Friday, May 10, 2013

5 Ways to Make Video Conference Calls More Productive

1. Learn a few stealth moves.

If you decide to leave the room during the call, make sure it’s during a time when no one will notice. When you’re the next one on the agenda, it will be fairly obvious to everyone on the call that you’ve left your computer.

2. Type softly.

A few times throughout the call I took notes. The good part is that when we finished, I had clear notes about what we discussed. The bad part is that I usually hit the keys too hard (bad habit) which can be hard on everyone’s ears.

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CEO Council Demands Cuts To Poor, Elderly While Reaping Billions In Government Contracts, Tax Breaks

WASHINGTON — The corporate CEOs who have made a high-profile foray into deficit negotiations have themselves been substantially responsible for the size of the deficit they now want closed.
The companies represented by executives working with the Campaign To Fix The Debt have received trillions in federal war contracts, subsidies and bailouts, as well as specialized tax breaks and loopholes that virtually eliminate the companies’ tax bills.

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Employment discrimination lawsuit filed against city prosecutor’s office

A 61-year-old white woman, who says she was wrongfully fired from the Baltimore prosecutors’ office after 25 years on the job, has filed an employment discrimination lawsuit alleging age, race and gender discrimination in the 2010 termination.

Antoinette E. Swiec, of Baltimore, is seeking $400,000 in compensation from the Baltimore state’s attorney’s office on each of two counts, claiming she was fired because the predominantly young, African American division she worked for wanted her out.

The lawsuit was filed in  U.S. District Court Monday, and was to be served on Baltimore State’s Attorney Gregg Bernstein, though the firing occurred under his predecessor, Patricia C. Jessamy. Bernstein took office in 2011.

Mark Cheshire, a spokesman for the state’s attorneys’ office, declined to comment on the pending litigation “as a matter of policy.”

Swiec says she was the office manager of the Firearms Investigation and Violence Enforcement Unit in 2010, supervising a four-person clerical staff that was “exclusively African American and predominantly young,” with all but one person in their 20s. She reported to FIVE division chief Matthew Fraling III, whom she describes as a black male in his 40s.

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Ruling expected soon in Iowa employment discrimination lawsuit

(CNN) – According to her resume, Nansi Woods looked like a good fit for the job, an adviser position at the Iowa Workforce Development office. She had a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling, a bachelor’s degree in communications, one of several preferred fields related to the job and a minor in social work. She more than met the minimum requirements listed in the job description, which asked for an associate’s degree or certificate of education completion.

Another applicant had a bachelor’s degree in a preferred field, but was still taking courses toward a master’s degree in human resources. A third person seeking the job had no degree, no specific job experience and none of the listed computer skills. These last two applicants – both of them white – were offered the job. Woods, who is black, was never granted an interview.

class action suit filed in 2007 on behalf of Woods and up to 6,000 other African-Americans who were passed over for jobs or promotions with the state of Iowa alleges that they were victims of discrimination.

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Racial Discrimination: Black Employee Fired After Being Called the N-Word

Racial names do not justify slapping customer. A white customer suspected of shoplifting was escorted to a security area for questioning. The customer’s white friend then barged into the area, cursing at the store employees, one of whom was Black. She used the N-word toward the Black store employee, who reacted by slapping the verbally abusive customer in the face.

The police were called and both customers were arrested. The store then fired the employee for having slapped the customer, in violation of its no-violence policy and no-physical-contact-with-customers policy. The fired employee filed a Title VII race-discrimination case, alleging that Kmart was promoting a racially hostile environment and “ratifying hate speech” by firing the victim of harassment. The court ruled against the employee. The customer’s behavior was clearly harassing and improper. However, the store took prompt action to have the police remove the offender. The company had policies on how to deal with customers for these situations and how to raise complaints without escalating a situation. Slapping a customer was against policy and not warranted by a verbal situation. The employee’s escalation to the physical level was unwarranted and justified discharge. Lee v. Kmart Corp. (D. Minn., 2012).  For more on the discrimination and the N-word, read NBA Star John Amaechi: Hate Speech Goes Beyond N- and F-Words.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Employment discrimination suit heard in Superior Court

A former employee of the State of Alaska Division of Finance, who claims she was discriminated against, is appealing her case in Juneau Superior Court after her complaint was dismissed.

The 60-something Filipino woman, who declined to be named and who has worked for the division in Juneau for about 25 years, filed a complaint of discrimination against the division, saying it reclassified her position downward in attempt to get her to leave and also passed her over for another job in favor of a younger and less qualified person.

Oral arguments in the case were heard Friday before Judge Philip Pallenberg in Juneau Superior Court, which has the jurisdiction to hear appeals from Alaska Administrative Agencies.

The woman’s attorney Michael P. Nash. told the judge that his client was hired as an accounting clerk in 1984 and worked her way up to an accounting technician. She was tasked with work above her pay grade, such as conducting audits, and, at the urging of her coworkers and a former supervisor, she requested to have her position reclassified to a higher position in 2008.

Nash said that when the state looked into the classification, which determines pay level, the state reclassified her position downward, and the woman was demoted and her salary frozen. She retired early two months later and left in November 2009 to work for the Department of Public Safety.

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5 Reasons to Take Five-Minute Meditation Breaks at Work

1. Meditation increases our memory. A recent study showed that meditating for eight weeks was linked to having a higher density of gray matter, a part of the brain that helps with memory and learning. With all we have to keep in mind during the typical workday, who couldn’t use a little memory boost?

2. Meditation increases our attention span. Having trouble paying concentrating? Try meditating. By practicing keeping your focus on one thing at a time, such as your breath, you improve your ability to pay attention when it really matters, such as during a boring but important meeting.

3. Meditation improves our response to stress and emotion. Studies show that meditation actually changes the way our brain processes emotion, making us more resilient. And that’s not true just during meditation — the effects stay with you long after you’re done. The next time your boss yells at you, it’ll be like water off a duck’s back … well, almost.

4. Meditation gives your brain a true rest. When you take a break from work and go on social media, your brain is reading and analyzing what you’re seeing. This means it never really gets to rest, so when you get back to work you don’t feel refreshed. Meditation allows your brain to rest up so you can perform your best.

5. Meditation improves your cognitive processing. Perhaps because we’re better able to concentrate on what we’re doing and ignore distractions when we’re accustomed to meditating, people who meditate perform better on cognitive tasks. This means you’ll write better reports, come up with better responses in meetings, and do better on just about any project that comes your way.

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