Friday, March 20, 2015


Two HR situations
Worth considering


TWO HR-RELATED ISSUES linked from the Friday, March 20 2015 AdvisenFPN news round-up caught my eye:

While the two headlines may seem unrelated to, say, factory employment, both could impact all organizations.

The first, from the Myrtle Beach (SC) Sun News, reports that court records show a stray bullet struck the dancer in the abdomen after a fight broke out at the club, resulting in loss of a kidney.

It IS an unusual on-the-job injury, but the club owners may have come out ahead - even considering the probability of increased workman's compensation payments - by putting the burden on workman's comp rather than having to defend the club's policies in court for apparently allowing armed customers into the facility.

Datelined Columbia SC, the Myrtle Beach paper's leed (cq) read:

    An exotic dancer who was shot at a Columbia nightclub is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for her injury, the S.C. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in what could be a potentially precedent-setting decision for topless performers in the Palmetto State.
The article quoted the dancer's attorney as stating “This is a message to employers of this industry that, if they are going to bring young, often uneducated laborers into this industry to make huge profits, then they need to have workers’ compensation to cover these unforeseen accidents.”.

The article also noted that as far as the state's workman's comp is concerned, the dancer was an employee of the club, not an independent contractor.

While this is one instance for one job type in one state, the state supreme court's ruling could be, as the reporter wrote, "precedent-setting," not only for dancers and the places where they work, but for all jobs in all places in all states.

The second, from England's The Guardian newspaper starts off

    A bus driver wrongly accused of using cocaine has won a substantial payout after arguing that the traces of the drug must have come from passengers’ money.
The driver was randomly tested for drugs using a saliva test. The test indicated he had used cocaine. The driver denied this.

Without further ado, he was fired from his job of 22 years.

At his own expense, the driver had the more accurate hair follicle test for cocaine done by his own doctor. That test was negative, supporting the driver's claim that he was drug free.

The bus company refused to hire the driver back.

He went to court with evidence that, at least in England, paper currency is often tainted with cocaine. According to the driver's legal team, it was estimated that in the UK upwards of 88% of banknotes carry detectable traces of the drug..

The driver's attorney contends that the bus company failed to carry out proper investigations before dismissing such a long-serving employee with an impeccable record

In the England case, the employer might have avoided any legal entanglement by being less hasty in its actions - suspending the driver until it - not the driver - ordered and funded the hair follicle test - and immediately reinstated the driver, with back pay, when the second test proved negative.

Instead, the bus company apparently elected to stand by the initial test and the following dismissal even in light of the new evidence.

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