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October 11, 2010

Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite

Filed under: General HR Buzz12:54 pm

Has it really come to this?  Bedbugs at work?  Apparently they’re not just a nightmare at bedtime, but they’re also infesting offices around the country.

You may have seen the media coverage regarding bedbugs in hotels, theaters and other public places.

Well, according to the National Pest Management Association (yes, there is such a group), 40% of their exterminations are occurring at work as the little bloodsucking insects are now on the job.

Apparently the bugs are great hitchhikers and grab rides to work on employees’ clothes, bags, etc.   While the bugs don’t carry disease, they can cause severe itching, a very high “ick” factor, and have been known to create mild hysteria around the office.

Apparently the first lawsuits against building owners have begun.  (Since you’re in HR you knew there would be lawsuits.).  Eradicating the bugs is said to be difficult, so in addition to keeping an eye out for EEO and FLSA issues in your workplace, watch for crawling things.

As with all of HR, being proactive once you’ve spotted the critters seems to be the common advice. I hate to even think that bedbugs could drive employee grievances, invoke OSHA duties, Workers Comp, etc., but stranger HR things have happened.

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