Medical Emergency at the Worksite? Take Steps to Prepare

There are workplace safety rules for almost every conceivable category of jobs or tasks, courtesy of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  The underlying law* also requires employers to provide a workplace “free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm.”  That requirement falls under the “general duty” clause of law.  You can be cited for violating that requirement if a “recognized hazard” is present, and you don’t do anything to eliminate or at least mitigate it.

In addition, according to OSHA, employers must provide medical and first aid personnel and supplies “commensurate with the hazards of the workplace.”  Of course, as OSHA states, the needs of your company’s first aid program “are dependent on the circumstances of each workplace and employer.”  If OSHA finds your first aid program doesn’t adequately address the hazards of your workplace, the agency might step in to enforce its own standards.

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Make Performance Reviews Mean Something

1395773_89436059Everybody hates performance reviews.  That’s a given.  But there are ways to move them out of the “dreaded chore” category into the file titled “engagement tools.”

Performance reviews are often badly done and serve to de-motivate employees – or worse, give them a weapon to sue the company.

What’s wrong with this process?  Here are the three most common mistakes managers make that limit the value of employee assessments:
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Seven Strategies to Have Better Results with Employees

1078183_13647396Successful managers and supervisors know how and when to be assertive.  They communicate their needs in a way that earns them respect and gets results.

Let’s say you need a budgeting project done by Friday.  Here are seven strategies to help improve your assertiveness skills so you can get more done:

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Non-Compete Convenants: Protection for Your Business

1221952_51477459Are you concerned that one of your best employees will leave to join a competitor?  Once there, the employee will use inside information to help a rival.  Your worries may be eased if the employee signs a “covenant not to compete” as part of an employment agreement.  The covenant (also called a “non-compete clause” or “non-compete agreement”) is enforceable against a departing employee as long as certain conditions are met.

Usually, an employer requires employees to sign the covenant as a pre-condition of employment.  But it may also be used as a release for an employee to receive severance pay after termination of employment or pursuant to the sale of a business or issuance of stock options.  Caution: The covenant cannot be overly restrictive.  For instance, your company generally can’t preventa  former employee from pursuing a living anywhere in the same industry.

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Must Employers Accommodate Disabilities?

man-67327_1280Question from an employer: We have an employee who is receiving treatment for an injured rotator cuff.  She has seen an orthopedic specialist and has had physical therapy.  On her second visit to the orthopedic specialist, he determined that her therapy helped.  The employee didn’t need surgery but did require more time to heal the tear.  Her work duties required limited lifting.

This employee works in a very physically demanding department and we have been able to keep her in the department by having her assume the lightest job duty.  Prior to her injury, all employees in the department rotated so they were able to experience the lightest and heaviest jobs throughout each day.  The injured employee’s situation has put a strain on the others pulling her slack.  We have not transferred her to a totally different department because she would have to take a cut in pay and we thought there would be consequences to us for doing that.

Can we require her to move to another department to accommodate her need for light duties even though she would receive a cut in pay?

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Pre-Employment Testing Guidelines

1440528_79415108Employers often try to screen out applicants by using pre-employment tests to evaluate skills, aptitude, personality and honesty as well as medical and drug tests.

Although certain testing is allowed, you should impose numerous restrictions on what is permissible.  Here’s a look at what you can and cannot do.

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Before You Terminate — READ THIS!

traffic-sign-160659_1280When it comes to employee terminations, managers often make decisions based on emotion.  An employee comes in late, and you’ve had it, so you want to fire her.  While that might be allowable, it’s not always advisable, and can result in lawsuits.  What if, for example, the employee was late because she was a victim of domestic violence? Or, you didn’t fire that employee who was late for the umpteenth time last week.  These and many other factors could gain the employee protection under the law.  Let’s take a look at steps you can go through to protect your company when making termination decisions.

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