A downside to recovery – greater risk – While an economic recovery means mostly good things, there’s a downside that managers need to be aware of so that risk management strategies can be buttoned down. Caroline McDonald of PropertyCasualty360 discusses a new report from Advisen, “Managing Risk through the Economic Recovery”. Some of the identified areas of vulnerability include increased workers comp claims (“greener,” less trained workers have more injuries), a rise in lawsuits, and a greater likelihood for labor law violation charges. The report and the article suggest steps that companies and their brokers can take to mitigate and manage this increased exposure.
Hiring – In light of the above, it makes sense to tighten up your hiring practices, and there are good economic reasons for doing so, too. According to Top Grading by Dr. Bradford Smart, the average cost for a bad hire, earning between $50,000 and $100,000, is $80,000. Employee Benefit News offers a slide show of 10 Tips to Hiring Right the First Time.
Legal – The Wal-Mart sex bias case is heading for Supreme Court. At issue is whether a single job-bias lawsuit against Wal-Mart can proceed as a nationwide class-action claim. According to the LA Times:

“The court’s ruling could be the most far-reaching decision on job bias in more than a decade, according to experts on both sides. A win for Seligman’s clients could open the door for the broader use of statistics to prove job discrimination — and not just on behalf of women, but also for minorities or persons with disabilities.
However, a win for Wal-Mart could deal a death blow to nationwide job-bias suits by ruling that employees who work in different stores and hold different jobs do not have enough in common to be a class.

Bear-ly legal – Last week, the Montana Supreme Court made news by granting workers comp benefits to a pot-smoking employee who was mauled by a grizzly bear. At Workers Comp Insider, Jon Coppelman discusses various factors that the judges had to consider in reviewing this case in his June posting Blowing Smoke in Montana. There were numerous issues involved: when are volunteers not really volunteers and how far do management responsibilities extend.
Tracking healthcare reform – Confused about all the changes in healthcare, particularly in states where you have employees? Check out this State Legislative Tracking Database brought to you by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Search by state, topic, keyword, status, and/or primary sponsor. Database updates occur every other Tuesday. You can find other information about healthcare reform implementation.
Hard lessons of history – This month marked the 100 year anniversary of New York’s horrific Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, an event that claimed the lives of 146 garment workers – young girls and women – who had been locked in the sweatshop to prevent theft. Most died in stairwells, jumping down the single elevator shaft, or by hurtling themselves from 9th story windows in desperate attempts to escape the fire. PBS recently ran a special on this disaster. (If you missed it, you can watch online: Triangle Fire). The Triangle Shirtwaist fire was instrumental in ushering in new workplace safety measures, as well as crystallizing national sentiment for a workers compensation plan. At Today’s Workplace, Richard Greenwald looks at lessons learned and unlearned.
Cool news tool and archive 10×10 is a pictorial view of the day’s biggest stories – or you can also search on any given day or any given hour back to 2004. Here’s how the developers describe the process: “Every hour, 10×10 scans the RSS feeds of several leading international news sources, and performs an elaborate process of weighted linguistic analysis on the text contained in their top news stories. After this process, conclusions are automatically drawn about the hour’s most important words. The top 100 words are chosen, along with 100 corresponding images, culled from the source news stories. At the end of each day, month, and year, 10×10 looks back through its archives to conclude the top 100 words for the given time period. In this way, a constantly evolving record of our world is formed, based on prominent world events, without any human input.”
By the Numbers


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