Mom Always Said You Were Bright, So Prove It: What’s your Pregnancy Discrimination I.Q.?

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn May 10, 2008In: Pregnancy (Title VII)

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Take the Pregnancy Discrimination Quiz at HR Hero and find out.

The HRhero.com website says this about the quiz:

Pregnant employees and those returning from maternity leave have rights regarding their employment. Check your knowledge of these rights by deciding how you would handle certain scenarios and then choosing the best answer.


The quiz was written by our own Adria Martinelli, who co-edits the Delaware Employment Law Letter with William W. Bowser and Scott A. Holt

 

Last month, Adria presented an audio conference on pregnancy discrimination, Pregnancy in the Workplace: Managing FMLA, ADA, and PDA Issues.  Adria also co-presented with Bill Bowser another terrific audio conference on pregnancy discrimination, Managing Pregnant Employees.  For more information about the conferences, see http://www.hrhero.com/audio/pregnancy/

Just In Time for Mother's Day: Maternal Profiling Special

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn May 10, 2008In: Family Responsibilities (FRD), Interviewing, Pregnancy (Title VII)

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Maternal Profiling (a subset of Family Responsibilities Discrimination, "FRD"), is employment discrimination against a woman who has, or will have, children.  Firing a newly pregnant employee. Interview questions designed to elicit details about child-care arrangements.  Just in time for Mother's Day, here are some key points for employers about this type of workplace discrimination.

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Profiles of Maternal Profiling

In late April 2008, ABC News aired a piece on World News With Charles Gibson about Maternal Profiling.  As a follow-up to the piece, the ABCNews website posted an article called, Are You a Victim of Maternal Profiling, featuring women from Pennsylvania who had personally experienced this type of discrimination.

One woman believed that she was having trouble landing a new job because she was the mother of three.  She indicated that interviewers would often ask her outright whether she had any children.  She said that one employer told her that it would cost too much in health care.

 

Can He Ask That?

Can employers ask candidates whether they have children, or whether they have adequate child-care arrangements?   The answer is "yes," much to the surprise of many, including many of my HR clients.  Some states do have laws that prohibit these questions from being asked during job interviews.  But neither Delaware nor Pennsylvania are included among them.  So the short answer is, Yes, employers may lawfully ask job candidates about their "family status," including questions about whether or not the applicant has children, is married, etc.

 

Like Mom Always Said, "Just because your friends jump off a cliff doesn't mean you have to!"

We teach a lot of seminars.  We counsel a lot of employers.  We answer a lot of questions.  And I can say with great certainty that we would never, ever, ever, advise our clients to ask something as foolish as "Are you planning to have children?" to anyone, and certainly not to a potential or current employee!

Just because it's legal doesn't mean it's smart, right?  No good can come of these questions.  So don't ask them.  Just don't do it. 

Older Workers Stand to Benefit from Proposed Legislation

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn May 9, 2008In: Disabilities (ADA), Generations: Boomers, Xers, and Millennials, Legislative Update

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Employers need to plan for the aging workforce—the "gray-haired demographic" is here to stay.

Aging Workforce News (AWN) talks about a newly introduced piece of legislation, the "Incentives for Older Workers Act." The proposed bill is designed to provide incentives and eliminate barriers for older Americans wishing to stay in the workforce longer, and encourage employers to recruit and retain older workers. AWN explains some of the bill's highlights:

The proposed legislation (S. 2933, text not yet available) would, among other things:

  • remove penalties in certain pension plans for workers who phase into retirement by receiving a lower salary while working reduced hours;
  • allow seniors to earn delayed retirement credits for Social Security purposes for an additional two years until age 72, instead of age 70;
  • reduce the amount of Social Security benefits lost to seniors who claim benefits before reaching normal retirement age and while they continue working;
  • require states to include older worker representatives on the state and local workforce investment boards and set aside five percent of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funds to assist older individuals.

Given the statistics on Baby Boomers in the workplace, this law could help employers deal with what Forbes.com calls the "Gray-Haired Workforce." By 2010, the number of workers aged 35 to 44--or those typically moving into upper management--will decline by 19%; the number of workers aged 45 to 54 will increase 21%; and the number of workers aged 55 to 64 will increase 52%. These statistic show that the workforce will include more and more employees aged 45 and over for several years to come. And they're not going anywhere—AARP reports that 79% of baby boomers say they have no plans to retire any time soon.

