You are out with your boss at a business luncheon. As you sit down at the table, you begin to panic! Which glass do you drink out of? Is your bread on the left or right? Here’s an easy way to remember:
BMW – Bread, Meal, Water. As you sit facing your plate, your bread plate is to your left, your meal is in front of you and your water is to your right.
A few more tips:
- Bread should be torn apart with your hands, not sliced with a knife. Butter just one piece at a time.
- Meats are also cut as they are eaten; do not cut your entrée up all at once.
- Salt and Pepper are “married” and should be passed together around the table, even if a table mate only asks for one.
- If you do not care for coffee, turn your coffee cup over on the table.
- Put your cell phone or mobile device away during the meal, checking it while you are dining tells others at your table that they are not as important as your text message, email or phone call.
- Finally, when you are finished eating, place your silverware at 4 and 10 o’clock on your plate to signal to wait staff that you are finished. Your napkin should be semi-folded at the left side of your plate.
Now, relax and enjoy your luncheon knowing that you have followed all the rules!
For the past three years, the Chicago Police Department has handed powerful new tools to officers in the field—BlackBerry smart phones. But the BlackBerry may have backfired on the department, which is now being sued by a sergeant in the gang investigations unit for the overtime he claims he earned while using his smart phone off the clock.
The department “has willfully violated the FLSA [Fair Labor Standards Act] by intentionally failing and refusing to pay Plaintiff and other similarly situated employees all compensation due them under the FLSA” for their after-hours Blackberry use, Sgt. Jeffrey Allen said in a suit filed in May as a proposed class action. A judge has to certify the case as a class action for it to proceed.
The case is one of a handful nationwide in which employees have claimed overtime pay for smart-phone use—and apparently the first involving public employees. But lawyers say such cases are a clear warning to employers to put a smart-phone usage policy in place before they end up in potentially costly litigation. Smart phones “are very dangerous and risky for nonexempt employees to have if you’re worried about overtime,” says Jeremy A. Roth, a partner at San Diego law firm Littler Mendelson.
“Clearly there’s a tremendous benefit to being able to access work remotely,” says Howard S. Lavin, an attorney at the law firm Stroock & Stroock & Lavan in New York. “It’s a fabulous tool. The problem is when you take technology and apply it to longstanding laws, there are unintended consequences.”
Employers can minimize the risk of litigation by restricting smart-phone use to exempt employees or by instructing nonexempt employees to take calls from customers or clients only during regular work hours.
Under the FLSA, nonexempt employees are entitled to overtime compensation for “time spent working” beyond a 40-hour workweek. An employee does not even need to be required by the employer to work overtime but must merely do so for the employer’s benefit.
Source: Mathew Heller, workforce.com, Sept. 2010
Employees view receiving mobile devices, such as BlackBerrys, from their companies as a benefit, but at a large price, according to a recent survey of 627 employees commissioned by WorldatWork.
One-third of employees surveyed said that they view receiving wireless devices from their companies as part of their total rewards package. Half of employees surveyed said they felt that these devices signify their status or importance at the company.
But at the same time, 42% of employees said they believe that by getting the devices, they are expected to always be available. Three out of four respondents said they never turn their devices off. Most employees surveyed said they use their wireless devices between one and five hours per day during what they consider non-work time.
Employees have come to view having these devices as a double-edged sword. On one hand, employees seem to value receiving the devices from their companies. On the other hand, the devices make employees feel “like they have a noose tied around their necks and must always be available.
To address this, companies need to put policies in place. For example, accounting firm Ernst & Young has a policy that says employees are not expected to look at their e-mail on weekends.
However, such corporate policies are pretty rare. It’s more common for companies to hand out these devices than to create policies around their usage. And given the current economic climate, it is doubtful that employees are going to approach their HR managers anytime soon about creating such a policy.
Source: Workforce.com, Jessica Marquez
For baby boomers in the 1970’s and early 80’s, workplace culture was initially defined by organizational hierarchy, group dynamics, teamwork, and loyalty. Gen-Xer’s, fueled by the rapid rate of technological and social change in the 1990’s, introduced flex-time, empowerment, individual contributors, and work/life balance into the corporate culture vocabulary. For Gen-Y workers entering the workforce in the aftermath of the dot com bubble and attending classes with laptop computers, cell phones, Blackberry’s, and iPods, the balance of workplace culture shifted significantly from localized team dynamics to dispersed individual achievement.
Increasingly, workplace cultures today are being defined by imposing fewer personal and process restrictions while expecting increasingly greater performance results. Modern company policy manuals often include guidelines for cell phone use, volume levels for radios or CD/players, personal computer, network, and Internet restrictions, and nobody seems to bat an eye. But when the subject of restricting, or in any way limiting, an individual from being connected to their personal MP3 music device is brought up, people cry foul. Why? Have we really become such an individualized and self-entitled culture that we expect the right to listen to ‘our music on our terms’ over being expected to appear engaged with the sounds and activities of the employer that is paying our wage?