On a recent travel to the upstate New York region, we encountered this warning sign. It actually contains quite a bit of information about prevention. In any case it got everyone’s attention. We have all heard the term Lyme Disease. What exactly is it? Should we keep away from outdoor activities and protect ourselves by covering everything up like this?

Lyme Disease is caused by a bacterium transmitted by tiny blacklegged ticks. If left untreated, the infection could spread to the joints, the heart and the nervous system. Fortunately, most cases of Lyme Disease can be treated successfully by a few weeks of antibiotics regiment.

Also, luckily, the early sign of a Lyme Disease tick bite is very distinct. The medical term is erythema migrans. It manifests as an expanding annular rash on your skin, centered around the tick bite. If you don’t see such circular rash on your skin, you’re probably safe.

The company I worked for, recently began a telecommuting program. The company is rather old fashioned. Telecommuting is definitely new and an uncomfortable policy for the management. You can say they were forced into it, kicking and screaming. The company has out-grown its current location, and needs a bigger building. Usually, companies in such situation, find another building within 5 -10 miles of the old location, to ease any commuting concerns. However, this company, in its wisdom, decided to move to a new building 30 miles away. Fearing that enough employees may refuse to move with it, a telecommuting policy was reluctantly adopted.

One of the telecommuting policy states:

Work Site
A designated workspace must be maintained by the employee that is quiet, free of distractions, and kept in a clean, professional, and safe condition, with adequate lighting and ventilation.

That seems reasonable enough. Then the next sentence:
The work site will be subject to periodic safety inspections during normal business hours on two hours’ advance notice.

This requirement brought out some chuckles. “Seriously, they are going to come to my house and inspect my home office area?” There were even some questions about whether the company can legally do that. Yes, they can. It is legal.

Employers are responsible and liable, whether it’s in-office or home office. For example, if a customer visiting an employee’s home office, had an accident and damaged their high-end computer, the company is responsible for the loss. Also, telecommuting employees have the same worker’s compensation benefit as in-office employees. For these and other legal reasons, employers are entitled to require and inspect a proper home work place.

So, telecommuters, better be able to clean up your place on two-hour notice.

What’s with Donald Trump’s long ties?

Some may call the long tie – quaint (OK, maybe just New Englanders). But, this one during the inauguration, seems to have jumped beyond even the quaint zone.

If you like your tie long, you would think a tie clip should help. But, no, Donald has a much more economical way – how about some scotch tape!

 

 

 

Apparently, Trump is continuing to use the scotch tape. Here (left below), he is walking with grandchildren across the White House lawn. And, no, he is not just limited to taping the tie down. How about taping them together.

If he can only issue and Executive Order banning windy days.

Interestingly, Trump did not always wear his tie long. As late as 2005, Trump is shown with tie at somewhat normal length.

Trump 1984                               2005 with Apprentice (4th season) winner Randal Pinkett

The recent United Airlines (UA) incident of a passenger forcibly dragged off the plane, started with UA involuntarily bumping passengers from a fight.

I’m sure it got all of us asking: can the airline really do this – that is, involuntarily bump a confirmed and boarded passenger off a flight? Actually, yes, they can. Because, you signed a contract when purchasing the ticket, giving the airline that right.

I checked. United Airlines’ Contract of Carriage has this language. It’s also in the confirmation email that the airlines sent you. They not only make it in fine prints, but also in light-color fonts. We recently bought tickets (from a different airline). Sure enough, it’s there.

 

 

 

 

The language is actually part of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

14 CFR 250.11 – Public disclosure of deliberate overbooking and boarding procedures

NOTICE – OVERBOOKING OF FLIGHTS
Airline flights may be overbooked, and there is a slight chance that a seat will not be available on a flight for which a person has a confirmed reservation. If the flight is overbooked, no one will be denied a seat until airline personnel first ask for volunteers willing to give up their reservation in exchange for compensation of the airline’s choosing. If there are not enough volunteers, the airline will deny boarding to other persons in accordance with its particular boarding priority. ….persons denied boarding involuntarily are entitled to compensation.

Certainly, injuring and dragging a passenger off the plane is not what the regulation has in mind. For most other bumped passengers, other than monetary compensations, you have very little recourse. What compensations are you entitled, when involuntarily bumped?

  1. 200% of the fare, with a maximum of $675 USD, if the airline arranged for you to arrive at your destination, more than one hour but less than two hours, after your original planned arrival time.
  2. 400% of the fare, with a maximum of $1,350 USD, if the airline arranged for you to arrive at your destination, more than two hours, after your original planned arrival time.
  3. You can insist on the airline issuing a check for the compensation, rather than accepting an airline voucher.

The recent sickening incident of United Airlines (UA) injuring and then forcibly dragging an involuntarily bumped passenger off the plane, speaks volumes about the corporate culture at UA. True to form, the CEO of United Airlines soon proved beyond any doubt the toxic culture he created and the stupidity of the man in charge.

These days everyone has a smart phone with a camera. In no time, the video of the entire horrid episode is available for the whole world to see – how United Airlines treated its passenger. CEO of United Airlines, Oscar Munoz, sent an email to UA employees, further inflamed the outrage. Just like the video, didn’t Mr. Munoz think the email would also get out for the whole world to see?

Mr. Munoz supported the actions. “Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this.” You mean established procedures like forcibly dragging a passenger off the plane? He commended their actions. “I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond” I think the world would agree injuring and dragging a passenger off the plane is indeed going WAY above and beyond.

The employees of UA would not have acted this way without the CEO establishing a belligerent culture at the company. The employees of UA would not have acted this way without explicit or tacit approval from corporate higher-up. Mr. Munoz also said “we are taking a close look… Treating our customers…with respect and dignity is at the core of who we are.” No, apparently, treating your customers with respect and dignity is NOT your core value. And, dude, as for your close look, look no further than in the mirror. You, Mr. Munoz, are the problem.

Whatever United Airlines and this CEO thought they would gain (about getting 4 staff to their next flight), pales into such insignificance when compared to the bad publicity and damage to their brand. Apparently, damaging to the UA brand is no big deal for this CEO. The victim has already lawyered up. This will end up in court, and costing UA millions. Is the United Airlines Board of Directors watching the news? There is an idiot running your corporation. Do the one and only defined duty of any board – show the CEO the door.