A new bill would make it illegal to contact employees after work hours.

After-hours work emails can be stressful to deal with.

The old saying is, "don't take your work home with you." But the new reality for many people is that work follows you home in the form of emails, text messages, and social media.

New York City Council member Rafael Espinal Jr. has introduced a bill which would make it illegal for businesses to require that employees check their email or other electronic communication during non-work hours.


If an employer breaks the rule, they'd be fined $250 and required to pay an additional $500 to their employee.

The "Disconnecting From Work" bill also includes days in which an employee is out on vacation, sick days, or personal days off.

"There's a lot of New Yorkers out there that don't know when their work day begins or when their work day ends, because we're all so tied to our phones," Espinal said.

"You can still work, you can still talk to your boss, but this just is saying that, when you feel like you've hit your boiling point and you can't do it anymore, you're able to disconnect and decompress for a while."

France passed a similar law and other countries are following their lead.

France made international headlines with its own "right to disconnect" law in 2017. They have a very different work culture than the United States, with a mandatory 35 hour work week ceiling in most professions, and workers receiving an average of 31 paid vacation days each year.

One French lawmaker described the law as a necessary move to combat "info-obesity."

Italy's Senate approved similar legislation last year, and many German companies, including Volkswagen, have voluntarily instituted similar policies, where their company servers automatically shut down outgoing emails between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. each day.

This isn't a pipe dream. Espinal has sponsored other eye-catching bills that became law.

Before you laugh off Espinal's bill as unrealistic, consider one other piece of legislation he's already successfully helped make a reality.

His "Office of Nightlife" proposal was signed into effect by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, creating a $130,000 position for former club owner Ariel Palitz, who now oversees a 12-person committee with a $300,000 annual budget dedicated to addressing the city's "nightlife issues."

As with that proposal, Espinal says his "right to disconnect" bill will actually be good both for the mental health of workers, and for the city's economy.

“Studies have shown that if employee disconnect, whether it’s from the internet, leaving the office, take some time off and go back to work the next day and do a better job,” he said. “This is great for business, this is great for the employers.”

A healthy work/life balance is important, and some people might need a legal intervention to get there.

Critics of "right to disconnect" laws say that such changes alone cannot change a work culture that is increasingly shifting toward an "always on" mindset.

And they have a point.

Much of that responsibility rests with managers and everyday workers to embrace a culture of trust where both sides believe the best work is done when someone is well-rested and healthy.

But Espinal's proposal is at least a start to help bring attention to the larger issue, and there's no better place to start than in "the city that never sleeps."

More

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
True
Walgreens
via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture