An unsuccessful applicant for an account executive opening at Macro Surety Analysts, an insurance risk management firm, says the company’s failure to hire him constitutes discrimination against his headphones, which he refused to remove during his interview.
“I wear headphones when I work, everyone I know wears headphones when they work, and I’ve been told that Macro Surety employees often wear headphones at work, so to be discriminated against in the hiring process because I wore headphones to the interview is a clear violation of federal equal opportunity rules and the national goal of equal opportunity in the workplace, says Joseph Bernard, 24, who’s put the issue of headphone discrimination on the front burner with his claim filed yesterday with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Bernard worked as an account executive with a previous employer and “got rave reviews” from his bosses, he says. What’s more, says Bernard, he was clearly the front-runner for the job based on the quality of his application and his “perfect fit” with the job as outlined in his resume. “So, the only explanation for my not being hired comes down to my headphone use, even though I could hear everything the interviewer said as plain as day,” he says.
Bernard said the interviewer, Theresa Blaines, didn’t say anything about his headphones, although she did, in his mind, look at him expectantly. In fact, she appeared to delay starting the interview, a delay, Bernard alleges, was to give him time to remove his headphones. “But she never said squat about it,” he said.
“The interview turned out to be a total joke,” he said. “She had by all appearances decided within the first two minutes of shaking my hand that she wasn’t going to hire me. Clearly it was because of my headphones, and, significantly, the company has never denied that the reason was my headphones.”
An attorney for Macro Surety, in response to the EEOC claim, issued the following statement: “Macro Surety is proud to be the risk management company of choice for many of the largest insurance companies in the United States and takes its hiring practices with the utmost seriousness. It abides by all federal laws, including federal employment and equal opportunity laws, and, as it does in connection with any pending legal matter, has no further comment.”
Terrence McCaulton, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, says the case is an important one, because it raises a novel legal question about whether an employer can base a hiring decision on an applicant’s refusal to remove headphones during the interview process. “Today’s young adults are rarely without their headphones, and an argument can be made that they think better with their headphones on, since they grew up doing their homework while wearing headphones. So, can the plaintiff in this case make a plausible case that he can interview better while wearing headphones? Yes, I think that’s entirely possible. So, there is a legal question to be decided here. I think this case could go all the way to the Supreme Court.”
This is a work of satire. It is a fictional article not meant to be taken seriously. Photo: jj (Creative Commons). Not necessarily an endorsed use of image.
Cross-dressing Society Sues Garment Industry for Not Making Women’s Clothes That Fit Men, and Vice Versa
Calling it “unconscionable” that no women’s clothes are made to fit men, and vice versa, the North American Cross-Dressing Society filed lawsuits in the United States and Canada today against the garment industry in the hopes of forcing manufacturers to end size discrimination. “These lawsuits are for cross-dressers everywhere who are tired of the slim pickings they find at clothing racks across the United States and Canada,” says John Sebers, president of the cross-dressers group and a cross-dresser who lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “In a day and age when heroes like Caitlin Jenner are breaking down barriers for transgender people, we cross-dressers continue to find our favorite coordinates and our essential mix-and-match outfits completely mis-sized for us.” More.
LOS ANGELES—A man is charging one of the top modeling agencies here with discrimination for basing its hiring decisions on applicants’ looks and not taking other factors, such as academic achievements or community service, into account. “In this day and age, for any modeling company to base its hiring decisions soley on whether a person is ‘good looking’ or not is indefrensible and, frankly, reprehensible,’ says aspiring actor Bradley Connors. “Everyone should be entitled to a fair shot at employment opportunities, particularly in these tough economic times, without having to depend on qualifications that not everyone can be expected to have.” The Image Agency, named in the lawsuit as the defendant, called the charges “completely and utterly without merit” in a statement and said it will “vigorously challenge and prevail in this ill-conceived and regrettable action.” More.
