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Workplace Safety and Health Law Blog

Posts in culture.

A few practical observations from this week's AGC-National Winter Safety Committee Meetings, and a bit of personal philosophizing about safety and character and the people making a difference in workplace safety. I mention some of the key topics covered, greatest concerns, and details on complying with the new Silica standard.

Due to employers’ understandable aversion to paying legal fees, they often wait until something goes wrong to avail themselves of counsel. That’s regrettable because guys like me with over 30 years of specialized experience prefer to assist clients in avoiding problems and using human capital to succeed. Despite the huge sums paid to lawyers in M& A transactions, many due diligence efforts are rote and ineffective with regard to labor ...

A recent Law 360 headline described a corporate senior counsel explained providing an erotic book with “playful and provocative” drawings to a fellow manager as an “innocent gift.” He had even written an inscription which read, “a taste of Dharma Bum to remind that the Dharma breathes in and out and is nothing special,” referring, in part, to the Buddhist philosophy of life and the novel by beat writer Jack Kerouac. There are many other allegations and facts associated with the underlying discrimination claim, and I have no idea as to whether unlawful conduct actually occurred.

One of my recurrent themes is that an employer should never assume that its managers and employees will not act foolishly and exercise bad judgment. Poor judgment results in experienced craft workers skipping a step and getting killed. Poor judgment results in employees or managers engaging in sex harassment. Poor judgment results in coworkers teasing an employee so much that he blames the hostile environment on his race, national origin, age or sex. Sometimes poor judgment results in a manger doing something stupid, rude and inappropriate that isn’t unlawful but gets the company sued.

We’re going to comment on the numerous policies and rules which must be revised because of the NLRB’s many changes last year; especially during December 2014. Today, we’ll briefly discuss email.

You may access this recorded webinar from last Thursday where industry experts thoughtfully discussed staffing and recruitment challenges, training, cranes, and a host of other safety and labor issues. Not as good as being at the AGC meetings (hint), but a more candid and nuanced discussion than generally available from a webinar or audio presentation.

Yesterday I shared a link to a post discouraging managers and employees from drinking at parties and in fact use the conversations where you are the sober one. Today, I am linking to a "kind-of" contrarian view from another wonderful writer, who argues that one should use drinking at company parties as a way to build a better reputation and relationships within the company. Enjoy!

After 30 years of seeing the worst of the workplace, I have few heroes left. Today, I lost my JFK or MLK. I’ll remember where I was sitting when I learned that the lion who was Nelson Mandela, had roared his last. I choose to believe that’s how he went out. As a lion of a man.

The Dallas Buyers Club, just opened in limited cities, it’s the largely true story of a thoroughly unlikeable hard ass Texas oil worker at the beginning of the 80’s AIDS crisis, who learns that he has full blown AIDS (from wild heterosexual behavior). The movie is amazing. It’s not “political.” Rather, it manages to blend tragedy, comedy and true story into a story that puts a face on an incredibly brutal time. Matthew McConaughey’s performance is a possible Oscar winner. My hospital administrator wife and I talked about the movie for hours.

I am writing this post as I sit on a bench in front of a Homewood Suites. As I sat working on documents, I struck up a conversation with an employee who was emptying the trash and straightening up outside. I’ll call him “Nate.” One could and should use Nate’s example to train professionals, including members of my benighted species, lawyers. His customer service attitude translates to professionalism and engagement in countless areas of "legal" responsibilities.

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