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Can Tech Workers Skip The Olympics As Easily As Athletes? (networkworld.com) 93

netbuzz writes: [Network World reports:] "Golfer Jordan Spieth announced this morning that he will not play in the Olympics, citing Zika, meaning the world's top four players in his sport have now opted out of going to Brazil. They're self-employed and answer to no one. But what of the rank-and-file employees who work for major technology companies sending large contingents to Brazil? Are they being asked -- or compelled -- to ignore the risks? Conversely, could women of child-bearing age be denied the opportunity to go at an employer's discretion?" Major vendors like Cisco and GE say they're not making anyone go, though at least one expert says that doing so wouldn't necessarily be a violation of employment law. When asked if anyone declined to go, a Cisco spokesperson said via email: "We're not in a position to confirm whether employees have opted out (that is between them and their manager), but we provide for that option." GE provided a similar response, saying, "No GE employees have opted out of going, but GE employees are free to opt out at any time." Patricia Pryor, an attorney at Jackson Lewis P.C. in Cincinnati who has addressed these issues in a piece for The National Law Review earlier this year, was asked by Network World as well. She says: "Employers are wise to be flexible with travel requirements to Zika-infested areas when they can and when doing so is reasonable. However, there are some jobs where the purpose of the job/or the essential functions of the job require travel to these areas. If it is not reasonable or possible to delay travel to the area, an employer generally can require employees to travel."
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Can Tech Workers Skip The Olympics As Easily As Athletes?

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm confused, the question seems to have been answered quite neatly in the summary. if you have a question, and the answer, why do you ask the question again.

    yes apparently they can opt out

  • Couldn't they just send employees from India or China, which they would likely do anyway? What's a Chinese employee going to do, say no?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      or HIRE LOCALS?!


  • If you're hardware, no, you gotta go.

    If you're software, your employer is trying to do you a favor and give you a way to go to Rio and have fun!

    Now go have fun!

    It is mandatory!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Of course, you don't have to go to Brazil.

    Of course, you will have to accept the consequences of your choice. You don't own your job (unless you own the company), and you have no right to it (in spite of what the SJW idiots may say).

    I once was "encouraged" to move to New Zealand for a 6-month contract (which probably would have actually gone on 1-2 years). I'm sure NZ is a lovely place, and I would have jumped at the chance to go for a couple of weeks. But I told my boss that if that was my only choice w

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's a really stupid premise.

      Olympic teams don't employ athletes. They compete as volunteers who qualify for the team. Tech workers, however, are employees. A better analogy would be an NFL player not wanting to travel to London to play in an NFL game there. However, because he's employed by an NFL team that's scheduled to play in London, he can't opt out of traveling to the UK. Athletes can't opt out of doing their jobs. Tech workers shouldn't get to do so, either.

    • Re:Dumb article (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Calydor ( 739835 ) on Monday July 11, 2016 @07:36PM (#52493013)

      Wouldn't it fall under OSHA laws, though? Can an employer legally expose his employees to pathogens under threat of being fired if they refuse?

      • You mean like hospital IT workers do every day?

        There are mitigation and management strategies already, and if the risk is deemed significant enough, there is hazard pay and insurance coverage available to mitigate the discomfort such a pathogen may cause.

      • by guises ( 2423402 )
        Employees are exposed to pathogens every second of every day. The question is whether this one represents a greater threat, and... it certainly doesn't seem to. The WHO says there have been fewer than 1700 cases of microcephaly in Brazil which "may have been caused by the Zika virus," and further: apparently this poses very little threat to anyone who isn't planning on having children within the next six months after exposure.

        I don't know what OSHA's rules are, but unless my employee was actively seeking
    • Your loss.

      Kiwis are wonderful people and you missed out on a great life immersing experience of working in the South Pacific.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Athletes aren't employed to compete in the Olympics. National teams aren't employers. For example, soccer players are employed by their respective clubs and have to be released by those clubs to participate in international competition. There's also risk that suffering an injury in international competition could inhibit an athlete's ability to perform in his or her job. Participating on an Olympic national team or any national team isn't a player's job. However, if you're a tech worker and your job is to p

  • Zika or Money? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 11, 2016 @06:57PM (#52492777)

    The golfers aren't pulling out because of the health risks. The golfers are pulling out because they play 20+ tournaments a year and they're not getting paid for this one.

    • I did wonder about that. Especially as several male ones pulled out[1] and, AKAIK, no male has as yet given birth to a pinhead baby.

      [1] Must be Catholics.
      [2] Look on the bright side, at least it makes it easier to put their sodding jerseys on.

