Britney Spare-Rib takes the lead

For those who are uninitiated, each month an employment law blog hosts a “carnival” with links to various posts from other blogs with a theme typically attached.  Candidly, it’s a relic from a bygone era before social media made sharing easy.  

But a carnival is a carnival (and my thanks to Eric Meyer of The Employee Handbook for organizing it).  And while it’s not quite as fun as pig races (which, if you haven’t been to, you surely must do in your lifetime) or as yummy as a Craz-E burger at the Big E this week, it’s still a thrill to host and share with you some great articles. Please click on the hyperlinks to visit some great employment law blogs.  

As longtime readers of the blog know, I’m a baseball fan. And not just a baseball fan, but a Yankees fan.  And not just a Yankees fan, but one who follows them obsessively.  And there’s nothing better this time of year than a pennant race (unless of course you’re the Yankees who had a 10 game lead in July and blew the whole thing that but that’s a post for another day. And speaking of losers, then you should get to know this Colorado professor who compared 9/11 victims to Nazis.  You cannot make this up, sadly.)

So for this month’s carnival, what could be more appropriate than a romp through Yankees history?

Yankee Stadium

History is filled with great Yankees. But right now we’re living with one of the greats — Derek Jeter.  He’s a mythical figure now (my friend Amanda Rykoff refers to his home runs as “#Jeterian” on Twitter.) He’s got a little flash but mostly he’s great because he plays the game hard, stays out of trouble, and understand that its the little things that count.  Employers that like to follow the rules (and who doesn’t), should be sure to get their documentation in order.  Remember, it’s the little things that matter.

Its also hard to imagine another living legend, Mariano Rivera playing for another team other than the Yankees.  He developed a pitch to perfection — the cutter — that you’d almost have to think was a trade secret — the type that would fall under a restrictive covenant.  Of course, if he wanted to play for another team, once his contract expires, he’s a free agent — able to operate without any “non-compete” clauses.  Of course, just because there’s a non-compete clause doesn’t mean it’s enforceable.  A court might even throw it out.  

Any list of great Yankees would be incomplete without Reggie Jackson who became so famous he had a candy bar named after him.  But, recently, Reggie got into trouble for speaking his mind a little too much about another Yankee great, Alex Rodriguez.  Because he is still doing some work for the Yankees in their front office (as opposed, of course, to their back office?), the Yankees had a few choice words of their own and asked Jackson to take some time off away from the team.  Speaking of things that you shouldn’t say in the workplace, political discussions are also a very bad idea.  So is calling another employee a “monkey” (but you knew that already, didn’t you?).

Whitey Ford may not be the first name that people think of when they think of legends, but he should be on any top 10 list.  He won 236 games as a Yankee (still a franchise record) and was so cool under fire that his nickname was “The Chairman of the Board.”  One executive who did not stay cool under pressure was Jason Selch who allegedly mooned two executives.  It cost him $2 million in contingency payments.  And no lawsuit can recover that.

Yogi Berra may be known now for his Yogi-isms (“Ninety percent of this game is half mental.”) but he’s widely regarded as one of the best catchers of all time.  Still, his quotes leave you scratching your head.  Did he really just say that? And what does it mean? Kind of like the recent decisions from the NLRB including one that suggests that employers can’t keep their confidential investigations, well, confidential.

If Yogi-isms are too tough to understand, maybe you prefer information to be presented in an infographic like the one that was done on the EEOC’s strategic plan?

2 months is a long time. About 56 baseball games can be played during that time.  Imagine if someone got a hit every game for 56 games? Actually, someone did. And yes, he’s a Yankee — Joe DiMaggio.  You might think DiMaggio is superhuman; his record is one of the most revered in all of sports. Yet even Joe DiMaggio is human; he got divorced from Marilyn Monroe.  Indeed, both of them relied on lawyers as these pictures show.  Of course, if you’re in human resources, knowing how to understand and evaluate what your legal department does is important in making the right decisions for the company.  Lawyers matter.

Perhaps the most famous Yankee of all time is Babe Ruth.  But you know what he had? A contract.   Of course, not every contract gets sold for nearly $1 million as his did back in 2005.  Contracts are an essential part of doing business.  And now, confidential clauses are become more prevalent (and if you want to know what they mean, you should click here too).

Staying healthy at work is more important than ever. And employers are helping employees stay healthy too.  However, even the best wellness programs can’t stop all disease. Indeed, employees who suffer from ALS are often healthy before hand.  Lou Gehrig — another great Yankee – was one such example.  He was the “Iron Man” until he was diagnosed with ALS.  Indeed, to many people, ALS is still better known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”.  But his legacy should be much greater than a disease.  He held the record for consecutive games played for decades, until Cal Ripken Jr. broke it.  If you don’t have Lou Gehrig’s disease – or any disability for that matter – that you’re not entitled to a reasonable accommodation — and you should probably be grateful too.

One player who used to get into trouble all the time was Mickey Mantle.  He admitted his hard living had hurt his playing and him personally.  But he was such a superstar that the Yankees never dreamed of terminating him.  If you’re going to do a termination meeting, you should also do it correctly. That’s probably an issue for another day. (Oh wait, it was.)  “The Mick” endeared himself to a lot of people, probably for apologizing when he screwed up. Apologies matter and “sorry” shouldn’t be the hardest word.

Now, I understand that the Yankees aren’t universally loved.  Heck, there’s even a show entitled “Damn Yankees” out there.  (Of course, if you use vulgarities like “damn” at work, you might not even be able to be fired — at least in Calgary.) But if rivalries get too heated in the workplace, it’s always important for human resources to investigate possible claims of workplace violence.  Certainly here in Connecticut, we’ve got plenty of workplaces loaded with both Yankees and Red Sox fans — yet we all seem to get along for the most part.

The Yankees are part of American history, like it or not.  (And I’m guessing “not” for Seth Borden of Labor Relations Today — and a big Red Sox fan.) But now, as this blog shows, they are part of Employment Law Blog Carnival history as well.

Mission accomplished.