Tie HR to business strategy with the right mission statement

HR mission statements can inspire the workplace and increase support from senior management and executive leadership.

Where pot is legal, what happens when employees test positive?

In states where recreational and medical marijuana is legal, 41% of employers have a zero-tolerance policy for anyone who tests positive.

Signs you have a drug problem at work

When drugs don't seem to present a problem within a company, it's easy to develop a cavalier attitude about them. That's not smart.

Can we have a policy prohibiting employees from discussing how much they earn?

Q. We have always had a policy prohibiting employees from discussing their salary or wages with co-workers. It can cause discord among employees and possibly impact morale. Is it unlawful for Minnesota employers to have such a policy?

Feds target no-fault attendance


No-fault attendance programs were designed to be completely objective, the idea being that all absences and therefore all workers are treated equally. But the FMLA and ADA require employers to know why an employee was absent, so the “hear no evil” approach can't work.

Bad-weather absences: When must you pay exempt employees?


The snow's coming down pretty good and an exempt employee calls to say she can't make it in today because her car is stuck. Can you deduct a full day's pay from her salary for that missed day? What if she's non-exempt? What if you close work because of bad weather? Here's guidance to help you make the call.

Holidays 2016: When will employers shut their doors?

While the federal government will shut down on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, only 35% of private employers plan to do the same, according to a new Society for Human Resource Management Holiday Schedules 2016 survey.

Nip harassment suits in the bud: Establish clear system for lodging complaints


Employers that create and implement clear, well-publicized policies for reporting sexual and other forms of harassment can defeat many co-worker harassment claims. The key is to come up with a specific process featuring more than one avenue through which employees can complain. Then let employees know it’s there for their use.

Set clear guidance for promotion applications

Employers can get in big trouble if they try to manipulate promotions so only certain individuals apply. That can happen when promotion opportunities aren’t listed or only a select few learn about them. The legal risk: Even employees who don’t formally apply can sue.

Tread lightly when talk turns to politics

The real action in the 2016 election is still months away, but political discord is already in mid-campaign form. If water-cooler chatter has been more heated than you would like, you may be tempted to put a gag order on political speech. That’s not a smart move.

Craft smart policy on use of smartphones

Smartphone technology has simply changed too quickly for many employee handbooks to keep up. What should your strategy be?

AG investigates retailers for unpredictable scheduling

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has requested scheduling information from some of the nation’s largest retailers to determine if they are abiding by New York’s “reporting time” law.

OK to reference handbook in employment contract


Employee handbooks aren’t contracts. In fact, to preserve at-will employment status, we usually recommend including a disclaimer that specifically states: “This handbook does not constitute a contract.” But some key employees do work under the terms of employment contracts, and occasionally it may make sense to incorporate your employee handbook rules into those agreements. Referring to the handbook makes its terms and conditions binding on your contracted workers.

Policies are worthless if they're not communicated

An accountant for the state Depart­­ment of Health will get his job back after Commonwealth Court determined that, contrary to the given reason for his firing, his e-mail was not “combative”, “antagonistic”, or “accusatory.”

15 questions to ask when auditing your handbook

It’s good business to review your handbook once a year and revise it as necessary. Answer these questions to gauge its thoroughness and reliability.
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