FLSA Games: Exempt Salary Threshold Moves from 23K to 35K...

Heads up, HR friends at all levels...

Employees who make less than $35,568 are now eligible for overtime pay under a final rule issued today by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The new rate will take effect Jan. 1, 2020.

To be exempt from overtime under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employees must be paid a salary of at least the threshold amount and meet certain duties tests. If they are paid less or do not meet the tests, they must be paid 1 1/2 times their regular hourly rate for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek.

The new rule will raise the salary threshold to $684 a week ($35,568 annualized) from $455 a week ($23,660 annualized). A blocked Obama-era rule would have doubled the threshold, but a federal judge held that the DOL exceeded its authority by raising the rate too high.

The new rule is expected to prompt employers to reclassify more than a million currently exempt workers to nonexempt status and raise pay for others above the new threshold. 

My experience is that the new law impacts small to medium sized business the most, as they'll have a good number of employees labeled as exempt who have a salary in the low 30k's.  They'll be some exposure to huge companies that still have salaried supervisors in places like call centers in the low 30k's as well.

Feel bad about this?  Remember that the Obama rule was going to raise the threshold to 47K, my friends.

More details here from CNBC.

A good rundown here from SHRM of second-level details you'll need to know behind the broad threshold change.

 


Firing Lab: Dairy Queen, a Birthday Cake and "Moana"...

It's judgement on terminations day here at the Capitalist. HR pros get their stripes from helping the business decide when employees need to stay, and when they need to go.

The decisions are probably most important for what we'll call "overall judgment in critical situations."  You know the deal on these - an employee is thrust into a situation involving an interaction with a customer/client, a co-worker or a manager - and their judgment is on full display.

The question of whether to term based on a single event of questionable judgment is something HR pros deal with all the time. Moana

Today's lab exercise: A Dairy Queen employee fielding a customer request for a birthday cake involving "Moana."  Here's more on the DQ situation from USA Today:

"A cake mix-up that went viral is drawing national attention, but the whole scenario is a nightmare for one Georgia woman who lost her Dairy Queen job.

The incident started gaining attention on July 2, when Kensli Taylor Davis shared a Facebook post with a picture of her 25th birthday cake purchased from Dairy Queen. The cake shows a marijuana leaf and what appears to be a high "My Little Pony" smoking with bloodshot eyes. 

Davis said her mother asked for a "Moana"-themed cake from a Milledgeville, Georgia, Dairy Queen. Instead, she got a marijuana-themed cake. The post has garnered more than 12,000 reactions and has been shared more than 13,000 times, mostly by people laughing at the mix-up. 

"I think they thought that she said 'marijuana' because we are from south Georgia and kind of have an accent. So, 'Moana,' marijuana?" Davis told WMAZ-TV in Georgia.

That's your situation. Here's how it went down in the workplace:

Cassandra Walker, the Georgia mother of two who made the cake, isn't laughing. She told USA TODAY she made the cake after her manager, who she says misheard Davis' mother, told her it was OK. Walker said Dairy Queen fired her for the mistake on Monday, which was her birthday. 

"The manager stood behind me while I pulled the images off the internet," Walker said. "She walked by as I decorated the cake. As I boxed the cake up, she was the one who walked it up to the front."She said she was told by Al Autry, who is one of the Dairy Queen's owners, that she couldn't be employed anymore.

"This was a simple misunderstanding from the beginning," Autry said in a statement to USA TODAY. "Our cake decorator designed a cake based on what she thought she heard the customer order. When the customer picked it up and said it was not what she ordered, we immediately apologized for the error and offered to redesign it the way she originally intended. The customer said it was fine, paid for the cake and left."

The statement did not address Walker's claim that she was fired. 

So what say you? Do you fire this employee?

My takes below:

1--The employee went through the manager and the design was approved.

2--The customer picked it up, laughed it off and had some fun with it.

3--Most HR pros wouldn't support a term in this circumstance.

If you're digging in from a investigation perspective, the fact that a manager saw and approved the design is a key thing to verify, as is the alleged fact that the manager actually took the call.  Confirm those two facts are true, and you really can't term.

But even if the employee rolled out that cake on her own - the fact that the customer laughed it off and took the cake means a term probably isn't in order.  

