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Apple slapped with lawsuit over mandatory employee bag checks - CNET

Apple Insider Apple slapped with lawsuit over mandatory employee bag checks CNET Two former workers from Apple stores in New York and Los Angeles filed a complaint in San Francisco federal court on Thursday regarding this policy.
Sherry Griffin's insight:
This is interesting! The checks were just brief checks as they were leaving the store, not a big deal but if they did indeed wait 30 minutes for a manager to be able to check their bags, that's an issue. Frankly it's an issue if it were only 15 minutes. Particularly if interest is the lunch break check. Let's assume that the employees were given a 60 minute lunch break. If the length of their wait and the check itself exceeded 30 minutes, that would leave the employee with less than a 30 minute meal break and that's a big no-no in California. Looking forward to receiving more details as this lawsuit moves forward.
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Can Employers Request or Force Employees to Work While on FMLA Leave? | PrimePay

Recent case law has addressed the issue of forcing employees to work while on FMLA leave. In the case of Joan Smith v.
Sherry Griffin's insight:

Great reminder for HR Professionals!  Your handbook is your employee's information source.  If you are going to hold them to it, they get to hold you to it.  That means if you say they are entitled to something, then they are entitled to it.  

 

In this case, the employer was being smart by putting an FMLA policy into their handbook sooner rather than later because it means that their handbook is correct when they hit the numbers where they are required to provide FMLA they don't have to worry about updating everyone's handbook immediately in order to be compliant.  Where they dropped the ball, was by stating when they intended the policy to kick in - namely when they met the criteria placed by FMLA making them required to provide it.  Had they added a simple line, they would have been fine.  


All that said, it's kind of obnoxious to fire someone because you provided them bad information.  Just saying...

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Final Score: HIPAA 1 - Retaliation 0 - The Employer Handbook Blog

See how a federal appellate court shut out a plaintiff's claims of retaliation after she was fired for forwarding confidential documents to herself, purportedly to preserve evidence for an age-discrimination lawsuit filed by a former coworker. What I did there,... Published By Eric B. Meyer
Sherry Griffin's insight:

Love hearing a case where the employer comes out on the correct side.  I am a fan of Eric Meyer's blog.  If you don't already read it, you should start.

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Replaceable or not: You still have to grant them FMLA leave

This employer was shoved between a rock and a hard place. But management chose to handle the situation ... um ... poorly. Tondalaya Evans put her employer, book seller Books-A-Million (BAM), in a ...
Sherry Griffin's insight:
FMLA can be tricky and even problematic for companies to follow, however, if your employees qualify for FMLA, you must figure it out. Aside from the consequences for being found in violation, the publicity makes your company look like heartless creeps. Just saying...
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Why I Tell My Employees to Bring Their Kids to Work - blogs.hbr.org (blog)

Why I Tell My Employees to Bring Their Kids to Work
blogs.hbr.org (blog)
My employees also aren't burdened by strict working hours.
Sherry Griffin's insight:

I love that Sabrina Parsons has created this culture at her company.  I've had several different times where, in order to be a productive business owner and a successful mom, I've had a desk for my kidlet in my office next to my desk.  Not only did it allow me to do everything I needed to do at the moment (well, except dishes and laundry <grin>), but it also allowed them to learn about business.

 

My hope is that the experience will make them better workers, managers, and business owners.

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Why should you care about the no-poaching agreement between tech companies?

Why should you care about the no-poaching agreement between tech companies? | Must Know HR Topics | Scoop.it
» Why should you care about the no-poaching agreement between tech companies? | Worker Classification Specialists
Sherry Griffin's insight:

Here's my thoughts on the no-poaching agreement between tech companies being challenged.  Let me now what you think!

