International briefs: stock options granted to Microsoft employees

Software giant Microsoft last week granted new stock options to all 34,000
full-time employees, aiming to compensate them for the stock’s 40 per cent dive
this year.

Analysts said Microsoft’s move may increase pressure on other high-tech
companies to act. But it may also provoke anger from shareholders.
"Nobody’s doing anything to offset their losses," said Jon Holman, a
high-tech executive recruiter in San Francisco, referring to non-employee shareholders
of Microsoft.

Microsoft president Steven Ballmer told staff that they would immediately
receive options equal to the number they were awarded in July in their regular
annual review, according to spokesman Dan Leach. Employees hired since July
will also receive options matching the number they were awarded upon hiring.

Discrimination claim arises from love affair

A federal trial court in Louisiana has thrown out a race bias claim by a
former chief financial officer for Bally’s Casino Lakeshore Resort in New
Orleans, who was fired after having an "intimate romantic
relationship" with a subordinate employee. Johnnie R Triplett’s argument
that Bally’s management planned his termination by arranging his affair with
Andrea Thompson was not supported by the record.

Deduction in pay for leave exempt from law

A human resources department benefits analyst was exempt from the Fair Labor
Standards Act’s overtime pay requirements as an "administrative"
employee despite partial-day pay deductions for leave under the Family and
Medical Leave Act, a federal judge in Florida has ruled.

Granting summary judgment for Johnson Controls World Services Inc, Judge
Moreno of the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida decides
that the company properly treated Kelly Furlong’s absences during the disputed
period as intermittent leave under the FMLA, consistent with a doctor releasing
him to work part time.

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