Mikaela Shiffrin, Google Maps, Rebekah Mercer: Broadsheet Feb. 16
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Mikaela Shiffrin is looking to make Olympic history, HR is not your friend—and neither is Google Maps. Have a fantastic weekend.
• HR is not your friend. In the March issue of Fortune, dream team Erika Fry and Claire Zillman dig into the common misapprehension that human resources departments are there to serve employees. (Spoiler: They're not.)
"As nice and well-meaning as they may be, your colleagues in HR don’t work for you. Management signs their paychecks, and their No. 1 priority is to serve and protect the company. The 'resources' in question are there for the benefit of the executive team, not the average worker.
Indeed, the idea that HR isn’t your buddy isn’t exactly a novel one. But as the #MeToo movement has swept the country—exposing badly behaving bosses and out-of-control corporate cultures—that harsh reality has become all the more apparent. Money has too often trumped principles or workers’ well-being. The manager who propositioned Uber engineer Susan Fowler—on her very first day working for him—was allegedly given a pass by HR because he was a 'high performer.' Fox’s Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly had their alleged transgressions repeatedly buried by confidentiality provisions in settlement agreements and alleged multimillion-dollar payoffs.
And those are just highly publicized sexual harassment cases: For every Harvey Weinstein, there are roughly 86,000 discrimination and retaliation cases filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission each year. And behind every fallen offender and hostile workplace, it seems, there is a complicit HR department—the executor of a liability-avoidance strategy that ticks all the boxes (cookie-cutter antidiscrimination training, a perfunctory investigations process, silencing arbitration, and nondisclosure agreements)."
Read the full feature here: Fortune
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Misleading maps. By gaming Google's search terms, crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) are appearing on Google Maps ahead of actual abortion clinics when users search terms like "abortion clinics near me." These centers, many of which misconstrue the services they provide, often provide pregnant women seeking more knowledge about their options with inaccurate information and anti-abortion propaganda. Fortune
• Cooper flies the coop. Edith Cooper, Goldman Sachs's head of HR and one of the highest-ranking black women on Wall Street, is leaving the firm at the end of the year. Her next step isn’t clear, though WSJ reports that many expect it to be into academia—"she has been an advocate for diversity in higher education and campus recruiting—or in Silicon Valley, where several highflying startups are hoping for a cultural reboot." She has joined Slack's board as an independent director, which may be a hint that she's leaning toward the latter. Wall Street Journal
• All eyes on Mikaela. Yesterday, American skiing phenom Mikaela Shiffrin won gold in the giant slalom event. This first medal could be the beginning of a historic run—no Alpine skier of any gender has ever won four gold medals. And if you don't already have a major girl crush on her, Shiffrin's dance moves should do the trick. Wall Street Journal
• Good news (finally!). On Wednesday, President Trump signed a bill into law aimed at protecting athletes from systematic sexual abuse. The legislation, sponsored by California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, "requires amateur athletics governing bodies like USA Gymnastics to report sexual abuse allegations to local or federal law enforcement, or a Justice Department-designated child-welfare agency, within 24 hours. It also extends the statute of limitations on suing those who perpetrate sex crimes, since it's often hard for children to recognize there had been crimes committed against them." Refinery29
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Musings from Mercer. Rebekah Mercer, daughter of billionaire Robert Mercer, major donor to President Trump's presidential campaign, and partial owner of Breitbart News, penned an op-ed in WSJ to rebut the "absurd smears" about her that have resulted from her "natural reluctance to speak with reporters." Mercer writes that she "supported Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign because he promised to tackle entrenched corruption on both sides of the aisle" and continues to support him. She also says that she believes Stephen Bannon, its former chairman, "took Breitbart in the wrong direction. Now that Mr. Bannon has resigned, Breitbart has the opportunity to refine its message and expand its influence." Wall Street Journal
• Life of a literati. Adrienne Miller, who had the job of literary and fiction editor of Esquire at the age of 25, recalls her experience in "one of the few cultural-gatekeeper roles left." She writes: "I believed that at least now I would be treated with equality, in a way that I often felt I hadn’t been as an assistant. What I did not anticipate was that I would often still be regarded as a mere ingenue, as a girl, and that whatever power my job conferred would not protect me from aggressively sexist behavior in the so-called literary world. In fact, this very knowledge—that a woman, and a young one at that, had this job—seemed not to sit too well with some men." Vogue
• Why is this man still employed? A San Francisco sports radio host was fired by KNBR on Wednesday after making a series of sexually suggestive comments about 17-year-old Olympian Chloe Kim. Patrick Connor called the American snowboarder a “little hot piece of ass" and said he's counting down until her 18th birthday (“That’s what I like about them high school girls.”) Connor remains employed by Barstool—interesting, considering the site is now run by a female CEO, Erika Nardini. New York Post
ON MY RADAR
Trump still hasn’t nominated a director for the Violence Against Women office at the Justice Department Washington Post
The crucial role male mentors can play in the #MeToo era CNN Money
How Black Panther's costume designer created a new vision of Africa
Is this the end of heavy news anchor makeup? Glamour