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State labor commissioner returns $17.7M in unpaid wages to workers on public ... - Sacramento Business Journal

State labor commissioner returns $17.7M in unpaid wages to workers on public ...
Sherry Griffin's insight:
Understanding wage requirements needs to be first and foremost in every business owners mind- especially when putting bids together. Read this article to find out about a contractor in California that bid low in order to get the contractor but bid so low that he couldn't pay the prevailing wage requirements. The state labor commissioner made him go back and pay the workers all the wages he failed to pay them initially. Now, if he was able to get several jobs because of his work on this one that will bring him a nice return, great. If he didn't, he would have been better off not getting this contract because the project is now squarely in his big loss column.
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MLS referees locked out amid labor impasse; replacement officials called in - Washington Post (blog)

Washington Post (blog) MLS referees locked out amid labor impasse; replacement officials called in Washington Post (blog) Major League Soccer will utilize replacement referees after the officiating union and management failed to settle a labor...
Sherry Griffin's insight:
It will be interesting to see what happens. Lockouts can last from hours to decades (literally, decades). The officiating this weekend will impact what happens greatly. If the officiating is great, the union loses some power. However, if there are any significant mistakes, the union gains the upper hand. Given the credentials of the referees scheduled, major officiating mistakes are unlikely.
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Why you almost always overlook the best candidate for your open job - The Business Journals

It’s Tuesday afternoon and Dave, your finance manager, walks into your office with an envelope in his hand. You think, “Uh oh, he’s resigning.” ...
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Need to hire a replacement for someone who just quit? This author takes an interesting approach that is worth considering. Rather than just looking at the tasks to be done, focus on the traits that will make the person you hire successful. Remember, skills can be taught but traits typically can't.
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It's time to bring family leave into the 21st century - Caring Across Generations

We need a system that provides paid leave for everyone, so nobody has to choose between a paycheck and caring ... (21 years after #FMLA, let's pass 21st century family leave. Support #FAMILYAct (w.
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Will all the employers out there who see passing something like this helping them hire more workers please raise their hands? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
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December 2013 Monthly Independent Contractor Compliance and Misclassification Update

December 2013 Monthly Independent Contractor Compliance and Misclassification Update | Must Know HR Topics | Scoop.it

"Massachusetts federal court grants summary judgment in favor of delivery drivers that were operating as corporations, concluding that Home Delivery of America (“HDA”) misclassified them as independent contractors instead of properly classifying them as employees under the Massachusetts wage and hour law."

Sherry Griffin's insight:

I love this case because it supports my case in an argument I've been having with a couple friends - yes, you should always contract with a business and not individuals but you can't solely rely on a contract with a formal entity to prevent being found guilty of misclassification.  In this Massachusetts’s case the defense used the argument that because they had engaged with LLCs and S-Corps, the regulations regarding who is an employee and who is an Independent Contractor (IC) are irrelevant and didn't apply.  Judge O'Toole makes the point that the laws are in place to prevent people from trying to skirt around the rules and whether it be an LLC or S-Corp, if the person performing the work is an employee, then the worker is an employee.  It's also important to note that one of the plaintiffs in this case was the worker of one of the ICs.  The judge decided that the ICs worker is also an employee of the company.  

While the regulations regarding Independent Contractors (IC) seem quite complex, they are all focused on a very simple concept: either the IC is a business in the full sense of the word or the IC is an employee.  Read full judge's opinion here:

http://pacer.mad.uscourts.gov/dc/cgi-bin/recentops.pl?filename=otoole/pdf/anderson%20v%20hda%20sj%20order.pdf&nbsp;),

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Sherry Griffin's curator insight, January 10, 2014 7:53 PM

Great ruling.  Shouldn't be news but it is because the defense's argument was isolated in scope to they engage companies, therefore, employee and IC definitions are irrelevent.  The judge said for that argument to stand it would have to be agreed that form mattered more than substance.  Guess what? It doesn't.  Substance matters.

Annabel Kaye's curator insight, January 11, 2014 2:04 PM

Just calling everyone self employed doesn't work well in the UK either!

