In December 2020 an audio leaked with actor Tom Cruise yelling and screaming at his production crew because of their lack of following COVID-19 protocols. What makes this different is that Tom Cruise was not only an actor on set....he was technically their employer. As Executive Producer, this was his project and they were his employees.
Chuck and John explore this situation, listening to a clip of Tom's rant and then exploring the implications in the workplace.
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I'm Chuck Simikian This is the HR stories podcast and today's episode is sponsored by, get HR help now.com. Get HR help now.com Welcome to the HR stories podcast where there is a lesson in every story. If we listen well, stories help us learn and teach us ways to act. Each year, john tall heimer and Chuck Simikian deliver 1000s of seminars around the country, business owners, executives and HR professionals discussing the fundamentals of human resources, best legal practices and risk reduction activities for organizations. This podcast allows us to dig deep into the Human Resources experience, and see where businesses go wrong. Each episode we share a different story where a company missed the mark, and then will provide recommendations based on our years of working in the Human Resources field. Sit back, listen, learn, enact Welcome to the HR stories Podcast, where there is a lesson in every story. Hi, and this is john tall heimer. Chuck, did you hear about Tom Cruise exploding on the set? I did see I actually I can't help but have heard about it. I don't know all the details. But I did hear and see that he did get upset something about COVID-19 and social distancing or something along those lines. Yeah, so Tom is not only the star of Mission Impossible. He is also one of the executive producers. So back in the summer, they had to suspend filming due to COVID. And so as you know, movies are big business and any delays cost the investors money. So as executive producer Tom and his team were responsible for getting cost to a minimum and making sure that everyone was safe to make sure that everyone was safe. So they started filming about three weeks ago in the UK. And to make sure that everyone was safe. Tom invested 5000 $500,000 of his own money to house the cast and crew in an old cruise ship. So before anybody could work on the set, they had to be tested for COVID. They wanted to make sure they had negative test. Once they got to the set, people were checked when they came into the building masks were required social distance protocols were put in place. Tom was personally involved making sure that everyone was following the rules. He walked around the set, he checked in with his team, he wanted to make sure everyone was feeling safe. About 10 days ago, 15 days ago, this video, this audio tape came out of Tom yelling and I mean yelling at two of the crew members. He just totally lost it on that. And so he started yelling not only at those two crew members, but as anybody in hearing distance, you could hear it. And so what I want to do is I want you to I want to play the tape for you. So you can get an idea of what it sounded like to be in the room when Tom just exploded. So here's the tape. making movies right now because we are the gold standard. You're making movies right now because because they believe in us and what we're doing is I'm on the phone with every insurance companies, producers. And they're looking at us and using us to make their movies. We are free to judge everyone to see it again. If you don't do it, you're fired. I see you do it again. And anyone on this group doesn't mess it up. And you ever again. Your properties you can tell it to the people that are using the industry is shut down. Second, put food on the table for paper the poet's education. That's why sleep with every night. Sorry, your apologies. I told you and now I want to hit your app. We are not setting this isn't understood. If I see an attacker going toward you. So you're going to class and I see on the set your phone and your phone Am I clear? Do you understand what I want? You understand the responsibilities that you have? Because I will deal with your reason. And if you can't be reasonable, and I can't deal with your logic, you're fine. I said, I said, I trust you guys to be here. That's it. So what was your reaction when you heard that? Oh, wow, wow, wow. Wow, he? Yeah, he definitely did. Yeah. And I know that tape is a lot longer from what you've told me earlier. So. Yeah, yelling at, and I guess they would be considered his employees. Correct. Since he's the executive officer, checkmate. glaminar movies, they do a lot of different things. But technically, yes, he was responsible for them in their actions. And as an executive, he was responsible for them. So they basically were his employees. Yeah. Well, everyone loses their temper every once a while. And he's pretty passionate about it. I it sounds like, yeah. And so I mean, obviously, there's some reason to be passionate about it. And so is there a time for leaders to yell at employees? Well, there are taught, I mean, there are times and I, myself even have raised my voice. Perhaps it's not the best technique. But it definitely is not a great day when a leader screams and that's screaming and yelling, and and using profanity in some sort of uncontrolled tirade, I would say. Yeah, and I would say that there is a time right there is that moment, when at times, yelling and screaming is the right move to motivate somebody to do something. However, I just don't think that it's gonna get the reaction you want, right? And so if we're in a safety, we're in a crisis situation, that maybe that's the moment to you, right? Because you're just trying to get somebody to move very quickly life or death crisis situation, exactly. But if you're trying to build rapport, if you're trying to build a team, if you're trying to get your employees engaged, yelling at them doesn't work, right. We've seen the research, we know the data, it just doesn't work over the long