The Weird Workplace

American Idol hit wrong key with background checks: Lawyer; Blind to the problem; Crime doesn't pay, whistleblowing does; Jurassic discovery
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 10/22/2013

Crime doesn’t pay, whistleblowing does

WASHINGTON, D.C. — An anonymous whistleblower has been awarded $14 million (all dollars US) by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the largest award the agency has ever handed out. Two years ago, the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) launched programs to encourage whistleblowers to report corporate wrongdoing, but there hadn’t been much activity on the reward front. Under SEC rules, a whistleblower can receive anywhere from 10 per cent to 30 per cent of the monetary sanctions collected if they exceed $1 million. In 2012, the SEC received 3,001 tips but only paid a total of $170,000 to four whistleblowers. In the same period, CFTC received 58 tips and paid out nothing. But with the huge cash award handed out earlier this month, that tide seems to have turned — the SEC said high-quality tips that could lead to big payouts are now being submitted routinely.

American Idol hit wrong key with background checks: Lawyer

LOS ANGELESAmerican Idol, the hit reality show in the United States that has launched the singing careers of the likes of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, is facing a lawsuit over its background checks on contestants. Ten former contestants are suing the show for US$25 million each, according to TMZ and the Huffington Post. Among the charges is that producers were asking contestants: “Have you ever been arrested?” That would be a violation of employment law in California, according to lawyer James Freeman, since the contestants were essentially applying for a job on the show.

Blind to the problem

OTTAWA — Earlier this year, some Conservative MPs sent out flyers to constituents bragging about the work they’re doing to help Canadians with disabilities find employment. The flyer, titled “Supporting Jobs for All Canadians,” included a braille version of the title — a thoughtful, helpful step for the visually impaired. But there was a wee bit of a problem, according to the Toronto Star. “Any blind person who touches the dots would find only a flat surface — unreadable letters, then, for many of the roughly 280,000 people in Canada who are visually impaired,” it said.

Jurassic discovery

SPIRIT RIVER, ALTA. — It was a find 65 million years in the making. Pipeline workers in Alberta’s oil patch have unearthed the fossilized remains of a hadrosaur — also known as a duck-billed dinosaur. The fossil is a three-metre “totally composed tail,” according to PostMedia News. Paleontologists from the province’s Royal Tyrrel Museum are examining the find, “one of the most complete finds in this part of the world in a long time.”

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