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You didn't use all your vacation days. HR would like you to stop doing that. - The Mercury

You didn't use all your vacation days. HR would like you to stop doing that.
Sherry Griffin's insight:
As a profession, HR needs to do more to educate managers and employees regarding the benefits of taking vacation time. I've a number of friends who have left employers because they were burned out. Sadly, they had vacation time available but their managers highly discouraged them from ever taking it. Employees who don't take vacation because they fear they will lose their jobs are doing other things as well out of fear: not offering suggestions for improvement, squashing their creativity, and bad mouthing your company to friends and family. Just some food for thought...
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'Integrity tests' for applicants? Really?

Here's one we haven't heard before: Employers subjecting applicants to "integrity testing" as part of the candidate screening process.   We recently stumbled on the practice via a post by Maria Gre...
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Sherry Griffin's curator insight, December 10, 2013 9:36 AM

So... we have feedback from the EEOC in an advisory letter that when using an integrity test for applicants we may ask about current illegal drug usage.  Those who have used illegal drugs in the past are protected by the EEOC but those who currently use them are not.  Very interesting distinguishment.

The author of the article, though, brings up a very good question: what is the point of using an integrity test with an applicant? If they are currently using drugs, are they really going to answer the question honestly? More importantly, the author poses the question and what if they tell the truth?  Doesn't that show integrity and if that was the point of the test, doesn't that mean they win?

What I find ironic is that we are in an age when HR professionals are constantly excusing bad manners (like not letting an applicant know that they are no longer being considered for a position) because they are "too busy" to possibly have good manners, yet, there are some out there who apparently have time to administer another pre-employment test whose results are suspect.

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How to design workspaces that support employee mental health - The Business Journals

While companies invest in many strategies to support the physical health of employees, from flu vaccinations to filtered air systems, ignoring employees’ mental health means businesses risk losing any gains they make in physical health support.
Sherry Griffin's insight:
Is the health of your employees a high priority in your organization? If yes, read this article on how the office environment can undo all your health initiatives. Good ideas for those looking to improve their employee productivity as well.
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NLRB rulings have far-reaching impact on employers and policies | HR Hero Line

Tony Puckett, an attorney with McAfee & Taft, details two recent NLRB rulings that will affect all employers.
Sherry Griffin's insight:

Think you can ignore the NLRB because your workforce isn’t unionized?  Think again. 

Part of the job the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is tasked to do is pre-union election activities.  The key part of that is the “pre.”  It is means before there is a union, before there is an election, an even before the employees have decided to try to unionize.  It even includes activities that create an opportunity where the employees may conceive of the idea that something needs to change. 


As a result, the NLRB has made it very clear that employees must be allowed to communicate with each other regarding work related items.  Their new rule even says that employees who have been given a work related email must be allowed to communicate with each other via company email about their work conditions.  You don’t have to give them an email account but if you have, they get to use it.


What does this mean for your work place?  It means that you need to be very careful about prohibiting gossip.  Yes, you can say that employees should not be talking about other employees when it isn’t work related.  For example, “Mary gets so drunk every Friday night and sleeps with 4 guys,” is completely unrelated to work as long as Mary shows up to work sober and ready to go and none of the “guys” she’s sleeping with also work for the company or related to someone who works there.  However, if Mary comes in hung over and others need to cover for her or one of the guys she slept with is the husband of a co-worker, it can easily be argued that it impacts the work place and is therefore protected by NLRB rules. 


The takeaway is that employees get to talk about how great or how crappy you treat them.  They can talk about your awesome benefits or your mental manager.  They can send each other emails using their company provided email account asking if anyone else is as annoyed by the changes to company policies as they are.  Make sure you update your handbooks and communicate these changes clearly to your management team.  If your employees aren’t unionized, there’s no reason to put yourself in the NLRB’s crosshairs.

