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.
At times, I have surmised that one reason women are usually the victims of sexual harassment is that most men can’t resist the power of The Man Gene. A recent case demonstrates that some men can defeat The Man Gene and even be the victims of sex harassment. In EEOC v. Prospect Airport Services, Inc., a male employee filed a harassment claim against his employer and a female co-worker.
For a long time, an employment decision based on pregnancy has been against the law. It violates the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which is part of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Apparently, it’s not as well know as I thought, or employers continue to ignore the law, at least according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
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.
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.
Once a hot employment law issue, drug testing has been cool for quite some time. Most courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have ruled that there’s nothing wrong with testing for unlawful drugs, particularly in the private sector. So, for two decades, an increasing number of employers do drug testing routinely. The types of drug testing most commonly done are pre-employment, for cause or reasonable suspicion (for example, when an employee is involved in an accident at work, seems to be under the influence of something, etc.), and random.
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.
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.
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.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act, alcoholism is a disability. However, an alcoholic can be held to the same standards as other workers. He can be disciplined and even terminated if alcoholism interferes with work. Also, if an alcoholic employee comes to work while drinking or drunk, he can be fired.
When the 2008 elections were approaching, I surveyed the laws in all 50 states concerning the voting rights of employees. With the mid-term elections a little more than three weeks away, it’s time for another review this subject. I know that some of you have been recently accessing the post I did back in 2008. The state laws remain basically the same, although there are a few changes. The purpose of this post is to make sure that you are up-to-speed on these laws in the state or states where you have facilities or employees.
It takes more than an allegation of horseplay to establish sexual harassment, but sometimes, it’s difficult to distinguish between the two. In Cross v. Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino, Inc., the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals considered whether alleged conduct was horseplay or sexual harassment.
Rick Sanchez, a CNN daytime anchor, was fired last week for going off on Jon Stewart and people like him. He did this in a radio interview. Jon Stewart came up because Stewart has repeatedly mocked Sanchez on The Daily Show. As Sanchez continued to talk, it became obvious that “the people like Stewart” were Jews. I’m not sure Sanchez said anything that was really anti-Semitic, but he did take a shot or two at Jews during the interview.
All HR professionals know that a harassment claim must be investigated promptly and then appropriate action taken. In Moody v. East Mississippi State Hospital, decided by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, an employee’s suit was dismissed, in part, for exactly that reason.
The Family and Medical Leave Act raises legal issues that aren’t easy to address or are misunderstood. Consider the case of Harvey v. Waste Management of Illinois, No. 1:08-cv-06828, N.D. Ill. An employee had 11 points for unexcused absences. One more, and termination would occur. When he arrived at work on the day in question, he reported to two supervisor that he was sick. One of the supervisors noticed the employee was visibly ill and had trouble standing. It was decided that the employee should go home. The employee’s absence that day was considered unexcused, giving him 12 points. He was terminated.
This week’s tip involved an employer’s right to control the attire worn by employees. One other point that needs to be made involves dress and religion. That necessarily raises the matter of providing a reasonable accommodation to an employee to dress differently from other employees because of religious beliefs. (See a post I did last week on a different aspect of religious accommodation.)