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There’s a Loneliness Epidemic in the Workplace – Here’s How Employers Can Help

Right now, in workplaces across the country, people are going about their jobs, seemingly content, but deep down feeling the ache of loneliness. They aren’t necessarily working alone or all by themselves with no one to talk to. They may be chatting amicably with customers on the phone or in person. Or they may work from home, but are in frequent communication with their coworkers through digital channels. Whatever the case, these lonely workers feel isolated and unnoticed. Given all the means that people have at their disposal to connect with each other in the workplace – face-to-face meetings, email, social media, messaging apps – one might have expected loneliness in the workplac

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Risk Reduction Through Progressive Discipline

Because behavioral problems and poor performance can be detrimental to the bottom line, many employers want to be rid of problematic employees ASAP. Small businesses in particular may not feel that they have the time or money to work on correcting bad behavior or improving poor performance. Additional supervision alone can be costly and a burden on already busy managers. Immediate termination often feels like the easier path, especially in industries in which it’s relatively painless to find a replacement. But, despite the ease of immediate termination, we generally recommend that employers first use progressive discipline. Terminating employment always comes with risk, even when it’s

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How to Handle: Misconduct Allegations Against a Former Employee

An employee who recently quit made several allegations about the general manager, including an instance of sexual harassment. How should we respond to these complaints since the employee no longer works here? Even though the employee has left the organization, I recommend conducting an investigation into the allegations and taking disciplinary action against the alleged harasser if appropriate. Failing to look into these concerns can invite risk, especially if there are later complaints against the same individual. When an employee resigns, it's not uncommon for them to share an assortment of complaints on their way out the door. You should sift through and determine whether any of them

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Do you know what the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) means for your business?

Congress enacted the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) in 1935 to protect the rights of employees and employers, to encourage collective bargaining, and to limit certain labor and management practices that can harm the general welfare of workers, businesses, and the U.S. economy. Although a good portion of the NLRA deals with unionization, Section 7 provides protections for all non-supervisory employees, even those not involved with a union. Some supervisors may even be protected by the Act, if they do not have sufficient authority and discretion. Specifically, Section 7 defines and protects concerted activity by employees. Generally, protected concerted activity takes place when employ

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How to Evaluate Your Culture (part 3 of 4)

This article is the third part of our series on workplace culture. In the first installment, we explained that every organization has a culture, and every culture has three components—the organization’s rules, traditions, and people. In the second article, we showed you how to identify the culture that you have so you’re able to assess whether it’s the culture that you want. Both articles are linked below. We turn now to the question of evaluating your culture. The specifics of a good culture vary from company to company, but there are a few general qualities of a good culture that you should aim for whatever your industry and mission. A good culture should be: Well-defined a

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We’re going to close our worksite due to inclement weather. Do we have to pay employees?

Non-exempt employees need to be paid only for actual hours worked plus any reporting time pay that may be required by the state (this sometimes applies when employees show up for work but are sent home early).  Exempt employees, on the other hand, must be paid when the employer closes due to inclement weather, whether they do any work or not. You may require exempt employees to use accrued vacation or paid time off for the day if that is your regular practice when the workspace closes. However, exempt employees without enough paid time off to cover the absence must still be provided with their regular salary during the closure. Many companies have an inclement weather or emergenc

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The Employment Laws Every Growing Organization Should Know About

Periods of growth are particularly exciting for small and midsize businesses, but they also bring new HR challenges. Along with adding employees—which may change the feel of your culture as well as your floorplan—your organization may become subject to federal and state laws that take effect once you have a certain number of employees. Most employment laws apply to organizations based on the number of people they employ, so as you grow, it’s vital to keep up-to-speed on any laws that newly apply or will soon apply to your organization. Federal Laws To understand the scope of many of the federal laws discussed below, employers need to know the definition of discrimination. In the

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How to Increase Diversity in Your Recruiting and Hiring Process

The recruiting and hiring process is supposed to select the best candidates while deterring unqualified job seekers from applying or advancing. All too often, however, the process creates obstacles or disadvantages for qualified candidates due to their membership in a protected class or minority group. Even a well-meaning process be discriminatory. Below are some actions you can take to eliminate discriminatory practices and increase diversity. Reduce barriers. Consider your recruiting and hiring process from a candidate's perspective, specifically from an under-represented class member's perspective. Would a transgender person have a fair chance in the hiring process? What about someone

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Do I Have to Keep My OSHA 300 Logs Up-to-date During the Retention Period?

Employers must retain all OSHA Forms for Recording Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (300, 301, and 300A) for a period of five years following the end of the calendar year the records pertain to. OSHA also requires that employers update their stored 300 Logs during this five-year period if changes occur. Changes include newly discovered recordable injuries or illnesses and any changes that have occurred in the classification of previously recorded injuries and illnesses. If the description or outcome of a case changes, you should remove or strikethrough the original entry and enter the new information. There is no requirement to update the 301 or 300A, though we recommend that all recor

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Changes to Itemized Deductions for 2018 Tax Filing

If you itemize deductions, avoid tax surprises with a “Paycheck Checkup” People who’ve itemized deductions on past tax returns should do a “paycheck checkup” using the updated IRS Withholding Calculator. This is especially important due to tax law changes from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, such as: • A cap on deductions for state and local taxes. • Limits to the deduction for home mortgage interest in certain cases. • Eliminated deductions for employee business expenses, tax preparation fees and investment expenses. See IRS.gov/taxreform for more information.

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