Game of Thrones, one of my favorite shows, most recently returned for its sixth season. Don’t worry, no spoilers here if you haven’t seen the first couple of episodes of this season. However, if you haven’t noticed, one of the recurring themes for characters in Game of Thrones appears to be daddy issues. In fact, in virtually every circumstance, a major character’s flaws, insecurities, or other personality traits can easily be traced to the relationship with one’s parents, specifically the father. Here are some examples: read more…
Saturday Night Live has made invaluable contributions to American humor, but the best may be the show’s political parodies. Chevy Chase was famous for mocking Gerald Ford’s clumsy reputation (undeserved, for sure, considering Ford was a standout athlete). Dana Carvey practically built a career mimicking George H.W. Bush, and Phil Hartman had Bill Clinton down pat.
One of the best lines, however, came from Will Farrell’s George W. Bush. During a mock debate with Al Gore, Farrell brought roars after responding to a question with, “I was not told there would be math.”
North Carolina got itself a bit of attention recently when it enacted House Bill 2, which mandates that public restrooms be limited for use based on the individual’s “biological sex.” The effect of this bill was to take away from transgender citizens their ability to choose, based on their individual gender identities, which restroom they will use. There was some fairly prompt backlash. Bruce Springsteen cancelled a Greensboro concert in protest. The NBA is considering relocating its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte.
Relevant to the workplace, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been pursuing LGBT cases since long before the Boss or the Association ever heard of HB2. The EEOC’s position is that it “interprets and enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964′s prohibition of sex discrimination as forbidding any employment discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. These protections apply regardless of any contrary state or local laws.” While Title VII does not explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, the EEOC says that it will pursue adverse employment decisions that are the result of “gender stereotyping.” Consider these actions brought by EEOC: read more…
Five star players of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn and Hope Solo) made headlines this week by filing a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging gender wage discrimination against the U.S. Soccer Federation. In their charge, the players allege that they should be paid at least as much as (if not more than) the players for the Men’s National Team. The players filed the charge amid contentious negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement, which have already resulted in a separate lawsuit and serious questions about whether the team will be participating in the Summer Olympic Games in Brazil.
In their charge, the players allege that they are paid as little as 38 percent of what the Men’s National Team Players earn. More specifically, the charge alleges that top-tier Women’s National Team Players earn $72,000 per year to play a minimum of 20 exhibition games (“Friendlies,” with no additional pay for games beyond the 20—unlike the men’s team which is paid for each game played) and that they earn $99,000 if they win all 20 Friendlies. Meanwhile, the men earn $100,000 if they lose all their Friendlies and can earn up to approximately $260,000 if they win. As for the World Cup, the women’s team earned a total of $2 million last year for their championship performance in Canada while the men’s team was paid a total $9 million despite their failure to advance past the top 16 in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Just this month, two large jury awards were given to celebrities in their respective civil suits alleging amongst other things, invasion of privacy:
- First, FOX sportscaster Erin Andrews was awarded $55 million in her lawsuit against a Nashville hotel and stalker after she was secretly videotaped in her hotel room in 2008. The jury found that the hotel chain was 49 percent at fault and held them liable for approximately $27 million.
- Then last week, Terry Bollea, known publicly as Hulk Hogan, was awarded $115 million in damages in his invasion of privacy case against Gawker.com over its publication of a sex tape involving Hogan. The Florida jury’s award consisted of $55 million for economic harm and $60 million for emotional distress and doesn’t even include punitive damages, which will have to be established separately.
Although the respective defendants in these two cases still have the opportunity to appeal, the fact remains that these huge awards demonstrate the juries’–and likely the overall public’s–disgust with invasion of privacy. Of course, the salacious nature of these videos, which involve the most intrusive and intimate aspects of an individual’s life, surely contributed to the results. That being said, everyone, including employers, should note the importance individuals place on their own privacy and ensure that one does not unjustly intrude on someone else’s sacred private space.
If you’re on the lookout for an easy laugh and a good time on television these days, you can certainly do much worse than Lip Sync Battle on Spike. If you haven’t seen it yet or run across the clips on YouTube, you really need to check it out.
Here’s the setup—each episode pits two celebrities against each other in an audience-judged contest. The celebrities will lip sync two songs apiece. The first is just the celebrity but, for the second song, the show gives them access to just about any prop, professional dancers, or any other bells and whistles they could possibly want.
The glitz, glamour, and celebratory nature of last night’s Academy Awards were dimmed by the ongoing controversy about the total lack of racial diversity among Oscar contenders for the last two years. In response, Chris Rock delivered a scathing monologue criticizing the Academy and its members, the large majority of whom are white and male. As the audience laughed and squirmed in their seats, Rock repeatedly hammered the Hollywood establishment, using humor as a platform to express the collective outrage of the #OscarsSoWhite protest movement.
Of course, exploiting sensitive subjects like race, religion, gender, and age are all in a day’s work for professional comedians like Rock. They enjoy the unfettered privilege of offending the hell out of absolutely everyone so long as it gets a laugh. For the rest of us, however, such divisive humor (even when it is targeted at white males) has no place at work and should be avoided at all costs.
by Ed Carlstedt
This week’s employment law lesson comes to us from the movie Horrible Bosses. In the movie, Julia (played by Jennifer Aniston) is a dentist who employs dental assistant Dale (played by Charlie Day). After Julia uses her boss status to torture and torment Dale for most of the movie, Dale finally records her improprieties and delivers to her the following long-overdue payback speech:
This is what’s gonna happen. I’m going to take a two-week-long, very expensive holiday with my fiancée. Let’s call it a honeymoon. And YOU’RE going to pay for it! Then I’m going to return to a nice, rape-free workplace from now on. Because if you so much as LOOK at my sexy little a**, Julia, I will have yours locked the f*** up you CRAZY B**** WH***! Man, that felt GOOD!
Somewhere between outrage, bewilderment, and comedy falls the news that a U.K. production company has cast very very very white actor Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson in Elizabeth, Michael and Marlon, a short film about a rumored post-9/11 road trip involving Liz Taylor, Michael Jackson, and Marlon Brando.
There has been much criticism of this particular casting decision, especially against the backdrop of the #OscarsSoWhite campaign. But what about any black actors who believe the casting of a white actor is discriminatory? Turns out they probably don’t have a case.
Who wants to be the next Bill Gates in the making? The answer may surprise you. Beyoncé (or “Queen Bey”), a music scene A-lister and the woman who “runs the world” (if you ask her legions of devoted fans, known as the “BeyHive”), gives the world’s richest man a major shout-out in her new single, “Formation.” If you have not seen the video on YouTube or streamed the track on Tidal, Beyoncé gave us all a taste of it in Sunday night’s Super Bowl halftime show with Coldplay and Bruno Mars. In her new single, she sings, “You just might be a black Bill Gates in the making/I just might be a black Bill Gates in the making.” Gates may appreciate the positive press, especially after some recent criticism about his early managerial methods, such as his penchant for profanity and prowling the parking lot on weekends to document who had arrived at work.
Gates, who has seemingly mellowed considerably over the years, has been pretty open about his early methods, disclosing in a recent radio interview for BBC’s “Desert Island Discs” that he did not really believe in vacations and he memorized everyone’s license plates to see when people came into work. However, Gates stated, “I had to be a little careful not to try and apply my standards to how hard [others] worked . . . . Eventually I had to loosen up as the company got to a reasonable size.” Others have come forward over the years with stories about Gates’ allegedly harsh leadership style earlier in his career.