Notable in this situation is that Al Autry, identified as the owner of a DQ, is likely a franchisee, which at times can struggle with a lack of deep HR support from people like the ones reading The HR Capitalist.

VERDICT: The fact that pot is generally illegal in GA means you need to do a written warning (don't create work product that illustrates illegal activity), but a term is over the top. 


Are HR Leaders Ready to Hire Candidates with Criminal Histories? #SHRM19

If you’re a SHRM member or even remotely following major initiatives within the world’s largest association of HR professionals, odds are you’ve heard of “Getting Talent Back to Work”, a pledge drive to promote the hiring of candidates with criminal histories.

Which begs the question – are HR pros really open to hiring people with criminal backgrounds who are available in the talent marketplace?

I was reminded of “Getting Talent Back to Work” at the SHRM National conference, when SHRM GTBTW CEO Johnny Taylor promoted the cause during his address to the general assembly.

Taylor is easily the best presenter SHRM has had as a CEO.  More on that in a bit.  First, let’s do a level set and tell you what “Getting Talent Back to Work” is as a program/initiative/platform:

"Getting Talent Back to Work is a national pledge open to all organizations that was signed even before the formal announcement by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Restaurant Association, the National Retail Federation, the American Staffing Association, SHRM, Koch Industries, Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation and more.

Organizations are pledging to give opportunities to qualified people with a criminal background, deserving of a second chance, which creates successful outcomes for employers, all employees, customers and communities.
 
Ninety-five percent of people in prison will be released—that’s more than 650,000 people every year. As they re-enter society, people with criminal backgrounds are deprived of employment opportunities and organizations are deprived of qualified talent, creating harmful consequences for millions of people."

Getting Talent Back to Work was launched in January 2019, and SHRM immediately got criticized for the inclusion of Koch Industries in the list of organizations agreeing to the pledge.  Koch is run by the Koch brothers (Charles and David), who moonlight as political fundraisers/operatives on the Republican side of the aisle.

I discounted the criticism at the time due to the list of organizations beyond Koch Industries that signed the pledge. Any time you have the National Retail Federation and the National Restaurant Association sign off on a pledge to do something differently in the realm of employment, it’s meaningful.  But seeing Johnny Taylor - a pretty dynamic mix of presenter and disrupter as the CEO of SHRM - go after the issue hard at SHRM made me want to dig in on the issue a bit.

So, I asked 15 Director/VP of HR types at SHRM National what they thought about “Getting Talent Back to Work.”  Here’s a summary of what I heard:

1—Everyone understands the idea has merit.  As our society has become more progressive, it’s clear that most of the people I talked to supported the spirit behind the pledge. Most of us believe in second chances.

2 –The devil, as it turns out is in the details. Here’s where it gets dicey. What jobs are available to those with criminal backgrounds?  Concerns from my groups of HR Directors/VPs are raised where you would expect – in financial jobs, jobs which provide autonomy of work using expensive tools, etc.  If we restrict access to only the lowest level jobs with limited risk, is attempting to employ those with criminal histories still meaningful?

3--Most feel there will be resistance to the idea across the leadership teams they belong to back at the home office related to the concept. While the HR leaders I spoke to get the intent of the Getting Talent Back to Work pledge, most indicated there would be friction and blocking activity as they tried to execute changes to existing policy related to hiring candidates with criminal histories.

4—Hiring Managers are also thought to be a major roadblock. As expected, most of the HR leaders I spoke to thought hiring managers would be less than supportive to this type of hiring policy change. 

With all that in mind, my takeaways after these conversations were simple. HR pros are open and welcome participating in Getting Talent Back to Work, but they’re also unclear about the best way to proceed in knocking down barriers that exist in their organizations.

That means Getting Talent Back to Work as a SHRM initiative has legs, but the next step in the program for SHRM will need to focus on helping HR leaders make the business case to skeptics back at the home office.  While most of the HR pros I talked to were generally unaware of the toolkit that exists here, a review of the resources makes me recommend the toolkit will need to expand provide a base-level communications campaign that a normal HR leader could use to make presentations, send emails and general communicate the policy changes they're asking for. 

The tools that exist are strong, and the next step probably needs to be ghostwritten materials that show an HR leader step-by-step what they can do to initiate change in their organizations.

I like what SHRM is doing in this area, and the fact they stayed on message at the national conference. The next step is to push HR leaders to take action inside their companies and start the necessary dialog.

