Cool New Rules At The L.A. Times: No More Vacation Days, And You Can Never Be Sick Again

  • It's really hard to imagine that anyone could think this is a wise management decision:

    Starting January 1, staffers will no longer be able to bank vacation — because they won't automatically earn or be entitled to any vacation, sick days or floating holidays. To get any time off, a reporter or editor will have to go to a supervisor and make a case "subject to their professional judgment and to the performance expectations of their supervisor that apply to their job." In one stroke, vacation time and sick days become a management tool to monitor and reward or punish performance — or to favor the yes men that plague the Times' organization — and crucially, a way to get that expensive banked vacation off the books. That's because if a staffer succeeds in getting permission to take time off, he or she first has to use any banked time to pay for it. So the company's financial burden gradually lessens.

    In theory an employee will be able to take more time off than now, since there will be no stated limit. Instead of, say, three weeks a year plus sick days, you could ask for eight weeks next summer to go trekking in Nepal and a supervisor could say cheerfully, "Cool! Take nine!" But I haven't talked to anyone around the Times who believes that's in the cards here[.]

    There is no way this policy can last, is there? "Hey, boss, I think I'm coming down with the flu. I need to stay home." But what if your boss doesn't think, in his or her professional judgment, that you're really sick? Or you really slacked off last week, so suck it up and bring a tissue. What if you are trying to plan a family vacation, but hey, your boss thinks that last article was crap, so no, too bad for you. Try again next year. What if you need to take a personal day because your boss is a raging asshole who is always asshole raging at you, and you are just about to lose it, but if you say that, your boss will probably definitely deny your request for a personal day, so too bad. Suck it up and hope you don't say the wrong thing.

    Yeah. Terrific plan. What could go wrong? Besides everything?

    This is a terrible policy and a terrible way for the L.A. Times to try to save money. And without a very transparent and strict set of criteria for how one's supervisor applies said "professional judgment," it's probably a pretty good way to get sued when some reporter suspects he or she is being unfairly denied time off. Everyone knows that's a great way to save a little coin.

  • Please count all the ironies in this Buzzfeed story about Uber:

    A senior executive at Uber suggested that the company should consider hiring a team of opposition researchers to dig up dirt on its critics in the media — and specifically to spread details of the personal life of a female journalist who has criticized the company.

    The executive, Emil Michael, made the comments in a conversation he later said he believed was off the record. In a statement through Uber Monday evening, he said he regretted them and that they didn’t reflect his or the company’s views.

  • Another day, another celebrity who can't quite handle The Twitters. Our pals at Happy Nice Time People have the latest Twittertastrophe:

    Cardiovascular surgeon turned TV conman Dr. Oz wasn’t smart enough to foresee his Twitter hashtag getting hijacked by a bunch of justified haters.

    Much like Bill Cosby asking the Twitterverse to write shit all over his photos and the Duggars calling for married people to post smooches on their Facebook page, Dr. Oz thought it be a great idea to put out an open call for people to tweet out “your biggest question for me.”

    Go read the whole thing to find out what happens next! (Hint, it does not end well for Dr. Oz.

  • Ye olde fart jokes:

    Academics have compiled a list of the most ancient gags and the oldest, harking back to 1900BC, is a Sumerian proverb from what is now southern Iraq.

    "Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband's lap," goes the joke.

    Randy pharaohs, thirsty ox-drivers and barbers also feature in the list.

  • So there is a way to keep people from lying. Sort of:

    It's been shown that people lie on surveys. A survey of the number of sexual partners people had — in which participants believed they were hooked up to a lie detector — dramatically shrunk the gap between the numbers of partners usually reported by men and women. One way to keep people from telling a lie is to make them believe that they can't tell anything other than the truth.

    Another way to get at the truth is to make people that they sometimes have to tell a lie. A toss of the dice allows people to confess things on surveys that they otherwise wouldn't.

  • Harvard reports on Harvard's problem with alleged race-based discrimination at Harvard:

    The legal defense group Project on Fair Representation announced a lawsuit Monday morning against Harvard University for “employing racially and ethnically discriminatory policies” in its admissions practices, according to a copy of the filed complaint published by a newly formed offshoot of the group. [...]

    The 120-page complaint against Harvard claims that the University uses “racial balancing” in its admissions decisions, even when allegedly “race-neutral alternatives can achieve diversity.” The complaint also detailed a long history of Harvard’s admissions policies, including the widely discussed discrimination of Jewish applicants in the early 20th century and the pushing for a holistic admissions process.

    Good to know fancy-pants Harvard is still a clown college.


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