Monday, January 28, 2008
What does this mean for employers?
It's good news. If you conduct a drug test as a condition of hiring, it means that even if a job candidate states they're using marijuana for medicinal purposes, you may refuse to hire (or even terminate an employee).
Although this law is specific to California, nine other states current allow 'compassionate' use of marijuana. And since California is frequently the precursor of laws in the other 49 states, it makes sense now to have a policy in place that defines what drugs are acceptable in your workplace - whether they be 'legal', 'compassionate', or not.
From Ford Harrison LLP
This article in the Christian Science Monitor identifies seven things employees want most. None of them cost a dime - but may need a strong manager to focus on providing:
4. Individual Growth
5. A Good Boss
6. Compatible Co-Workers
7. A Sense of Purpose
Time for a honest reality check: are your employees getting this from you?
Maureen Moriarty, a Seattle-based executive coach, has developed these factors which impact team performance:
It takes hard work to ensure everyone on the team is on the same page. Take a honest look at your team - are you giving them all the skills and resources in order to achieve success?
From Maureen Moriarty via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
As a manager on the rise, you need to train yourself to adapt to your boss. Remember, regardless of how motivated you are, the only way to rise in corporate structure is to excel at the job you currently have.
As a manager, these lessons are valuable in understanding what motivates your employees. A major component in successful management is to ensure your subordinates succeed - by merging their professional and personal goals with yours.
From Sharon Bell Buchbinder, RN
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Julie Myers announced that ICE will conduct more I-9 form audits in 2008. ICE has the authority to inspect employers’ I-9 forms, and it is planning to use this authority as another mechanism to ensure that employers are complying with immigration laws. The fines associated with I-9 form violations range from $110 to $1,100.
ICE’s more aggressive worksite enforcement strategy targeted the “jobs magnet” that attracts illegal aliens seeking employment in the U.S. In FY07, ICE dramatically increased penalties against employers whose hiring processes violate the law, securing fines and judgments of more than $30 million while making 863 criminal arrests and 4,077 administrative arrests.
In the past, administrative fines often proved to hold little deterrence value for violators. Many employers came to view these fines as simply the “cost of doing business.” Administrative fines were ignored, not paid in a timely matter or mitigated down over several years. ICE has dramatically increased the amounts of criminal fines and forfeiture over previous years of administrative fines alone. Administrative fines in FY 2001 totaled $1,095,734, $72,585 in FY 2002, $37,514 in FY 2003, $45,480 in FY 2004, and $6,500 in FY 2005. However, during the three quarters of FY 2007, ICE has obtained criminal fines, restitutions, and civil judgments in WSE investigations in excess of $30 million.
In criminal cases, ICE is often pursuing charges of harboring illegal aliens, money laundering and/or knowingly hiring illegal aliens. Harboring illegal aliens is a felony with a potential 10-year prison sentence. Money laundering is a felony with a potential 20-year prison sentence. ICE has found these criminal sanctions to be a far greater deterrent to illegal employment schemes than administrative sanctions.Employers should continue to ensure their compliance with immigration laws by properly completing the I-9 form. In addition, employers may want to conduct a self-audit of their I-9 forms and correct any errors.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Since 2004, the program (called EMPLEO) has recovered nearly $4.35 million in compensation for workers who have been paid less than the minimum wage; not compensated for overtime; or who have not been treated fairly, according to DOL/California labor guidelines.
Bottom line for employers: You must follow all guidelines for all employees, whether they are here legally or not.
And if you knowingly employ illegal immigrants, the sanctions can be massive.
Via Los Angeles Times.
As the new year begins, there are a number of articles discussing whether a person is a good or bad boss.
My experience in working for managers, being a manager, and working with managers is that the bad ones don't know they're bad!
