The University of Michigan's Graduate Employee's Organization (GEO) had recently engaged in a strike over the University's COVID-19 response. However, due to the fact that state employees are not allowed to strike, the GEO faced an injunction and the potential for retaliation from the University of Michigan for their action. Following a virtual meeting Wednesday night, the GEO voted to accept an off from administration. GEO members will return to work immediately under the agreement, ending the work stoppage that began last week. At the meeting, 1,074 GEO members voted to accept the offer, 239 members voted to reject and 66 abstained.
See Emma Ruberg, "Facing legal pressure, graduate students accept University’s proposal to end strike", The Michigan Daily, September 18, 2020
Weta Digital, the special effects company behind the Lord of the Rings trilogy, has launched an independent investigation into allegations of a toxic work culture including sexism, bullying and pornography being shared on its intranet. The investigation was ordered by the company’s majority owners. Some of which include the director Peter Jackson, his wife, Fran Welsh, and screenwriter Phillipa Boyens. Allegations from former staffers include sexism, bullying, and harassment, as well as pornographic mailing lists hosted on Weta Digital’s intranet, in addition to staff openly viewing pornography in the studio.
See Eleanor Ainge Roy , "Lord of the Rings special effects company Weta Digital launches inquiry into toxic workplace claims", The Guardian , September 18, 2020
Following a summer filed with reports about the toxic work cultures in both The Ellen Show and the TMZ news room, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar and WarnerMedia Studios and Network Head Ann Sarnoff have issues internal statements to WarnerMedia employees about the issues. In the internal memo Kilar referred to the issues as unacceptable. As a result of previous allegations, 3 top producers at The Ellen Show have been dismissed.
See Chris Murphy, "Warner Bros. Execs Address Toxic Workplace Environment at Ellen and TMZ in Internal Memo", Vulture, September 18, 2020
The Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA) announced today the publication of the 2020 Workplace Outcome Suite (WOS) Annual Reports. The results identified work presenteeism as the number one employee issue, both in terms of its negative impact on the workforce, and the extent of improvement after EAP counseling. This issue also translated into the greatest source of cost savings and ROI. Studies revealed that EAP counseling significantly improved employee wellbeing, ability to concentrate and productivity.
See "EAP counseling significantly improves employee wellbeing, ability to concentrate and productivity", Yahoo Finance, September 17, 2020
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday outlined to employees a new set of principles to guide debates and conversations within Workplace, the company’s internal social network.The new principles follow a set of similar changes at Google, which is increasing the moderation of its internal message boards. Zuckerberg stated that the changes were meant to address “a lot of very tense conversations happening out in the world,”.
See Salvador Rodriguez , "Facebook issues new rules on internal employee communication", CNBC News, September 17, 2020
Citigroup has recently announced that its new CEO will be Jane Fraser. Fraser will be making history as the first woman to lead a major US bank. The announcement is critical as it points to a trend of more diverse executive officers.
See Sara Todd , "Citigroup’s new CEO is a reminder not to keep high-achieving women waiting in the wings", Quartz at Work , September 16, 2020
Fast food chain Taco Bell announced last week the launch of Womxn @ The Bell, the company's first corporate U.S.-based womxn's employee resource group. Taco Bell also announced also announced that the name of the group was meant to be inclusive of transgender, nonbinary and non-white womxn that provokes thought and represents the complexity of gender.
See Ryan Golden, "Taco Bell announces 'womxn-focused' employee resource group", HR Dive , September 16, 2020
In early August, almost two months after businesses in the UK started reopening, just 17% of office workers had made it back to the office. In response to a report that the UK's economy could lose up to $600 to remote work, the UK government began a campaign to get white-collar employees back in the office. The success of remote work has created an economic shift to urban and regional planning.
See Lila MacLellan, "Can cities survive without office workers?", Quartz at Work , September 15, 2020
To curb the risk of Covid-19 many workplaces have introduced additional cleaning protocols. However, the abundance of cleaning in many offices can be harmful to some workers who have allergies and sensitivities to many of the chemicals present in cleaning supplies. In order to reduce disability litigation risks, organizations must adapt to accommodate for the two dichotomous needs.
See Louis C. LaBrecque, "Workplace Covid-19 Cleaning Poses Disability Litigation Risks", Bloomberg Law, September 15, 2020
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations against hospitals and healthcare systems in New Jersey and Louisiana for failing to safeguard its employees with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) during the coronavirus pandemic. OSHA also said it would issue fines against Bergen New Bridge Medical Center, Hackensack Meridian Health and Christus Shreveport-Bossier Health System. These citations are examples of a bigger issue of a rise in unsafe workplace claims by health care providers.
See Ron Shinkman , "OSHA fines 3 hospital systems for PPE violations", Healthcare Dive, September 14, 2020