Change is likely to be slow, but it's a conversation worth having.


Women’s Soccer: A Primer on Success in Equality Legislation

Congratulations to the USA Women’s National Soccer Team winning the World Cup.

Fun to watch and amazing all at the same time.  But there’s more! WWC

Let’s look at the impact of Title IX on Women’s Soccer in the United States.  Not sure what Title IX is?  Here’s a quick primer:

Title IX is a federal civil rights law in the United States of America that was passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972. This is Public Law No. 92‑318, 86 Stat. 235 (June 23, 1972), codified at 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681–1688. It was co-authored and introduced by Senator Birch Bayh in the U.S. Senate, and Congresswoman Patsy Mink in the House. It was later renamed the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act following Mink's death in 2002. The following is the original text as written and signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1972:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

While the reach of Title IX is broad, a visible outcome was the law’s impact on sports. In a nutshell, Title IX’s application in sports mandated that girls/women have equal opportunity to boys/men. In college athletics, that mandate was further refined as the number of overall athletic scholarships for women being equal to what was offered for men.

With football providing high scholarship numbers to college males with no female equivalent, the outcome over time was simple.  College sports kept the football scholarship numbers high, which meant new levels of funding for women’s athletics (as well as many smaller, non-revenue scholarship sports being discontinued for men – which is why you don’t see sports like wrestling at most American universities these days).

Women’s soccer is one positive example of Title IX’s impact.  Here’s your girls’ soccer participation numbers across time:

1976 – 10,000 girls participating in High School Soccer

2000 – 270,000 girls participating in High School Soccer

Women’s soccer is a great example of the positive impact of equality legislation. Title IX is a driver of the growth in high school girls’ soccer over time.

World Cup titles are nice. More girls having access to sport and the lessons that come with participation is better.

Title IX is a huge early win in equality legislation.


PODCAST - e2 - This is HR (Employee Activism at Google, Netflix HR Series and Mandatory Sick Leave Laws)

(Email subscribers, if you don't see the podcast player, click here to see the podcast)

In this episode of THIS IS HR, Kris Dunn (CHRO at Kinetix), Tim Sackett (President of HRU), and Jessica Lee (VP of Brand Talent, Marriott) hit the following topics:

--A recent report on employee activism at companies like Google, Microsoft and Salesforce. If a small section of your employees starts protesting against your business plan or specific clients you serve, what do you do as an HR Pro? The gang digs in and finds that it's complicated (2:53)

--The team tries to bring the outrage at a new Netflix series, hosted by Dustin from Stranger Things, that take advantage of unemployed people who think they've finally landed a job.  They find their outrage uneven and too pedestrian so they start brainstorming Netflix pitches with an HR theme that would be cool (11:53)

--An exploration of the trend across some cities to enact mandatory sick leave laws.  Good thing or bad thing?  The gang digs in (18:51)

KD closes it out by going to the mailbag and getting a simple question from a manufacturing HR Pro on favorite interview questions, which Tim and JLee turn into a potentially ill-advised primer on passion in your job (27:21)

BONUS: We uncover that that one of the gang is stressed about prepping for Maternity Leave, while another one's not stressed but always preparing for the unexpected like a boy/girl scout.

What could go wrong with topics like these?  Give it a listen!


Founder's Rules: Marriott to Put Copies of Bible and Book of Morman in Starwood/Westin/Sheraton Hotels...

There's a lot of pros and cons about working for a company that's still controlled by a founder.  For me, I think the pros dramatically outweigh the cons.  Every once in awhile, a little company grows into a giant that's still controlled by the founder and because they still call the shots, things get interesting related to what's important to them.

Case in point - Chick-fil-A - while the founder has passed away, the company is still run by the son - Don Cathy, who's conservative Christian views have been front and center in recent years.  There was past drama related to the Cathy's views on same-sex marriage, etc.   Since the company is still thriving, you have to guess that the service and food is still so stellar that the controversy didn't make an impact.

Here's another founder-controlled company with some new ripples - Marriott International plans to place copies of the Bible and the Book of Mormon in 300,000 rooms of its Marriott newly acquired Starwood, Westin, and Sheraton hotels, the Associated Press reports:

The big picture: The number of hotels that offer those kinds of religious materials fell 16% over 10 years, per the AP. Starwood-owned hotels haven't offered religious materials at all until being acquired by Marriott. But Marriott requires "its 6,500 properties to have the books in each room."

