The week in work: flight attendants, meat processors, Uber drivers, farmworkers, turtles, a monkey, and a robot dog.
Same job different gender
The job formerly known as “stewardess” may still be the job with the absolute least wardrobe flexibility. Not only do women currently working as flight attendants have to wear very particular uniforms, but they also have to follow extraordinarily restrictive rules regulating their face, their hair, and even the way their uniforms fit their bodies. Airlines have formal written policies stating that “scars, pimples, and blemishes are not acceptable”; requiring lipstick and barring “noticeable hair” in nostrils, ears, or underarms; prohibiting “top-knots, dreadlocks, cornrows, and Mohawks”; and even imposing specific acceptable ranges for Body Mass Index (19 - 24.9) and skirt length (no higher than 1 inch above the crease of her knee, and no lower than 1 inch below it).
Male flight attendants have dress codes too, and of course they’re gendered too. Which means they're… different: among other things, men with the same job are specifically barred from wearing any makeup at all, and also not allowed to adopt “trendy facial hair styles”.
Sounds like quite a beef
After managers at a (creepily named) Cargill Meat Solutions processing plant attempted to block 11 Muslim employees from their daily prayers, more than 150 of their co-workers organized to stay away from work the next day in protest.
And the next day. And the day after that. At which point the company responded to the delicate intersection of religious faith, workplace production standards, and cultural competency in the way only a multibillion-dollar agri-business behemoth would: they fired all 190 Somali immigrant workers who were involved in the protest, and then issued a long and bullet-point-laden statement about it.
A star for a star leaves the whole world deactivated
When an Uber driver in Atlanta was very publicly accused of robbery by the relative of a passenger he didn’t even pick up, the police quickly cleared him of any connection to crime, and even Uber has said they don’t think the driver had anything to do with it… but they still turned off his access to the app.
Meanwhile in Seattle, an Uber driver who was sexually assaulted by a drunken passenger found herself immediately worrying about whether he’d give her only 1 or 2 stars, impacting her rating and potentially threatening her livelihood because of the company’s policy of deactivating drivers with lower than a 4.6-ish average. Her blog about the incident is definitely worth a read if you’re interested in the relationship between gender, service work, and consumer ratings.
That’s some pretty good evidence
A Washington farm industry group is being formally investigated for encouraging members to manipulate the employment data they reported to the state. The motive? To juke the stats in order to lower the requirements for wages paid through the agricultural “guest worker” program. The evidence? The attorney who heads the Washington Farm Labor Association posted his probably-illegal advice on a public YouTube video.
Kiss of death
Ittle-bittle turtles are transmitting salmonella to increasing numbers of people, often through kissing… and often through pretty much the exact opposite of kissing: contact with their feces. At least that’s the justification offered for why turtles less than 4-inches long are legally barred from being kept as pets, and must instead earn their keep through one of only three legal options: exhibition, education, or export.
A Federal judge ruled that Naruto, a 6-year-old macaque monkey, could not own the copyright to those glorious selfies it took when the British guy who owned the camera wasn’t paying attention. It’s now up to our elected officials: the judge also indicated that Congress could give rights to non-human persons if it chose to do so.
And AlphaDog is being put to sleep, after the $42 million robotic canine developed by the Marines was found to be too difficult to repair and “as noisy as a lawnmower”. Despite its name, AlphaDog reportedly was “known affectionally as the robotic mule”.