Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Fired for Skipping Work, Caught on Facebook.

A Gisborne, NZ man was fired when photos appeared on his Facebook profile of him attending a waka ama championship at a time that he was supposed to be at home recovering from an injury.

Bruce Taiapa lost his attempt to overturn the decision, with the Employment Relations Authority ruling that his employer, the training institute Turanga Ararau, was within its rights to sack because he abused his sick leave. This ruling was further backed up by Employment Court Chief judge Colgan. 

Taiapa, 59, had asked to take the week off earlier to attend the waka ama championship, but was only given three days due to the fact that there was no one else available to take his shifts. So on the Monday that he was expected to return to work, he called in sick. Claiming that he had injured his calf muscle.

Only two days later, his boss saw photos of Taiapa on Facebook. The photos were from the championships that Bruce had attended; and he was all smiles. Even giving the camera the thumbs-up.

Taiapa said that he had gone to the championships with extended family, to watch teams that he had previously coached. The group then traveled to Tauranga where his grandsons were competing in a squash tournament. It was a 7-day trip by the time Taiapa and his family returned to their hometown of Gisbourne
Once back in Grisborne, Taiapa went to the doctors to get a certificate stating that he was unable to work for the past week due to the condition of his injury. Though he was well enough to return to work three days later.

  His manager Sharon Maynard made the decision to fire Taiapa after much consideration and discussions with others. Maynard said that Taiapa had misused his sick leave and attempted mislead his employer. It is clear that the trust and confidence that was placed in Taiapa was destroyed.

Taiapa's lawyers argue Turanga Ararau should not be able to dictate where Taiapa recuperated from his illness. 

Employment Court Chief judge Colgan agreed that recuperation at home is a valuable way to heal an injury however this was not the deciding factor in him getting canned. Colgan also mentioned that the employees actions were inconsistent with at-home recuperation, and the employer has the right to question wither the employee is genuinely ill.

This is the first time that I have agreed that it was appropriate to use Facebook to fire someone. No matter how an employer catches an employee in a lie, I believe they should be able to use that information to make a decision on letting them go or not.

Bruce's first mistake was lying to his boss about where he was going well not realizing that his boss was able to see his Facebook.

His second mistake was posting a picture of himself online when he was supposed to be injured with a damaged calf muscle.

All adults have experienced a time when they would rather be somewhere other then work. Though someone needs to be able to cover the shift, otherwise it is unfair to the co-workers.

Brian was slick to get a fake doctor's note, in an attempt to cover his tracks. Though his argument was that he was hurt while at the event, it seemed far-fetched and ultimately led to his dismissal.

But I Believe the employer acted in a reasonable manner, and that Brian's dismissal was justified.

Unfortunately Brian has not secured work since his dismissal but I wish him the best of luck.

By: Lindsey Clark

Sick Woman Fired over Facebook.

A Swiss unnamed woman lost her job when her employers noticed that she was using the social networking site Facebook, after claiming she was suffering from a migrane and unable to use a computer. She needed to lie down in a darkened room till it passed, and not be sitting in the office staring at a computer screen.
Her employer, Nationale Suisse, said that the discovery of activity on her facebook page destroyed its trust in her. Which had ultimately lead to her being let go.

 The unnamed woman maintains her innocence. She claims that she was on her iPhone, while in bed. She also believes that the company was keeping an eye on her facebook, in order to moniter her online activity.
But the company says it followed a simple logic: that those who are well enough to use Facebook with a migraine are well enough to work with a migraine.

This story irritated me, Just like the majority of the other cases that I've analyzed. Perhaps I am easily irritated.

’The employer in question says they followed simple logic: Those who are well enough to use Facebook with a migraine are well enough to work with a migraine.’

 I feel like this is a pretty simple minded way to look at the situation. The employer maintains that the activity on Facebook is what led to lack of trust in this employee. I would say that they had no trust in the employee before the activity was posted online. In order to see that there was activity on her Facebook page while she was off on a sick day, the employer would've had to check her Facebook page.

This is the part that concerns me because I personally believe that employers don't have a right to check an employee's Facebook page to stalk their personal lives. How employees spend their time at home is none of the employers business, as long as they're not making crude remarks about the employer or workplace.

So, on one hand we have the unnamed woman claiming she has a migraine and can't come to work. As a sufferer of migraines personally, if it was true that she had one, I completely understand. Her defence is that she was using the Facebook site on her mobile device while lying in bed. And due to the fact that  a migraine does not necessarily last all day, there are moments when a sufferer experiences relief. Does that make her a liar for checking her Facebook?

