World briefs (May 7, 2001)

TEACHER AWARDED FOR UNDUE STRESS
Somerset, U.K. — A schoolmaster who took early retirement because of stress was awarded more than $224, 000 in damages. After his school underwent a restructuring, he faced an increasing workload without additional support even after it became known he was having problems coping. The judge said the school’s headmistress was “brusque, autocratic and bullying in her attitude to the staff,” and that since the teacher was treated unsympathetically and no attempt was made to improve the situation, he became ill because of work-related stress.

PUNISHED FOR SHAVING HOURS
Portland, Ore. — Taco Bell may end up paying millions to employees who did unpaid work and were cheated out of rest and meal breaks. Former managers said their bosses put pressure on them to reduce labour costs and shave employee hours. One manager said she would alter computer records of the time employees worked and took for breaks because she feared she would be fired if she “didn’t keep labour at where they wanted.” Lawyers from Taco Bell said there may have been isolated problems but they were not systemic and plan to appeal the decision.

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