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Threats at work: You can punish, even if weapon turns out to be a toy


You probably have workplace rules that ban weapons in the workplace and don’t allow employees into the building with guns or knives. And that rule probably spells out that you will terminate an employee who threatens or displays a weapon at work. But what if the ‘‘weapon’’ turns out to be a toy?

Extra cheese please, but hold the snot


As Michael Setzer stuck a piece of cheese up his nose and placed it on the Domino’s sandwich he was preparing, he mugged for Kristy Hammonds’ camera. After Hammonds’ video received more than 550,000 hits on YouTube, the pizza chain mobilized quickly to contain the damage.

@Twitterers: Watch what you tweet! @Videographers: Grow up!


Employees do the darnedest things, and it’s often up to HR to clean up the resulting mess. Better to have prevented it in the first place. Two recent news stories point out problems that could have been stopped with simple policies on use of technology in the workplace. With the right handbook lingo, much corporate embarrassment could have been avoided.

How to prepare your workplace for a possible flu pandemic


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have for years predicted that a virulent influenza outbreak could kill tens of thousands, hospitalize hundreds of thousands and sicken millions. Regardless of how the swine flu crisis plays out, it should be a wake-up call for employers. If you haven’t already, now is the time to undertake pandemic planning efforts.

Hey, look, we’re on TV! Better fire that guy!


The U.S. Department of Labor has settled with Triple B Cleaning, a Houston company, that it claims illegally fired an employee who had complained about workplace safety issues to local news media.

$108,000 OSHA penalty for manufacturing company


OSHA has announced that a Texas manufacturer faces $108,000 in proposed penalties for failing to abate safety violations after a worker died from an electrical shock. In January 2008, OSHA flagged six violations against JD Manufacturing, doing business as Arrow Waste.

Being overly friendly isn’t harassment


Title VII protects employees from discrimination based on sex, and sexual harassment is sex discrimination. That doesn’t mean, however, that every unwanted work relationship is sexual harassment. As a recent case shows, an obsessive interest, unrelated to sex, by one employee in another isn’t prohibited.

Prepare your workplace for a possible flu pandemic


Can we ban weapons anywhere on our premises?


Q. I know I can prohibit anyone, including employees, from bringing weapons into the workplace. Can I expand the same prohibition to the rest of my property, such as the parking lot?

Bill would shift responsibility for workplace safety rules


State Sen. Doug Berger is not happy with the way the state labor commissioner is enforcing workplace safety laws. He has proposed a bill that would strip workplace safety enforcement duties from Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry and move them to a yet-to-be-created agency called the Employment Safety and Security Division …