Parks Madness

March 25, 2015 - by: David Kim 1 COMMENTS
David Kim

In February, one of my favorite televisions shows, Parks and Recreation, concluded its magnificent seven-season run. While it had typical struggles in the early going, it soon hit its stride and gave us a cast of interesting characters whom we got to see evolve from their first interaction with the Pawnee, Indiana, Parks Department all the way into their eventual future lives. March Madness Businessman Hand Filling In Bracket From Above

The beginning of March Madness has helped to alleviate some of the void left by the departure of Parks (yes, I’m on a first-name basis with the show). In honor of both of these exceptional television viewing experiences, I decided to do a Parks-inspired March Madness bracket to determine which Parks character would be the most ideal employee for an organization, and conversely as a result, who would make an HR director pull his or hair out with worry about potential liability or lack of productiveness.

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Blacklisting

March 18, 2015 - by: Matt Gilley 5 COMMENTS
Matt Gilley

One of my colleagues did an evil thing last month: He encouraged me to give NBC’s The Blacklist a try. Clown Businessman

Ever since, I’ve been hooked on James Spader’s character, Raymond “Red” Reddington. Without spoiling anything for the uninitiated, Red is a fixture on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List, a supremely enterprising international underworld mercenary, and a brilliant mind who surrenders himself to the FBI for reasons that still are unknown to viewers. All we do know is that Red has agreed to help the FBI apprehend a number of vile criminals, gangsters, thugs, and scrubbed-up lowlifes (many of whom the FBI had no reason to suspect of any criminal involvement). He feeds these names to a special FBI task force one at a time, and each episode’s title is named for the latest name Red pulls from his mental (wait for it…) “Blacklist.”

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Categories: Uncategorized

“I’m Ron ******* Swanson”

February 09, 2015 - by: Matt Gilley 2 COMMENTS
Matt Gilley

Ron Swanson is the man. If you’re not a Parks & Recreation devotee, I can’t recommend enough that you tune in if for no other reason than to enjoy his morsels of wit and wisdom. For the uninitiated, Ron Swanson is fictional Pawnee, Indiana’s, director of Parks & Recreation. He’s a crusty, deadpan, hard-core libertarian who objects to the very existence of his own employer. Thanks to the show’s mockumentary format, Ron treats viewers to a steady diet of quips and advice that are absolutely hilarious.  Ron Swanson!

I have several favorites, and I’ve picked a few that touch on HR issues. Feel free to add others in the comments: read more…

Seahawks’ Lynch follows NFL policy, adds to absurdity of Super Bowl media day

January 29, 2015 - by: David Kim 0 COMMENTS
David Kim

Super Bowl media day is a complete circus. Everyone knows that. Sure, players and coaches of the two participating teams are made available to answer questions from the “media.” And sure, there are some respected journalists and analysts (which includes former NFL players) who ask “football questions” about this Sunday’s big game. But Super Bowl media day is also highlighted by the absurdthe costumed characters who somehow are permitted to infiltrate media day and the completely random questions that are asked (often, by these same costumed characters).  Marshawn Lynch

2015 Super Bowl media day was no different. Want respected reporters from around the globe? We got ‘em in spades. There was “barrel boy”the guy wearing nothing but a large barrel and a fireman’s hat. How about the guy dressed as The Terminator, complete with fake inflated muscles, sunglasses and Arnold’s trademark hairdo from the movie. Heck, even a pair of buck-toothed sock puppets were granted access. Want hard-hitting questions designed to make players and coaches provide accountable answers? How about “Will you tell us the first play you’ll run in the game if we promise not to tell anyone?” “Do you have a favorite Avenger?” “PlayStation or Xbox?” “What does your mom call you when you’re in trouble?” Take that, Woodward and Bernstein.

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Elf: one too many Christmas spirits

December 19, 2014 - by: Kristin Starnes Gray 1 COMMENTS
Kristin Starnes Gray

With Christmas just around the corner, my family and I have begun our yearly ritual of re-watching our favorite holiday films. At the top of the list is a relatively newer addition, Elf.  The comedy stars Will Ferrell as Buddy, a human who crawls into Santa’s sack and ends up being raised by Papa Elf at the North Pole. After learning that he is actually human rather than an elf, Buddy decides to travel to New York to find his biological father, who works at a children’s book company and happens to be on the Naughty List. Much of the film’s comedy and charm comes from Buddy’s child-like innocence and genuine holiday cheer as he tries to navigate the cynical world of New York City. shutterstock_236981068At his father’s office, this same innocence leads Buddy to mistake a mail room worker’s whiskey for delicious maple syrup. As you can imagine, a six-foot tall elf can cause quite a ruckus in the workplace after having too many spirits.

