play children’s games and have a picnic.
Of course, the boss guys thought, that
might be a useful project. But it, too, was
a boring waste of time and money—
tomfoolery for no good reason that took us
away from accomplishing our jobs.
students and other employees, especially
women, that they often left in tears. He
alone generated more claims than all the
other staff put together. I never met him,
but wish I had, if only to see for myself
if he was as nasty as he appeared to be
in these claims. I suspect, from what has
been reported about Steve Jobs and his
relationships with co-workers and his
employees, that he undoubtedly left a few
folks in tears as well. When one of the co-
founders of Apple suggested that one key
employee be awarded some stock in the
company, Jobs refused. It’s clear that Jobs
was no Saint Steve. Perhaps he was the
only worm in the Apple. Without him,
will Apple become like Microsoft? K
ISO 9000: The New Paradigm
Then came ISO 9000, sometime around
1995. Our then-CEO gave a talk about how
important this new system was going to be
and how, if we didn’t know what it was, to
go look it up, because it was coming, and
we were all going to do it. So I looked it up.
It was simply a system by which things were
designed to a pattern, supposedly to fit international standards. Again I consulted the
great business guru, Tom Peters, who suggested that it was the greatest pile of nonsense that had come along in years. One
could design life preservers made of solid
lead, he said, and as long as it was designed
to a pattern it could be ISO 9000-approved,
even if it was entirely useless. We never
heard of ISO 9000 again, either.
Ken Brownlee, CPCU, is a former adjuster
and risk manager based in atlanta, ga.
He now authors and edits claim-adjusting
STATEMENT OF OWNERSHIP,
MANAGEMENT AND CIRCULATION
(Required by 39 U.S.C. 3685)
Relationships and Job
Perhaps the fastest growing area of tort
claims is employment practices liability.
Once it consisted only of perils such as
wrongful termination, but today there are
a variety of individual perils such as sexual
harassment; religious, age, sexual orientation, racial or handicap discrimination;
and similar personal breakdowns between
an employee and the employer. As with
many such torts, a number originated in
California and wound up as workers compensation claims: “My boss yelled at me,
and now I’m depressed and have to receive
psychiatric care and am now disabled.”
During the years I audited County of Los
Angeles claim files I saw a number of such
claims. California has all sorts of special
laws that apply to employment practices
claims and how they are to be handled. In
investigating such a claim, the starting point
was always the official personnel file—the
one with the written annual reviews in it.
More often than not, however, those reviews were simply personal opinions, and
the employee’s written responses demonstrated that personality conflicts were often
the source of the employee’s problem.
I recall one male physician at a county
teaching hospital who was so nasty to
1. PUBLICATION TI TLE: Claims.
2. PUBLICATION NO. 0895-7991
3. DATE OF FILING: September 28, 2012
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13. PUBLICATION TI TLE: Claims
14. Issue Date for Circulation Data Below: September 2012.
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