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Feb 18, 2022
This article is part of a series called The Most Interesting HR Stories of the Week.

Dolly provides the lolly:

Hit-maker, Dolly Parton – famous for ‘Working 9-to-5’ – has pledged to meet the cost of her staff getting college qualifications. All employees at her ‘Dollywood’ amusement park will be eligible to have 100% of their college tuition fees paid for them. The offer extends to all 11,000 staff members across her Dollywood Parks and Resorts brands regardless of their part-time, seasonal, or full-time status. Staff are also eligible from day one of their employment. Arranged through new tuition program, GROW U, the scheme will officially launch on February 24th. Tuition fees will be paid for out of The Dollywood Foundation.

Workplace romances are blossoming again

In the week that saw St Valentine pay his annual visit, Forbes reported Society for Human Resource Management research that suggests workplace romances are blossoming once more. It finds 33% of people polled said they were ‘currently involved or have been involved in a workplace romance’ – up 6% from before coronavirus struck. Of those in romances, it found 65% are dating their peers; 12% are dating subordinates while 19% are dating their superiors.

Ouch! Staff would rather visit their dentist than their office:

Evidence that the office is, quite literally, the last place employees would rather go to was spectacularly shown in a new survey that found 36% of staff would rather have a trip to their dentist once a month than work full time at their office. The data found employees were evenly split between either taking a four-day working week (48%) or getting a pay rise (52%). The same survey revealed 90% of those polled said they were dealing with some level of burnout, while 75% cited feeling overworked. The majority (57%) said they struggled to set boundaries between their work and personal life.

IBM’s HR chief denies age discrimination:

Nickle LaMoreaux, chief human resources director at IBM, has issued a statement on the company’s website to clarify that “there was (and is) no systemic age discrimination at our company.” The statement comes following the publication of legal papers – Lohnn v. IBM – in which it is claimed 57-year old Jorgen Lohnn took his own life after being laid off by IBM, having worked there for more than 15 years. The plaintiff – Denise Lohnn – claims her former husband “fell victim to a years-long companywide discriminatory scheme implemented by IBM’s top management to build a younger workforce, by reducing its population of older workers in order to make room for the hiring of younger workers.” The filing cites an investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which said there had been “top-down messaging from IBM’s highest ranks directing managers to engage in an aggressive approach to significantly reduce the headcount of older workers to make room for Early Professional Hires.”

Stats starkly reveal the impact of ‘The Great Resignation’

New research published in the iCIMS 2022 Workforce Report doesn’t pull its punches when it comes to talent problems facing HRDs. It finds 80% of businesses have been negatively impacted by The Great Resignation, while more than 90% of business leaders say their organization will not meet its goals if it can’t get hold of the right talent. Unfortunately the statistics also reveal that things aren’t likely to improve any time soon. The data reveals that while job openings are up 86% on pre-pandemic levels, applications are down 11%. When applications do come in, one-in-five are from an out-of-state applicant, suggesting flexible working is still what job seekers want.

Tesla facing racism allegations

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has launched a lawsuit against auto-maker, Tesla, after a three-year investigation concluded found black workers were called the n-word, as well as “monkey toes,” “boy,” “hood rats” and “horse hair.” The lawsuit also alleges that pervasive racism saw African Americans placed into the most physically demanding jobs, including cleaning the factory floors. The news, reported in Capital & Main, carries the experience of Fatima Islam, who worked at Tesla’s production plant in Fremont until she quit in 2020 and filed a complaint against the company to the DFEH the following year. Tesla has published a blog refuting the allegations.

Congress passes bill to end forced arbitration for claims of sexual assault or harassment

The House of Representatives and The Senate have passed The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act, which will permit an employee alleging sexual assault or harassment to invalidate a pre-dispute arbitration agreement or joint-action waiver. It means that if an employee signs an agreement to arbitrate employment-related claims but later experiences sexual assault or harassment, the employee can decide to dispose of that arbitration agreement and pursue his or her claims in court. White House officials have said the bill could be a model for addressing forced arbitration for other claims “including arbitration of claims regarding discrimination on the basis of race, wage theft, and unfair labor practices.”


This article is part of a series called The Most Interesting HR Stories of the Week.