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Top court denies adoptive mother’s bid; IBM cuts pay 15 per cent to pay overtime; Transit operators under stress; The science of employee attraction and retention

Top court denies adoptive mother’s bid

Ottawa — The Supreme Court of Canada has refused to hear an adoptive mother’s case for maternity-leave benefits. Patti Tomasson of Vancouver was denied 15 weeks of maternity-leave benefits when she adopted children in 1999 and 2003. Tomasson took the Canada Employment Insurance Commission to court, claiming maternity-leave benefits discriminated against adoptive parents. Last August, the Federal Court of Appeal ruled maternity leave was intended to allow birth mothers to recover from the “physiological and psychological experience” of pregnancy and childbirth, something adoptive mothers don’t experience.

IBM cuts pay 15 per cent to pay overtime

Armonk, N.Y. — Computer giant IBM has cut the base pay of 7,600 technical-support workers by 15 per cent to compensate for overtime pay. IBM settled an unpaid overtime lawsuit in 2006 for $65 million US and made the technical-support workers eligible for overtime after working 40 hours in a week. IBM spokesman Fred McNeese said the overtime would make up for the affected workers’ pay cut. However, internal documents show about 2,500 of the affected workers generally don’t work enough hours to compensate for the cut in pay.

Transit operators under stress

Toronto — About 200 Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) streetcar and subway operators are suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to data from Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board obtained by the Toronto Star. The data shows the rate of PTSD among TTC operators is about four times that of Toronto police officers. From 2000 to 2005, at least 181 drivers claimed PTSD, missing an average of 49 days of work. An additional 102 operators reported missing weeks or months of work because of anxiety, neurotic disorders and depression. Some of the abuse workers suffer include being shot at with an air rifle, punched in the eye, head-butted in the mouth and gashed with a broken beer bottle.

The science of employee attraction and retention

Scottsdale, Ariz — WorldatWork is offering a total of $100,000 US in grants for research projects that further knowledge on the best ways to reward and engage employees. Areas of research can include, among others, compensation, employee benefits, work-life balance, recognition and career development. Academics, consultants, researchers and others are invited to apply by Feb. 21, 2008. Application details are available online at

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