Recently in Human Resources Policies Category

January 7, 2015

If you employ progressive discipline, don't slap your employees with a bearded dragon

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.

December 2, 2014

Do you have a "super" anti-harassment contract with your employees?

I'm gonna pause for a sec while you go and grab a copy of your company's employee handbook. Now open it up to the anti-harassment policy and, click through, because your world may be about to be rocked...

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Continue reading "Do you have a "super" anti-harassment contract with your employees?" »

June 25, 2014

#SHRM14 updates from the best of the bloggerati

Sorry for the late past today, gang. I had planned on putting something together last night, but, two words: sushi coma.

So, here for your enjoyment, whether you're attending the 2014 SHRM Annual Conference and Expo this year, like I am, or whether you've been following along online, is a collection of recent blog posts tracking the event:

April 17, 2014

Employment Law Blog Carnival - Pick Your Holiday Edition

The third week of April ushers in several holidays: Passover, Good Friday, Easter.

But no matter what your religion or god -- even a sacrilicious ceiling waffle -- we can all agree that the Employment Law Blog Carnival, which you can find this month at Tim Eavenson's blog: Current Employment, is the workplace glory. 

This month, Tim has more posts about HR-compliance than you can count on your ten fingers. So raise your hands up to the sky and shout Hosanna! The power of the #ELBC compels you! 

Or, just forget my blasphemy and enjoy the carnival.


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P.S. - If you're on LinkedIn, consider joining the discussion of news, trends and insights in employment law, HR, and workplace, by becoming a member of The Employer Handbook LinkedIn Group. Almost as fun as a carnival. I'm still working on getting a Tilt-A-Whirl*

(*By Tilt-A-Whirl, I mean life.)

June 27, 2013

Supreme Court DOMA ruling "In Plain English"; impact on employers

theysaid.jpgWant an explanation of yesterday Supreme Court decision regarding challenges to California's ban on same-sex marriage and the federal Defense of Marriage Act, check out Amy Howe's analysis "In Plain English" at

And for more on yesterday's decision and the impact it may have on your business, check out:

February 21, 2013

8 employee-handbook tips from Django Unchained. Yes, seriously.

My buds over at are running a series of movie-themed HR posts leading up to next week's Oscar Awards.
November 21, 2012

Carnival of HR: Cyber Monday Edition

Cyber MondayHi there.

To the two of you who are reading this today, welcome. And hello to the rest of you who are three drumsticks to the wind, joining us on Monday between incognito searches in office of's Cyber Monday Deals.

(I won't tell...)

But check it. While you browse back and forth on the qt, I'll fill you up after the jump with leftover sweet-potato casserole dozens of great posts from some of the best HR bloggers around. And since it's the season of giving, I'll even hook you up with some shopping deals too.

It's the Carnival of HR: Cyber Monday Edition!

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Continue reading "Carnival of HR: Cyber Monday Edition" »

November 16, 2012

Confession & Profession: When a co-worker overshares...

Do you call HR when someone says something you don't like? What about if they confess a secret? What if you over hear something that wasn't meant for your ears? 

And what should HR do about it?

Last night, labor-and-employment-law attorney Daniel Schwartz, who blogs at the Connecticut Employment Law Blog, Liz Ryan, founder and CEO of Human Workplace, and I joined The Huffington Post's Nancy Redd on HuffPost Live answering these and other related HR/workplace questions. 

The video is embedded below (or you can view it here).

November 14, 2012

Employment Law Blog Carnival: Hollywood Casting Call Edition

Casting CatsWelcome everyone to the Employment Law Blog Carnival: Hollywood Casting Call Edition.

[Editor's Note: The original theme for this post was the "Employment Law Blog Carnival: Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll Edition." I had this bright idea to begin by cutting and pasting the lyrics to Guns N' Roses' "My Michelle," and, let's just say I bailed after the first line.]

So that leaves us with Plan B, where, after the jump, I have aggregated some of the best, recent posts from around the employment-law blogosphere and fit them together into a single theme: an open casting call.

