In one ear…and that’s it

Compliance and triathlons have approximately 47 things in common.  I won’t bother to list them here, as there’s only one relevant to this article – training.

Training for a triathlon is pretty straightforward.  Employment law compliance training, however, is quite tricky.  Most training sessions fly in one ear and out the other – or any number of ears, depending on the size of your conference room – because the process doesn’t engage its targets (your managers and supervisors).

One product that claims to alleviate this training woe is The Supervisor’s Employment Law IQ Challenge:  101 Real-World Cases to Increase Supervisor Awareness of Common Legal Pitfalls.

This book – full of two-page segments about specific and actual employment law cases – is meant to help get your employees to actively think and participate in the employment law training you conduct, so they don’t forget the information as soon as they leave the room.

Covering the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), terminations, compensation, and more, this resource can serve as:

  • a great kickoff for interactive meetings
  • a resource for practical and real-world examples of employer actions and consequences
  • a tool to learn from others’ mistakes.

Click here to learn more about The Supervisor’s Employment Law IQ Challenge.


Trip over your dog, sue your company, and win?

Last month I stubbed my toe walking up the stairs of my apartment building.  And, I guess, if my boss had directed me to store any of my work items in my apartment, I could have sued him – and might’ve won.

A salesperson recently fractured her right wrist when she tripped over her dog while walking from her house to her garage.  She then sued her employer for workers comp…and won.


Here’s how it happened:

  1. Mary Sandberg was a mobile salesperson for J.C. Penney Co –travelling to customers’ homes to sell bedding and window treatments.
  2. She was required to keep work supplies (pricing guides, fabric samples, etc.) in her vehicle.
  3. Her boss also directed her to store excess products elsewhere, and suggested that she use her home.
  4. So Sandberg kept fabric samples in her garage (as instructed).
  5. One day she tripped over her dog while heading to the garage for fabric.
  6. She sued her employer, and the court found that storing items in her garage benefited her employer – meaning her home and garage can be considered a work environment.
  7. Therefore, the injury came from her employment.

Click here to read more about Mary Sandberg’s successful lawsuit.

FDIC email scam alert!

Apparently, someone has been sending emails that appear to be from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) but aren’t from the FDIC at all.

The FDIC has been receiving reports that emails from addresses like “” and “” have been showing up in employer inboxes lately.

The emails – which are purported to have subject lines such as,  “FDIC:  Your business account” – are NOT from the FDIC, and the FDIC is warning that these emails may be intended to load viruses on your computer or, worse, steal personal financial information.

If you receive or have received an email that fits this description, make sure you do not open any links it contains.

Click here to read the FDIC’s press release about the issue.

Workplace Strategies

If you missed Ogletree Deakins’ Workplace Strategies 2011 – the HR seminar to end all HR seminars – in Chicago last month, I know you’ve been so wrought with regret that you’ve probably been struggling just to get out of bed in the morning.

Well, you now have a reason to rise!  On June 30th, 2011, at 3:30 PM EST, Ogletree Deakins will be giving you a second chance to catch the most valuable information from Workplace Strategies 2011 – in webinar form!

For just $99.00 ($49.00 for Ogletree Deakins clients) you’ll learn about topics such as:

  • The Social Media Revolution – Employee Privacy vs. Employer Rights
  • The Performance Review – Why It Doesn’t Have to Be Good for Lawyers Only
  • Developments in Class and Collective Actions
  • Employer Screening Practices Under Attack
  • Employer Behavior That Leads to Employment Litigation
  • And so much more!

Click here to learn more about “Workplace Strategies 2011:  Highlights from Chicago.”  To register, click here.

You not-so-dirty rat

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and I have something in common:  we’re both cool with giant rats.  The giant rat I like is Master Splinter from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  The giant rat the NLRB likes is the “Giant Rat” – the one that goes hand-in-hand with labor union activity.

On May 26th, 2011, the NLRB decided that placing the “Giant Rat” – a mean looking, inflatable rat measuring 12 feet wide and 16 feet tall – outside an employer’s facility to protest the hiring of a non-union contractor is not unlawful secondary activity under he National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

The NLRB decided that the Giant Rat – which was placed 100 feet from the entrance of a hospital that hired non-union workers instead of members of the Sheet Metal Workers’ Union – was not unlawful intimidation because it’s placement:

  1. constituted peaceful and constitutional expression
  2. didn’t involve conduct that could be considered unlawful or confrontational picketing, and
  3. was not unlawfully threatening.

Click here to read more about this bizarre NLRB case.

DOL postpones fiduciary fee disclosure rules

If you’re a procrastinator – or even just a run-of-the-mill fan of procrastination – I think you just might like this article.

The Department of Labor (DOL) has (as expected) officially postponed when you have to comply with the fiduciary fee disclosure rules of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act’s (ERISA) Section 408(b)(2) (I know, that’s my favorite section, too).

The rules were originally set to be implemented on July 16th, 2011, but have now been pushed back to January 1st, 2012.  (So if the Mayans were right, you don’t even need to worry about it.)

The disclosure rules in question – again from the classic Section 408(b)(2) – are meant to do two things:

  1. allow plan sponsors to evaluate and understand the reasonableness of the fees, and
  2. bring to light any conflicts of interest.

To learn more click here to read “Delays & FSAs:  An Early Summer Benefits Update” by our partners at Barran Liebman LLP.

Stress Less

I have become quite skilled at pointing out the obvious.  That being said, I will now make a declaration:  work is stressful.

That’s why the HRidiot came up with Stress Less, a segment devoted to providing you with links to welcome workplace distractions – whether it’s to clear your mind after completing a big project or to help you avoid starting one (just kidding!).

This week, I’m keeping it simple and bringing you a website devoted to a classic American pastime:  popping bubble wrap.

At, you can enjoy the somehow mystifying experience of popping bubble wrap right from your desktop.  For your own productivity’s sake, I’d recommend limiting yourself to one sheet per session (but to each his own, I suppose).

Click here to get poppin’!