Employee Shooting Results in Unusual Liability for Workplace Violence

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn May 8, 2008In: Workplace Violence

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A preventative workplace violence strategy can be an important best practice.  As we've previously discussed in a post about what employers can learn when violence hits close to home, employers also should have a real strategy for the "during" and "after" of a workplace violence incident.  One common prevention tool popular among employers today is the Employee-Assistance Provider (EAP).  Considered by many to be an effective way to intervene before little troubles become big problems, EAPs have enjoyed increased popularity over the past several years.

alcohol and violence

The recent settlement by an EAP in a case involving a fatal workplace shooting may shine new light on just how much influence this type of service may have over your employees and how much risk you incur if you don't set clear policies with your EAP. It should put employers on high alert about your EAPs policies on how they address and communicate referrals where violence is an issue.

The shooting in 2003 killed six employees in a Lockheed Martin plant in Meridian, Mississippi.  The suit was filed by Erica Willis, the daughter of one of the six victims.  The shooter worked at the Lockheed facility for 20 years before the shooting, in which he also took his own life. Willis filed suit not against Lockheed, the shooter's employer, but against Lockheed's EAP, NEAS, Inc.

The suit alleged that some of the employees who worked alongside the shooter had been complaining for months that their coworker had threatened them and used racial slurs in the presence of Black employees.  And, a year before the shootings, Lockheed told him that his continued employment would be contingent on completing a counseling program through NEAS. 

NEAS referred him to an affiliate, which cleared him to return to work after just three counseling sessions.  Later that year, he was attending a mandatory diversity training program when he walked out of the class without explanation.  He returned with a shotgun and a rifle. 

The suit claims that NEAS, Inc. (the settling party), failed to provide its affiliate with a full background for the referral.  Instead, NEAS is alleged to have stated only that the employee had "boundary/communication issues."

This case raises several interesting issues relating to violence at work. 

For one, the recent legislation signed into law in Florida, takes on new meaning in this context.  The State of Florida has a new law that prohibits employers from banning guns from their property.  Cautious employers have clear policies on the presence of weapons on company property, including employees' cars in the company's parking lot.  The Florida law that makes such a policy unlawful seems to be an invitation for disaster. 

It is also an unusual example in that the employer did not get sued--the EAP and its affiliates were the named defendants.  (The affiliate was dismissed early in the case).  Usually we counsel clients about workplace violence prevention in the context of suits for negligent hiring, retention, and training, property liability, and even the General Duty Clause of OSHA.  But this story evidences a whole new basis for liability if the employer fails to communicate how its EAP addresses employees with a proclivity for violence.  It's not so far-fetched to imagine the EAP disclaiming all responsibility on the ground that it was simply following orders and pointing the proverbial finger at the employer who hired it.

And yes, it can happen to you.

Perhaps the single biggest error employers make when it comes to workplace violence is the mistaken belief that it "can't happen to them."  Workplace violence is, and has been, in every type of workplace in cities and states across the country.  Fatal and non-fatal incidents occur everywhere and can occur at any time.  On average, 1.7 million workers are injured each year, and more than 800 die as a result of workplace violence.  There are no second chances when it comes to employee safety, so take the initiative to implement preventative practices before it's too late.

Delaware-based Conectiv Settles Race-Discrimination Claim with EEOC in Philadelphia for $1.65m

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn May 7, 2008In: Disabilities (ADA), EEOC Suits & Settlements, Race (Title VII)

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Racial discrimination is still a grim reality. Just ask Conective Energy, which has settled a suit filed by the EEOC for $1.65 million. Even in our super-modernized, uber-fast, and always-accessible culture, race-based discrimination has managed to stand its ground despite the changed landscape around it. The Conectiv case is a discouraging testament to this often invisible fact.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed the suit on behalf of four African-American workers against Conectiv and three subcontractors. The claimants worked at the now-defunct Bethlehem Steel site in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Connective was the contractor building a gas-fired power plant at the site.

