Weird Workplace

A generous new chapter; That's one way to hide the evidence; Just hold it awhile; Don't even think about dozing off; Anchors away
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/15/2014

Just hold it awhile

CHICAGO — Workers at WaterSaver might not be drinking much water these days, but it’s not because of any environmental concerns, according to CNN. The company disciplined 19 workers in June for “excessive use” of washrooms, according to Teamsters local 743 in a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board. The company’s HR department described “excessive use of the bathroom as... 60 minutes or more over the last 10 working days,” according to the affidavit — six minutes per day. WaterSaver also installed swipecard systems because it felt some employees were spending too much time in there — 120 hours of production were lost in May, according to CEO Steve Kersten, who believes workers are secretly spending time there on their phones. But there’s a reward for “good behaviour” — workers can earn a gift card of up to US$20 each month if they don’t use the bathroom at all. But the monitoring is an invasion of privacy, according to the union. “The company has spreadsheets on every union employee on how long they were in the bathroom,” said union representative Nick Kreitman. “There have been meetings with workers and human resources where the workers had to explain what they were doing in the bathroom.”

A generous new chapter

VICTORIA, B.C. —Four workers at a Munro’s Books were recently given an added bonus: Ownership of the store. The 84-year-old owner, Jim Munro, had run the shop for 50 years but decided to move on. While some considered the move too generous, Munro disagreed. “Without them there, the business isn’t worth anything. They are like an extended family,” he said, according to Metro News. Munro was married to Nobel Prize-winner Alice Munro and has three daughters. “We all totally agree that the store should go to the staff, that we hold the building and that we want the Munro name to continue,” he said. With 18 staff and an inventory of about 30,000 books in the 6,000-square-foot store, Munro estimates the value of his gift is around $1 million, with its marble floors, 24-foot coffered ceilings and walls hung with tapestries.

That’s one way to hide the evidence

CHENGDU, CHINA — If you ever find a fly in your soup at a restaurant, be aware the server may try — rather unconventionally — to conceal the evidence. That’s what businessman Zhang Yen found out when he uncovered a cockroach in his salad at the Jinsha Era Plaza hotel restaurant, according to Metro in the U.K. Fellow customers filmed the exchange when 39-year-old waitress Jin Kuo told Yen such a discovery was perfectly common and there was nothing to worry about. When he asked her if she’d like to eat it, she scooped it up and ate it, saying, “No matter which restaurant you go to, you will always find cockroaches in the food. It is very normal.” Apparently, the restaurant apologized, saying the server had been given a pay cut as punishment.

Don’t even think about dozing off

SAN FRANCISCO — Sleepy workers now have no excuses — at least two new products are determined to keep them upright and functioning. The Masunaga Wink Glasses can detect when a person hasn’t blinked in five seconds and fog up one of the lenses. A “simple function” then jolts the eyes and makes them focus, waking up the wearer. The glasses are powered by a USB or battery, lasting eight hours. But if that doesn’t keep employees out of dreamland, why not offer Sprayable Energy, a topical caffeine spray “applied to your skin for a smooth, focused boost of energy” that’s clear, unscented and has no calories. “Sprayable is the answer to anyone who’s ever been dissatisfied with energy drinks or coffee, and has thought to themselves that there must be a better solution out there. It’s fast, convenient, multi-use and gives you a smooth, steady energy without the jitters or crash,” said Ben Yu, co-founder of Sprayable Energy.

Anchors away

Beijing — Opening its daily broadcast as usual, the China Central Television camera zoomed slowly toward the news desk to reveal only one anchor waiting, the other seat empty. Turns out one of the anchors — popular host Rui Chenggang — had been detained by police shortly before airtime, according to CNN. Chenggang’s longtime patron Guo Zhenxi, head of state-run CCTV’s financial news channel, was detained in June for allegedly accepting bribes, and several other senior figures at the channel were also implicated, said the government. Dubbed “the new face of China,” Chenggang has more social media followers than any other CCTV personality and has interviewed many famous people, including Barack Obama — but it looks like he might be in the hot seat now.