time. People don't want to work for that type of boss. In fact, after Tom's tirade, over five employees left the set and said, No, we're not going to work for Tom anymore. Wow. So what one of one of the biggest challenge, I think, for HR managers, right directors, people professionals, is they have to influence bosses. Um, and that behave differently than that. So what would your recommendation be in this kind of case? Like, how would you handle that? Right? Well, there's a couple different levels, and we're talking about the executive level, senior leadership, that sort of thing. It's, it's a little more difficult. But if you a lot of your mission and your vision of a company has the word respect in it, so you can bring that back into the, into the fold, you can ask, Is this how we show respect? How does this role model and get them to understand that that was not the best way to handle a particular situation? The other way? And and I like what you had suggested, boy, I gotta tell you, if you can show a video or a recording of someone doing their thing like that. And I don't know if you ever seen anything like that on yourself, but it does. It does really open your eyes up. Yeah. And I can imagine when Tom hearing himself probably was a little eye opening for himself, right? He's like, lash. I know, I yelled, and I know the importance of yelling. And what I was trying to get across, but maybe that's not how I wanted to be hurt, right? Maybe that's not how I heard right. And so, but Well, look, I think what Tom was trying to do, right, what Tom Cruise was trying to do was to tell everyone like there's a we can't delay this movie anymore. Right? We can't break down we can do that. This is really important. This is a safety protocol. We put in place not only to protect you, but to protect the people that are around you. And so what should we be doing right now? What are some of the steps organizations? And let me before you jump in what I thought that Tom in the Mission Impossible franchise did really well is a couple things. One, I love that they did the testing, right. So everyone was being tested, right. And that's expensive and may not be something that we can do. But it is something that companies need to think about. And then they put in protocols. So if you are going into their space, right, and so in this case, as our offices or our workplace, our manufacturing sites, they had pretty clear things mask or required, social distancing was required. People were checked when they came in the building, I was working with a client in November, and when I went to their building, I had to be checked in. So they had checked my temperature, they asked me the seven questions. And so we wanted to make sure they got there. And so what other things do you see that we should be doing? I know that you just did a seminar in this. So bring some of that knowledge out to the rest of us? Yeah, wow. Yeah, I did a three and a half hour seminar. So I'll give you the 62nd version. I appreciate that. First of all, COVID-19. Compliance demands accountability, and you have to hold your employees accountable for their actions. So the first thing is accountability. The company has to be accountable, they have to put a plan in place, they have to assess the risks taking a look at the job site, the particular jobs, where could COVID-19 possibly enter into the work environment? And how could it possibly spread. And then once it if it does end up in the environment, you have to have a plan on what to do next. You know, a lot of companies may not realize, but preventing COVID-19 is not just a good idea, but it is an OSHA guidance, because it is and I would even say a standard at OSHA says it has this thing called the general duty clause, where companies have to protect against recognized hazards. COVID-19 is considered a recognized hazard. And as a result, companies have to put plans in place training in place to deal with that specific type of hazard. Yeah, and so what would be some quick steps? If I may, I gave you some quick steps. But what other planning should they do? Let's let's, let's say we have all the protocols in place, right? We know what they are, we're doing them. And now we have somebody that tests positive for COVID-19, one of our employees that had been in touch with other employees should we be doing in those cases? Sure. Well, in that case, you immediately send the employee home, you need to isolate them. The next thing you need to do is is do an investigation. Because if it was something that was that they had caught at work, if they had caught COVID-19 at work, that then could be an OSHA recordable incident on your OSHA 300 logs. If they end up in the hospital, then that could be an OSHA reportable situation. The other thing you're going to need to do is some sort of tracing as part of that investigation, find out whatever other employees that they were in touch with more than six feet more than 15 minutes at a time, and you're gonna isolate those folks, and most likely ask them to quarantine. But it gets dicey. And there's so much more than for just this particular podcast. But there's HIPPA laws and you cannot reveal who the person was in the company that has COVID-19. So it does get get a little, a little tough if you require it. So we say you have a positive test. And so you the people that were touched by that person, so to speak, and you require them, okay, now we're going to require you to quarantine. Are we responsible for paying them for that quarantine period? How does that work out? Well, as we're recording this and releasing in January 2021, I would have to tell your companies to look at your leaf practices, but there is no unless there's a state or a local law. There is no federal law requiring you as of this point to pay your employees for something like that. Okay. Yeah, that's good. That's good to know. And so the vaccine, right, the miracles coming. It's going to happen and so what do you think the vaccine How do you think that will change our COVID To response over the next seven, eight months. Now, that's a great question. And I'm going to tell you up. When I taught the seminar last week, I found a really cool statistic, saying that 49% of working Americans believe that employers should require COVID-19 vaccines in the workplace. And the question that you asked me directly. Remember how you joke, john about? Well, we're HR, someone asks you a question. I'm an HR? And the answer is, it depends. Yeah, it depends. Yeah, so the answer, can I require my employees to get the COVID? 