The claims of race discrimination are disturbing. The workers alleged that they were subjected to racially derogatory comments such as "black men can't read or write" and "I think everyone should own one." But the harassment didn't stop with workplace commentary. There was graffiti on the site that included "I love the Ku Klux Klan" and "if u not white u not right." And, in the ultimate display of racial animus, a noose, made of heavy rope, was hung from a beam above on the of the men's work area. The noose was not removed for at least 10 days, according to the Complaint.

Conectiv will carry the heaviest payment in the settlement. It is charged with a $750,000 tab, while the other three defendant-subcontractors, will pay $450,000, $250,000, and $200,000 each. As is standard (and non-negotiable) in settling with the EEOC, the defendants must Revise and edit their anti-discrimination policies, provide anti-discrimination training, and post a notice at all job sites setting forth the basis for the suit and subsequent settlement. The consent decree also provides that it does not constitute an admission of any wrongdoing by any defendant.

Racial harassment cases at the EEOC have surged since the early 1990s from 3,075 in Fiscal Year 1991 to nearly 7,000 in FY 2007. In addition to investigating and voluntarily resolving tens of thousands of race discrimination cases out of court, the EEOC has sued more than three dozen employers this decade in racial harassment cases involving nooses.

Terrence Cook served as the Supervising Trial Attorney and Mary M. Tiernan as Program Analyst on behalf of the EEOC.

Additional Resources:

EEOC's Press Release, May 5, 2008

Philly.com, Forbes, and CNBC are each running the AP story.

As usual, Mark Toth, at the Manpower Employment Blog is on top of the latest headlines.

Controlling and Investigating Theft in the Workplace

Posted by William W. BowserOn May 7, 2008In: Newsworthy

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Workplace Theft requires employers to respond quickly and effectively. Of course, the best tool is prevention. Employers should implement be aware of the best practices for preventing theft in their organization. But, if a theft should occur or a complaint of theft is reported, employers must be prepared to react using predetermined standards and guidelines to ensure consistency and avoid liability.


The Delaware News-Journal is reporting the arrest of a manager of a local Wendy’s restaurant for allegedly taking $1,800 from the till.

Employee theft has been and will probably always be a problem. Recent estimates indicating that it costs U.S. employers anywhere from $4 billion to $40 billion per year.

So what's an employer to do? How do you prevent — or at least control — employee theft? Our friend, John Philips, at The Word on Employment Law Blog, suggests the following:

    1. Watch for telltale signs like an unexplained rise in an employee's living standards.
    2. Hire people you can trust through the use of good background checks.
    3. Make it hard to steal by careful supervision, the use of commonsense procedures and controls, and routine auditing.
    4. Partner with employees to create an environment in which reporting theft is a job responsibility.
    5. Give alternatives to stealing by providing employees with assistance when they get in a real bind with heavy medical expenses and the like.


    6. Establish clear written policies on ethical behavior to be signed by each employee and to be enforced consistently, no matter the employee's position.


Once theft is suspected, John suggests the following to avoid a defamation action by the accused employee:

    • Thoroughly consider the source and validity of any information that alerts you to potential theft.

    • Obtain as much information or evidence as you can find about the alleged theft before you take action.

    • Review all policies that govern this kind of situation to make sure you're following them.

    • Don't speculate about what the facts could be; find out what they are.

    • Consider what you have done with employees in similar situations to be sure that consistency is being applied.

    • Consult legal counsel to make sure you're on solid legal footing before taking action.

Department of Labor's Latest Online Resource: Recordkeeping and Record Retention eLaws Advisor

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn May 7, 2008In: Internet Resources

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To employers, recordkeeping, record retention, reporting, and notice requirements can seem like a complex algorithm of numbers and dates, precariously aligned against a backdrop of the numerous state and federal employment laws. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has unveiled yet another compliance tool for employers.

The newest "elaws advisor," which was unveiled earlier today, helps employers take the first step in any compliance objective--determining which of the DDOL's recordkeeping, reporting and notice requirements apply to them. The new Recordkeeping, Reporting and Notices elaws Advisor has been integrated into a "FirstStep" suite of advisors. Just like it sounds, the "FirstStep" online tools all focus on providing employers with the right starting point as they work towards implementing best practices throughout the organization. Also included in the suite are the revised and expanded FirstStep Poster Advisor and FirstStep Employment Law Overview Advisor.