Marriott told the AP in a statement: "There are many guests who are not digitally connected who appreciate having one or both of these books available. It’s a tradition appreciated by many, objected to by few." Gideons International provides the Bibles, and the Books of Mormon are purchased with the help of the Marriott Foundation and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Other major hotel chains like Hilton and IHG, owner of Holiday Inn, let hotel managers decide whether or not to provide Bibles in their rooms.

Marriott, whose namesake founding family is active in the Mormon church, has been putting both the Bible and the Book of Mormon in its rooms since opening its first hotel in the late 1950s. Like most major chains, Marriott doesn't own the majority of its hotels. However, it stands out from the other companies by requiring — in franchise or licensing agreements — its 6,500 properties to have the books in each room.

There are some other Starwood properties acquired by Marriott that won't be get the book - the W and Moxy brands won't, for example. Turns out that condom packs in the rooms, etc - is inconsistent with the messages in the books.

A quick scan/text stream of 4-5 Marriott employees I know at decent levels in the company - and having a variety of political views - found my Marriott friends to be comfortable with the decision. They see all the progressive moves that go unnoticed by the company and are happy to shrug off the power play of 300K Bibles and Books of Morman going into rooms.

Founder-driven companies that scale are always an anomaly.  Good enough operationally to get big, small enough via the founder vibe (even at Marriott's size) to do whatever they want - damn the critics.

Long live the American entrepreneur. See you at the Westin, my home away from home, now with new books. 


Administrative Leave Means You're Already Gone - Urban Meyer Edition...

Well, I heard some people talkin' just the other day
And they said you were gonna put me on a shelf
But let me tell you I got some news for you
And you'll soon find out it's true...

-"Already Gone" by the Eagles

------------------------------------

I think I've written about people being put on administrative leave before - but I'm reminded of it on the news that Ohio State put football coach Urban Meyer on Paid Administrative Leave this week.  Meyer is currently looking at the kitchen walls at home as his phone blows up, based the school announcing it is investigating Courtney Smith's claims that several people close to Meyer knew of a 2015 allegation of domestic violence against her ex-husband, former Ohio State assistant football coach Zach Smith, who was fired in July.

This post isn't about college football.  It's about the use of Administrative Leave, usually of the paid variety.

Paid Administrative Leave means the following things:

1--Whatever you're accused of is too damn hot to allow you to remain in the workplace.

2--Your employer believes that you likely did enough (or didn't do enough for leadership positions) on the issue in question to warrant your eventual termination.

3--Administrative Leave is a form of action your employer can point to as taking action while they actually investigate what happened on the issue in question.

4--YOU ARE UNLIKELY TO COME BACK FROM ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE.

Got it? Great.  Let's dig into #4 above a bit.  It's a tough pill to swallow for some.

YOU ARE UNLIKELY TO COME BACK FROM ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE.

Your employer put you out because they believed there was a high probability your investigation would end in a termination.

But for every day you are out, your career expertise and power, as well as your ability to return to your job, decreases in a dramatic way.  That stinks. It's like a game of Fortnite where you have a power level for an individual.  You're getting whacked hard every day you are out, and the players in the game all see your power level after a week of being out and determine it's only a matter of time before you're out of the game.  This perception makes it hard for you to survive and come back off of paid administrative leave.

That stinks because sometimes you're innocent.  The good news for most people who will read this is that their process would be nowhere near as public as Urban Meyer.

If you're confronted with an allegation, do what you can to avoid being placed on leave.  Offer to take vacation, personal days and generally get out of the way.  Avoid the tag of Administrative Leave if you can.

Oh yeah, be sure to take action on people who do bad things and shouldn't be part of the company.  Don't protect people you like who do stupid things.  Don't do stupid things.  These are all viable options to avoid administrative leave.


Let's Break Down the Korean Gate Agent Claim Vs. Delta Airlines...

In case you missed it last week, four former Seattle-based Delta Air Lines employees filed a lawsuit against the company, saying they were fired for speaking Korean.

