The recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak around the world has been in the news often the last few months, especially more recently since multiple people in the United States have now been diagnosed with the virus. As an employer, there are a few things that you can do to protect your workforce and help prevent the spread of the virus in the event your employees are diagnosed, or exposed to someone who has been diagnosed, with the virus: Continue reading
Many states require that employees are allowed breaks for rest and/or meal periods (see our previous blog post here for information on your state’s requirements, if any). But even for employers in states with no requirements, there are many reasons you should encourage your employees to take regular breaks.
While taking breaks may seem counterproductive when you want your employees to be as productive as possible during their work time, there are actually several benefits, both for the employee and the employer, when employees take breaks.
With sexual-harassment allegations on the rise, states are moving towards reform of their laws and the complaint process. One of these states is New York, which recently passed a law that will go in effect October 9th requiring companies to provide annual sexual-harassment training for all employees.
All training must meet or exceed the standards of the state, either by using a program set forth by state agencies or the company’s independent training program. Continue reading
Most managers are familiar with exit interviews – a series of questions asked of employees who are terminating their employment with the company. The purpose of the exit interview is to gather information about the employee’s opinions of their employment with the company – how did the employee feel about training, management, their pay and benefits, what types of obstacles or challenges did the employee face, why is the employee leaving employment with the company, etc. This information can then be considered when deciding whether to make any changes at the company for the remaining and future employees.
While very useful information can be obtained from exit interviews, they are done too late. By the time an employee is completing an exit interview it is too late for the employer to make changes for that employee. Instead of exit interviews (or in addition to) employers may want to consider doing “stay” interviews with their existing employees. Find out how the employee feels about their position, their pay and benefits, their supervisors. Learn about what challenges employees are facing. Ask for suggestions to improve the workplace. Get a better idea of what is working and what employees do enjoy about working there. What keeps the employees coming to work for you every day? Continue reading
Now that flu season is upon us many employers question whether they can require their employees to have a flu shot. As a simple answer, yes, generally employers can require their employees to have a flu shot unless the employee has a religious objection or cannot receive the vaccine due to a disability. There are a number of factors an employer may want to take into consideration before requiring the flu shot for all employees. Continue reading
Fire an employee for the wrong reason — or in the wrong situation — and the employee could claim retaliation and file a lawsuit.
Several activities by employees are off-limits to retaliatory actions such as firing or disciplinary action. Any retaliation by the employer could spell potential legal trouble, such as a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Here are three areas of protected employee conduct:
So you adopt a flexible schedule policy for working parents. You allow employees with young children to arrange with their supervisors for flexible schedules.
You’ve just created a potential swamp of quicksand to get trapped in.
Allowing employees to work from home can provide significant benefits for employers and employees. It can improve morale, reduce real estate and facility costs — and even reduce traffic congestion and make the environment cleaner. However, when the appropriate oversight is lacking, fraud and abuse can result and wipe out many, if not all, of the benefits associated with a work-from-home program.
Before allowing employees to commute to desks within their homes, consider the following issues to minimize the risk and maximize the returns associated with a work-from-home-program:
It’s probably impossible for your company to eliminate any chance of harassment, but there are precautions you can take to help win a lawsuit filed by an employee:
- Above all, have a sound company policy against harassment, which includes discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, or any other class protected by federal, state, or local law.
- Make sure your employees are aware of the policy. Spread the word through orientation sessions and your employee handbook.
- Require staff members to sign an agreement indicating that they understand the policy.
- At least once a year, train your employees and managers on the subject of harassment and its consequences. Employees must be told how to report incidents and feel they can without retaliation.
It can start out as a minor, even overlooked, irritation for managers and supervisors: Employees stretching out work breaks by one or two or three minutes. It becomes a minor headache when they stretch out 10-minute work breaks to 15 minutes. Then it becomes a major headache for managers and supervisors when the 10 minute break becomes 15 minutes or longer.
When employees consistently stretch out the length of work breaks, it’s time for employers to look at their work break policy.
Does your work break policy address who is eligible to take work breaks? When are work breaks scheduled? Where do employees take their breaks? How much time do they have for taking breaks? What discipline do you use for abuse of work breaks? Continue reading