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Bad bosses bother workers

Often a theme of lunchtime conversation and e-mails among colleagues, a new Florida State University study finds that 39% of managers reportedly fail to keep promises they make to subordinates--among a laundry list of gripes made by workers.

The survey, mailed to 700 U.S. employees of various ages and in various fields, also found that 37% of workers said their supervisor failed to give credit when credit is due; 31% said their supervisor gave them the "silent treatment" during the past year; 27% said their supervisor made negative comments about them in front of co-workers or other managers; 24% said their supervisor invaded their privacy; and 23% said their supervisor blamed others to cover up mistakes or minimize embarrassment.

Wayne Hochwarter, professor of management at the university in Tallahassee, Fla., said the results paint a bleak picture of workforce morale.

"There's a number of instances where superiors and subordinates are having toxic relationships and what we are finding here is a lot of subordinates feel like they are being mistreated," he said. "It's bad for everybody. It's bad for business. It's bad for productivity. It's bad for stress, for mental health."

"When you have a bad boss, it affects all parts of your life," Mr. Hochwarter added.

Workers who feel mistreated by their supervisors should not hesitate to file a grievance with their company, whether they contact someone in-house or an outside representative, he said.

Who needs insurance when there's Las Vegas?

Insurance is always a bit of a gamble--even when you're in the process of transferring your risk to someone else.

That's what the clients of a South Bend, Ind., insurance agency learned late last year. According to investigators from the Indiana Insurance Department, Daneile Frydrych, owner of All Star Insurance, collected more than $1 million in premiums and other expenses on various personal lines policies. But rather than placing coverage with insurers, she used the money to hit the casinos in Las Vegas, among other things, investigators allege.

Ms. Frydrych did not attend a public hearing about the allegedly misused funds late last month. Indiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Atterholt suspended Ms. Frydrych's license and said he'd revoke it after allowing additional time for further complaints.

And the unsatisfied customers? Ms. Frydrych has been told to pay restitution to them for the premiums they paid to transfer the risks to insurers that were instead used to cover longer odds in the casinos.

Novelist goes to court to fight over rewrite rights for movie

"Sahara" may have been a bust at the box office, but the author of the 1992 Dirk Pitt adventure novel on which the 2005 movie was based is plotting to be a winner in the courtroom.

A lawsuit filed by novelist Clive Cussler against Crusader Entertainment L.L.C., which made the film starring Matthew McConaughey and Penelope Cruz, goes to trial later this month in Los Angeles.

Mr. Cussler claims the film production company, owned by Denver industrialist Philip Anschutz, violated its contract with him by failing to give him complete creative control over the script.

Under terms of a contract reached five years ago, in addition to paying Mr. Cussler $10 million per book (there are a more than a dozen books in the Dirk Pitt series), Mr. Anschutz agreed to give the famed writer an unqualified right of approval over each screenplay based on his novels; that the screenplays not be materially changed without the author's written consent; and that if principal photography does not commence within 24 months of Mr. Cussler's screenplay approval, Crusader would lose the option to purchase the rights to other Cussler novels.

Mr. Cussler is seeking unspecified damages in excess of $10 million, which would come on top of the $105 million Mr. Anschutz already lost on the action film, which critics said was better read than seen on screen.

Hank gets ready to set down his life story

Maurice R. "Hank" Greenberg has spent his share of time being interviewed by writers, but now the tables are turned.

Mr. Greenberg, former chairman of American International Group Inc., is interviewing candidates to help him write his memoir.

The book will span most of Mr. Greenberg's 81 years, from his childhood in upstate New York to his experiences in World War II--where he was among the soldiers who liberated the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau--to his years building AIG into one of the world's biggest financial services companies. It will also cover the run-in with former New York Attorney General and now New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer that ended Mr. Greenberg's decades at AIG's helm.

"It's his life's journey," his spokesman said.

Mr. Greenberg, who now heads C.V. Starr & Co., has had several meetings with potential writing partners, and more are planned, the spokesman said. The meetings are partially "chemistry checks" to see how the demanding Mr. Greenberg gets along with the candidates, he explained.

Why write a book now? After all, Mr. Greenberg has just started to build a new insurance and investment business. And he has been known to answer questions about his retirement plans by pointing out that he had an aunt who lived past 100.

"He feels it's the right time, and he has a very interesting story to tell," the spokesman said.

Contributing editors: Louise Esola, Mark A. Hofmann, Douglas McLeod, Joanne Wojcik