Employers are well aware that illicit drug use and alcohol abuse can be costly in the workplace. Drug-free workplace programs can be powerful tools in spreading prevention messages and intervening early with those who have already begun to use drugs. For many individuals, especially those who may deny that their use of drugs is problematic, workplace-based programs can be a critical step along the road to treatment and recovery. Every workplace is different, and drug-free workplace programs should be tailored to match a company’s individual needs. Here are some general recommendations for such programs: read more…

Employee personal information – the gift you don’t want to give this Christmas

December 16, 2014 - by: Josh Sudbury 0 COMMENTS
Josh Sudbury

You may have heard the news of the monumental data hack on Sony late last month, where several personal e-mails, rough cuts of movies, and screenplays were obtained and released without authorization by the media giant. According to several news outlets, the e-mails in particular reveal personal gripes about certain celebrities (shocker!) and have raised allegations of pay disparities among stars and starlets. shutterstock_171929321

Below the surface of these salacious allegations lies a more common problem: employee personal information.  According to reports, hackers also allegedly stole—and are threatening to release—sensitive, personal information belonging to Sony employees, including Social Security numbers and detailed medical information. This has serious implications under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which sets the baseline for protection of employees’ protected health information (PHI) across the country. Individual states can add their own protections.

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Clip[pers] his tongue!

April 28, 2014 - by: Josh Sudbury 0 COMMENTS
Josh Sudbury

This past week the biggest story in the NBA was not the excitement of the first round of the playoffs, but the comments L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling allegedly made to his girlfriend. In an audiotape released Friday by TMZ, a man (allegedly Sterling) is heard chastising his girlfriend for associating with black people and bringing them to his team’s games.  ThatsRacist Several authors and bloggers have already written about the deplorable worldview espoused by the man in the tape alleged to be Sterling so I won’t rehash the obvious. Indeed, the audio reveals personal views one might expect to be held by resisters of the civil rights movement, but not by that of the owner of an NBA franchise 50 years after the passage of Title VII. But a different lesson about our times can be learned from the incident, which concerns the prevalence of audio and video records in today’s world. In our technology-laden society, every smart phone doubles as a camera, tape recorder, video camera, word processor, etc. You name it, and your phone—and your employees’ phones—can probably do it, including secretly recording conversations between themselves and supervisors. On top of that, it takes almost zero technical savvy for someone to make a recording and post it to YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, or any number of social media sites instantaneously. The majority of states permit the secret recording of conversations so long as at least one party to the conversation consents to the recording. In those states, such an audio recording could wind up as evidence against the company in court or before a government agency. In the Clippers’ case, it’s the owner himself who is alleged to have made the statements. So, it’s obvious that his statements reflect directly on the organization. But would the result be any better if one of your mid-level supervisors was caught on tape making an off-color joke or sexually charged comment about another employee? The answer is simply no. In addition to the potential liability that may arise from such statements in a discrimination or harassment lawsuit, the company almost certainly would lose the verdict in the court of public opinion. All hope is not lost, however. Employers can minimize the potential for such occurrences by committing to provide anti-discrimination and anti-harassment training for their managers on at least an annual basis. You should also remain in contact with your workforce and get to know your managers. Many times, when a manager is caught on tape making these kinds of statements, it isn’t the first time. Being present in the workplace will help you identify potential bad apples as well as remind your employees to be on guard because their words and actions are being noticed. Finally, employers can adopt and enforce policies prohibiting employees from making secret records in the workplace. Such policies help foster open communications in the workplace and protect confidential or trade secret information. Employers, however, would be wise to consult with outside counsel before implementing or enforcing such a policy to ensure it doesn’t encroach on employee rights. In the hopefully unlikely event you have an employee who sympathizes with Mr. Sterling’s alleged views, nothing short of a muzzle may be appropriate.

Fire all the “cripples” and the “fatties?!”

August 30, 2013 - by: Kristin Starnes Gray 0 COMMENTS
Kristin Starnes Gray

As I mentioned in my July post, the film Horrible Bosses has enough material for weeks’ worth of blog posts. With three atrocious bosses blatantly making the lives of their employees miserable and disregarding a long list of employment laws, it is certainly a plaintiffs’ attorney’s dream situation and an HR manager’s nightmare. I am sure the upcoming sequel will be full of blog material as well. This week, I turn my attention to the antics of Bobby Pellitt (Colin Farrell), the cocaine-addicted son of business owner Jack Pellitt.

Unfortunately, when his kindly, family-oriented, and environmentally conscious father suddenly dies, Bobby is left to run the business. As it turns out, Bobby’s business approach includes snorting as much cocaine as possible, having his own harem of prostitutes present at the office at all times, disregarding necessary safety precautions for hazardous materials, and firing all the “cripples” and the “fatties.” Bobby even starts calling one wheelchair-bound employee “Professor Xavier” of X-Men fame. According to Bobby, “Roaming around all day in his special little secret chair, I know he’s up to something.”

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And the Gold Medal in Flonkerton goes to…

August 26, 2013 - by: Jaclyn West 0 COMMENTS
Jaclyn West

If you’ve worked in your share of offices, you’ve probably seen at least one coworker post the following sign: “The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves.”

Ah, yes. Morale. It’s six little letters, but it’s a big concept–especially when you start considering all of the ways that employee morale relates to productivity and profitability. Happy employees get more done at work. They bring better attitudes to the job and are able to deal better with problems or issues that pop up during the day. Their higher levels of productivity, and their enhanced abilities to solve problems without losing their cool, add up to more profits for their employers. Not to mention the fact that the happier people are at work, the more likely they are to take care of their health, adding up to big savings on insurance costs. Happy employees are also less likely to take the extreme step of suing their employers, and teams with good morale and positive communication often don’t see the need for third-party union representation, either. Really, the only question is: Why don’t more companies take steps to improve employee morale?

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Categories: Jaclyn West / Uncategorized

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