This week’s global HR news in brief

Florida prepares to allow firearms in cars at work

A proposed Florida law could allow employees to keep loaded guns in their cars at work, and fine or imprison employers who disallow it. Similar laws have passed in several states, with the powerful National Rifle Asso-ciation (NRA) lobby trying to get them passed nationwide. Banning the practice denies workers the “right to bear arms” according to the NRA, “and forces anti-gun politics on employees”. Employers fear increased danger and security costs, making tense workplace situations, such as redundancies or dismissals, even worse. The Florida Bill grants employers immunity from lawsuits brought by anyone injured in a workplace shooting as long as they have made a good-faith effort to prevent workplace violence. Employers are fighting the Bill through industry associations rather than individually for fear of recriminations and being boycotted by the public.

North Americans under psychological attack at work

More than 40% of North American workers, or 47 million people, are victims of psychological workplace aggression, according to a national survey published in the US Handbook of Workplace Violence. Customers, clients or patients (in the health sector) are the most likely source of attacks, according to the survey. One-quarter of respondents said they were victims of aggression from members of the public, while 15% reported being victims from other employees and 13% from supervisors. Respondents reported being screamed at, insulted, or threatened with physical violence while at work. Researcher Aaron Schat, from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, said the results indicated serious problems. “The fact that such a large percentage of the American population has experienced workplace aggression demonstrates the need to address it,” he said.

European ruling makes cross-border worker checks illegal

Detailed checks on the immigration status required of non-EU staff that companies want to post to another member state are illegal, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled. It said immigration authorities should rely on a “simple declaration” from a company that its non-EU staff comply with the immigration rules of the country where the firm is based. Judges ruled against a German system, where diplomatic representa-tives are required to satisfy themselves that a non-EU worker has been lawfully employed for one year or more in a company’s home country, before issuing a visa. The court said that the German practice was “contrary to the freedom to provide services”. A company declaration would enable abuse of these rights to be prevented, it said. ECJ rulings create pan-EU precedents, so similar systems in other member states could eventually be challenged as a result of this ruling.

German civil servants strike over plans to increase hours

Tens of thousands of public sector workers in Germany have been striking over government plans to extend the working week. Civil servants, including nurses, cooks and cleaners, are protesting over the proposed increase of 90 minutes a week – from 38.5 hours to 40 hours – without any pay rises. Leaders of Germany’s largest union, Verdi, which has 2.4 million members, have warned that the strikes could last for up to six weeks. Talks between unions and local authorities to end the country’s first public sector strike since 1992 are scheduled for 20 February.

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