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March 2005

Delphi Questions

Quiet time, dependent pet care, FL parking

Delphi Question #529 (received November 11): Recently the CG1 cafeteria closed for remodeling and a small cafeteria opened in the CG4 break room. Several pictures of a half-clad person decorate the walls in the form of “Quiet – Baby Sleeping” signs. I find these photos to be disrespectful and inappropriate in the workplace. I’m wondering if other employees share my concern and what can be done about these photos.

Response (received November 11): Thank you for your question. The pictures were not intended to be disrespectful or inappropriate.  They were a humorous attempt to get the attention of and quiet down an otherwise boisterous cafeteria clientele following a complaint from adjoining offices about the noise. Obviously, it worked too well. Apologies are made to anyone who was offended and specifically to the individual pictured.  The pictures will be taken down immediately and more traditional signs will be posted.
–Steve Sadler, director Safety and Site Services

Delphi Question #531 (received January 5): Staff are reimbursed for a number of travel-related expenses and may qualify for reimbursement for family dependent care, yet I recently learned staff members required to travel for extended periods of time cannot be reimbursed for dependent pet care.  For some, the only option is to board a dependent pet while working away from home, yet there appears to be no means for even partial reimbursement of these costs.  For many, pets are their family and this does not seem equitable.

Response (received January 14): You are correct in your view that many employees consider their pets as an integral part of the family, and therefore as “dependents.” For purposes of administering benefit policies and travel reimbursement policies, UCAR stands by the Internal Revenue Service’s definition of a dependent, which states, “A person, other than the taxpayer or the taxpayer’s spouse, for whom an exemption (defined later) can be claimed. You can generally claim an exemption for a dependent if the dependent:

1. Lives with or is related to you,
2. Is a U.S. citizen, a U.S. resident, or a resident of Canada or Mexico,
3. Does not file a joint return,
4. Does not have $3,100 or more of gross (total) income (does not apply to your child if under age 19 or a student under age 24), and
5. Is supported (generally more than 50%) by you.”

UCAR provides benefits only to those persons falling within this definition. Unfortunately, pets are not covered within the IRS definition and thus are not covered under UCAR’s benefit or travel reimbursement policies.
For possible assistance in locating suitable short- or long-term boarding facilities, call Work-Life-Options at
1-888-610-2273. This benefit is available to all employees.
–Laurie Carr, benefits manager
Human Resources

Delphi Question #532 (received February 4): I work in FL3 and with the construction of FL0, parking has become challenging. Often it’s dicey to leave the parking lot during the day, as chances are good there won’t be a space when you return (especially on bad weather days). I see that a new small sign has been posted that states the lot is for UCAR employees and visitors only and that all others will be towed. Several of us have noticed numerous Wild Oats folks parking in our lot on a regular basis. While I appreciate their parking predicament, I don’t think we should have to suffer as a result. What is being done to enforce the UCAR employee and visitor only rule? Perhaps we need parking passes to display on our vehicles, which would help our security folks identify who can and cannot park in our lot. Any help would be appreciated.

Response (received February 7): The writer brings up an ongoing problem during the construction of FL0.  Neighboring businesses have been contacted repeatedly and advised that they may not park in our lots. We will again contact them and advise them to park elsewhere or face having their vehicles towed. Additionally, we will increase security patrols as budget allows.  In the past, we have attempted a parking pass program with limited success given the fluid nature of our workforce and many visitors.  While a parking pass program could be initiated it is not deemed cost effective at this time.  If the writer or any other employee sees a parking violation they should contact security immediately at ext. 1139.  A security officer will be dispatched to deal with the situation.  Thank you for your question.
–Steve Sadler, director
Safety and Site Services


Also in this issue...

RICO field project: Cool heads prevail during a complicated study of warm rain

It’s playtime: Parents give high marks to
UCAR Child Care Center

Rotating scientists recall time at NSF

Short Takes

Greg Holland, MMM’s new director

Python interface to NCL’s graphics library now available

Steve Schneider’s 60th


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