Monday, June 20

Dying of Embarassment

I often wonder when I read the news how the reasonable, sane citizens of California (surely there must be some) do not die of embarrassment every time they open the newspaper or turn on their computers.

Take this little gem for example:

"Nearly every national chain is under legal attack in California for failing to provide "suitable seating" for cashiers and other employees who are expected to spend most of their work day on their feet."

Thanks to a poorly worded phrase in the state labor code, greedy lawyers have prompted hourly workers in California to sue their employers on a massive scale for not providing "suitable seating" near their posts so that they can sit down every minute they're not actively involved in duties that make it necessary to stand.

This is appalling and baffling to me on several counts:

1. Nowhere is "suitable seating" actually defined, making it practically impossible for employers to ensure compliance.

2. The way the code was written led employers to believe it was a suggestion rather than a mandate; at no time were any measures taken to inform employers of the rule, provide them with a deadline for compliance, or identify the consequences of failing to do so.

3. The court refused to recognize the employers' understandable confusion or to allow any common-sense resolution such as promptly providing said chairs and creating clear policies for ensuring future compliance.

4. No employees were injured or discriminated against in any way - so what are they suing over?!

5. Employees with health problems or special needs that would entitle them to/ require them to have a chair are already covered under other laws.

6. Common sense says that when you take a job in retail, you can expect to be on your feet most of the shift. Get good shoes, a squishy mat for your register space if you really need one, and get over it! We have some of the best working conditions in history (and the world). Remembering that goes a long way.

7. Finally - though this is extremely un-PC - in a nation where an average of 60% of the population is obsese (California's obesity rate in 2010 was 57%), it stands to reason that a little extra standing and moving around on the job might actually do people some good...

1 comment:

  1. Are you serious??!! If you're not waiting on people you should be straightening or doing something else, not sitting on your butt. That's what your breaks are for. You are being paid to work, not to sit around relaxing. What is this world coming to??!!