Manufacturers and technology companies have failed to blanket the living environment with blinking lights and bleeping noises even though they’ve had the capability to do so for many years, the world says. Until enough blinking lights and bleeping noises fill all living spaces at all times, there will be operations and processes that won’t be sufficiently signaled for people the world over to be sufficiently signaled about every process and operation. “As hard as it is to believe, it’s possible today to go from your home to your car without being signaled by a blinking light or a bleeping noise alerting you to an operation or process that has occurred and that could affect you,” says the world. “Has the newspaper arrived at your doorstep? Have your sprinklers been turned on to water your grass? These are the kinds of processes and operations today that remain un-signaled with a blinking light or bleeping noise. More.
Trent Sanders says he had no idea the world was filled with other people like him until someone pointed it out after he had been driving around town with music blasting out of his car. “It was like a light went off in my head,” says Sanders, 25. “I was just driving around like I always do and while I was sitting at a stop light this guy pulled up next to me, rolled down his window, and yelled, ‘Other people live in this world, asshole! Not everyone wants to listen to your f**ing music!’ Then the light turned green and he peeled off. And I just sat there, stunned.” Sanders says he just automatically assumed he was the only person in the world, which is why he thought it was perfectly okay for him to blast his music while he drives around. “Did I know other people were driving around, too, some trying to listen to their own music? I confess, I did not.” More.
Carmakers in Detroit, Japan, Germany, and elsewhere are competing fiercely to offer cars and trucks that have the most irritating, annoying, and distracting lights possible. “Thanks to new LED technology, we’re able to annoy and distract people in a way that we never could before, and that’s really a game-changer for this industry,” says Rolf Anthonssen, chairman of Volvo Personvagnar AB, the Swedish car making giant based in Gothenburg. Since about 2010, carmakers have been turning to LED technology for headlights and tail lights because of the technology’s versatility and efficiency. LED technology uses light emitting diodes that require little energy to power on and off. Because of that efficiency, automakers can make lights twice as bright as traditional incandescent bulbs, and at less cost. More.
When John and Lucy Wong had Angie three months ago, nothing was too good for her. Now their daughter is the first on her block to have a carriage with a built-in TV, so she can watch educational and other programming even when she’s out enjoying a stroll with mom or dad. “Why just have her watch TV when she’s in her crib?” says Lucy, 24, a marketing assistant with a financial services company in Atlanta. “Going outside for walks is the perfect time to have her watch TV, too.” Although pediatricians generally discourage screen time for children before they reach two years old, parents like the Wongs say such advice doesn’t apply to them. “That’s for people who just throw their child in front of the TV for babysitting,” says Wong. “We don’t do that. We’re always educating our daughter. More.
Zack Morton doesn’t pretend he’s collecting his federal unemployment compensation, rental subsidy, and food stamps as a stopgap measure while he looks for work. No, he just doesn’t like to work and as long as the free money holds out, he has no intention of getting a job. “I hate working,” he says. “Getting up in the morning, brushing your teeth, going out in the cold, or the heat, and working all day in an office or outside or in a restaurant or something—I hate it.” Morton says he worked for a while when he was in high school, and in fact dropped out of school so he could work full time. But he didn’t like the work—it was as a clerk in a department store—and he ended up getting fired. “I think I came in late or something or didn’t come in at all. I just can’t remember,” he says. More.
TORONTO—Not everyone at Orione Corp. knows what the guy with three monitors does, but there’s little doubt he’s a man of mystery. “I’ve got a five-year-old Dell computer and that’s it,” says Jeff Norton, one of the company’s purchasing associates. “No one walks by my cubicle and wonders what I do, but I can tell you people wonder what he does.” Based on the kinds of programs he uses, the guy with three monitors appears to do something requiring complex multimedia functionality because he’s always working with a high-res graphic interface, motion graphics and video, and audio. To add to the mystery, he keeps the lights out around his workstation to reduce glare on his screens. “It’s almost like a spaceship control module,” says one colleague, a hint of awe in his voice. More.
