Restricting employers’ use of credit checks and why Mr. Robot agrees

August 28, 2015 - by: David Kim 0 COMMENTS
David Kim

If you’re like me, you don’t necessarily equate the USA network with riveting and innovative television. While the network has respectable ratings, I can’t help but tune out when I see a commercial for Suits, Graceland or Royal Pains (apologies to those fans of the showI believe you, I’m sure they’re good). In fact, although many have noted the increase in quality TV programming, accolades have been reserved for those such as HBO, AMC, and Netflix, which have pushed the limits of what a television show could be in our collective minds, while simultaneously providing entertaining and complex stories. Now, it appears USA has decided to the join the party. USA’s Mr. Robot is fast becoming one of my favorite shows, and as evidenced by the widespread critical and popular acclaim it has received, it is clear I’m not the only one (97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes if you’re into that sort of thing). Credit Report (2)

Mr. Robot revolves around Eliot Alderson, a brilliant yet flawed individual. Eliot works as a security engineer at Allsafe, a cybersecurity company. However, Eliot also is incredibly adept at hacking (social media accounts, bank records, personal information, etc.) and uses those skills to not only learn about people, but often to act as a cyber-vigilante by protecting those he cares about or reporting bad people anonymously to the authorities. It is not surprising this is the only way Eliot can connect as he struggles mightily with social anxiety disorder, clinical depression, paranoia, and delusion.

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Human Resources lessons from NFL preseason football: employees returning to work after cancer treatment

August 24, 2015 - by: Josh Sudbury 1 COMMENTS
Josh Sudbury

For fans of Southeastern Conference football (and, I mean, who isn’t, right?), the name “Eric Berry” is one you don’t easily forget. Berry made his presence known as a defensive back for the Tennessee Volunteers from 2007-2009. Even though he played only three seasons in college, he was twice named a Defensive All American by unanimous vote. Berry was drafted in 2010 by the Kansas City Chiefs and was selected to the Pro Bowl as a rookie. He suffered a torn ACL in 2011 but returned the following year and earned another Pro Bowl selection in 2012 and again in 2013. Quite simplywater covers 71 percent of the Earth, Eric Berry covers the rest.  Back At Work

Berry’s career took a surprising and unfortunate turn in 2014, however, after he complained of chest pain during a game against the Oakland Raiders. He was soon diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, ending his season, and threatening his life. Thankfully, after several months of chemotherapy treatment at Emory Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, Berry is now cancer free. In June of this year, doctors cleared Berry to return to football activities. So far, he has played in both of the Chief’s preseason games.

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Game of Thrones: Trial by combat

August 17, 2015 - by: Kristin Starnes Gray 2 COMMENTS
Kristin Starnes Gray

Winter is coming, but not soon enough for those of us eager for Season 6 of Game of Thrones.  While we wait, I’d like to rewind to one of my favorite episodes from Season 4 involving Tyrion’s trial for the murder of his nephew. As you may recall, Tyrion’s long-time rivalry with his sister, Cersei, comes to a head when she falsely accuses him of murdering her son. Watching the ensuing trial should make us all thankful that Trial by combatwe do not live in Westeros. Tyrion stands alone, with no legal counsel, facing a panel of judges who can hardly be considered fair or unbiased. Indeed, Tyrion’s father seems the most eager to see him dead. After enduring one misleading and/or outright lying witness after another, without the opportunities for cross-examination or to present any evidence whatsoever, Tyrion realizes he will get no justice in that trial. His solution: Demand trial by combat.

Thankfully, our own court system is much more concerned about such things as fairness and justice, so employers aren’t forced to resort to trial by combat in employment litigation. For example, our system permits the parties the opportunities for cross examination and to present written documentation and other admissible evidence at trial. In addition, there are rules of evidence to determine what is or is not admissible and to weed out unreliable evidence such as hearsay.

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To kill Atticus Finch? HR pros aren’t afraid of the truth

August 10, 2015 - by: Matt Gilley 2 COMMENTS
Matt Gilley

It’s been a long time since I, like nearly any person educated in the United States, read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Now, like many other readers out there, it’s back on my bedside table since Ms. Lee consented to publication of her other manuscript, Go Set a Watchman. I haven’t tackled it yet, but I’m eager to see what’s new from Scout and, of course, Atticus Finch.

The reviews I’ve read, however, let me know that I’m in for a surprise. Everyone recalls the heroic image Ms. Lee painted of Atticus in Mockingbird, where he was the brave and upright defender of a wrongly accused black man in the Jim Crow South. Gregory Peck personified Atticus in Mockingbird’s 1962 film rendition, which solidified Atticus in our minds as one of the better angels of our nature.

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Deflategate: Tom Brady’s fumble provides valuable lesson about spoliation of evidence

August 03, 2015 - by: Marilyn Moran 0 COMMENTS
Marilyn Moran

Tom Brady is one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, but he fumbled big time when he ordered the destruction of his cell phone before he was to be questioned about his involvement in the deflation of footballs during last season’s AFC championship game. Importantly, prior to the phone’s destruction, NFL investigators had asked Brady for text messages and other electronic information stored on his phone. Although he continues to deny any wrongdoing, the NFL upheld his four-game suspension, concluding that his destruction of the cell phone proved he wanted to hide incriminating evidence of his involvement in the scandal.  Spoilation of Evidence tsk tsk Tom Brady

Destruction of evidenceoften referred to as “spoliation of evidence”refers to the destruction of documents, information, or other tangible items that are potentially relevant to a claim before the other side has had an opportunity to review the evidence. Spoliation of evidence can have dire consequences for offenders. As a result, employers should know the when, what, why, and how of preserving evidence to avoid liability and ensure a fair playing field.

