This week’s guru

Testing kits? Now that really is taking the p***

Have you ever been tested for drugs at work? In a former life, Guru was
tested and the doctors were amazed at the high levels of Night Nurse coursing
through his veins.

American Kenneth Curtis got fed up with drugs tests at work. To combat the
problem he set up a company called Privacy Protection Services to sell urine
sample kits.

He supplies "clean" urine contained in a small pouch with tubing,
which can then be taped to the body and passed into a receptacle without
testers noticing. He even provides heat packets so the urine can be warmed to
room temperature.

Sales were high until Curtis was taken to court by the authorities. He faces
a maximum sentence of eight years and a £10,000 fine if convicted of selling
the kits.

In the words of the Grange Hill song about drugs, Guru advises disciples to
"Just Say No" to avoid the whole issue.

Whose turn is it to take blame?

Next time you’re stood on a platform and your train has been delayed, spare
a thought for the poor "delay attribution" negotiators. It’s their
job to work out who is to blame.

Railway companies employ more than 300 of these people to argue among
themselves and work out who is going to pay the penalties incurred.

Railtrack, the infrastructure owner, employs 180 people in this role, and
the train operators and engineering contractors employ at least 120 more.

Wouldn’t it be fun to be a fly on the wall at the end of each month when
they argue over unclear incidents and try to avoid taking responsibility for
delays, which can incur penalties of up to £300 a minute. Guru can hear it now,
"It wasn’t our track’s fault – it was the leaves."

Staff could get time to surf Net

The tea break could soon be a thing of the past. Instead employers could
soon be offering a daily surf on the Net.

New systems are being developed that give staff limited personal surfing
minutes to use when they want.

It could provide a solution to the monitoring of staff use of the Internet –
surfing from work rarely appears in website traffic statistics.

Surveys estimate that the average employee with Internet access spends up to
an hour a day online looking at non-work related websites. Guru condemns such
misuse of the company’s IT unless, of course, it is used to update the office
on the latest cricket scores.

Retail therapy just doesn’t cut it

Guru is convinced of the need for employers to adopt a zero-tolerance
approach to violence in the workplace.

He is not so sure, however, that employees’ shock and distress at being
involved in a violent confrontation will be lessened by a gift of shopping
vouchers, which is the post offices’ practice.

A compensation and benefits manager at Consignia last week circulated a memo
which informed cash handling and distribution staff that the Bravery Award
Scheme is being reviewed.

Currently Argos vouchers are allocated to staff in recognition of the trauma
involved in any form of attack, and the amount of vouchers allocated rises in
value according to the severity of the attack.

Guru is glad that the HR department is reviewing the scheme because getting
a kettle for a kicking seems somehow inappropriate. And, if we’re being honest,
who is prepared to put their life on the line for Argos vouchers?

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