Thursday, November 19, 2009

A different kind of education, courtesy of Univ. of Kansas

Kansas' head football coach, Mark Mangino, is under investigation by the Athletic Director for alleged verbally and physically abusive behavior. According to some former players, it wasn't unusual for Mangino to use personal matters that had been disclosed in confidence to teammates when ridiculing a player in front of the team. He also allegedly poked a player in the chest recently during practice, allegedly not the first time he touched a player.

Why is this coming to light now, if according to Mangino, he hasn't changed the way he coaches his players or the approach he and his coaching staff uses with the players? After starting the season 5-0 and since losing the next 5 games, some would argue that this is discontent among the players over the direction of the program. Similar to other working environments, perhaps things get overlooked when all is going well and expectations are exceeded than when it looks like you might be headed downward.

A former player in the article, along with Mangino, rests on the notions that Mangino isn't doing anything differently than he has during his tenure as a coach, and he's not doing anything that other coaches in the Big 12 conference aren't doing. Certainly, having context is necessary whenever actions are reviewed--context both at your workplace and in your industry. But as well all know, breaking the same policy multiple times doesn't make one's actions acceptable. Not to say that Mangino has broken any policies; just observing that if his defense is resting on, "This is how I've always done it," and "I'm not any different than the other coaches in this conference," he may be in for a rocky road.

This type of investigation gives HR professionals the opportunity to see what it takes to spark an investigation and how outsiders (of both company- and team-ilk) impact the investigation. No doubt, some PR and HR tips will be gleaned before this matter is considered closed.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New EEO Poster

The EEOC has issued both a supplement and a replacement poster to cover employer's obligations under the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act. You can find both here:

When providing hand sanitizer isn't enough

Not surprisingly, a measure has been introduced, this time in the House of Representatives, that would require employers (with at least 15 employees) to provide 5 paid sick days when an employee shows symptoms of a contagious illness or has been in contact with someone who has a contagious illness.

This law, if passed as presently written, would sunset 2 years from the date of passage. Thus, it's not the permanent fixture of paid sick leave that has been trumpeted in the past by members of Congress. Interestingly, a violation of the law would be equivalent to violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. Thus, treble damages and attorneys' fees would be available.

With the focus on health care reform, it is very possible that this measure slips under the radar and passes without much fanfare. The sponsor has dubbed it the Emergency Influenza Containment Act, categorizing it as a way to control the H1N1 pandemic.

For anyone who enacted policies in response to the outbreak, you should closely monitor this Act so as not to find yourself painted into a corner if it passes.