Poultry Fraud

‘Dark Meat’ by Gabriel Thompson

Failing to record injuries is one strategy to create the illusion of a safe workplace. Another is to fail to refer workers to doctors for proper tests and diagnoses. Each time an injury causes an employee to miss a day of work or to receive medical treatment beyond first aid, the company is required to record it in an OSHA log book. This data is reported each year to the Department of Labor and is used to identify industries with high injury rates—whose facilities will then face increased inspections. An industry that reports low injury rates is less likely to receive scrutiny from OSHA’s overstretched investigators.

If employers can self-report why can’t employees?

The argument against employee reports would be:

Well, employees will inflate injury rates!

Let’s think about this: employers are already fraudulently minimizing the rates. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s okay for employees to do it, too. It isn’t okay for anyone to massage the numbers in their own favor. But they do, and they will, because self-interest is a helluva drug.

So my thought is that having an inflated employee-reported rate to compare with minimized employer-reported rates may help regulators find the truth, somewhere between the two numbers.

Google’s alleged gender-based pay disparity

Ex-Googler says she exposed company-wide pay inequality with crowdsourced spreadsheet

Kristen V. Brown wrote for Fusion about Googler Erica Joy’s recent salary spreadsheet. Google had no response to her request for comment, which is the worst kind of response to something like this. Apple released, deliberately, a dismal diversity report (read: majority male, majority white) last year, and Tim Cook took responsibility for fixing it.

If there is a pay disparity problem at Google, or even the illusion of a pay disparity problem, Google PR needs to be on top of this story. The only time silence is ever okay is when you’re prepping a statement that will include unequivocal evidence that there is no disparity.

The Amazon Noncompete Clause

The Amazon Noncompete Clause

Here it is, in all its overbroad glory:

During employment and for 18 months after the Separation Date, Employee will not, directly or indirectly, whether on Employee’s own behalf or on behalf of any other entity (for example, as an employee, agent, partner, or consultant), engage in or support the development, manufacture, marketing, or sale of any product or service that competes or is intended to compete with any product or service sold, offered, or otherwise provided by Amazon (or intended to be sold, offered, or otherwise provided by Amazon in the future) that Employee worked on or supported, or about which Employee obtained or received Confidential Information.

Whew. All that legalese is translatable into American English as:

You can’t work in another warehosue that, you know, contains stuff people buy, with money, that is, um, anywhere, pretty much in the world.

The linked report by The Verge resulted in a much-needed revision to the policy, but it’s a powerful reminder that behind all the random stuff we order online are people who are sometimes commoditized and mistreated by their employers.

Image credit: “Amazon.com Customer Service Center (Huntington, West Virginia) 003” by Leonard J. DeFrancisci. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Employee Manuals Need Spring Cleaning Thanks to the NLRB

Employee Manuals Need Spring Cleaning Thanks to the NLRB

Jason Shinn, writing at Michigan Employment Law Advisor:

But this is where employers really need to be concerned: The distinction between what is permissible and what is not is somewhat anemic to begin with, and if your company’s policies are too broad or poorly worded, then whatever distinction existed may be obliterated.

The full report is available in PDF format. The National Labor Relations Act is a federal law, and Section 7 applies whether or not employees are unionized. That means, as Shinn advises in the article, that every company with employees of any kind should perform a revision of their HR policies and procedures.

Treatment of Transgender Employment Discrimination Claims Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Treatment of Transgender Employment Discrimination Claims Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Employees sue Sony over email leaks

Employees sue Sony over email leaks

NLRB: Overbroad social media policies may violate NLRA

NLRB: Overbroad social media policies may violate NLRA

NLRB refines position on employee social media and workplace criticism

NLRB refines position on employee social media and workplace criticism

U.S. will not challenge computer fraud case to high court

U.S. will not challenge computer fraud case to high court