Monday, September 24, 2018

The 16th nominee for the “worst employer of 2018” is … the sexist, racist, xenophobic, oh my!

"Jon, your first 15 nominees this year were so awful. How are we supposed to decide which is the worst, and please stop adding nominees. You're only making our job harder."

Well, dear readers, sorry. Sometimes, I pick the nominees, and sometimes they leap off the screen begging to be nominated.

Friday, September 21, 2018

WIRTW #524 (the “total disaster” edition)

Any week Rhett Miller releases new music into the world is a week worth celebrating. Earlier this week Rhett released "Total Disaster," the first song of his upcoming album, The Messenger, due out November 9.

It's a brilliantly sad song about the mess one can make of one's life and how it impacts those around you. In fact, the entire album promises to be a bit on the darker side. A few months ago, on Chris Shiflett's "Walking the Floor" podcast, Rhett talked about some of the album's themes:

[The album's title] comes from a bridge in a song called "Human Condition." There were some of these songs where I kind of went back to my 14-year-old self. When I was 14, I had a real serous suicide attempt, and that's when I started addressing my issues of depression and mental health. It's not something I've talked about until recently, but now that I've got kids around that age, I was like, "Oh shit, I've gotta talk about this, because it's become over-stigmatized." I started thinking abut the 14 year-old that was in that space, and I started thinking, "If I was to go back and write a letter to myself…" I wish I could go back to my 14-year-old self and be like, "Dude, chill out. It’s going to be ok."

As if this isn't news enough, one week later, on November 16, Old 97's will release their very first Christmas album, Love the Holidays—nine original holiday tunes plus a cover of "Auld Lang Syne."

You can read all about these projects at, and both albums are available for pre-order from ATO Records

Here's what I else I read this week:

Thursday, September 20, 2018

What employment sins are you atoning for this year?

Yesterday was Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.

For the uninitiated, it is the day on which we make peace with God for all of the sins we've committed over the past year. On Rosh Hashanah God writes each person's name in Book of Life. Over the next 10 days, Jews seek forgiveness for wrongs done against God and our fellow humans. During Yom Kippur, each individual makes their personal petitions to God, and hopes for forgiveness for the upcoming year. If all goes well, when God closes the Book of Life at the end of Yom Kippur, your name remains and your soul is safe for another year.

I explain it to my Catholic children like this. Catholics (are supposed to) confess their sins each week. Jews save them up one shot on Yom Kippur. We've yet to try the chicken swinging; they're not ready for it. (I'm not sure I am, or ever will be, either).

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

There's a new sheriff in town at the NLRB

Last week was a big one at the National Labor Relations Board.

First, the Board announced its intent to modify its joint employer standard. This move, while not unexpected, is nevertheless significant. You can read all of the backstory on this issue here.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Sexual harassment allegations unjustifiably ruin people's lives only if they are false

Yesterday, The Washington Post published Christine Blasey Ford's decades old allegations of sexual abuse she claims to have suffered at the hand of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Supreme Court nominee. You can read the full letter here.

Friday, September 14, 2018

WIRTW #523 (the “radio radio” edition)

Earlier this week, I guested on , 89.3 KPCC in Los Angeles. I discussed the rights of employers to access information on employees' personal devices. It's an interesting and timely topic, in light of a lawsuit recently filed by an ex-managing director of an investment firm, accusing his former employer of hacking into his home computer to read his personal emails and obtain other stored data.

Where is the line between a personal device and a work device, and does the law make a distinction if the device is used for work?

Click here to listen to our discussion. And a huge thank you to Larry Mantle and his staff for having me on.

In other news, if you find yourself in Cleveland's southwestern suburbs this Saturday at 2:30 pm or next Sunday at 3:30 pm, stop in at Slim & Chubby's, in Strongsville, to experience Norah and Donovan getting their School of Rock punk on. Green Day, Bad Religion, Rancid, The Interrupters, The Distillers, Frank Turner, and more Green Day.

Here's what I read this week:

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Do you have employee-theft insurance?

The Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion, a science museum showcasing one of the largest living arthropod collections in the United States, recently suffered a catastrophic loss. Crooks heisted over 80% of its collection — 7,000 of its rare insects, lizards, and snakes, valued at over $40,000.

According to The New York Times, police believe this to have been an inside job. Three current or former museum employees are the suspects. The evidence? Security-camera footage, plus staff uniforms hung from knives that had been stabbed into a wall.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The 15th nominee for the “worst employer of 2018” is … the tasering torturer

Was this a car dealership or the set of Hostel 4?

Jason Cox worked as a car salesperson for Marietta Motors. According to Cox's lawsuit, for the entirety of his 10 months of employment, the company's owner, Travis Westfall, engaged in a continuous and unrelenting campaign of verbal and physical abuse and harassment.

Cox claims that Westfall:

  • Repeatedly demeaned him based on his large size, with names such as "Tiny," "Fat Ass," and "handicapped."
  • On numerous occasions, pointed at Cox the red laser-sight of the handgun he kept at work.
  • Placed the handgun to Cox's chest while telling him not to make any sudden moves.
  • More than once held knives or other sharp objects to Cox's throat while demanding that he not make any sudden movements.
  • Told Cox that he could "slit [his] throat and sleep just fine at night."
  • Struck Cox with a soda bottle on his surgically repaired leg.
  • Punched Cox repeatedly.
  • Lit fires near Cox.
  • Duck taped Cox's phone to his hand and head while he was talking.
  • Repeatedly shocked Cox with a taser, to the point that his co-workers attempted to hide the weapon from Westfall.

Cox also claims that Westfall captured the abuse on video and shared it on social media

Ultimately, claims Cox, he quit and fled the workplace, but not before he claims to have suffered severe and permanent mental and physical injuries.

If even a portion of this stuff happened, not only will it qualify Marietta Motors and Travis Westfall for a well-deserved nomination for the Worst Employer of 2018, but it will also result in a very large and warranted payday for Jason Cox.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Everything you want to know about employee polygraph tests

Lie detector tests, have been all over the news lately. Reports suggest that Donald Trump wants to administer these examinations to the entire White House staff to identify the author of the anonymous New York Times op-ed.

There are no laws prohibiting the White House from using polygraphs in this manner. The federal law that regulates their use in the workplace—the Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988—does not apply to the government.

For private-sector employers, however, the EPPA imposes strict prohibitions on the use of any device to render a diagnostic opinion as to the honesty or dishonesty of an individual.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Do you really want to be the employer that bans your employees from wearing Nike products?

Last week, Nike launched its new ad campaign featuring (former) NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. He's most famous for being the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem. As a result, he's become a lightning rod around our national conversation about race relations. He claims the NFL has blackballed him because of his outspokenness on the issue.

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