What the experts say
Therapy for work relationships
Businesses are turning to a marriage counselor to improve their work relationships, said Nikki Waller in The Wall Street Journal. Esther Perel is a psychotherapist, podcast host, and best-selling author of books, such as Mating in Captivity, about “unlocking erotic intelligence.” But lately, “business leaders and companies seeking their own kind of relationship repair are turning up on Perel’s couch.” Companies including Kickstarter and X, a unit of Google parent Alphabet, have hired her to work with employees and executives. With workers looking for “passion, purpose, and fulfillment” on the job, “relationships inside companies take on outsize importance.” But we’re increasingly working in “dehumanized” offices in which conversations take place on email and chat and “managers’ people skills are out of practice.”
A minimum-wage test
Towns on the New York–Pennsylvania border provide a “natural experiment” for how minimum-wage hikes could impact employment, said Jeanna Smialek in The New York Times. While Pennsylvania has “stuck by the $7.25 federal minimum” wage, New York has been gradually increasing its minimum to hit $12.50 by 2020. As a result, wages have “shot up in New York state’s southern counties.” Chautauqua County in New York, for instance, borders Pennsylvania’s Erie County and is similar in many ways. But as “restaurants in Chautauqua have seen annual pay climb by about 30 percent since 2012,” those in Erie County have climbed just 14 percent, and “restaurants in Chautauqua have continued hiring.” The adjustments have not been painless. Meeder’s, a diner on the border, raised prices this year to help with labor costs and has turned more to automation. But customers “barely noticed” the changes, and the diner has avoided layoffs.
Sex discrimination in the boardroom?
“A shareholder for a company with an all-male board is suing California over a law that requires public companies to have women on their boards,” said Kayla Epstein in The Washington Post. The plaintiff, Creighton Meland, is a retired corporate attorney in Illinois and a shareholder at OSI Systems Inc., which manufactures “specialized electronic systems for the security and health-care industries.” Meland argues that California’s 2018 law mandating that companies have at least one woman on their boards is unconstitutional and actually discriminates on the basis of sex. California is the first U.S. state to pass such legislation.