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Exploiting Dishonour Among Thieves: Accomplice Plea Agreements

When senior managers steal they typically do it knowing their employer’s systems back to front. They know which accounts can be skimmed and which assets nicked. Seniority also provides insight into how their actions may be covered up. Managers understand what transactions trigger audits and where holes exist in record-keeping. If the company monitors email and telephones or the cameras down the back fire-escape no longer work – they are often in the loop on that. The law reports are replete with managers misappropriating monies, stealing equipment, misusing vehicles, copying sensitive data and paying inflated invoices. Kimberly recently hosted a most intricate scheme where a trusted senior manager defeated all manner of security systems – red-areas, glove-boxes, magnetic safes and click-clack jars – to sneak out high value diamonds . It is one of those cases where you half want to fire the employee and half want to promote him for sheer ingenuity.

Evaluating the Credibility of a Source: Consistency as a False Positive

In December 2014, Sean Woods received the call editors dread the most. A Rolling Stone reporter told him she no longer stood by her story of a horrible rape supposedly committed by frat boys at the University of Virginia. The feature, published a few weeks earlier, broke readership records at the iconic magazine. It caused a national uproar. It is not hard to see why. The story recounts the dramatic allegations of a young woman, lured by her date to a fraternity house, there to be gang-raped on broken glass by seven young initiates. The line the story took was that the victim’s experience was emblematic of a ‘culture’ female students faced on campuses across the US. This heinous crime was further compounded by the defensive, almost dismissive, response of University authorities.

Marikana: A lesson in late liberal democracy

Thirty-four miners were shot dead by police at a mine outside Rustenburg, South Africa last week. The 3000 rock-drill operators, from a Lonmin owned platinum company, had been gathered on a hill for four days, demanding a wage increase from recalcitrant owners. Heinrich Böhmke, 22 August 2012            (originally in Africa Report) The leaders belonged to Amcu, a militant breakaway from the Cosatu-aligned National Union of Mineworkers.  In the days before the massacre, ten people were killed in skirmishes, including two police officers and a NUM shopsteward.  Police gave a final ultimatum for the workers, carrying pangas and spears, to disperse.  They refused.  Television footage showed a group of approaching workers sprayed with automatic weapon fire by police.  They fell in heaps upon the ground.

The Call For a Tribunal is Urgent and Correct

Published in Sunday Tribune, 22 August 2010 There is a class of citizen in our country whose occupation gives them enormous influence. They are capable of spreading unsolicited opinion and news that affects us profoundly. What they say can cause stock exchanges to fall, reputations to be destroyed and public fear and panic to be sown. Despite the incredible power they wield there are no formal qualifications needed to hold this job nor do practitioners have to pass any professional enquiry into their moral fitness. They are appointed by their bosses and are answerable largely only to them. Naturally, there is some oversight in the industry but it takes the form of self-regulation. This self-regulation is weak if the work of their ombudsmen is surveyed. Unlike doctors and lawyers getting struck from the roll for misconduct, that does not occur to them. When wrongdoers are chucked out it is only into the recycle bin. Soon …

Limits to managerial prerogative

You are a union organiser preparing for a strike at a tyre manufacturer.  The dispute concerns shift patterns, which the employer has unilaterally changed.  Although the total number of hours worked each week remains the same, the difference between the old and new shift patterns is significant.  Workers who never worked weekends must now do Saturday and Sunday shifts every so often.  The beneficial, four-day long weekend that came up during the old shift cycle is also gone.  The way workers have run their lives for years is overturned.  Church, sport and the long-weekend visits of many to their family in the rural areas are disrupted.    They are angry.

Driven to drink

Heinrich Böhmke, Originally posted in HRFuture The festive season has come and gone and it’s back to work for those who have a job in the delicate 2009 labour market.  For employees in the service industry – the smiling waitrons, tour-guides and shop-assistants – December has been all about work. The lady who gave me my Christmas haircut said it is her busiest month. She put in punishing overtime and hardly got any sleep. This was clear in her bleary eyes and distracted manner. I sat very still when she brought out the razor for my side-burns. There are other employees for whom exacting overtime regimens are not seasonal but chronic. So understaffed are certain hospitals, so lacking are millwright skills, that some devoted employees find themselves routinely over-worked. It is too easy to say that this is their choice. In some workplaces just keeping things afloat requires all hands on deck at all times. …