April 2009 Archives

April 14, 2009

French Layoffs, Part II: Don't Expect Much Sympathy If You're Boss-Napped

In my earlier post on French workers kidnapping their bosses, I pointed out that the tactic seems to be working: Recent boss-napping incidents have resulted in renewed negotiations between labor and management, which is often what the workers say they want. A new poll shows that boss-napping is not only effective, it's also got popular support. According to a post in Charles Bremner's blog at the Times Online (UK), a recent survey by the Parisien shows that 45% of the French think it's acceptable to kidnap the boss. (Note: Slightly more -- 50% -- say they don't approve of the tactic.)
April 7, 2009

It's Spring Break: Don't Get Photographed Doing Anything Stupid (or Tweet About It Later)

It's spring break, when thousands of college students follow the time-honored tradition of heading to warmer climates to party. But these days, when the job market for soon-to-be college graduates looks pretty bleak, spring break revelers might want to remember this: Prospective employers have Internet access. If a search for your name turns up, say, a photo of you at a party with the caption "Drunken Pirate," your job prospects might go from grim to nonexistent.

Recent news reports show that applicants and employees alike don't seem to realize that their Internet posts are public -- as in, employers can find them, read them, and perhaps figure out who posted them. That's what "theconnor" learned recently when, after being offered a job at Cisco, he tweeted the news, along with this commentary: "Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work." Soon, someone from Cisco responded, "Who is the hiring manager. I'm sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web." Then, the website "Cisco Fatty" was created to memorialize the whole incident. (Check out the whole story here.

Then there's the teacher who got fired for his MySpace page, which he said he created to communicate with students outside of school and build a better relationship with them. Apparently, the road to a better relationship was paved with nude photos, cursing, and inappropriate conversations. The teacher lost his wrongful termination lawsuit.

To learn more about why your company needs a policy on employee use of blogs and social networking sites, see Nolo's article Employee Posts on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and Blogs.

April 1, 2009

Layoffs At Your Company? Be Glad You're Not in France

Managers routinely report that laying off workers is one of their least favorite job responsibilities. And it's no wonder why: Especially in our current tough economic climate, managers worry about whether laid off workers will be able to find a new job -- and make ends meet while they're looking. Add to that the stress of having to actually break the news to employees, worries over whether remaining employees will be able to handle the workload, and concern over whether the company itself will survive the recession, and you can see why layoffs provoke so much managerial anxiety.

Well, they've got even bigger concerns in France: kidnapping. As reported by CNN, there were three separate kidnapping incidents in March 2009, at Sony France, 3M France, and most recently at Caterpillar. Employees at Caterpillar, angered after hearing that the company had proposed laying off 700 workers, took four executives hostage; there's no word yet on whether they've been released. The workers did release a human resources director who recently had a heart attack. As tactics go, this one is proving to be effective: The kidnapping incidents at Sony France and 3M France both resulted in renewed discussions or negotiations between the union and the company, which is also what the Caterpillar workers say they want.