ESPN Prez Wades Into Employee Political Identities with Jemele Hill Memo...

If you follow the media game (and in today's political environment where every outlet has a slant, it's hard not to), you might have seen that ESPN's Jemele Hill was out on her personal Twitter account calling the current POTUS a "white supremacist".

Here's the tweet (click through it you don't see it below, email subscribers):

Jemel

Of course, that led to a bunch of posturing, including conservatives wondering why someone like Linda Cohn (another ESPN anchor) was sent home/suspended for merely stating she thought the media outlet should be less focused on politics, while the Hill tweets were largely unaddressed by ESPN.  

From an HR perspective, I'm most interested in the intersection of someone's professional life and personal views, and how an organization navigates that.  Could Jemele Hill have been suspended or even fired?  Sure - but good luck with that with Trump as the target of her controversial comments. 

So ESPN is in a rough spot - highly visible employee makes comments sure to frustrate some of the base, but what can they do?  Well, ESPN did their best to continue to try and get in front of it with an internal memo.  More from the NY Post:

"ESPN president John Skipper sent a memo to all of the company’s employees late Friday afternoon (9/15/17), outlining his wish that ESPN remain an apolitical organization, regardless of outside perception.

“I want to remind everyone about fundamental principles at ESPN. ESPN is about sports. … We show highlights and report scores and tell stories and break down plays.”

“In light of recent events, we need to remind ourselves that we are a journalistic organization and that we should not do anything that undermines that position,” Skipper wrote in a memo obtained by Sports Illustrated. “We also know that ESPN is a special place and that our success is based on you and your colleagues’ work. Let’s not let the public narrative re-write who we are or what we stand for. Let’s not be divided in that pursuit. I will need your support if we are to succeed.”

Translation - your public views, even as a private citizen, can impact our success as a business.  And hey, I'm asking now - maybe next time I don't ask.  #stopplease

It's a well known fact of life that freedom of speech is alive and well - but just because that right is protected constitutionally doesn't mean your employer can't fire you if your stated views cause them problems with their client/customer base.

But as this column from former ESPN columnist Bill Simmons notes (once suspended himself for comments made publicly), the crazier the political environment gets, the harder it is to suspend/fire individuals for comments that might harm the business.

Interesting times.  Hit me in the comments with any craziness from employees you're seeing related to what I'll kindly call "this Trump thing"....


The Tyranny of Single Stall, Gender-Neutral Bathrooms in the Workplace...

Notes to follow from life on the road...

Topic: Transgender individual's rights to use either bathroom (men's or women's) they desire.

Buckle up, people. But it's probably not going to be what you think. TG

I spend a lot of time on the road, and I spend that time in a lot of different parts of the country.  One thing that's happening in retail (shops, restaurants, etc) points to a trend I hope doesn't come to office parks.

Here's the trend... Businesses - faced with legal pressure or simply wanting to accommodate Transgender individuals - are increasing changing single stall bathrooms (one for men, one for women) to gender neutral status.  That "reclassification" means that either men or women can use either bathroom that is available.  That solves the transgender issue without the economic burden of retrofitting a third bathroom to exist alongside men's and women's facilities.

I understand that I'm probably going to get emails from what I've wrote already, because I'm not an expert in Transgender issues.  Send your emails, however, because I do want to learn more and understand to a greater degree.

But I am an expert in some things.  Allow me to school you on why reclassifying a men's and women's bathroom to gender neutral-status doesn't work:

Men are pigs.  Females deserve better.  

If 10 dudes use a bathroom during the day, odds are it is not going to be suitable for a woman, or anyone who wants to sit down.  This just in - Men often go to the bathroom standing up.  Hit this link if you want to see the legal world in action on this issue.  

When businesses make existing single-stall bathrooms gender neutral, females (anyone identifying as female) lose.  And this trend is alive and well in some areas of the country.  It's a natural, completely understandable reaction to the capital cost of building new facilities.  

I can only hope this trend can be avoided as transgender issues become more accepted and we work through the same challenges in the workplace.

Rights for everyone - Ok and check.  Let's evolve together.

Rights for dudes to use bathrooms on a frequent basis that females will have to use afterwords - we're better than that America.  

No.  Just no.

 


YES: It's Only a Matter of Time Before Someone Gets Their ### Kicked at Your Company for Wearing Snapchat Spectacles

Of course, I can't call it Snapchat anymore.  Snapchat's renamed their company to "Snap", since they will be moving to things other than the expected "snapchats".

You know, like taking video in public that might get you assaulted.

Confused?  Snap(chat) has launched the next version of Google Glass (remember that?) called Snap Spectacles, which help you shoot video of the world you're seeing via a camera installed on Snap sunglasses. More from the Verge:

"The company formerly known as Snapchat surprised the world last night by unveiling Spectacles, its first hardware product. The sunglasses, which record videos in 10-second increments, are expected to be available for sale sometime "soon." Snap Inc., as the company is now called, says it will be producing the glasses in small quantities. 

