This week’s guru column.
Breaking news puts staff in the firing line
Horror stories from a recent occupational health conference were enough to put Guru off the lunchtime crudits.
One female employee of a well known sports firm had an absence rate of 28 per cent due to chronic flatulence. But it became more than just a fart gag when she was sacked – the company’s average absence rate was 8 per cent. Work colleagues could breathe a sigh of relief at last.
But Guru’s sympathies do go to a Mr Wilson. After recovering from a year-long series of illnesses, he broke his leg playing for the office five-a-side football team.
This resulted in another period of absence and his employers – the Post Office – dismissed him. It was a case of “they think it’s all over… it is now”.
Monkey puzzle baffles customs
A witch doctor has caused an unusual health and safety risk for customs officers at Dover after the seizure of a wooden monkey statue.
The officers were initially delighted with their discovery of the monkey, which contained 666 grammes of cannabis.
But their joy turned to dismay after the monkey’s owner, a witch doctor from Gambia, put a curse on the statue after his arrest.
Soon the “devil monkey”, as it was dubbed, had been blamed for a number of injuries at work. Customs officials were hurt by splinters from the monkey, tripped over it or had the figure fall on them from shelves.
Jane Griffith, a spokesman for customs at Dover, said, “We do laugh and joke about it but it is a genuine menace – it has gone into customs folklore.”
No excuse now for M’lud’s red face
January 2001 is as good a time as any for Guru to consider how far we’ve come with fostering equality and anti-discriminatory measures.
Guru no longer has to remind readers that homosexuality is not contagious and mothers who work full-time are not neglectful, unless of course that reader is a High Court judge.
The latest chapters of the Equal Treatment Bench Book were launched last month and offer judges some much-needed guidance on avoiding embarrassing interruptions. One extract states, “one needs to be careful to regard a woman who works full-time as a selfish mother. She may also carry the main responsibility for their care. Conversely, a man who stays at home to look after children is not lazy or incompetent.”
So some work still needs to be done with the elderly, white, private school educated males who run the legal system, then.
Christmas, when the real work starts
For Guru, the period between Christmas and new year is a time for turkey sandwiches and bad TV. But for many it is business as usual.
Research by Top Jobs on the Net suggests that plenty of staff get things done over Christmas. Most updated their CVs and researched future career options, for instance. In fact, one in seven arrived late, took a long lunch and went home early.
Only 9 per cent caught up on filing and planned for the business year ahead.
One well known high street bank is more than a little embarrassed after insisting that staff man one of its call centres on Christmas Day. They fielded two calls – one was a wrong number, the other was from a customer who wanted to know why the call centre was open.