Facebook has become a part of everyday life, people of all ages check it and interact with others multiple times a day. It is almost an instinct to check Facebook now, especially while lying in bed bored.

Then. On the other hand we have the employer Nationale Suisse that saw activity on her facebook page while she was supposed to be resting. Which led to the lack of trust in her and prompted her to be let go. Which seems like an excuse to get rid of her to me.

There is a clear difference in my mind between lying in bed and sitting at a computer for hours. If you were ill which one would you prefer?

I pick the bed, incase you were wondering. And I know that in a similar situation I would check Facebook as well the moment I felt well enough to, with my phone brightness on low of course.

I hope the un named woman has luck finding another job, and hope her next employer isn't a stalker.
By: Lindsey Clark

Fired for tweeting about ‘Hung’ star Jane Adams.

Jon-Barrett Ingels worked at Barney Greengrass, a café in Beverly Hills known for their celebrity clientele. And on an average Tuesday in the summer of 2009, that clientele included ‘Hung’ star Jane Adams whose bill came to a modest $13.44. Only when it came time to pay, she apparently forgot her wallet in her car and promised to return to settle up. But she never did.

A representative of Adams called the next day to settle the tab, sans tip.
It was then that Ingles went to his Twitter account to describe his encounter with Ms.Adams to his 22 followers.

"Jane Adams, star of HBO series 'Hung' skipped out on a $13.44 check. Her agent called and paid the following day. NO TIP!!!"

 A 15-20 per cent service charge is standard in the US, a courtesy to servers who provide good service. Several weeks later Adams arrived at the restaurant herself to hand him the $3 he believed he was owed, mentioning that a friend had alerted her to his tweet. "The bitterness was saturating every word," Mr Ingels later wrote on his blog. 

Check out Ingles full account on his Blog: http://howtosucceedasafailure.blogspot.ca/2009/08/tipping-twitter.html
Ingles posted several more tweets to his account to try to make up for the bad impression that Adams seemed to have of him following the incident.

‘1.For the record I love Jane Adams (Hung)!! 2.Jane read my tweet about not tipping and came in to leave me $3. 3. Power of Twitter’

‘For the record I think Jane Adams (Hung) is a great actress’

Despite this he was sacked around two weeks later, due to a complaint from the actress that was brought to the attention to corporate head office.

Ingles, who has a young daughter, has been tweeting about his joblessness ever since.

‘Just sold my bed and t.v. at a yard sale. Yep, that’s what it’s come to’ he wrote October 2009
I find this story frustrating and particularly sad. I’ve never believed that celebrities should get preferential treatment when in the ‘real world’, they should have to follow the same rules and courtesies that are expected of ‘Everyday’ people. Regardless of your social status, choosing to not leave a tip is an extremely clear message of dissatisfaction with the service. And personally I still tip even with poor service, just not as much as I would a good server. Leaving a zero dollar tip is insulting to the server especially if they did a good job, and it’s really quite rude. So I find the fact that Adams complained about Ingles when SHE was ignorant to HIM completely upsurd. Though this is not the worst part of the story by any means.

My issue comes from the fact he was fired for tweeting about this on his personal account, when no mention was made about where the incident took place. In order to be fired, should there not be some sort of reference made to the restaurant by Ingles? None of his whopping 22 followers would have known because he didn’t mention it. The reputation of the restaurant was not in danger, in fact there would be much less attention given to the incident if Ingles had not been let go.

This incident was a complete abuse of power by Adams, and Barney Greengrass made no attempt to defend Ingles, an employee of 5 years. Head office actually went out of their way to track Ingles and fire him. Would this have happened if a Ms. Jane Doe, an ‘everyday’ person had complained about the server? Absolutely not. Barney Greengrass fired a man because a celebrity asked them to, and in firing him sent his life into a nose-dive of joblessness even though he had a young daughter to support.

I wish Jon-Barrett Ingels the best of luck, and I hope he is able to find a job sooner then later for him and his daughters sake.

By: Lindsey Clark


The Bitter Barista Publicly Outed and Fired

A Seattle coffee shop employee was fired after being named as the snarky, sour blogger behind the Twitter famous handle ‘The Bitter Barista’. His satirical tweets caught the attention of a community online, who shared and appreciated his rough style of delivering the truth of what it is really like to stand behind the café counter. 