Because just the other day, this theme came to me after waking from a Codeine/Claritin-D/Mucinex DM-induced slumber, in which I dreamt about casting a recent post of mine -- the one where an employee lost out on an FMLA retaliation claim when her employer fired her after finding Facebook photos of her drinking at a local festival -- while on FMLA. My movie will star Kim Kardashian, in her silver screen debut, as the employee. And Alan Thicke, who played Dr. Jason Seaver on "Growing Pains," could play the company decision-maker. We'll call it "FML Aye Yai Yai!"

[Editor's NoteI'm throwing Thicke a bone here. Don't you think? According to, he just finished production on "Fugget About It", in which ex New York mobster Jimmy Falcone joins the Witness Protection Program and is relocated, with his family, to Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Fugget about it, indeed.]

So that's the idea. More great posts and imaginative casting decisions, after the jump...

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Continue reading "Employment Law Blog Carnival: Hollywood Casting Call Edition" »

June 11, 2012

Employer's failure to investigate harassment creates retaliation claim

illustration_view-people-magnifierIf an employee complains that her supervisor is sexting her, making unwelcome physical contact, and telling her that she can get a better work schedule in exchange for "small favors," you better damn well investigate that!

Ignore it and you risk losing a valuable defense to sexual harassment claim. This is because, generally, to avoid liability for sexual harassment, an employer must demonstrate that it undertook reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct harassment.

But the failure to investigate could cost an employer even more. Like a dead-to-rights retaliation claim too.

Really? Retaliation too? Yes. I'll explain after the jump...

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Continue reading "Employer's failure to investigate harassment creates retaliation claim" »

December 1, 2011

72 ways to prevent an office party from creating an HR hangover

hangover.jpgIf you read this blog, then I trust you read other HR/Employment-law-related blogs. And, if you do that, prepare for a December-deluge of "Ten Tips for a Safe, Fun, and Legal Holiday Party."

Screw all that! Ten tips is so last year. 

*** Big dork say "what" ***

"What! What!" After the jump, I've collected 72 ways to hold an office holiday party that won't interfere with you ending the year on an HR high-note...

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Continue reading "72 ways to prevent an office party from creating an HR hangover" »

November 9, 2011

Employer lessons from Penn State (Hint: ignorance is not bliss)

This Jerry Sandusky situation is blood curdling. I won't rehash the facts. But in case you've been living under a rock for the past few days, you can read about them here.

I am not going to comment on Penn State's moral compass. Rather, as a labor-and-employment-law attorney, I see plenty of lessons for employers. Let's just focus on three simple ones:

  1. Take complaints seriously. Always. Fortunately, most employers do. Those who don't appear to condone the behavior. 
  2. If the behavior is criminal, immediately contact the police. By doing nothing, you give the actor both time and impunity to harm others.
  3. Do something about the complaint. Investigate and follow with action that is reasonably designed to ensure that the offensive behavior does not happen again. If the offensive behavior is serious enough, fire fast.
May 3, 2011

Can DE employees access their personnel files upon request?

personnel.pngIn keeping with The Employer Handbook tradition (and so as not to reverse any good black and gold mojo), once again, I will follow a Bruins OT playoff win... 

(cue the music...)

...with a look at an employee's right to review his/her personnel file. Last week, we explored whether Pennsylvania businesses must cede to an employee request to review his/her personnel file.

After the jump, same question, different state: Delaware.

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Continue reading "Can DE employees access their personnel files upon request?" »

February 24, 2011

Can an employer legally refuse to hire a smoker?

621px-Full_Ashtray.jpgKeeping with this week's smoking theme, I see that the The New York Times recently ran a story discussing how some employers are refusing to hire smokers. The article warns, ""Smokers now face another risk from their habit: it could cost them a shot at a job."

But is this legal? Can an employer really refuse to hire someone who smokes?

To learn the answer, check out a recent post I did at The Legal Intelligencer.

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February 4, 2011

Make sure to visit the Carnival of HR


What is this Carnival of HR of which I speak? Originally started way back in February 2007 by Suzanne Lucas aka the Evil HR Lady, the Carnival of HR is dedicated to bringing together the best posts from the HR blogging community! Any employer (not just my peeps in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware) could learn a lot from the wide variety of articles at the HR Carnival.

This week, Suzanne Lucas is back hosting the Carnival of HR. And I am pleased that she has incorporated one of my recent posts about how employers should, every once in while, cut their employees some slack.

You can find the latest edition of the Carnival of HR here.

Have a nice weekend!