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.
I did a post on May 27, 2010, about increasing suicides in the workplace. The workplace in question was located in China. The conditions under which employees worked resembled a prison more than a workplace. Those conditions were blamed for the suicide spike. Now we’re told that returning American soldiers to Fort Hood in Texas are committing suicide at an alarming rate. (Here and here.) The conditions under which these soldiers have worked in Iraq and Afghanistan during the past several years make the Chinese situation pale by comparison.
That’s an exaggeration. However, a recent incident involving a Rutgers University student demonstrates where social media and the Internet are taking us. College pranks at the beginning of the school year are common, particularly when freshmen are involved. These pranks have sometimes gone overboard, but with the Internet, a prank or an act of revenge can ravage the target.
Last week, I had a post about the restaurant server who filed a claim with the Tennessee Occupational Safety Health Administration, contending that Tennessee’s law allowing registered gun owners to bring their guns into restaurants and bars that serve alcohol violated TOSHA. Why? Allowing guns to be brought into places that serve alcohol creates a dangerous and unsafe workplace for employees who work in the restaurants and bars because of the threat of violence.
Like a few other states, Tennessee has a law on the books that permits registered gun owners to bring their guns into establishments serving alcohol. A server in a Nashville restaurant has filed an anonymous complaint with the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration claiming that mixing guns with alcohol creates an unsafe work environment under TOSHA.
In McDonald v. City of Chicago, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in a 5-4 decision that the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms applies to state and local governments just as it does to the federal government. This ruling is hardly surprising in light of the Court’s decision two years ago in District of Columbia v. Heller, in which the Court found that the District of Columbia’s absolute ban on the possession of handguns (similar to what Chicago’s ordinance did) violated the Second Amendment.
It’s not deadly, but in New York City, spitting on a bus driver is an assault — at least under the contract between the Transport Workers Union Local 100 and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. It’s also commonly called “aisle rage”: a resentment toward declining mass transit. In 2009, 51 spat-upon bus drivers took, on average, 64 days of paid time off after the spitting incidents. A total of 80 drivers were spat upon in 2009, which means that 21 of them took no time off. Being off 64 days is the equivalent of three months with pay.
It’s no exaggeration to say that workplace violence is any employer’s worst nightmare, whether or not there’s resulting litigation. Given today’s economy, the risk of the nightmare has increased.
Two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment gives individuals the right to keep and bear arms for personal use, striking down a District of Columbia ban on handguns in District of Columbia v. Heller. The Court didn’t say whether the Second Amendment generally applies to state and local gun control laws. The Court’s ruling also didn’t directly affect employer policies banning guns from the workplace.
The Christmas day attempted airplane bombing in Detroit received a swift investigation. As we all know now, intelligence dots weren’t connected by various agencies in rather significant ways. Though President Obama was quite upset and has taken action to prevent these mistakes in the future, he stopped short of firing anyone, saying that the buck stops with him.
Ever since the thwarted Christmas day airplane bombing in Detroit, there has been much debate about the use of full-body scanners at airports. Opponents say the use of such an intrusive instrument constitutes an unlawful invasion of privacy. Supporters say since we’re at war with an enemy intent on using our own airplanes to kill hundreds and thousands of Americans, permitting a stranger to observe your body parts is a small price to pay for greater security.
Here’s a brief on few things that have happened while I’ve been loafing. Jobs continue to decline. Most people who have jobs hate them. Bonuses for the haves continue to increase. Employees continue to kill co-workers with guns. Guns have made their way into NBA locker rooms. The immigration fight continues, not to mention health care. Record number of discrimination charges are filed with the EEOC. The Man Gene is threatened by The Word Gene (yeah, right).
As reported by the Los Angeles Times (click here, here, and here), 2009 ended with gun violence in the workplace. A former employee of the gaming commission near San Diego burst into the executive director’s office and killed him with a shotgun. The former employee then committed suicide.
Yesterday, I did a post offering a possible answer to ethical lapses as provided by the Tiger Woods ignominy. Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has now become the unintentional purveyor of another answer.
Many employers have their own security departments. The Wall Street Journal reports that whether an employer has a security department or not, it’s time for all employees to take responsibility for providing security for the employer and each other. Stickups and burglaries are increasing at all kinds of businesses.
I’ve previously done my share of posts on employment lessons to be learned from the Ft. Hood tragedy. One of the posts specifically dealt with performance review lessons. With the ongoing scrutiny of the Ft. Hood shootings, the recriminations against the Army for not firing Major Nidal Hasan long before Ft. Hood are becoming other-worldly.
As reported by National Public Radio, while Major Hasan was at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (before being transferred to Fort Hood), he received a noticeable number of poor or questionable performance reviews. A few related to the conflict between his faith and the military, but most related to simply not doing his job.
The day after Fort Hood, a former employee, armed with a gun, went back to his workplace in Orlando and killed one employee, wounding five others. The shooter was Jason Rodriguez, an engineer. The former employer was Reynolds, Smith & Hill, an architectural design firm. (Click here, here, here and here for more.)
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan make our remembrance of Veterans Day important. We have young men and women risking, sometimes giving, their lives in service to our country.
Harassment on the basis of religion is against the law. So is religious discrimination. Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the shooter at Fort Hood, had complained about religious harassment, and the Army seems to have been intent on avoiding religious discrimination. (Read other posts on the shooting at Ft. Hood.)