Google has launched a service to step in and write your emails for you since it knows what you’re writing about anyway and can do a better job at it. “Having us write your emails is just another way for you to spend more time doing what you like to do and are good at and leaving to us the drudgery of spelling out words and connecting them in sentences in ways that make sense,” says Janna Learner, head of the new service, called Google Ghost Writer, or Google Ghost for short. The service uses the same algorithm the company uses to match ads to the subject matter in your emails. “We’re already tailoring ads to what you’re writing about, so this is just the next logical evolution in that mutually beneficial relationship,” says Learner. “If you’re writing an email about, say, a job you’d like to apply for, imagine how much help our service can be in making sure you say the right things.” More.
An explosive book by former Ayn Rand intimate Barbara Branden says the founder of the ultra-free market philosophy of objectivism was actually a heavy user of federal assistance and regularly sought meetings with federal officials to squelch competition to her free-market manifestos Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. “No one was more enthralled with the brilliance and charisma of Ayn Rand than I and my husband, Nathaniel Branden, were, but in the end, the great seer of free-market economics was no different than anyone else, taking government handouts whenever she could and using the coercive power of the federal government to make life miserable for true free-marketers whose work posed a threat to her bestselling books,” writes Branden in her book, Ayn Rand: Welfare Queen, just released from Pythagoras Publications. More.
The long-brewing debate over the accuracy of the psychiatry profession’s bible, called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders, came to a head this week as the American Psychiatric Association released the sixth edition of the 900-page book, and realized that 100 percent of Americans are now classified as having a mental disorder. “We feared this was going to happen,” says Jim Dulaney, professor emeritus at Columbia University and chair of the American Psychiatric Association. “Every time we update the DSM, more Americans fall under one of its disorders. Now we’re at the point where all Americans fall under one of its disorders, so we either have to reevaluate how we define mental illness in this country or we’re all really sick.” More.
“OMG!” A Silicon Valley web start-up is shifting the micro-blogging movement into hyper gear with its launch this week of hhrmp.com, a “hyper-micro” blogging site that limits posts to just 5 characters. “At this point in the evolution of social media, the 140-character limit of Twitter is just too big,” says Jeremy Gliner, whose title is chief hhrmp’er at hhrmp! Media. “Today’s teenagers have grown up on Twitter, Snapchat, and other micro-blogging platforms and they want their own thing. And they don’t want to compose anything that resembles a sentence. Given the success of our beta site with this critical demographic, we feel we’re giving this up-and-coming generation of word-economizers what they want.” A quick check with a group of 19- and 20-year-olds outside Hillsdale College in College Park, Md., appears to bear out Gliner’s assessment. More.
Back in the good ol’ days you could get away with things like makin’ up stories from a war zone,” Brian Williams says. The well-known NBC Nightly News anchor is on leave from his job following revelations he misled the public about his experience in Iraq while reporting on the U.S.-led invasion there 12 years ago. “It’s social media that’s ruining everything. Facebook, Twitter—how’s a guy supposed to buff his image when he can’t even tell a little tale without the whole frickin’ world knowin’ about it?” We caught up with Williams at a bar in New York City to find out how he’s doing since stepping down from his duties at NBC. We were joined by other prominent figures who’ve been ground up in the social media maw. More.
Saying their favorite band has become too commercial since it was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last April, fans of Canadian power trio Rush say it’s time to make a push for their removal. “We were instrumental in getting the band inducted into the Hall of Fame in the first place, thanks to our years of persistence, but now we see we made a mistake,” says Randy Powers, a fan from Pittsburgh who has launched a petition drive calling for Rush’s removal from the Cleveland institution. “Bobbleheads, T-shirts, refrigerators—it’s just all too much. We don’t mind the band trying to make a buck. It’s hard to do that now with people so easily downloading or streaming music on the Internet. But enough is enough.” More.