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“It’s not me, it’s you!” Seinfeld lessons on candid employee evaluations

July 27, 2015 - by: Ed Carlstedt 0 COMMENTS
Ed Carlstedt

I confess, I’m a Seinfeld junkie. I’ve watched every episode multiple times and literally love every single oneeven the finale (I know, I know, I’m in the vast minority, but I’m committed, you could at least give me that). To this day, I watch Seinfeld’s re-runs over and over again, which I’m sure makes me cute in a geeky, boy-next-door kind of way, at least that’s what I tell myself. My wife just rolls her eyes and continues Facebooking, Tweeting, Instagramming, Pinteresting, Ashley Madisoning (actual users note recent security breach and structure assets accordingly), or whatever other social networking it is she does during my near daily half hour of “Ed time.” But irrespective of Seinfeld’s purported outdated-ness (likely not a word, but you’re smart, you understand), the fashions, Jerry’s updating (dating someone much hotter than you), or the fact that it is primarily intended for comedic purposes, employers can glean valuable lessons from Seinfeld if they watch closely.  Performance Evaluation

In Seinfeld episode number 140 (“The Fatigues”), Elaine, serving as interim company president while her boss is in Burma, is all set to can an employee for poor performance. Prior to meeting the employee, Elaine seems almost giddy to figuratively drop the guillotine on the unsuspecting employee. But once Elaine confronts the employee in person, Elaine can’t bring herself to do the deed, likely due to the fact that the employee is wearing fatigues, looks deranged, and has a spooky, guttural voice. Rather than deliver the news, Elaine promotes the employee from a mailroom position to a copywriter position.

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Donald Trump will win (a Title VII lawsuit)

July 20, 2015 - by: Brian Kurtz 2 COMMENTS
Brian Kurtz

This is an entertainment-centered blog and therefore as good a place as any to discuss Donald Trump. By now you are surely aware of the nuanced approach Trump took toward U.S.-Mexico immigration policy in his presidential bid announcementDonald Trump

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

If you are of Mexican national origin, that stings. If you are of Mexican national origin and are employed at Trump Plaza, or at the Trump Taj Mahal, or work on the Miss USA Pageant broadcast, you may be asking yourself whether Trump’s remarks could give rise to a discrimination or harassment lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. read more…

The Devil Wears Prada: Meryl Streep and the Queen Bee myth

Kristin Starnes Gray

You’ve seen her splashed across the big screen, small screen, computer screen, and even your tablet screen, but have you ever actually met the fabled Executive Queen Bee? We’re talking about the stereotypical top female executive who stomps on other women on her way to the top, reveling in her success while ignoring or sabotaging the advancement of other women. According to a recent study by researchers at Columbia Business School and the University of Maryland’s business school, this Executive Queen Bee is a myth.  Queen Bee

A recent Washington Post article spotlighted this intriguing study noting, “One of the most enduring stereotypes in the American workplace is that of the ‘queen bee’: the executive female who, at best, doesn’t help the women below her get ahead and, at worst, actively hinders them.” Meryl Streep (an outspoken activist for wage equality and women’s rights) famously and stylishly portrayed a fictional Queen Bee in The Devil Wears Prada, which is based on a best-selling novel of the same name. In the film and novel, Streep’s character (Miranda Priestly) alternates between coldly ignoring and hotly abusing her female minions. For example, she demands that one of her female assistants acquire the new, unpublished Harry Potter novel with the underlying threat of immediate termination for failure to complete this seemingly impossible task. Such characters clearly make for excellent box office and book sales, but are these Executive Queen Bees a reality of the modern workplace?

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Avoiding the “own goal” at work: 3 lessons from Women’s World Cup

July 06, 2015 - by: Josh Sudbury 0 COMMENTS
Josh Sudbury

On Sunday, the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) soundly defeated Japan to claim the nation’s third World Cup championship. With this year’s Women’s World Cup breaking TV ratings expectations at every turn, it’s likely you or someone you know was glued to the tube as this spectacular victory unfolded. I know I was. And as I watched “el jogo bonito,” I was reminded of three simple lessons that translate well from the pitch to the office. Soccer World Cup

#1: Deal with the draw

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Kinder, gentler Terminator: how to say ‘Hasta la vista’ to employees without getting sued

June 29, 2015 - by: Marilyn Moran 0 COMMENTS
Marilyn Moran

Terminator Genisys, the fifth installment in the wildly popular action film series, hits theaters this week. Over the last 30 years, the original Terminator, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, has transformed from a soulless assassin with no regard for others to a cyborg protector with a heart of gold (actually it’s mimetic polyalloy, but you get my point). Skull of a human size robot

When it comes to being a Terminator at your business, I hope your methods also have evolved since the 1980s. If not, here are five tips for handling employee terminations in today’s legal climate: read more…

Categories: Firing / Hollywood / Marilyn Moran

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