Yuki Noguchi

Yuki Noguchi is a correspondent on the Business Desk based out of NPR's headquarters in Washington D.C. Since joining NPR in 2008, she's covered business and economic news, and has a special interest in workplace issues — everything from abusive working environments, to the idiosyncratic cubicle culture. In recent years she has covered the housing market meltdown, unemployment during the Great Recession, and covered the aftermath of the tsunami in Japan in 2011. As in her personal life, however, her coverage interests are wide-ranging, and have included things like entomophagy and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Prior to joining NPR, Yuki started her career as a reporter for The Washington Post. She reported on stories mostly about business and technology, and later became an editor.

Yuki grew up with a younger brother speaking her parents' native Japanese at home. She has a degree in history from Yale.

This year, Tennessee joined 21 other states that allow employees to leave guns in their cars in the office parking lot. The laws have left many employers debating how best to ensure safety at work.

After Georgia passed its law allowing employees to keep firearms in their employers' parking lots, Sally Roberts installed a sign on her newspaper firm's door. It read: "No Weapons Allowed."

A job candidate once threatened her, says Roberts, human resources director at Morris Communications. "She did become violent, and I'm very thankful she did not have a weapon."

McDonald's is not loving its financial numbers these days. The fast-food chain reported that same-store sales in the U.S. tumbled 4.6 percent in November compared with a year ago, as the company continues to struggle to find solid footing.

"McDonald's news this morning was jarring," says John Gordon, a consultant with Pacific Management Consulting. He has either worked in or tracked the fast-food industry for four decades. Monday's announcement, he says, had his colleagues abuzz.

Thanksgiving kicks off holiday party season, and at office holiday parties around the country, this means co-workers will make merry and mischief.

This time of year, Minneapolis attorney Kate Bischoff is a busy woman.

"I often represent clients who are handling the aftermath of a holiday party when it has gone off the rails," Bischoff says.

This includes, but is not limited to, bosses hitting on interns. There was also the case in which a manager gave a direct report a sexually explicit gift. Perhaps it was a joke, but it resulted in a harassment claim.

Business groups have long been active players in the nation's immigration debate. They represent employers who need to recruit workers, after all — employers who are sometimes investigated, even prosecuted, for hiring workers who are not approved to work in the U.S. legally.

Many big employers have been pushing for reforms that would allow them to keep more science and technology workers and skilled laborers in the country. But the executive action President Obama announced Thursday leaves out much of what the business lobby has been advocating for.

Valerie McMorris has served drinks at the Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, N.J., since it opened 24 years ago.

Casinos have sustained McMorris most of her life; both of her parents worked in casinos, she says. "It just allowed so many people a middle class status."

But McMorris says that's changing. Her pay and benefits have been cut. Her husband lost his job at the Revel, a gleaming $2.4 billion casino that went bust this year.

In gambling, they say, the house always wins. But that hasn't been the case in Atlantic City this year. By year's end, the city that once had an East Coast monopoly on gaming may lose its fifth casino.

The city is reeling from the closures. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Thursday that the first order of business is to "stop the bleeding." So city and state officials are trying to reposition Atlantic City by literally building it up.

Performance review season is nearing, and if that makes you break out into a cold sweat, you're not alone. Studies show between 60 percent and 90 percent of employees, including managers, dislike the performance evaluation.

Some companies are starting to look at alternatives, but the performance review is pretty entrenched.

"They're fraudulent, bogus and dishonest," says Samuel Culbert, a management professor at UCLA who does research in dysfunctional management practice. "And second, they're indicative of and they support bad management."

Reynolds American, the country's second-largest cigarette-maker, is changing its policy on smoking in the office. Until now, Reynolds employees have been able to light up at their desks, but come January, workers will have to either go outside or use specially equipped smoking rooms.

"We allowed smoking of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, traditional tobacco products throughout our facilities," says David Howard, a spokesman for Reynolds American. He says it's not as though his co-workers chain-smoke at work.

The first time I meet Lynn Good, she's tucked behind a set of doors with her bags, calmly waiting for the hotel's fire alarms to stop bleating.

She's at Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit in California to speak, even though, she says, "I don't think of myself as a powerful woman."

It occurs to me later that the unexpected run-in is a fitting introduction to a woman whose corporate ascent has been marked by some emergency detours.

Burnout at work seems like a fact of life, especially with employers cutting back on leave benefits.

But some companies are trying novel fixes. In addition to boosting morale, some employers say, eliminating burnout can increase productivity and profitability.

At Aptify, a Virginia software company, burnout was a problem a few years ago. Projects demanded long hours, which affected motivation and morale. It's a medium-size firm, with 200 workers, but at the time, procedures seemed overly corporate and cumbersome.

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In the power business, it's all about managing the peaks.

During the hottest days of summer, electric utilities run at full capacity to keep giant cities comfortably cool. But most of the rest of the year, half that capacity goes unused — and that's highly inefficient.

