The weird workplace

Amen to that; 'Spare a happy meal?'; Not so hip; There's an app for that; Camping for a cause
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/04/2015

Not so hip

TERRACE, B.C. — A B.C. man on his way to a family wedding in Ontario was met with considerable resistance recently when his artificial hip set off a metal detector at Northwest Regional Airport, according to Metro. The female screening officer told Robert Hart he would have to book another flight because no male staff from the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) were available to pat him down. While Hart was OK being searched by a female officer or an Air Canada agent or RCMP officer, the woman would not budge. “At that point they lost my sympathy. Your job is to ensure my safety, not to impede my journey,” said Hart, who took a red-eye flight six hours later when a male screener was on duty. Exceptions are allowed, said CATSA spokesperson Mathieu Larocque: “We made a mistake... The screening officers were under the impression that same-sex screening was to be applied no matter what the circumstances.”

Amen to that
DEVLIN, ONT. — Twenty-five workers at a furniture manufacturer in Devlin, Ont., who voted in favour of joining a union saw their plans quashed when Gingrich Woodcraft said it was closing shop, according to CBC. The Christian business owners said their personal beliefs did not allow them freedom to work with a labour union: “We are required by scripture to ‘live peaceably with all men’ and not to use force to gain what we want or for what is required to succeed.” But Unifor was having none of it, saying it had filed a complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board. “This is against the law,” said Unifor national representative Stephen Boon. “You cannot threaten or intimidate workers and take action directly aimed at unionization.” It is almost inconceivable an employer is taking this position, said Boon in the St. Frances Times. “Despite the fact that several Mennonite operations across Canada are already unionized, Gingrich management has taken the shocking stance that their ‘faith’ requires employees either remain non-union and, therefore, underpaid and exploited, or instead be fired.”  

'Spare a happy meal?'
HYERES, FRANCE — After an apparent incident involving two homeless people in front of a McDonald’s in Hyeres, France, the outlet caused a stir recently when it posted a notice — which soon circulated on social media — stating: “It is absolutely forbidden to provide food to vagrants, as a reminder, the team’s meals should be eaten on the premises. Meals for team members are a personal benefit and are to be enjoyed only by the worker in question.” The notice went on to say McDonald’s “is not in the business of feeding all the hungry people in the land” and any diversion from this procedure “will result in sanction that could lead to dismissal.” The chain has since apologized, according to Reuters, “to all those who may have been shocked by this notice and state that the brand is dedicated to serving all its clients without discrimination.”

There's an app for that
LONDON, U.K. — Inspired by a 2011 study that showed gendered wording in job ads both existed and sustained gender inequality, a woman has developed a “Gender Decoder for Job Ads.” Employers can paste in a job ad to find out if it has “subtle linguistic gender-coding” as a tool checks for variations on certain masculine- or feminine-coded words such as “active,” “confident” or “stubborn” for men and “considerate,” “communal” and “inclusive” for women. The 2011 paper in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found job adverts with masculine coding were less appealing for women and made them feel they belonged less in those occupations, while for men, feminine-coded ads were only slightly less appealing and there was no effect on how much they felt they belonged in those roles. “Society has certain expectations of what men and women are like, and how they differ, and this seeps into the language we use,” said Kat Matfield, a service designer and product manager at Adaptive Lab.

Camping for a cause
GENEVA — There’s been plenty of media coverage around the plight of unpaid interns, but one individual garnered attention recently when it was discovered he was living in a tent in Geneva — despite working for the United Nations. David Hyde, a 22-year-old from New Zealand, was working without pay and said he couldn’t afford to rent a place. He said he knew the internship offered no compensation and he lied to get the job, telling recruiters he could pay for his living expenses, according to the New York Times. After nine days, Hyde resigned from the position because of all the media attention, but he cited the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration.”  

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