The old saying I have as an HR leader goes something like this: In America, allegations are free.  You've got the right to bring claims forward. Many people do. Some of those claims are 100% true.  A lot of the claims are afterthought allegations, with the real reasons for terminations being business-related.  Sometimes, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Delta gate agents

This is what we pay the HR generalist (at all levels) with employee relations responsibilities for.  Bigger companies have ER specialists that serve as the gatekeepers for situations that involve terminations.

So let's look at the reported facts of the Delta/Korean worker lawsuit and handicap what's going on from an employee relations perspective.

In other words to my good readers: HR, DO YOUR JOB.  Analysis after the jump for your comments, rundown courtesy of wire reports and The Hill:

"Four former Delta Air Lines employees filed a lawsuit against the company, saying they were fired for speaking Korean.

Ji-Won Kim, Lilian Park, Jean Yi and Jongjin An worked as desk and gate agents for the airline at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, which has daily Delta flights to South Korea.

The four Korea-born women claim in the lawsuit that they were “singled out and admonished” for speaking Korean. Three of the four women are U.S. citizens.

Yi told Seattle TV station KIRO 7 that Korean-speaking passengers who weren't fluent in English felt more comfortable speaking with her at the airport.

One of the plaintiffs said a manager told her that airline employees who didn't speak Korean had complained and asked her to “limit speaking Korean.”

The women, who were all fired in May 2017, claim in the lawsuit that other foreign language–speaking employees were not asked to limit their non-English communications.

The company said the four women were terminated for "offering unauthorized upgrades," according to the lawsuit. The women say the upgrades were standard, particularly for oversold flights, and that other agents who engaged in the same practices were not fired.

An attorney for the women said it is also possible that their firings were related to their reporting of sexual harassment — all four claimed that they were sexually harassed by the same male employee, who is still working for the airline.

A Delta spokesperson told KIRO 7 in a statement that the airline “does not tolerate workplace discrimination or harassment of any kind” and that the allegations against the male employee were “found to be without merit.”

"These former employees were unfortunately but appropriately terminated because the company determined they violated ticketing and fare rules,” the spokesperson said. “Delta is confident that these claims will ultimately be determined to be without merit."

This kind of makes me miss being heavily involved in employee relations issues that can ultimately end up in legal action. Delta's got a solid case if the following elements are present behind the scenes, deep down in the guts of the employee relations file of this case.  Follow me and tell me what I'm missing in the comments.  Delta has a good position IF:

1--There was a clear progressive path related to the the group of 4 employees violating ticketing and fare rules.  Were they warned prior to being termed?  If so, Delta's in great shape.  If they weren't warned, it's a little more mucky.

2--Delta has a clean history of terming similar employees for ticketing and fare rules violation across multiple Title 7 areas - gender, national origin, etc. If there's not solid history across Title 7 classes, it's mucky.

3--The Harassment issue has a full investigation file (I say that in general terms) and whoever brought that to Delta's attention got closure from the appropriate Delta person and they can show it was investigated to an appropriate level.

4--The speaking Korean issue is a bit dicey.  This group of employees was valued for their language skills, so this request is interesting and problematic.  How did the group use Korean when it wasn't a business necessity?  You have to assume they used it to talk to each other and other employees felt on the outside as a result.  Is that worth a conversation?  Maybe.  A lot of merits of this comes down to what was said in the conversation, the timing of it vs. the decision to term, if similar conversations happened with other language groups who weren't termed, etc.  

What did I miss?  LMK.  

The biggest item for consideration here is #1 and #2.  If the employees making the claim were warned before being termed and the company has a history of terming employees for upgrade/ticketing/fare rule violations, Delta is in pretty good shape.  

If #1 and #2 is murky at best, #3 and #4 come into play to a larger degree.

Good HR/employee relations practices (which I'm sure exist to a large degree at Delta) require lots of discipline.  The merits of each case really come down to the level of discipline a company shows.  And if you were wondering, a quick google search shows gate agents are non-unionized at Delta.

HR, do your job.

 


"No Poach" Recruiting Agreements Continue to Fall Across Corporate America...

If you've been in the business world long enough, you've ran into executives at both small and big companies making agreements to not recruit other company's employees.  These agreements are a by-product of the good-ole-boy network and usually the result of one executive knowing another and agreeing to keep each other's companies "off-limits" to recruiting efforts.