      • Re:Zika or Money? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Cinnamon Beige ( 1952554 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2016 @07:32AM (#52495503)

        As I recall, there's reports of sexual transmission of Zika so they would have the worry of infecting a female partner--especially if they're having unprotected sex because they're attempting to make a baby.

        But if you've paid attention to the news, Zika is only one of Rio's problems: Rio just plain doesn't have the money for this. The state of Rio (not quite the same as the city) ran out of money, they've not been able to pay hospital workers, ditto firefighters, ditto police, there's already been a few fun games of Find the Corpse (Some Assembly Needed) on the site of the Olympics itself...and, well, the general problems that could be summed up as 'being Rio' due to just how long-term they've been a problem--and thus they should have been known to the Olympic committee back when picking the city for the 2016 Olympics... Even before Zika, there were Questions about if Rio was really up to this.

        There's a lot of reasons to not go to this year's Olympics, really.

        • As I recall, there's reports of sexual transmission of Zika so they would have the worry of infecting a female partner--especially if they're having unprotected sex because they're attempting to make a baby.

          As I understand it, there's one report - and it's uninstantiated.

          However, if I was in with a chance of competing in the Olympics foh mah countrah, I'd say wearing a rubber Johnny for a few months after I got back would be a small price to pay. Heck, if her clock's a-tickin' knock her up before you

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's somewhat remarkable that professional athletes play for Olympic national teams at all. A couple of years ago, Paul George suffered a gruesome injury playing for USA basketball as they wreaking cuts to determine the final roster for an international tournament. The broken leg he suffered kept him from playing for the Indiana Pacers for a lengthy period of time. The team invested tens of millions of dollars in one player, who could be kept out of action or even have his career ended (as some speculated G

    • by eddy ( 18759 )

      This. It's well known [go.com] by everyone but the OP apparently.

      The amazing thing is that they feel they have to use this excuse at all, I don't get why they're all afraid to just say 'Nah, not enough status'. Bunch of losers.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If you're an adult male, you're going if your company sends you. And you should probably be fired if you refuse except in a few rare situations. (if you're on immune suppressants and traveling you probably have bigger worried than zika)
    The consequences of catching Zika are generally mild for an adult. Don't have sex for a week after you return to avoid transmitting it to your potentially pregnant partner. If you've been in Brazil for 3 months, and your partner is less than 3 months pregnant when you return,

    • The radio program on NPR today said it was more like six months of no sex. Did you know the inside of the testicle is "immunologically privileged?"
  • by Chelloveck ( 14643 ) on Monday July 11, 2016 @07:04PM (#52492833) Homepage
    No, tech workers can't opt out as easily as athletes. And if they do go, they can't get laid as easily as athletes, either. Life is unfair on so many levels.
  • It's only the professionals who are opting out of what used to be the games to find the best non professional athletes.
  • by Snotnose ( 212196 ) on Monday July 11, 2016 @07:45PM (#52493045)
    As in, "Hey, you're a great employee, wanna go to Rio for a few weeks?". The employee can then yay or nay, with a nay having no negative consequences.

    Now, if you said yay 6 months ago, but at this late date say "ummm, about that....", I can see how companies can be upset.

    Me? I wouldn't go anywhere near Rio. Between the raw sewage on the beaches, to the crime on tourists, to the cops not being paid, to the very real possibility these games will be a fiasco, no thank you.
  • Golf is not a sport. It's a game. Take a look at the physical shape of the top athletes in the sports at the Olympics and then take a look at the physique of the top golfers. You will notice a huge difference. What's next for the Olympics? Darts? Snooker?

  • We can find some to work for the Brazil min wage way less then even what we pay our H1B's and we don't have to play HR games.

    • We can find some to work for the Brazil min wage way less then even what we pay our H1B's and we don't have to play HR games.

      Minimum wage in Brasil is about 800 reais per month (yes, it's defined per month instead of per hour). Last time I checked the US dollar is worth R$3.20. US$250 would be a great price for companies to pay. My tourist visa to Brazil cost that alone, not to mention airfare (about a grand), hotel, etc. Additionally, good jobs should lower the number of Brazilians in poverty.

  • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Monday July 11, 2016 @08:57PM (#52493441)
    The Zika virus apparently can remain in sperm for some time after an infection and recovery, thus the risk of an infected baby could be higher for a male than a female. A women can delay pregnancy until she is free of the virus but if her partner is infected it would still be possible to pass the infection to the baby, per an NPR report.
  • The job market is still very strongly titled to the employers, in spite of what various news sources claim. If one employee doesn't want to do it, the employer will find a convenient reason to fire them and replace them with someone who does.
  • Why not ask about all non-athletic employees?

Long computations which yield zero are probably all for naught.