Social media and workers’ comp fraud

The no-fault nature of the Vermont workers’ compensation system means that almost any worker injured on the job will receive benefits. That system relies on an assumption of truthfulness from the injured worker as to the circumstances, extent and nature of the injury. When an injured worker is found to have misrepresented their injury, it’s possible the employer will be able to defend against the claim or discontinue ongoing benefits. This past spring the Vermont Legislature passed legislation addressing employees’ social media account privacy and prohibitions. The law goes into effect on Jan.

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Chose your own adventure: The work book

“In a Daze Work” by Siobhán Gallagher, 2017, TarcherPerigee, $16, 156 pages. They say you can choose your mood. If you want to be happy tomorrow, then be happy. Want to get rid of the blahs? It’s all mind over matter: Pick some other way to be and don’t forget to tell yourself.

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With stories of the road, ‘Long Haul’ moves well

“The Long Haul” by Finn Murphy, 2017, W.W. Norton, $26.95, 229 pages
From here to there. That’s where you need to move your stuff: from Point A to Point B. Take it out of one place and put it in another, possibly many miles away. And it’s not like you can wiggle your nose or wave a magic wand to do it, either. You need someone who knows what he or she is doing. In “The Long Haul” by Finn Murphy, there’s somebody like that out there.

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‘Popular’ will set you right back in the playground

“Popular: The Power of Likability in a Status-Obsessed World” by Mitch Prinstein, 2017, Viking, $27, 273 pages.  None of the other kids like you. They don’t include you in anything. In fact, they often just plain ignore you, and some even pick on you. You don’t understand why this is, but there isn’t much you can do: Quitting your job is not an option.

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‘Fully Connected’ won’t help cure information overload

“Fully Connected: Surviving and Thriving in an Age of Overload” by Julia Hobsbawm, 2017, Bloomsbury, $28, 256 pages
Your phone will not stop ringing. It chimes constantly, too, letting you know that you’ve got mail. Facebook announces itself with a “thwock,” and another noise works as a calendar notification. On one hand, it’s nice to be needed. On the other hand, you’d like to throw everything into a nearby river and walk away.

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Women struggle to balance student debt, life goals

After the grueling pace of graduate school, obtaining that advanced degree and finding a great professional career path, many women can finally turn their attention to other life choices. One choice they’ll be faced with is what to do with the substantial student loan debt. More importantly, how do they balance enjoyment of life while paying off those looming loans, as well as all the other pressures women face? Women hold nearly two-thirds of the current student loan debt in the United States, and “women working full-time with college degrees make 26 percent less than their male colleagues” according to a study by the American Association of University Women. That means that as a busy professional woman, you are not alone in feeling the challenge of trying to balance career, life and your loans.

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An advertising revolution is brewing

“The End of Advertising” by Andrew Essex, 2017, Spiegel & Grau, $27, 240 pages. Say goodbye to your money. You need that new gadget, so adios. New bling is too irresistible, so ta-ta. Upgrade that device; see ya later, salary.

When to diversify, and when to consolidate

You have probably heard that diversification is a key to investment success. So, you might think that if diversifying your investments is a good idea, it might also be wise to diversify your investment providers. After all, aren’t two (or more) heads better than one? Before we look at that issue, let’s consider the first half of the “diversification” question — namely, how does diversifying your investment portfolio help you? Consider the two broadest categories of investments: stocks and bonds.

Is nonmonetary compensation the same as wages?

For most injured employees, the calculation of the workers’ compensation wage replacement benefits is straightforward: They will receive two-thirds of the average of their earnings over the 26 weeks prior to injury. If you are an employer who provides some form of nonmonetary compensation as part of a remuneration package, however, the calculation can become much more complicated. Vehicles, ski passes, cellphone service, cows, and food and lodging, to name a few, can all factor into the calculation of what your carrier pays out in weekly wage replacement benefits. Most recently, the commissioner of the Department of Labor ruled in Haller v. Champlain College that tuition-free college credits Champlain College offers to all full-time employees should also be included in the calculation as a form of nonmonetary compensation. Champlain appealed that decision to the Vermont Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments in February.

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Big motivation hides behind ‘Small Data’

“Small Data: The Tiny Clues that Uncover Huge Trends” by Martin Lindstrom, 2016, Picador, $16, 244 pages. It’s always the little things. A chocolate on the pillow or slippers beneath a turned-down bed. Stickers for a customer’s kids. A lagniappe in the box to make a baker’s dozen: all things to ensure a speedy return of buyer or client.