One in six staffers with diabetes affected by workplace discrimination

A sixth of workers with diabetes feel that their employers have discriminated against them, according to new research from Diabetes UK. In survey results published on 10 April, more than one third (37%) of respondents said that living with diabetes had caused them difficulties at work – while 7% had not even told their bosses that they have the condition. A quarter said that they would like time off work for diabetes-related appointments and the flexibility to take regular breaks for blood-sugar tests or taking medication.

Diabetes UK assistant director of campaigns and mobilisation Helen Dickens said: “Thousands of people across the UK have spoken out about how a lack of understanding from their employers can make working with diabetes not just exhausting and stressful, but also potentially life-threatening. We heard from people who had to give up their jobs in order to manage their condition safely.”

She added: “Diabetes is one of the largest health crises of our time, affecting more than 2.2 million people of working age in the UK. Missing essential health checks or not taking medication on time can lead to devastating complications, such as amputations, stroke, heart disease, kidney failure and even early death. Discrimination and difficulties come about because employers lack knowledge about diabetes and do not understand its impact. We need to talk more about the condition and the many ways it affects people’s lives in order to persuade places of work to offer greater understanding and flexibility.”

 

MP instructs FTSE 350 chiefs to step up mentoring of female and BAME staff

Burton MP and business minister Andrew Griffiths sent a letter to FTSE 350 directors and chairs on 11 April, telling them to focus on mentoring their black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) and female staff to help provide them with viable routes to the top.

Mr Griffiths stressed that FTSE chiefs must “take all the necessary steps” to ensure that their firms meet targets defined in the Hampton-Alexander and Parker reviews – such as measures for women to comprise one third of directorships and executive committees in the FTSE 350 by 2020. While Griffiths noted that he was happy for the time being for firms to stick with a “voluntary business-led approach to diversity”, he nonetheless urged them to “critically examine” their recruitment systems to remove unhelpful biases.

Griffiths wrote: “We need to make sure the cultural and structure changes that are required happen much more quickly,” adding: “[Recent gender-pay gap data] shows that we still have a long way to go to ensure that all individuals, whatever their background or characteristics, have similar opportunities to progress in the workplace and make the most of their potential. We want to ensure that everybody has the same opportunities to progress in the workplace and achieve their true potential.”

 

Netflix and Fox square up in court over executive-poaching complaint

Streaming giant Netflix and TV network Fox had a long-awaited day in court on 10 April as part of ongoing efforts to resolve a spate of back-and-forth litigation over the issue of executive poaching. As a fascinating Hollywood Reporter article on the case explains, Fox hit Netflix with a lawsuit in September 2016, alleging that the streamer had conducted a “brazen campaign” of poaching Fox execs. Netflix swiftly launched a countersuit, claiming that Fox’s employment contracts amounted to “involuntary servitude”, and were therefore null and void. Fox then attempted to strike down the Netflix countersuit by filing a motion to dismiss under California’s so-called anti-SLAPP law, which is designed to block frivolous litigation. However, that motion was denied by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge.

In the 10 April court date, Fox lawyer Jonathan Hacker sought to convey that when an executive wants to leave their role ahead of an agreed end-date, litigation is the only way to enforce the contract – otherwise you may as well just “roll it up and bat them over the head with it”. Netflix attorney Eric Shumsky, meanwhile, asserted that Fox only selectively enforces its contracts to prevent executives from joining its rivals. The case continues…

 

EU unveils plans to make it easier for consumers to sue firms

Unethical business leaders in Europe could soon have more to fear if authorities implement proposals that would strengthen consumers’ legal rights against bad actors in the corporate realm. Under what it calls a ‘New Deal’ for consumers, the European Commission “will empower qualified entities to launch representative actions on behalf of consumers and introduce stronger sanctioning powers for Member States’ consumer authorities … [the measures] will give consumers the tools to enforce their rights and get compensation, ensuring better protection against unfair commercial practices”.

European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) director general Monique Goyens said: “The Commission is right to make EU consumer law more enforceable. Too often, consumers are left footing the bill for a company’s unfair practices and find out getting their rights respected is mission impossible. Tougher sanctions and the ability for consumers to seek collective compensation are long overdue.”

The proposed measures have stemmed from the Commission’s disdain for recent, high-profile ethical failures, such as the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

 

Zuckerberg’s own Facebook data sold to Cambridge Analytica

Mark Zuckerberg has admitted that his own Facebook data was among a consignment of information sold to political research firm Cambridge Analytica. In the most ironic twist yet to this agenda-straddling story, Zuckerberg reluctantly fessed up to the embarrassment during an 11 April grilling before the House of Representatives – his second such forum in as many days, following 10 April session before the Senate. When asked by Congresswoman Anna Eshoo whether his own, private material was “included in the data sold to the malicious third parties”, Zuckerberg said simply: “Yes.” Eshoo immediately asked whether Zuckerberg would be prepared to change Facebook’s business model to prevent a recurrence – a question the young tycoon evaded.

Meanwhile, Cambridge Analytica’s acting chief executive Alexander Tayler has stepped down from the firm. He only took up the post on 21 March.