Matt Watson Aka. The Bitter Barista

Matt Watson, 30, had become quite the online sensation while keeping his identity and the coffee shop that he worked at anonymous. Providing a real world bitter narrative of the difficulties of working in customer service.

After 2 weeks of being live he gained the attention of Facebook and Twitter, though not all of it was positive. Some believed it wasn’t appropriate to bring attention to the dim-witted things that come out of people’s mouths. It is my opinion that these people who protested had never worked in customer service, or had recognized some of the tweets as things they have said. Rude people are everywhere unfortunately, and if venting about the said rude people on social media is what helps him get through the day then I see no problem with it. Not to mention he brings joy to others with similar experiences.

"No, swearing at me will not get you better service," he tweeted. "It will get you decaf."

Unfortunatley Watson did not remain anonomys for long, after Sprudge.com, a gossip and news site did some digging and outed him as the face behind The Bitter Barista calling his tweets an ‘all-out assult on whomever walks through the door of [the] café’ Sprudge.com writer Llewellyn Sinclair added “Blog work like this probably shouldn’t be encouraged, which is why blogs like Bitter Barista need to be shown the cold light of day.”

Watson maintains that his blog was entirely satire, and though some posts about his manager and customers were not-so-nice, it was based on a small percentage of his time spent working at All City Coffee.  He told the Seattle Times that his blog was about "the 5 percent who I guess make our job more difficult and don’t treat us as human beings’ but that he had “a good personal relationship with 95 percent of customers."

Despite this, Sprudge.Com’s interference and public ‘outing’ of Watson was deemed a good enough reason for his boss Seth Levy to fire him.
"He was writing about his boss during business hours," Levy said. "I represent the business, the customers and the staff. I can’t endorse what he was saying, whether humorous or not. It puts me in a difficult position, where if I don’t respond that means I endorse what he’s saying.”

Luckily for Watson it seems like he won’t be out of a job for long. He’s received offers from multiple other coffee houses who have a sense of humor about his blog. There are even plans of turning The Bitter Barista into a coffee table book.

After all the drama, the Bitter Barista is back online, just now with an added disclaimer:

Interested in ‘getting bitter’? Click the link.

I find this story slightly frustrating; though I am glad that Matt was able to come out ahead my annoyance comes from those who were involved in revealing his identity. The fact that Matt was outed and put on blast by a third party company with no involvment in the situation is un-fair to me. I feel if All City Café has a bone to pick with anyone it should be Sprudge.com for publicly revealing Watsons identity and in turn the café that is referred to in the blog.

Watson made no mention of the café in his posts, so it wasn’t a story until Sprudge.com made it one. There are hundreds of personalities on Twitter and Facebook who poke fun at the world and bring light to annoyances to get a laugh, is it really nesscary to bring all these people to ‘the cold light of day’ and prosecute them in the workplace due to it?

Here is Sprudge.com’s opinion on the matter:

Sprudge.com makes mention of  “rape jokes, references to violence and animal abuse, as well as endangering customers with food allergies and dietary restrictions” Though I have not seen any posts by The Bitter Barista that mentions rape, violence or animal abuse and not sure if that is just an attempt to make Mr.Watson look bad. I feel like it is worth mentioning that it is a bit of a stretch to say that he was ‘endangering’ customers due to their dietary restrictions. And I feel like it is a serious accusation, considering no past customers have come forward to claim they had received product that made them sick. Sprudge.com clearly needs to learn to not take everything they see on the internet literally.

As for the manager’s decision to fire Watson I understand why that decision was made. After Sprudge.com had turned this into a story there was really no other choice then to let Watson go. For the sake of the customers who regularly visit All City Café as well as the manager that had posts directed at them. I can see why Seth Levy felt this decision was necessary in order to maintain the integrity of the café.

On the other hand if Sprudge.com had not featured the story and Seth Levy had found out about the blog through co-workers or in any other non-public way I would expect that Mr. Watson should still have his job. The blog was an expression of Mr. Watsons’ personality and thoughts, and without mention of the All City Café there would be no grounds for his dismissal. 

I still feel like it should have never gotten to this point, but do to the circumstances I understand why Mr. Watson was fired. 

By: Lindsey Clark

Read more: http://www.upi.com/blog/2013/02/13/Bitter-Barista-fired-over-snarky-blog/7621360772065/#ixzz2Q4S3a4yq

Miners Harlem Shake Video

  Up to 15 miners were fired from Agnew Gold Mine after a Harlem shake video was filmed while working underground, on the basis that it was deemed a safety hazard. The you tube video shows eight miners wearing safety gear sans shirts while performing the convulsive dance. Though there were only 8 men involved in the dance, many others were fired for watching.