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Arthur Andersen is back. Or at least the old accounting firm's name will be, for the first time since its association with accounting scandals at Enron more than a decade ago.

The firm was criminally convicted — a decision that was later overturned, although that came too late to save the company.

As of Monday, a company called WTAS is adopting the Andersen name and, in doing so, hopes clients will have forgotten the bad associations.

'That Was The End'

VF Corp. is one of the biggest clothing companies you might not have heard of. But its brands include Lee and Wrangler jeans, Timberland shoes and The North Face, and it also makes uniforms for police and major league sports teams.

It's also a large purchaser of cotton. "We buy roughly 1 percent of the cotton available in the world," says Letitia Webster, VF's senior director of sustainability. Her job is to both reduce the company's greenhouse gas footprint and reduce its risks from climate change.

A car accident crushed Brandon Coats' upper spine when he was 16, leaving him unable to walk. His muscles still spasm, disrupting sleep and causing pain.

"If I'm out in public it's embarrassing," Coats says. "It's always uncomfortable. If I smoke marijuana, it almost completely alleviates it" — more, he says, than other prescriptions.

Coats smokes at night, and says he was never high when answering customer calls at Dish Network. "I was really good at my job," he says.

Robin Koval is making a career of her changed tobacco habit.

"I'm a child of a smoker — my father was a heavy smoker," Koval says. "Really typical to the way the story goes, I started smoking when I was 15."

Now she is president and CEO of Legacy, a foundation devoted to preventing tobacco use.

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A federal grand jury indicted FedEx last week on charges the company knowingly shipped drugs from illegal online pharmacies. NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports the disputes over shippers' responsibilities in the illegal drug trade go back many years.

It's summer. It's sweaty. And sometimes that means people are trailing some pungent body odors that their colleagues can't help but smell. But how do you tactfully inform co-workers that they stink and need to address it? As Cath Ludeman-Hall will tell you, it isn't easy.

She was just out of college and a newbie at a staffing firm when she was asked to gently talk to an older worker in a retail warehouse after his colleagues complained that he stank.

Who can forget that game of Twister played in a skirt? Or the failed "trust fall" where the boss ends up on the ground?

Office team-building exercises often create lasting memories — just not necessarily ones you want to remember.

Several years ago Ben Johnson worked at a health foods store in Iowa. He remembers store management stringing up a donkey piñata to pump up the workers.

Employers say obesity is a top health concern for their workers. But health is a sensitive and personal issue. Some employees say these wellness initiatives can go too far.

From the water's edge in Norfolk, Va., the U.S. naval base spans the whole horizon. Aircraft carriers, supply centers, barracks and admirals' homes fill a vast expanse.

But Ray Toll, a retired naval oceanographer, says the "majority of [the naval base], if not all of it" is at risk of flooding "because it's so low and it's flat."

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Sprint has made no secret of its designs on its smaller rival, T-Mobile. And today, there were multiple reports of a tentative deal valued at around $32 billion. Sprint chairman, Masayoshi Son, has said a deal would make it possible for Sprint to offer more competition in high-speed Internet. But as NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, there are still plenty of obstacles to the proposed takeover.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

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And I'm Robert Siegel. There are a lot of open job slots in the top ranks of retail companies these days. J.C. Penney, American Eagle Outfitters and Target are all looking for new CEOs. As NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, executive recruiters say it's harder these days to fill those positions.

YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: Once upon a time, retail wasn't so big or so complicated. And talent was as plentiful as the competition.

The issue of cost comes up repeatedly in the debate over climate change.

With the Obama administration's proposed rules for limiting greenhouse gases out Monday, critics and proponents alike claim they know how the plan will affect consumers' monthly budgets. The draft proposal aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030.

Bullying is a behavioral problem often associated with children in grade school, but according to a recent Zogby poll commissioned by the Workplace Bullying Institute more than a quarter of American workers say they've experienced abusive conduct at work.

Now, many states are considering laws that would give workers legal protections against workplace abuse.

Credit Suisse will plead guilty to criminal charges and pay over $2 billion in fines in connection to allegations of tax evasion. But the CEO and chairman are reportedly expected to keep their jobs.

U.S. drugmaker Pfizer has offered more than $100 billion to acquire its London-based rival, AstraZeneca. Pfizer says it likes AstraZeneca's strong "pipeline" of new drugs. But the American company makes clear it is pursuing the British firm because it wants to lower its tax rate.

All Pfizer has to do is buy the company and move its headquarters to London.

If the students at Stanford University believe they sent the coal industry a strong message this week, they should think again. The school's decision to eliminate coal from its portfolio did not send shock waves through the industry. In fact, representatives say it will have no financial impact on the industry at all. Nor will it curb the growing demand around the world for coal-generated electricity.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

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And I'm Melissa Block. Five months after Target disclosed a massive data breach, its CEO has lost his job. Greg Steinhafel is stepping down from his dual posts as president and CEO at Target Corporation. His resignation underscores the company's effort to overhaul its entire business. Here's NPR's Yuki Noguchi.

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