Good wellness news – Chocolate does indeed have health benefits. In the LA Times, Monte Morin reports on recent chemical research that confirms the long-held belief that dark chocolate has a positive effect on cardiovascular health: “…researchers at meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Dallas said they had solved the confection conundrum: Specific chocolate-loving microbes in the gut convert an otherwise indigestible portion of the candy into anti-inflammatory compounds, they said.”
And here’s more positive wellness news: A recent study in the UK demonstrates a correlation between happiness and productivity. We see some potential here: keeping employees happy, productive and healthy with occasional dark chocolate treats — sounds like a plan.

Rewards and engagement – Mark Royal of the Hay Group says that, “a sense of balance between what employees contribute to an organization and what they get back in return is fundamental to sustaining the extra efforts that come with an engaged workforce.” He posts about the role of rewards in building employee engagement. He discusses insights from a recent survey with reward professionals and offers recommendations for employers.

More on age discrimination – We recently posted 26 million more reasons to ensure your organization does not discriminate by age. It would seem this is a message that needs to be posted on billboards and PSAs in Silicon Valley based on the recent story by Noam Scheiber in New Republic, The Brutal Ageism of Tech: Years of experience, plenty of talent, completely obsolete. It’s a shocking story of how 30- and 40-something managers in the tech industry are getting plastic surgery in an attempt to appear youthful — and how the venture capitalists are aiding and abetting this hyper-youthful culture. Here’s a brief excerpt:

“Silicon Valley has become one of the most ageist places in America. Tech luminaries who otherwise pride themselves on their dedication to meritocracy don’t think twice about deriding the not-actually-old. “Young people are just smarter,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told an audience at Stanford back in 2007. As I write, the website of ServiceNow, a large Santa Clara–based I.T. services company, features the following advisory in large letters atop its “careers” page: “We Want People Who Have Their Best Work Ahead of Them, Not Behind Them.”

Religious Accommodation – While on the topic of discrimination, attorney Chastity Bruno tells us that there’s been a dramatic increase in EEOC complaints based on religious discrimination. “According to the EEOC, there were 1,709 complaints of religious discrimination in 1997 and 3,721 complaints in 2013.” At Employment Law Matters, she offers 6 Tips for Employers When Faced with Religious Exemption Requests.

Get a Move On – If you are concerned about the reports that sitting is a lethal activity, you may find Lauren Weber’s article/video in the Wall St. Journal’s At Work Blog interesting: The Long-Run Benefits of Treadmill Desks. She discusses a recent yearlong study of finance workers at a company in St. Paul, Minn. that found while productivity dropped at first as users acclimated to the desks, “within four to six months, all three measures of performance—quality and quantity of work, and quality of interactions with colleagues—rose steadily, according to weekly surveys of participants.” Related: See our prior post on exercise balls, standing desks and treadmill desks: Wellness and work environments: when gyms and offices collide

Brief Takes:
Monster Thinking: Should you disclose employee salaries? Eight founders weigh the pros and cons.
Fast Company: 50 Highest Rated CEOs in 2014
Jenna McGregor at the Washington Post: Why people really leave their jobs
Julie Beck, The Atlantic: The Optimal Office. How better design could fix your workday—and your life
Mike Haberman: Are Wearable Cameras at Work a “We vs Them” Situation?

Suzanne Lucas, Evil HR Lady: How to stop bullying in the workplace
Peter Bregman. Harvard Business Review blogs: How to Have Friends at Work When You’re the Boss
Making the Grade: Employers make jobs conditional on physical fitness
Death on a Georgia Railroad Trestle Sparking Calls for Safety Reforms in Hollywood
8 ways to celebrate National Nutrition Month
Leadership is earned, not demanded
CT legislative committee approves PTSD proposal for Work Comp
Want to ensure a winning team in your organization? In addition to help for your employees, ESI EAP offers a full suite of tools for supervisors and managers, including our ESI Management Academy. Trainings cover compliance issues, management skills and more. If you want to learn more about how ESI can provide more employee EAP benefits and more employer services, call us at 800-535-4841.


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