It's called collusion, right?  Funny thing is, HR has never really had a voice in that.  Instead, we find out what the agreement is "ex post facto" and if we're really lucky, we get to ruin someone's life by retracting an offer due to these informal agreements - after that employee has already resigned at their current company. Trading places

It's always been stupid like that.  The good news is that the legal system is rapidly taking these agreements off the table.  First it was Silicon Valley and now seven fast food chains — including Arby's, Cinnabon and McDonald's — have pledged to end so-called "no-poaching" rules that have prevented employees from moving from one franchise to another within the same restaurant chain: More from CNN:

"Washington state's Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Thursday the agreement could end the practice at roughly 25,000 restaurants nationwide.

The move will mean fairer hiring practices for "tens of thousands of low-wage" workers in the United States, Ferguson's office said. His office also said it will take legal action against franchises that violate the agreement, and the companies could face civil penalties or fines.

The fast food chains included in the agreement are Arby's, Auntie Anne's, Buffalo Wild Wings, Carl's Jr., Cinnabon, Jimmy John's, and McDonald's (MCD).

"No-poach" rules bar workers at franchise-owned restaurants from being hired by a separate franchise within the same chain.

Because such rules are usually laid out in company-franchise contracts, and not in worker agreements, employees have often been unaware they existed, Ferguson's office said."

Uh, yeah - the employees didn't know they existed because they are LITERALLY THE LAST THING ON ANYONE'S MIND IN THESE AGREEMENTS.

The no-poach agreement will continue to exist in pockets, but I've got good news for my HR leaders who are expected to enforce them.

You can now tell your company they are illegal as hell.

Score one for the worker.  I'm generally pro-business, but c'mon.  A no-poach agreement that means a counter worker at Arby's can't move to another Arby's?

This is why we can't have nice things.


Uber CHRO Resigns Amid Whistleblower Allegations: Serves as Cautionary Tale for HR Pros at all Levels...

Uber's HR shop has always been a bit of a mess.  As is often the case, the company outgrew a capable HR leader who was overran by the personality of a founder with total power, and the company decided it was time for a change.  Uber brought in Liane Hornsey to bring mature chops to the situation.

It apparently hasn't gone well.  In addition to encouraging employees to hug during town hall meetings with the singular purpose of talking about harassment issues (WOW!), Hornsey has been accused of routinely dismissing racial discrimination claims.  Can't make this stuff up.

More from Engadget:

Uber's Chief People Officer Liane Hornsey has resigned after a third-party firm investigated allegations that she routinely dismissed internal racial discrimination complaints. She joined the company a month before former engineer Susan Fowler penned a blog post talking about the rampant sexual harassment and sexism she endured at Uber. As head of the HR department, Hornsey served as one of the company's top spokespersons on issues regarding diversity and discrimination throughout the upheavalthat followed. Bo Young Lee, the ride-hailing firm's first diversity chief, was even ordered to report to her instead of to the company's new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

"Uber's Chief Legal Officer Tony West ordered a probe into the way she handles discrimination reports after a group of whistleblowers threatened to go public with their complaints if the company doesn't take action. The group, who told Reuters that they're Uber employees of color, also accused Hornsey of using discriminatory language against the company's Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion Bernard Coleman. They claimed that she threatened former executive Bozoma Saint John, who joined the company from Apple Music with the intention of fixing its internal cultural issues, as well.

Uber's Chief People Officer Liane Hornsey has resigned after a third-party firm investigated allegations that she routinely dismissed internal racial discrimination complaints. She joined the company a month before former engineer Susan Fowler penned a blog post talking about the rampant sexual harassment and sexism she endured at Uber. As head of the HR department, Hornsey served as one of the company's top spokespersons on issues regarding diversity and discrimination throughout the upheavalthat followed. Bo Young Lee, the ride-hailing firm's first diversity chief, was even ordered to report to her instead of to the company's new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi."

Today's lesson for anyone reading this - HR or line leader - is that YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ENSURING that allegations of unfair treatment get the focus and attention they deserve. That means:

  1. listening with empathy
  2. taking action via investigation
  3. reporting back on outcomes to those who raised the issue.

It's HR 101.  It should be common, but it's not as routine as it should be. Wake up call - you've always been at risk when you fail to do the hard work associated with #1 through #3.  

In today's world, we're more at risk than ever as HR pros, as the Uber news shows.

Do the work.  Do your job, no matter how bogus you think the claim is.  

YOU HAVE TO DO THE WORK.