"These Internet tools will make it easier for small business employers to learn about and comply with the federal laws that apply to them," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao.

The elaws advisors are free, Web-based tools, making them easily accessible by employees and employers alike. By asking a series of questions, the advisors simulate a conversation with a Department of Labor expert and guide users to customized information explaining the requirements of each law. For example, by asking questions such as size of business, location and type of industry through multiple choice or yes and no questions, the FirstStep Employment Law Overview Advisor determines which federal employment laws govern the user's business. The advisor then provides information from the Labor Department's Employment Law Guide on the basic provisions of these laws.

The new FirstStep Recordkeeping, Reporting and Notices Advisor summarizes the paperwork requirements for each law. The FirstStep Poster Advisor, which can be used to download and print off Labor Department posters for free, was revised to include information on where the posters must be displayed in the workplace, and what size and language requirements apply to each.

This suite of FirstStep elaws advisors is available at www.dol.gov/elaws/firststep.

The DOL offers more than 25 other elaws advisors covering a wide range of employment law topics, such as minimum wage and overtime, child labor, veterans' workplace rights, health and retirement benefits, and workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.dol.gov/elaws.

Sexual Harassment Claim Survives Dismissal Despite the Absence of Any Conduct “Directed at” Female Employee

Posted by Teresa A. CheekOn May 6, 2008In: Harassment, Sexual, Purely Legal

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Sexual Harassment Claim Based on Raunchy Radio Listening Leads to Liability


A female employee who quit her job when her employer failed to respond to her complaints about the offensive conduct of her male co-workers will see her day in court. A federal appeals court revived the sexual harassment claims, which alleged that the employer permitted the co-workers to enjoy the risqué humor on a daily radio and did nothing to stop the crude derogatory terms often employed when discussing women.

The outcome in Reeves v. C.H. Worldwide Transportation, Inc. (click the link for full-text of the opinon), seems to have surprised some employment law bloggers, including the Ohio Employment Law Blog, one of our favorite e-law blogs.

I think the outcome is consistent with prior cases.

Offensive Conduct

The employee, who was the only woman in her work group, was offended by being subjected to her co-workers’ choice of a daily morning radio show that featured sexually explicit content. They ignored her complaints to them and to her supervisor about the program, which included topics graphic enough not to post.

In addition, commercials broadcast during the program featured: “sexual favors; a bikini contest that instructed women to wear their most perverse bikinis; . . . a drug called Proton that promised to increase sexual performance, please a partner, and make the user a “’sexual tyrannosaurus rex.’”

The employee also complained about her male co-workers’ frequent use of the words “whore,” “bitch” and other, more colorful terms to describe women they disliked. And, all the while they continuously usedl sexually explicit “language, phrases, jokes, songs, comments, [and] remarks.”

Trial Court Finds "Not Based on Sex"

The district court granted judgment in favor of the employer, deciding that the harassment was not “based on” sex, since all the workers in the office were subjected to the same working conditions, and since the offensive conduct was not expressly “directed at” Reeves. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed.

Appellate Court Finds the Conduct Did Not Have to Be "Directed At" the Employee

In its decision, the Court of Appeals relied on a prior decision involving racial harassment. In that case, the Court held that racially derogatory language did not have to be “directed at” the complaining employee in order to create a racially hostile workplace. Similarly, said the court in Reeves, found that sexually derogatory language did not have to be directed at the complaining female employee. The degrading nature of the language could be sufficient to satisfy the requirement that the harassment be “based on” sex.

The court also held that Reeves had produced sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find that the harassment met the “severe or pervasive” requirement. The court noted that the offensive sex-specific language and the radio program were near daily occurrences for almost three years, (at which point Reeves quit). So the frequency of the conduct favored Reeves’ claim.

On the other hand, while the language was offensive, it was not directed at Reeves herself and therefore the court did not deem the conduct to be especially severe. Further, the conduct was not physically threatening to Reeves. But, it was objectively humiliating to her, particularly in light of evidence that Reeves’ male co-workers knew that their conduct made her uncomfortable but did not stop it.

Finally, there was evidence that the conduct interfered with Reeves’ work. She testified that at times the conduct made it difficult for her to concentrate on her work and she would have to leave the room. She also had to take time away from her work to ask her co-workers and supervisor to stop the offensive conduct, and to make notes for herself about what had happened.