The National Federation of Independent Business came out with a self-evaluation for bosses a few years ago, and it's time to review their (very good) questions:
1. Have you ever berated an employee in public?
2. Have you ever taken credit for something an employee did?
3. Are your employees afraid of you?
4. Are you a "no excuses allowed" type?
5. Do you expect employees to "know" or to "do" without telling them?
6. Do you yell or shout at employees?
7. Have you ever tried to belittle or humiliate an employee as punishment?
8. Do you "lean on" or make it more difficult for someone who has displeased you?
9. Do you play favorites?
10. Do you constantly check everyone's work for quality?
11. Are you reluctant to let employees make decisions?
12. Do you expect employees to do what you ask without question?
Answer the questions honestly - and if you said 'yes' to any one - it's time for you to re-evaluate your management style.
Friday, January 11, 2008
In one case, a woman was awarded back pay, compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages (later reduced to $200,000) because she was denied maternity leave because her supervisor said she had to be terminated because there was no way that the manager could have a pregnant woman in the office as there was a "business to run." Those comments apparently held great sway with the court. Arismendez v. Nightingale Home Healthcare Inc.
In another case, an employee was awarded nearly $2 million in damages for age discrimintation. The jury relied on remarks made by the President of the business, who said he wanted "race horses" not "plow horses" and told the plaintiff that he was out of the old school of selling. Moreover, the President announced at a sales meeting that he was concerned about the significant graying of the sales force." Palasota v. Haggar Clothing Co.
Anything you say or put in an e-mail can be held against you - and worse, anything your managers say or put in writing can be held against you as well.
And let's face it - the comments in both these cases are founded in sheer stupidity.
The solution is management training. It's estimated that 75% of all managers and supervisors - especially in smaller businesses, have no formal training in management - the 'do's and don'ts'.
Don't let an untrained supervisor endanger your business.
Thanks to Phelps Dunbar LLP for this article.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
A political discussion is a wonderful thing - with friends. But it has no place in the office.
For many, politics is intensely personal, and therefore a combustible topic potentially. Others simply don't want to discuss their political views, but may feel pressured to do so in an office situation.
In every instance, a discussion in the workplace that isn't about business takes away from productivity and focus.
Managers should take care to ensure that politics stay out of the office.
Marshall Loeb of MarketWatch has some great pointers from the employee's point of view.
The HotJobs Survey found that employees:
- Want to quit because of a bad boss (43%)
- Want more money (36%)
- More growth potential (34%)
Do not wait to do a performance appraisal every year. Check in with your employees frequently - don't just say you have an 'open door policy' - follow through with it.
If you're working for a 'bad boss', then manage up - what can you do to make the situation better.
It's all about effective and frequent communication.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
There is an increased awareness of discrimination based on race, religion, gender and even sexual orientation in the workplace - but a decided lack of knowledge when it comes to pregnancy.
Bottom line: You cannot demote, terminate or change a job based solely on the fact that an employee is pregnant. Even treating someone 'differently' is cause for action. And 'constructive discharge' (where an employee feels so oppressed she feels forced to quit) can be even worse.
Before making any employment decisions on an employee who's pregnant - get in touch with your human resources consultant or labor lawyer and think it through with the professionals.
(And remember, you cannot discriminate against a job applicant who's pregnant, either.
From Marketwatch via the Modesto Bee.
Friday, January 04, 2008
They're the same things that are difficult to discuss in a social situation: Sex, Religion, Politics.
It seems inconceivable that any manager with an IQ over room temperature would know enough never to discuss these issues in the workplace...but they do.
According to vault.com, 35% of employees say their bosses make their political beliefs known in the workplace. And 9% of employees say they feel 'pressure' to conform to their boss' political point of view. (9% doesn't sound like a lot, but that's the equivalent to about 18 million people!)
DO NOT discuss politics in the workplace. Managers are lured by the power they have into thinking their employees are fascinated by their beliefs. They're not - they're just playacting.
(And that goes for religion and sex, too).
From www.vault.com via centredaily.com