Friday News Roundup: Animal Sacrifice, LinkedIn University Pages and More

Our weekly Friday News Roundup highlights interesting stories from the HR world from around the Internet. This week covers animal sacrific, LinkedIn’s new University pages and friending coworkers on Facebook and more!

Animal Sacrifice as a Religious Accommodation?
A Nigerian national working the U.S. has filed suit against his employer, stating the company should have accommodated his religious accommodation request to perform animal sacrifice. When Sikiru Adeyeye’s father passed away, Adeyeye requested several weeks off to travel to Nigeria for the funeral and to perform certain rituals, one of which included slaughtering five goats. The company denied Adeyeye’s requests, and fired him when he went to the funeral anyway. The cases is currently back in court after Adeyeye won a recent appeal. Often American HR professionals may not be aware of other culture’s religious beliefs. This case is an important lesson in being respectful of such requests, but also asking for additional information to better understand the request.

Unpaid Internship Debate Heats Up…Again
Last week the Editor/Producer for Sheryl Sandberg’s organization, Lean In, posted an unpaid internship position to her personal Facebook page. The post quickly lead to a flood of critical comments and a resurgence of the debate around the morality of unpaid internships. Though non-profits are legally able to provide unpaid internships, for-profit companies must meet certain guidelines to hire unpaid interns. Many feel there should be no such distinction and that unpaid internships have no place in our modern economy. Fistful of Talent took on the debate this week and argued in favor of unpaid internships, stating the majority of companies offering unpaid opportunities are not evil. What is your opinion? Are unpaid internships a case of a few bad apples spoiling the bunch or is there an inherent problem in our corporate society? Do unpaid internships offer value or are they simply exploiting under-experienced workers?

Supervisor Accesses Employees Personal Email, Lands In Court
Employers and employees who offer or receive company cellphones should pay attention to a recent decision by the U.S. District Court for Northern Ohio. A woman, who had been provided a company phone and told she could use it for personal email, learned after leaving the company her supervisor had used the device to access her account and read her personal emails over the courses of 18 months. The court permitted the woman’s invasion of privacy claim to proceed, and disagreed with the company’s argument the supervisor had the authority to access her email since he was using a company-owned device and believed the woman consented to the reading by not deleting her personal email account. If ever there was an argument for a strong policy around appropriate use of company mobile devices, this is it.

LinkedIn Launches University Pages for High School Students
Earlier this week, LinkedIn launched ‘University Pages’ in an effort to increase engagement between universities and high schools students. The goal of the new pages is to ease the decision-making process for students by providing additional information on the school, such as the profiles of notable alumni, career paths of recent graduates, as well as a place to engage in discussion about the school. This tool will prove useful not only to college recruitment, but HR professionals as well. As more students become engaged with LinkedIn at a younger age, it increases the likelihood they’ll maintain profiles throughout their education and into their first jobs, providing a slew of useful information for job recruiters.

We Can’t Be Friends
A recent survey conducted by OfficeTeam found the majority of managers are uncomfortable with receiving Facebook friend requests from their bosses, as well as the employees they supervise. Clients and vendors were also included on this list, though at a much higher rate. It would seem despite the increasing prevalence of these networks in daily life, may professional are choosing to keep their online social networks private. What is your policy when it comes to Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter?

Image Credit: Tom Thai via Flickr