Sex And The Sea: Summer Tales From the Wide, Wild World of HR


And the livin’ is easy.

Reqs are slowin’

No hirin’s nigh.

In the spirit of these August dog days, here’s a little collection of HR snacklets to entertain and, maybe even, inform you.

I swear, though, that it is the former, not the latter, that I intend.

First up: an HR case from Oz

A government worker was dispatched on a business trip to rural New South Wales, where she was instructed to spend the night. To while away the time, the 40-year-old woman took up with a male acquaintance. During what must have been a particularly frisky rollick, a wall lamp over the bed fell, injuring the woman. She filed for worker’s comp.

When it was denied, she sued, her attorney arguing in court last month that having sex is “normal behavior.” “Having sex,” he said, ” is just one of those things. It’s not the 1920s, after all.”

The court is currently considering a decision. Want more? Go here. There’s even a video. (I know what you’re thinking and it is NOT of that.)

Now let’s turn to vacations.

How do you know when you’re on vacation?

Before the devil foisted the Internet and cell phones upon us, vacations were easy. You got up, dressed however you wanted, didn’t go into the office, and did pretty much whatever you wanted.

Nowadays, we need a court and lawyers to tell us what vacations are. Conveniently, they have.

A vacation, explained a California Court of Appeals a couple weeks ago, is this:

Paid time off that accrues in proportion to the length of the employee’s service, is not conditioned upon the occurrence of any event or condition, and usually does not impose conditions upon the employee’s use of the time away from work.”

I’m not sure what prompted this definition (which, I must point out, doesn’t explain what all those people at beach resorts are doing answering work emails), but what got this matter into court was a disagreement over a sabbatical.

Advanced Micro Devices offered a paid, 2-month sabbatical (oh, those good old days) to workers with seven or more years of service. When Eric Paton quit before taking his sabbatical, AMD claimed he forfeited it. Not so, said Paton. It was accrued over my seven years and, just like vacation time, you owe me, Paton said.

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The lower court ruled against him, but the appeals court reversed sending the matter back to have someone else, maybe a jury, decide when a sabbatical is a vacation and when it’s not.

It did offer some guidance in deciding the “thornier problem” of unconditional sabbaticals. Besides adopting the California Department of Labor Standards and Enforcement guidelines, it added one:  An expectation that the employee will return to work after the sabbatical.

Still with me? Good, because now here’s a suggestion about what to do with all that sabbatical time you have.

Finding a job at sea

There are hundreds — hundreds! — of boats looking for crews. They’re on If there’s a more romantic, adventurous job board for the wanderer in us, I don’t know where it is.

The paying jobs want you to have experience, but others don’t care and will take you along for whatever help you can provide.

There’s a Polish sailboat down in Brazil planning a leisurely cruise around South America looking for people willing to share the work for a ride. How about sailing the Aegean aboard a 51′ American ketch?

Play your cards right and you might end up sailing away just in time to skip the EEO-1.

Help catching pirates

Crewing a boat around the world not enough for you? Well, then I leave you with his opportunity: The European Union is looking for a Pirate Cultural Advisor. It’s not enough that you know how to talk like a pirate. The EU really wants ex-military with a security clearance — and you get points, presumably, if you sailed the Somali coast and made it through.

Enjoy the rest of your summer.

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


1 Comment on “Sex And The Sea: Summer Tales From the Wide, Wild World of HR

  1. This like a Sunday Morning segment only with an HR flair.Should be a regular column. Call it HR Frolics, Foibles and Phenoms.

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