The weird workplace

Hot, cross baker; Maybe he needs an off-switch?; BB-8 would be impressed; Questions, anyone?; Fiery fate for family
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/16/2016

Hot, cross baker

DOLE, FRANCE — Back in December, French baker Michel Flamant was becoming increasingly tired at his store over several days, and eventually he collapsed. Fortunately, a homeless man, Jerome Aucant — who often dropped by the store — entered the premises and finding the baker unconscious, dragged him outside and alerted authorities. It turned out Flamant came close to dying of carbon monoxide poisoning after having a stove fixed earlier in the week. Once recovered, the 62-year-old owner pledged to sell his business to his savior for one euro, and he was soon training Aucant, according to Reuters. The move generated plenty of media attention — but was not meant to last. Just recently, Flamant announced the deal was off after finding his would-be successor had invited a group of friends to the bakery in his absence. “(I) discovered that Jerome had set up a bar of sorts with wine and beer, and all his homeless friends in the oven room. I told him this was not part of the deal,” he said. “Tempers rose and he started insulting me, so I told him to pack his bags and go.”

Maybe he needs an off-switch? 

JOHANNESBURG, S.A. — The head of South Africa’s third largest telecom got himself into hot water recently after making less-than-popular remarks about women in the workplace. “We have good-looking women, we have clever women, we have smart women,” said Jose dos Santos, CEO of Cell C, in a radio interview, according to the Telegraph. “They just have a different way of managing, they have a different way of engaging meetings and engaging with parties and it creates a different dynamic… Women do have a bitch-switch and, boy, if you see two women fighting, it’s worse than two men having an argument.” Dos Santos also suggested the role of female workers is to be gorgeous so they can inspire men to look better.  “Do you know what it does to the atmosphere in that company? The men dress better, they shave every morning.” Facing considerable backlash, the CEO apologized: “Clearly, a lot of people have been offended, and it’s a situation that I regret very much. It’s one of those things where this kind of language cannot be tolerated in society.” 

BB-8 would be impressed

DONCASTER, U.K. — Amazon has new “workers” on the factory floor in Doncaster, U.K., and they are definitely hard-working. They cross the warehouse floor hundreds of times a day while carrying great weights on their backs. They’re actually robots called Kiva, named after the company purchased by Amazon in 2012. And they’re guided by QR codes found on the floor tiles, the same black-and white-squares that can be read by cellphones. The robots are sent commands to lift items from shelves and deliver them elsewhere, according to the Telegraph. Human colleagues then pack the items in boxes to be shipped to customers. “Lots of people think of them as their co-workers,” said Kerry Person, head of engineering at Amazon, which now has 30,000 Kiva “co-workers” operating globally.


Questions, anyone?

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Press briefings at the White House are often dull, routine affairs, but reporters had a nice break recently when a once popular but not-so-real White House press secretary took to the podium — actor Allison Janney. Having starred as C.J. Cregg for seven seasons on the TV show The West Wing, Janney took charge instead of real press secretary Josh Earnest, according to Entertainment Weekly. The actor said Earnest was having a root canal — recalling a similar plot line in the political drama — but then he showed up to reveal Janney, currently starring on Mom, was there to discuss the opioid epidemic and to support people dealing with substance abuse. Janney’s character is a recovering addict on the show.

Fiery fate for family

MAYERTHORPE, ALTA — A railway bridge in Alberta went up in flames recently, forcing the evacuation of nearby schools and a trailer park while almost three dozen firefighters were called in to help, along with forestry services members, helicopters and a water bomber, according to the CBC. But that wasn’t the only shocking event — the son of the former mayor of the town has since been accused of lighting the blaze. Lawson Schalm, 19, had also worked for the fire department for several years and is now facing 18 charges of arson related to numerous fires in the area. “We were shocked. He had a future that he was working towards,” said father Albert Schalm, who remained hopeful. “We refuse to be devastated by this. I refuse to throw my son under the bus. I’m not that kind of dad. My goal is to get him back on the road, get his future going again.” 

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