Apparently it doesn’t matter whether your employer has your Facebook password – photos you post can still be used against you.
A warehouse employee in Arkansas was off work after a refrigerator fell on him. Zackery Clement received compensation for medical expenses following the accident in 2009 and was then on paid disability leave for more than a year. Following three surgeries, he sought an extension of benefits, claiming he needed additional treatment – and therefore disability payments - for “excruciating pain.”
Last week, someone walking by was smoking a cigarette and oblivious to his surroundings. Not only did I inhale this man’s smoke, but I also had ashes flying at my face. A Facebook status update about how smoking should be banned in all public areas received a surprising amount of support from my friends, with only one smoker really finding issue with it. As a child of parents who have smoked for my entire life, and as a lover of clean air (don’t even get me started on the smoke that seeps into my apartment from the one next door), I’m totally against cigarettes.
All of that said, I am not in favour of discriminating against smokers in the job force, which seems to be a new trend in the U.S., specifically with hospital workers. A rising number of employers are refusing to hire workers who light up regularly. According to a recent article in USA Today, some companies are even conducting urine tests to check if applicants test positive for nicotine use. This is called a tobacco-free hiring policy, apparently, and is designed to promote health and reduce insurance premiums.
In the United States, 29 states and the District of Columbia have rights for smokers built into the law. But the other 21 states do not. Should someone really be denied a job because they just so happen to be a smoker?
A recent survey found that Canada is only somewhat on the cutting edge of newer technology use in the workplace. But what is surprising is not that there are countries that surpass us. It is the fact that the countries that received higher marks on workplace tech are emerging markets rather than our developed counterparts like the United States and the United Kingdom.
According to a survey of 8,360 workers, including 500 Canadians, nearly a third of Canadian workers have the option to choose the type of computer and/or technology provided for them at the office. The statistic is higher than in other developed nations, but lagging when compared to developing ones. Fifty-nine per cent of Chinese workers and 57 per cent of Mexican workers enjoy the same luxury.
There aren’t many of us likely to have million-dollar typos in our job offers, but it happened to a guy named Kai Herbert, a currency trader who got an offer from JPMorgan to relocate to Johannesburg.
When he got the offer, a typo showed the salary as 24 million rand ($3.1 million). It should have read 2.4 million rand, which is more like $312,000. Big difference.
He accepted the offer in June 2010 and then apparently realized the error and decided not to report for work. JPMorgan rescinded the offer that December.
There have been some debates recently about religious freedom here in Canada. In Toronto, one public school received plenty of criticism (and an article in this month’s Toronto Life) for allowing Muslims prayers to happen in the cafeteria. And in December, the Supreme Court heard a case from a woman who wants to testify in court while wearing a niqab, which essentially covers the entire face besides for a woman’s eyes. Both of these topics are far from resolved, as they involve complicated issues that pit religious freedom against other rights and freedoms, such as defendant’s rights or freedom of religion in public institutions.
But what about a company's right to dictate their brand's "look"? Should that impact religion in the workplace? In the United States, two recent lawsuits explore this question. In both instances, women sued Abercrombie & Fitch for failing to accommodate Muslim religious practices. One woman claims that she was not hired because of her hijab, or headscarf, and another alleges she was fired for wearing one.
Think about career choices where harassment might be prevalent. Think about jobs where more people have been harassed than not. What do you come up with, besides for police officers or strippers? I could not think of any other job – nothing legal at least – that would allow for harassment to get so out of hand that the majority of workers suffered from it in some form. And yet, there is one industry that has made the news for the abuse employees suffer on the job. It turns out that paramedics have to deal with a lot more than emergencies.
A study of Emergency Management Services workers in Ontario and Nova Scotia found that unruly patients have abused over two-thirds of paramedics in the last year. "EMS providers can experience violence in the workplace as they perform their jobs in unpredictable environments and near people in crisis," said Blair Bigham, lead investigator for the study, which looked at 1,381 emergency medical workers.
People seem to become abusive when they or a loved one are having a medical crisis. The majority of the abusive behaviour was reported to be verbal attacks from patients and their friends and family. Personally, my first instinct would be to be as nice as possible to the worker who might save my life or my foot or whatever. But that’s just me.
Last week, a Florida law firm fired 14 employees for wearing orange. As in orange clothing. Not face paint, not weird hair, just normal orange shirts.
Say what? This sounds beyond crazy. Here’s the scoop: On Friday, the 14 staffers at Elizabeth R. Wellborn, P.A. were called into a boardroom. All 14 were wearing orange shirts because, as they explained, it was payday and they were planning to go out together after work. The orange shirts identified them as a group and brought on that Happy-Hour feeling.
Some people really like their jobs. Even then, it is unlikely they would work for free. It is even more unlikely that they would be willing to pay to fill their specific role in the workforce. And those are the people who like what they do. If the comments on this blog are indicative of how Canadians feel about their jobs, it can be inferred that most people are unhappy at work, and that most Canadians do not feel they are making enough money. But, really, we have got it pretty good compared to the Greeks, who might soon be paying to work.
Yeah, you read that correctly. Some Greeks will now have to pay to work, while others will simply go without pay. This phenomenon is being called a “negative salary.” Due to austerity measures in Greece, 64,000 people will see cuts to their salaries. Because these cuts are retroactively valid, dating back to November 2011, many employees will be working for free for a period. Some government employees will actually have to return funds. Those affected included 21,000 teachers, 13,000 municipal employees, and 30,000 civil servants.
See that woman in the corner office? She doesn’t like her job either, according to a new global survey of executives conducted by consulting firm Accenture.
MSN reported on the study, which found that executives are unhappy at work for the same reason most lower-level employees are – they find the hours too long, the workload too heavy and the pay too low. They also, apparently, are dissatisfied with not having room for advancement.
One thing I find interesting is that their list of complaints doesn’t include “bad boss.” I would think that among CEO types there’s likely to be just as many bad bosses as elsewhere in the ranks. Or more, even.
Confession: I call in sick a lot. Well, not now, as I’m self-employed and don’t really have to answer to anyone. But when I worked in an office, there was never a year when I did not use up all of my sick days. It’s not that I ever called in sick when I wasn’t. It is just that I get sick more often than most people. It has been that way since I was a child. On the other end of the spectrum, are those who never call in sick. And a fascinating new article featured on The Wall Street Journal’s website asks the following question: Do you love or hate people who never call in sick?
There are many reasons why people do not call in sick. The first one is that they are simply dedicated employees. In the original article, author Sue Shellenbarger interviewed people who had never missed a day of work (over decades!). One man bragged about 30 years of perfect attendance. Another woman had not called in sick in 25 years. "If I wake up not feeling well, I just figure I'll soon feel better," she said. "I don't even think about not getting up." The woman is a nurse, for the record. How she does not get sick is beyond my comprehension.