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Weekend Roundup: A Whistleblower’s Rights, Pizza Overdose, #MeToo

In this week’s Weekend Roundup, claims against President Trump seeking a foreign country’s influence on the impending presidential election have come to light by a whistleblower. Thus, raising the question: What rights does a whistleblower have? In other news, kids, oh wait–employees say the darnedest things. Employees have taken “white lies” to new heights when it comes to missing work. In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed bills strengthening sexual harassment laws that were shot down by former California Gov. Jerry Brown. Click the headlines below to read more.

HR Should Educate Employees About Protecting Whistleblowers’ Rights

The emergence of whistleblower claims that President Donald Trump sought a foreign country’s interference in the next presidential election gives employers an opportunity to educate their employees about whistleblower laws.

There are varying whistleblower laws, but they have several things in common: The anonymity of the whistleblower should be protected to the maximum extent possible; his or her complaint should be investigated; and the whistleblower should not be subjected to retaliation.

“The whistleblower’s motives are irrelevant, and he or she doesn’t have to be right, but must have a reasonable belief that the complaint is true,” said Meg Campbell, an attorney with Ogletree Deakins in Atlanta.

In addition, Campbell said, the whistleblower doesn’t have to obtain the information firsthand.

What Are the Most Outlandish Reasons an Employee Has Given for Missing Work?

Employees say the darnedest things when it comes to explaining why they’re late to work or not coming in at all. But whether it involves getting stuck in a tree, a pizza overdose, or forgetting it was a regular workday, the excuses are nothing if not memorable.

Dana Case, director of operations at MyCorporation, still remembers the employee who said he missed work because he had to watch a soccer game that was being played in Europe. Then there was the person who didn’t come in because he thought it was Saturday.

Some excuses gain legendary status and become part of an organization’s lore or sound so unbelievable that the employee feels compelled to supply supporting evidence.

California’s Workplace Sexual Harassment Laws Strengthened

Gov. Gavin Newsom took action to strengthen California’s workplace protection laws related to sexual harassment, signing bills that were vetoed by his predecessor last year.

The new laws will give victims of sexual harassment more time to file complaints in California and ban forced arbitration as a condition of employment. After former Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed several bills inspired by the #MeToo movement in 2018, authors of the legislation took another shot this year with the hope that Newsom might be more sympathetic.

“For many, a job can provide a sense of purpose and belonging—the satisfaction of knowing your labor provides value to the world,” said Newsom. “Everyone should have the ability to feel that pride in what they do, but for too many workers, they aren’t provided the dignity, respect or safety they deserve. These laws will help change that.”

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