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HR Sends Out Reminder Email About Not Scrawling ‘Revenge’ In Blood In Conference Room

SPOKANE, WA—After the eighth such incident this year, Vista Consulting Partners human resources director Beth Shumaker sent out a company-wide email Thursday reminding employees not to scrawl the word “revenge” in blood across any surfac...
Sherry Griffin's insight:
Seriously? Now, I'm not in law enforcement but it seems reasonable that you could call the police and they would investigate the incident. Writing the word 'revenge' in what appears to blood on a surface of the company conference room can be considered both vandalism and a serious threat. Maybe it's just me but I would want the person who did this identified so I could fire them. I sure as heck wouldn't treat this as a casual incident. If I worked for a company where I felt the work force as a whole needed a reminder that it isn't appropriate to write on conference room surfaces in "animal or human" blood, I'd be turning in my notice. Just saying...
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Why KIND's CEO Asks For 2 Months' Notice From Departing Employees

Two weeks notice is the standard at most companies. KIND asks for two months — and in some cases, two years. Here's why.
Sherry Griffin's insight:
This article is a great one. It brings up a number of ideas worth mulling: How do you and your culture react when an employee tells you they are leaving? What does the length of notice your employees give when they leave tell you about you as a manager and/or about your company culture? Do your employees feel valued or do they feel like they are seen as just a spoke on the wheel? Would your company benefit from receiving more notice than you are currently? Sometimes it's good to evaluate items you don't think you control because the reality is that they are indicators as to how your company and culture really are.
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Why Amazon pays employees $5000 to quit - CBS Moneywatch

CNN - Canada Why Amazon pays employees $5000 to quit CBS Moneywatch "We know that for some of our fulfillment center employees, Amazon will be a career," Bezos wrote.
Sherry Griffin's insight:
This is revolutionary! Of course, not every company can afford to do this but a number of companies could find themselves with better attitudes, increased productivity, and a more enjoyable culture overall by doing this as a random offer to it's employees (as opposed to doing it every year). Incentivizing employees who are unhappy working for you (and be honest - everyone's knows they're miserable and don't want to work there) to leave is a big plus for everyone involved. Of course, if you're a crappy boss, think first as you may find yourself all alone in an empty office...
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Act Now Advisory: Unpaid Interns Now Afforded Same Discrimination Protections as Employees Under the New York City Human Rights Law | JD Supra

On March 26, 2014, the New York City Council passed an amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law ("NYCHRL"), giving unpaid interns the same anti-discrimination protections under...
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Sherry Griffin's curator insight, April 4, 2014 2:49 PM

I find it flooring that anyone thinks sexually harrasing someone, anyone, is okay.  That they would try to excuse their behavior as being allowed by saying the person they abused isn't an employee because they don't pay them is pathetic (and, seriously, are you that much of a creep that you have to abuse an intern to get some? - I'm just saying - take a hint).  What ever happened to people knowing the difference between right and wrong and accepting responsibility when they were caught messing up?

 

I'm typically not a fan of more regulation as I find it makes it more difficult for businesses that are trying to do the right thing to be compliant.  However, I am a huge fan of this change.  So, creepy person who have to use his role as the boss to get someone in bed and those who don't want to waste her time teaching someone who is different than her (which, reminder, to not pay the intern means you are teaching the intern), consider this your notice in New York.  Coming in a few short months, you can be sued for discrimination - even if the person you are discriminating against is an unpaid intern.

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Obama set to change rules for overtime pay for "executive," "managerial ... - CBS News

Washington Post Obama set to change rules for overtime pay for "executive," "managerial ...
Sherry Griffin's insight:
For a number of states, HR Professionals have been effectively ignoring the federal requirements for a number of years as their state regulations have had higher standards that they needed to meet. For those in other states it is going to cause a lot of conversations with upper management on how to come into compliance with the new federal regs.
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Labor Regroups in South After VW Vote - New York Times

WPEC Labor Regroups in South After VW Vote New York Times CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.
Sherry Griffin's insight:
How screwed up is this? Volkswagen wants to establish a counsel of white and blue collar workers elected by their co-workers to establish company policies (just like they do in the Germany plants) but because their workers voted against unionizing, it is considered illegal for them to do so. Heaven forbid a company put their workers in a position to be heard and influence how the company works. Oh! Wait! This is easy to fix... Volkswagen just needs to write a big check to the union of their choice because, let's be honest, the unions are businesses and just want their cut. Pay them off and they could care less - workers be damned!
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Full text of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's letter to the employees - Hindustan Times

Full text of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's letter to the employees.
Sherry Griffin's insight:
Excellent letter. Well written and clear. Every CEO (and aspiring CEO) should read this letter as a case study in defining leadership. Don't know about you but it made me think "wouldn't it be great to work for him?" Do your employees think the same about you?
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David Hain's curator insight, February 6, 2014 2:03 AM

A leader laying his foundation - in real time.