19? Yes, but it depends. Maybe you see, employers can encourage and require the vaccinations, but your policies have to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and other workplace laws. And what we mean by that is, if an employee with a religious say, a religious accommodation, religious or religious objection, or maybe a disability, they may need to be excused from the mandate or accommodated. And as we get into ADA, this is much more for than this podcast, but we're going to use that term unless an undue hardship, or the employer can show a direct threat. So yes, you can. But if there is an ADA situation that says, Well, maybe, maybe not, you're going to have to take them through that interactive process. And another interesting peek to this, and I found this fascinating is that if the objecting employee is union represented, then they may not be able to mandate it directly. And they're going to have to bargain to reach an agreement with the union's interest. So there is no set. Overall, the the general answer is going to be yes. And also companies might have to show that there is a business necessity and a business, reason health care providers, even teachers, right now, you're mandated in a lot of states, you have to get a hepatitis B vaccine, you have to get certain vaccinations, if you want to be a certified teacher in that state. So there are thoughts that yes, we are going to mandate it definitely, in certain industries, as as a country, perhaps, some companies may say, Well, it's a pandemic. And but ADA, the EEOC is okay. With mandating it. That's the bottom line. Okay, yeah. But obviously, when it's one of the things, you guys got to go back, you have to look at your policies, you have to see what your state and localities saying about it. And you want to be open to the possibility that somebody may have an objection to it. But you as a person, as a company can say, you know what, we are doing this, we're going to make them mandatory, because we're in a situation where everyone's working together. So let's say we're in a meat processing plant, where everyone works like within two feet of each other, getting the vaccine makes sense. Now for in a software company where everyone's working remotely, there's probably not a reason to have vaccinations or require them as part of your company. And so think about your company, think about your industry and think about what's the best thing and then reach out to what people are doing industry wide. Hey, what are we doing industry wide? How can we do that? always a great place to get there. All right. So john, what final thoughts do you have on our story today? Yeah, you know, I will say that it really hurts me, not hurt me. But it brought me back two times in my career, when I heard Tom yelling at people, where I had been yelled at by people that were high level in my organization. For a stupid thing that I did, I should have done it. But that doesn't mean I should be disrespected and yelled at we are all humans, we do not like being yelled at. And it's not going to get us to perform the best. And so I'm always thinking about how do I get people to perform the best? How do I engage them? And I know yelling doesn't work. So I would just say, think about that, from your team point of view, and how can you address it? How can you talk to managers? How can you talk to employees about the importance of having respecting concern in the workplace? Yeah. And I would say my final thoughts are going to be along the lines of you. A lot of times, people forget, people forget people get involved and it sounds like in this situation, Tom Cruise and the Mission Impossible group, we're doing all the right things companies do the right things. And in addition to holding your your employees accountable, and developing the plan Assessing the risks and moving forward, you've got to have a communication plan that includes constant reminders. And you might think, Oh, well, we're dealing with the dogs whenever remind them every day. Yes, you do. Some companies have even gotten to the point that every time their employees come in for the day, they have them sign off on a sheet that they that they understand and recognize the protocols put in place. And so that's what you've got to do. JOHN, it's, there's a lot of things going on a lot of lot of balls in the air, and you just have to keep people continually communicated with and in the loop. Yeah. And there's so many stories in HR. And our goal with this podcast is really to make sure you don't become one of those stories. But also that we can learn, right, we can listen and then learn and then we know how to act going forward. It's really important to us. All right. Thanks for the story, john. You're welcome. Chuck. We'll talk to you next time. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, this has been the HR stories podcast. Thank you for listening to HR stories podcast. The material presented in this podcast is for informational purposes only. Chuck and john always recommend using the employment lawyer to handle any legal HR issues. We do our best to double check sources. Make sure the information we're providing is accurate. We may eliminate or embellish without changing the basic narrative to make the story easier to understand, and certain circumstances we may change in identifying information to protect the innocent. If you have any questions, please reach out. Reach out to us at help at HR stories podcast calm. Thank you for listening to the HR stories Podcast, where there is a lesson in every story.