Since Reeves had presented sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to decide in her favor, the court sent the case back to the trial court for further proceedings.

Some commentators have expressed doubt as to the soundness of the court’s reasoning, especially in light of the possibility that the conduct was not actually “directed at” the lone female employee in the group. As the court noted, Reeves’ co-workers knew that she found their conduct to be offensive. But they continued to engage in it despite that knowledge.

These are the types of activities we routinely counsel our clients not to permit, and this case illustrates why we give that advice.

Maybe Yes, Maybe No. New FMLA Proposed Regulations Try to Address Employers’ Concerns But Do They Succeed?

Posted by William W. BowserOn May 6, 2008In: Family Medical Leave

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The FMLA's newly proposed regulations are a serious attempt to address employer concerns and have already drawn criticism from unions and employee advocates. Through the new regulations, the Department of Labor (DOL), has addressed some of the most complained-of provisions, but not all.

The newly proposed regulations with contain provisions that:

• Fine-tune procedures regarding required notices, medical and fitness-for-duty certifications, and designation of leave

• Clarify the eligibility requirements for employees who are jointly employed

• Clarify when an employee’s inability to work overtime exhausts FMLA leave

• Establish that light duty does not exhaust FMLA leave

• Allow employers to deny bonuses (such as perfect attendance or hours worked awards) to employees who don’t qualify for them because they took FMLA leave

• Allow employers to require employees to comply with the terms and conditions of their paid leave policies in order to substitute paid leave for FMLA leave

• Allow employees and employers to voluntarily settle claims of past FMLA violations

• Provide very minimal clarification of the definition of a "serious health condition"

FMLA Servicemember Leave. “Military-Caregiver” Leave”

Posted by William W. BowserOn May 5, 2008In: Family Medical Leave, National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

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This FMLA Update briefly reviews the second new type of FMLA leave offered to servicemembers and their families, Military-Caregiver Leave.

The two new FMLA leave types are designed to protect members of the Armed Forces and their families. Both types of leave enable a family member of a servicemember to take protected leave in two circumstances. The first, Active Duty Leave, was discussed in an earlier post. The second, is known as Military-Caregiver Leave. This new protection grants time off to the family member to care for a related servicemember who is ill or injured due to active duty.

• Employees may take an unprecedented 26 weeks of FMLA leave when a spouse, parent, child, or other blood relative for whom they are "next of kin" incurs a serious injury or illness on active duty in the Armed Forces.

• This 26 week total includes regular FMLA leave.

• Leave may be taken intermittently, but must be completed in a 12-month period.

• This is a one-time leave entitlement.

• "Next of kin" is an entirely new category of family member; it applies only to this specific type of leave.

• "Serious injury or illness" is much broader than the typical serious health condition; it applies only to this specific type of leave. Your speaker will provide a detailed definition.

• As with other FMLA leave, employers may require employees to take this type of leave concurrently with paid leave such as vacation, personal, or sick leave.

• Employers may require certification of servicemember’s health condition.

Office Politics or Politics at the Office: Delaware Employers, Pick Your Poison

Posted by Adria B. MartinelliOn May 5, 2008In: Employee Engagement

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This year’s hot democratic primary has plunged politics into the workplace more than ever. Today’s News Journal ran an article on the subject, “Talking politics at the office: Employers, managers must walk fine line on what to allow”

Our own Sheldon Sandler was quoted on the issue of whether it is advisable to prohibit political discussion in the workplace altogether. Although these discussions poses some risks, Sheldon suggested that banning such discussion outright is not a good idea.

From Obama’s stirring speech on race, to whether or not he wore a flag pin, this year’s election has raised some hot topics for watercooler debate – not likely to slow anytime soon at Delaware workplaces.

Upcoming Seminar Gives Delaware Employers Up-to-the-Minute Update on FMLA

Posted by William W. BowserOn May 5, 2008In: Seminars, Past

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Human Resource professionals see the Family & Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") as a major compliance challenge. And it just never seems to get easier. Lately, the FMLA is back in the news. The Act has seen more legislative and regulatory action in the past few months than it has during the previous ten years.