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DOLE OKs shorter work week for 2 firms

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has approved requests of two companies for a compressed work week to allow employees to save on transportation costs and spend more time with their families.
Sherry Griffin's insight:
This article isn't about pineapples. It's about having a reasonable business reason for wanting an adjustment and how agencies will work with you. This particular situation is in the Philippines but happens in California (one of the craziest states to deal with in regards to employment regulations) as well. If you have a solid business reason for wanting to implement a condensed work week, you can do it. Just make sure to notify the appropriate agencies so that you aren't responsible for overtime later. This only applies to states and countries that have daily overtime rules (like California, Nevada, and, apparently, the Philippines).
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A Franchisor Sues the US Labor Department Over Volunteer Workers - Businessweek (blog)

A Franchisor Sues the US Labor Department Over Volunteer Workers Businessweek (blog) Rhea Lana Riner, the Arkansas franchisor who has tangled publicly with regulators over her use of volunteers to help run her children's consignment business, has...
Sherry Griffin's insight:
This gets sticky. I get Rhea's argument. The problem is that there are a number of shoddy businesses operating who will abuse this to no end. Case and point, the recent cases involving unpaid "interns" who really aren't interns. You can already smell companies out there telling job candidates that, perhaps, if they were to volunteer a couple weeks they may get a job. The weeks turn to months and the paid position never materializes. At the same time, I would love to see for profit businesses involved in community serving concepts that are not their profit center be able to have volunteers who are interested in helping. The problem becomes defining the line and then enforcing it.
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$700K Attorneys’ Fees Award Upheld For $27K Jury Verdict - Employment and HR - United States

16 Dec 2013 - United States - Employment and HR - $700K Attorneys’ Fees Award Upheld For $27K Jury Verdict - Fenwick & West LLP - In Muniz v.
Sherry Griffin's insight:

This is a perfect example of why companies should keep their noses clean when it comes to their HR practices and policies.  Yes, they ended up only paying $27k to their disgruntled ex-employee but then they were ordered to pay $700k to the disgruntled ex-employee's LAWYER(S).  Yeah! They only paid $27k to the disgruntled e-employee! Why am I thinking they're not out celebrating?

 

So, here's the deal: lawsuits will cost you money no matter what you do.  That doesn't mean you lay down and hand over money.  It does mean think before you act, be fair, document what you did, and always be respectful.  Period.  If you do what you should be doing, most complaints will get dismissed before they even get to court. Knowing the rules will go a long way but being FAIR and RESPECTFUL will get you even further.

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What were they thinking? Company put together 'maternity projection chart'

This may be the worst workplace idea we've ever heard. Bailey Stoler worked for the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, a health coaching and nutritional education school in New York. While there,...
Sherry Griffin's insight:

Wow! and double Wow! My first thought when I read the title was "what is so wrong with projecting maternity and paternity leave/needs for your workforce," then, I read the article.  Wow! 

Let's start at the beginning, you cannot discriminate against employees because of their gender.  The ability to become pregnant is tied directly to gender (believe it or not).  If you discriminate against those who are or likely to become pregnant, you are impacting a very specific gender.  If you take it a step further and ask your female employees (note: no male employees included in this process) what their child bearing/rearing plans are and then start making employment decisions to fire, demote, etc as you come to the points where they said they were planning on bearing & rearing, the evidence is quite clear that you are a illegally discriminating against a protected class and should be fined until you are out of business. 

Ever wonder if any of these idiots who come up with these brilliant ideas to save money have a mother, wife, or daughters?  Makes you wonder what the ideots think of those women if they do.... 

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