They're connected sunglasses that record video snippets that get saved to your Snapchat Memories. Its camera has a 115-degree lens meant to more closely approximate how humans see. The glasses will cost $130, come in one size, and be available in three colors: black, teal, and coral.

Tap the button on the top left-hand corner of the sunglasses to begin recording a snap. It will automatically stop recording after 10 seconds — but if you want additional recording time, you can tap again to add another 10-second increment."

Translation.  Someone's going to get there ### kicked at a company near you soon.  Especially if you order Coral.

One of the joys of Google Glass was that Google did a very soft release, only giving the product to absolute trendsetters and digerati.  That meant the limited number of geeks took them into restaurants and bars, and, you guessed it - found themselves in dustups as the non-digerati (as I affectionately call those without Google Glass) as they expressed their displeasure with the threat of being recorded.

Shapchat?  Even though the company will do a limited release, the reality is that this product will likely get deeper in society than Google Glass.  2nd generation products always do, and Snapchat is viewed as fun, innovative and they next big thing.

Which means one thing.  You'll see more dustups in the workplace related to Snap Spectacles than you ever did with Google Glass.

PS - homeboy in the picture looks like the biggest geek you can think of in your company, or Max Headroom, depending on how old you are.


Evil Michael Phelps: For All Our Talk About Being Global, We Still Like to Stick it To Other Countries...

By now, you've seen the pictures of Michael Phelps brooding while some South African dude who beat him four years ago was gyrating in front of him like an exotic dancer in Rio.

One of the biggest sporting moments of his life, and Phelps knew what to do. He nourished the rage, the hate and let the anger do the work for him. Phelps

We loved him for it. For all the talk about anyone considering voting for Trump being a xenophobe (way too simple as an explanation, but that's another post), let's be honest about being American:

We love to beat other countries and be the best. And if it includes someone being nasty on the world's biggest stage, we're OK with that.

Lilly King's finger wagging to the reported drugged-up Russian?  We signed off on that as well. More please.

It's the equivalent of swimming becoming pro wrestling, but I'm not criticizing the athletes.  Instead, I have this question:

Who the #### let the cameras in the staging area for us to be voyuers like gleeful, clique-loving teenagers?

Let's be honest - it's the workplace version of cameras in the break room or the bathroom.  Imagine if we had those and had the opportunity to break down that film:

"Did you see the look Beth gave Dawn when she was being so animated by the toaster?  WOW - I can't wait to see them compete at the status meeting at 11am."

The stories related to what we saw in the backroom for both Phelps and King were great. I'm interested in America's reaction to us acting like what we are - THE MOST COMPETITIVE COUNTRY AND PEOPLE IN THE WORLD - and the fact we have no concerns.  I support it, because I like people who complete and don't really care what they do to get up as long as it's legal.  Plus, act like an ass long enough in the workplace and you have to deal with the consequences.

Unless you win.  Then the consequences are limited.

America loves people who compete. We also love winners.  The next Olympics will find the swimmers more guarded in the "ready" or "staging" room, or whatever it's called. At that point, we won't get the goods - seeing competition at its rawest - so we'll have to move the cameras back to the bus or the lobby in the Olympic Village.

God bless America and its natural disposition to want to win.


Stuff the Capitalist (aka KD) Likes: The Goldfinger Channel on Pandora...

Who am I?  Who cares?  Good questions.  It's my site, so I'm going to tap into a Friday once in a awhile by telling you more about who I am - via a "Stuff I Like" series.  Nothing too serious, just exploring the micro-niche that resides at the base of all of our lives.  Potshots encouraged in the comments.

I like Pandora. Big deal.  So do all of you with an iPhone.

More specifically, I like the GoldFinger channel on Pandora.  Not specifically because of Goldfinger, although I like them a lot.  Who can forget their classic cover of 99 Red Ballons?  See the video below (email subscribers, click through):

Nice.  But the real power of Pandora is that it doesn't let you just listen to what you want.  It's stretches Album-ruin-jonnys-bar-mitzvah your horizons a bit by making recommendations on what you might like if you like Goldfinger.

I added Goldfinger to my Pandora stream after eating dinner with some smart HR folks in the South/South-Midwest this week.  One of them told me to add the Neon Trees.  Good advice.  (shout out - hi team!)

So I start listening to the Goldfinger channel, and I get introduced to about 5 bands like them, including a classic cover band called "Me First and the Gimme Gimmes".

You don't get that from a service that sucks.  Pandora gives me what I want, then diversifies me.  

BTW, the CD cover that I saw from the Gimme Gimmes was "Ruin Jonny's Bar Mitzvah".  Sold.  And yes, that's one of the Foo Fighter's guitarists that contributes to the Gimme Gimmes.

I'm KD, and I like the Goldfinger channel on Pandora.

Tell me what I should add on Pandora in the comments...