Mine owner Barminco considered the stunt a safety issue and a breach of the “core values of safety, integrity and excellence,” of the company. Barminco added that the involved workers will no longer be allowed “to be subcontracted by Barminco at any site domestically and globally.” Effectively banning them from majority of mines across Australia.

Though it isn’t clear what safety issues are raised, all involved kept safety equipment on. And one fired worker later told a newspaper that the shirts were removed in order to protect Barmincos logo from appearing in the video.  

Australia is experiencing a mining boom, with workers flooding in attracted by the high salaries to go to remote outback mines. The miners who lost their jobs also lost six-figure salaries.

To watch the video click here:

The miners maintain that they were “having a bit of fun” and the offence took place at 2:30am while exhaustion was setting in. And doing the video was a way to boost moral.

None of the miners at Agnew Gold Mine involved in the incident is a member of the mining union. A Facebook page in support has been created in order to try to drum up support for the sacked workers, and though there are people who believe that safety procedures were breached and do not support the miners getting their job back. There are over 2,300 supporters who have liked the page.

When I first learned of this story I didn’t immediately take the miners side, I was concerned that if safety procedures had been broken then that isn’t discrimination based on personality. That would be getting fired for breaking the rules, which would make sense.

After reading multiple newspaper articles and watching the video myself I see the only defence for firing (and essentially ending the careers of) these miners was the apparent disobeying of safety regulations and undermining Barmincos reputation. Which I see no merit in. The miners wore helmets and their boots, and the safety equipment required while working, with the exception of their shirts. Which we have learned after the fact was done to protect the companies name from being exposed.  

So these things taken into consideration, it is easy to see where the miners are coming from. At 2:30am many things seem like a great idea, add in the fact that the Harlem Shake videos were all the rage on You Tube at that time with many organizations competing online to ‘one-up’ other organizations. Combined with the fact “Harlem Shake” by Baauer was in the #2 spot on the Australian music charts at the time. There is no doubt that it is a catchy tune perfect for rejuvenating tired bodies and getting energy levels back up.

So my question is, can these miners really be prosecuted for taking a break at 2:30am? Regardless of how they chose to spend their time while on their break, they were tired and needed some time to un-wind and let loose. If they had sat in their equipment and had a coffee, would they be getting fired? Or was it the way they chose to spend their break?

I personally don’t believe anyone should be prosecuted on decisions based on personality, as long as these decisions don’t reflect poorly on the employer. Which in the case of the miners, they had removed their shirts to prevent just that.

So in reality, if Barminco had only reprimanded, or alerted the miners to how they feel the behaviour is unacceptable there would be no story and the internet would never have known therefore protecting the company from bad publicity. Instead by firing the 15 workers outright it caused enough interest for the Internet to notice and for the story and causes it to spread like wildfire. Not to mention how the public interest brings attention to how easily this company ruined the careers of 15 of its employees. Each invested their time with the company, and each with a family to support. Which in my opinion makes Barminco look much worse then having a few of their men make a 30 second funny video.

By: Lindsey Clark


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Ethics of pay with athletes

Athletes are paid millions of dollars in order to play sports professionally which some people would say is a “waste of money” when you consider what they are doing which is playing a sport.  People who think this way believe in Rewarding merit, and believe that doctors and teacher should be paid more than athletes however I tend to differ for 3 main reasons: source of pay, how they are viewed, and distance from family

Source of pay
Athletes get paid from a privatized organization who receives the money from us the viewer’s tuning in to watch them do what they do best. Doctors and teachers tend to get their pay from the government through us physically from paying taxes and although a lot of people would like to see careers like that get more pay, not likely they would want to pay more to witness it happen

How they are viewed
With professional athletes they are under a microscope 50% of the time and the better they are that rate increases. Professionals are seen to be role models whether they like it or not so they have to be on their best behaviour, while other professions don’t always have to be on their best behaviours they are allowed to have bad days emotionally because society won’t see they most of the times.

Distance(family time)
As a professional athlete you’re always traveling and rarely ever have time for your family, I believe the pay reflects the fact that since you can never be with your family it’s still lets you contribute to them by making sure they are financially stable. Although nothing can replace the fact that you can’t be there for them all the time you can financially set up ways to compensate for some of the time missed.

Brandon Chambers Fridays 8 am