The weird workplace

Take the money and run; Not playing fair; People in glass offices; Driving it home; Toilet patrol
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 03/20/2015

People in glass offices

CHRISTCHURCH, N.Z. — If you’re planning to have an office romp  — literally — it might be a good idea to turn out the lights. That’s what two employees learned recently in New Zealand when their on-site dalliance was captured in photos and video by bar patrons across the street. The senior insurance manager and office junior were filmed at the office of insurance firm Marsh, and the images were posted on Facebook — where the wife discovered the affair. Bosses at Marsh have identified the pair and have started an investigation, according to the New Zealand Herald. CEO Grant Milne said the company was taking the incident “very seriously” but did not say if the pair had been suspended. “We’re working through the issue with them.” Employment law expert Blair Scotland said the pair could lose their jobs and the key element was whether Marsh believed it had been brought into disrepute. “Some people will have a bit of a snigger while others might wonder what sort of company allows these sorts of activities after hours. It’s not an easy process for an employer to weigh up,” he said.


Take the money and run
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan —  Working at a bank must be tempting, with all that money lying around. Which could explain why bank employees in Kandahar apparently stole as much as 81 million Afghanis ($1.4 million Cdn) from their workplace. Security cameras showed the bank’s vault had been cleaned out, but investigators were waiting to gain access before confirming the total amount missing. “Yesterday, we could only open one of the treasury’s doors. We hope to open the next one today,” said Fazel Ahmad Azimi, the central bank director for Afghanistan’s southwestern region. It’s believed the raid was carried out by a senior official at the bank, an employee of nine years, with the help of his son and brother-in-law who were also on staff, according to Reuters. The group — who apparently escaped to Pakistan — had removed CCTV recordings before fleeing but investigators hoped footage might be recovered from the memory chip of the security cameras.

Not playing fair
NEW YORK — Also lacking ethics was a truck driver in the United States who has been charged with tampering with public records and possession of burglary tools. The crime? He used a device that lifted the bumper on his 18-wheeler to conceal his licence plate when he went through toll gates. Pablo Ortega was caught when he flipped a switch on his dashboard as he approached tolls over the Hudson River to evade a US$95 toll, according to Reuters. “The officer positioned at the toll booth sees the bumper lift to a 90-degree angle. This makes it unreadable to the EZ-Pass reader,” said Joseph Pentangelo, a spokesperson for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police. Authorities also found the rear licence plate of the tractor-trailer was obscured with grease and unreadable. The kit cost Ortega about US$2,500, said Pentangelo, adding it can be used legally to protect bumpers from getting scraped at construction sites and other places with uneven pavement. 

Driving it home
RIO DE JANEIRO — He was just helping out. At least, that’s what a Brazil judge said recently when he was seen driving a seized Porsche from a case he was handling, according to Reuters. Flavio Roberto de Souza is presiding over criminal proceedings against Eike Batista, once Brazil’s richest man. But the judge was seen driving a car of Batista’s that was among a number of luxury vehicles confiscated by police. “The Federal Police did not have a safe place for the car and it was exposed to sun, rain and possible damage. As I want the car to be preserved in good condition, I took it to a covered parking space (in the building where I live),” Souza told local business daily Valor Economico. “I did not take it to use, just to look after it... It is a normal situation.” The accused lost almost everything as his EBX conglomerate fell apart and his oil firm OGX filed for bankruptcy in 2013. Prosecutors said he sold 236 million reais (US$85 million) of OGX stock based on privileged information. Batista has denied selling the stock based on insider information, saying he was legally obliged to sell it to pay off debt. 

Toilet patrol
SEATTLE — Looking for a job? An unconventional one? Bus service provider King County Metro Transit might be able to help. The employer is looking to hire a “comfort station co-ordinator” who can find easily accessible restrooms for Seattle-area bus drivers. The pay: Up to US$100,000 per year, according to the Associated Press. The agency has a legal obligation to find access to bathrooms for the 2,600 drivers, according to Metro Transit spokesperson Jeff Switzer. Last November, the state Department of Labor and Industries cited Metro Transit after an audit found drivers were not provided unrestricted access to restrooms and some wore diapers.

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