Articles Posted in Human Resources Policies

Back in December, I warned you (here) that, after two failed attempts to enact paid sick leave in Philadelphia, the third time may be the charm in 2015.

I was right.

(Want to rub my head for good luck? Or hire me as your employment lawyer? Yeah, let’s go with the second one.)

Yesterday, Mayor Nutter signed into law a paid sick leave bill that passed City Council by a vote of 14-2. The new law, which will apply to businesses with at least 10 employees, will allow employees to accrue an hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours of work. It goes into effect in 90 days.

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I had every intention of watching the President address the Nation last night. I really did.

But, then I got sucked into the Director’s Cut of The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island, the one where the Washington Generals show up first and replace all the confetti with lice. Then poor Lovie Howell takes some shrapnel and, frankly, I didn’t realize that Thurston could order a hit squad so quickly to a remote Island.

By the time I remembered the SOTU, the Harlem Globetrotters were busting out a ladder — sorry, Krusty — and que sera.

Fortunately for me, and, by extension, you, the White House printed a copy of the SOTU, which I could cut and paste expertly analyze for you after the jump…

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In an announcement made late in the day yesterday on LinkedIn, Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama, posted that President Obama will call upon Congress today to pass the Healthy Families Act.

More on this push from the President and what it will mean for American business, after the jump…

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And by bearded dragon, I mean, well, bearded dragon.

This warning holds true even if you operate a reptile store. Chris Joseph of the Broward/Palm Beach New Times reports (here) that a Florida reptile store owner was “arrested on battery and cruelty to animal charges on Friday after he allegedly hit some of his employees with a live lizard multiple times.”

It’s all in this police report. Additionally, according to Joseph article, the same store previously had “hosted a roach-eating contest that ended up killing contestant after he choked on the dozens of roaches and worms during the contest.”

So the clear takeaway here is use bunny rabbits because they don’t hurt as much scrap those progressive discipline policies. Like the infamous “probationary period” when at-will employment begins — they’re at-will, silly — progressive discipline is a throwback to days when unions had more power in the workplace and could negotiate progressive discipline into a collective bargaining agreement. 

I’m not saying don’t give warnings and such before termination, but why restrict yourself that way?

And to those of you who say, “Silly, Meyer. We have an exception to our progressive discipline policy that allows the company to bypass progressive discipline, when deemed fit in the company’s discretion.” Well, ok, great. Just know that, when you create exceptions by deviating from the policy, you create disparate treatment claims.

Don’t handcuff yourself, consider ditching the progressive discipline policy. Instead, just treat employees fairly and equally.

YES, THAT’S RIGHT. NO BIG DEAL.

Hey, if you’re a big employment dork like me, (vote Handbook!), you’ve already read a bunch of blog posts, and you’ll read several more about how the sky is falling after yesterday’s NLRB decision, in which the Board held that employees may use company email to discuss the terms and conditions of employment.

Yes, this decision extends to any workplace — not just unionized workplaces — that is covered by the National Labor Relations Act. And, yes, it may help your employees communicate with one another to form a union (gasp!) or otherwise discuss working conditions, but…

Seriously, you gots to chill.

This is no game-changer.

First, this rule only applies to employee communications on non-work time. So, you don’t have to pay employees to talk trash about the company. If your employees don’t have access to work email, this decision does not require you to give it to them.

Second, do you really think your employees strictly adhere to your computer-use policy that says that company electronic equipment should be used for business purposes only?

Third, I find it hard to believe that employees who wish to unionize would prefer to use company email as a way to discuss forming a union, versus other equally (or more) effective means (e.g., social media, personal email, text message, phone, face to face) that are far less susceptible to employer interception.

But, above all, if you run operate a company that communicates with its employees, values them not just in terms of the dollars you pay, but the respect you give, then unionization will be the furthest thing from their minds.

And if discussions over company email are enough to convince your workforce to unionize, then you deserve to have a union.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is obsessed with wellness programs.

Or, as the EEOC likes to describe them “‘so-called’ wellness programs.” And not in a “yay, so-called wellness programs are super” kinda way.

No, in recent months, the EEOC has initiated litigation against companies (example, example, example) claiming that they violate the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Genetic Information Non-Disclosure Act by both requiring medical examination and penalizing employees who decline to participate.

Back in May 2013, one of the panel experts invited to speak at an EEOC public meeting on wellness programs lamented that, while the ADA allows employers to ask for medical information in connection with voluntary wellness programs, the meaning of “voluntary” merits further clarification.

EEOC Commissioner Lipnic too stressed that the EEOC has a “responsibility where possible to let stakeholders know the Commission’s position on these important questions.”

And Senate Republicans, well, they don’t exactly see eye-to-eye with the EEOC on this issue.

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Have you cast your vote for The Employer Handbook as the top Labor and Employment blog in the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100? If not, please take a few secs and do it here.

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And so the EEOC has announced (here), that in February 2015, it will provide wellness-program guidance to employers “to address numerous inquiries EEOC has received about whether an employer that complies with regulations implementing the final Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) rules concerning wellness program incentives, as amended by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), will be in compliance with the ADA.”

The EEOC believes that its new guidance “will benefit entities covered by title I of the ADA by generally promoting consistency between the ADA and HIPAA, as amended by the ACA, and result in greater predictability and ease of administration,” while imposing “no new or additional risks to employers.”

As former EEOC Chair Berrien recognized at the EEOC’s public meeting in May, there has been “broad, bipartisan support for the expanded use of wellness programs to reduce health insurance and healthcare costs.” So, hopefully, the EEOC can strike a reasonable balance between the intent of these programs and federal anti-discrimination laws.