On January 28, 2007, Congress expanded the scope of the Act to include two new types of military leave for families of servicemembers. Next, on February 11, 2008, the U.S. Department of Labor released its long-awaited proposed revisions to the FMLA regulations.

William W. Bowser and Scott Holt will be addressing these important changes at the May 13 meeting of the Delaware Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Cavalier Country Club. Our presentation will focus on what you need to do now in response to these changes.

Online Registration for the meeting is available here. Directions to the event are available here.

FMLA Servicemember Leave--"Active-Duty" Leave

Posted by William W. BowserOn May 5, 2008In: Family Medical Leave, National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

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The FMLA now provides two completely new categories of leave for employees who are related to a servicemember who is called to active duty or injured in the military.


The first type of leave is triggered when the employee's relative is called to active duty. It is designed to enable servicemembers' family to get FMLA time off to make the arrangements necessary for the servicemember's departure. Below is a short summary of the need-to-know points for this first type of new FMLA leave.

Active-Duty Leave:

• Covers employees who have a spouse, parent, or child who is on or has been called to active duty in the Armed Forces. These workers may take up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave when they experience "any qualifying exigency." While “qualifying exigency" is yet to be defined by DOL, but it probably will include -- at a minimum -- covering necessary family and childcare responsibilities of the servicemember when that family member is called to active duty.

• Employees who request this type of leave are subject to most of the same requirements as other forms of FMLA leave, including employee eligibility and notice requirements, maintenance of benefits, and job reinstatement.

• Employers may require certification that the employee’s family member is on active military duty in accordance with guidance to be provided by the Secretary of Labor.

• Employers should grant these leave requests liberally until DOL defines the term "qualifying exigency".

Bowser Featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Coverage of Delaware Cancer Treatment Program

Posted by E-LawOn May 4, 2008In: Locally Speaking, YCST

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William W. Bowser, a partner in our Employment Law Department, is featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer’s coverage (March 31, 2008; Health & Science) of Delaware’s cancer treatment program. Pictured in the article with Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner and state Health & Social Services Secretary Vincent Meconi. Bowser is chairman of the 15-member advisory council formed to develop a cancer-care battle plan for residents of the state.

The article highlights Delaware’s high cancer death rate, and the state’s unique program that provides uninsured residents with free cancer treatment for up to two years. “We wanted to do the things that would make a difference and were possible,” panel chairman Bowser is quoted in the article. He received the National Governor’s Association Award for Distinguished Service to State Government in 2007 for his work as chair of the nationally-recognized Delaware Cancer Consortium.

What's the Opposite of Engaged Employees? Passionate Slackers.

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn May 4, 2008In: Employee Engagement, Just for Fun

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Engaged employee. Engaged workforce. Management and leadership gurus love these words. Employers don't care what you call it--they just want to achieve it. If you're discouraged about your attempts to motivate employees, here's a story to lift your spirits. Hopefully, you have had more success than this young woman's managers.

Employers at the top of the game know the value of a workforce full of engaged employees.--employees who take ownership of their work. Well, if there ever was a story to demonstrate what an engaged employee is not, this is it.

An Iowa Administrative Judge denied unemployment benefits to Emmalee Bauer, 25. Bauer was formerly employed by Sheraton as a sales coordinator. Apparently, she did not do much coordinating, though. Instead, she spent her time at work scribing heart-felt journal entries she hopes may someday be published. But this is not the journal you might picture.

Her journal was devoted entirely to her work-avoidance strategies.

That's right. Every day, throughout her shift, she journaled away. And, by the time the Sheraton gig was over, she'd created a 300-page, single-spaced Manifesto of a Slacker.

I'm only here for the money, and, lately, for the printer access. I haven't really accomplished anything in a long while . . . and I am still getting paid more than at any job I ever had before.

I am going to sit right here and play Elf Bowling or some other nonsense. Once lunch is over, I will come right back to writing to piddle away the rest of the afternoon.

The judge who denied Bauer's unemployment appeal, said that the journal demonstrated Bauer's refusal to work as well as her "amusement of getting away with it."

If there was ever a case where an employer should be able to sue an employee to recoup the money it lost by employing her, this sure seems to be the one. Can you say "refund"?

[Hat tip to the Manpower Employment Blawg]