage, killing 13 and wounding 30. His trial is underway, and eye witnesses are giving wrenching accounts of what happened at his hands. On August 5, 2010, a mine in San Jose, Chile, collapsed, trapping 33 miners. Based on other mining disasters, a lot of people expressed hope, but few expected all — all — of the miners to be rescued.
Having grown up in a small town in middle Tennessee, I wasn’t exposed much to ballet. I can’t remember seeing a ballet, except perhaps on television, until after I was married. Unlike the theatre, to which I also wasn’t exposed much as a boy, I didn’t appreciate ballet for a long time. Men and women jumping around in outfits that would be banned anywhere else. I’m afraid I didn’t get it.
Turf is common in all businesses, although its existence makes for an ineffective way to run a business. It also makes it easier for employees to say, “That’s not my job.” Teamwork — everyone working together for a common purpose– is a core value of every employer. Everybody wins. It’s a nice theory, but in reality, it’s a fiction. Both inside and outside the workplace, people seem less willing to help each other — just for the sake of helping.
I think it’s pretty clear that layoffs are going to continue and that our unemployment situation isn’t going to turn around anytime soon. In all likelihood, you will fire an employee, maybe several of the them, between now and the end of the year and on into next year. Things have changed a lot since the layoff craze began. Millions of people are sitting on edge every day. I’ve written as much as I can about why this should have never happened. As it continues, however, remember how stressed employees already are and how difficult being fired is, particularly in this economy. Instead of an email, memo, voicemail or some other impersonal contact, meet face-to-face with employees losing their jobs. You will need to give them something in writing. You can do that when you meet with them or give it to them later. Show them a little respect when they are on the verge of hearing what they’ve feared for months.