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When Employment Is Impersonal, Courtesy Goes Out the Door

In December, The Washington Post reported on an odd, eyebrow-raising phenomenon in the working world: employees are “ghosting” their employers. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, ghosting is an unfortunately common practice in the dating scene. It occurs when someone breaks off a relationship without warning or notice and then ceases all communication. In the business scene, it’s a catchier, hipper name for job abandonment. Instead of giving the courtesy of a two-week notice—or any notice for that matter—employees just vanish without a word, silently moving on to their next endeavor. These employees feel comfortable abandoning their jobs because they believe g

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Federal Law Alert

Reminder: OSHA 300A Forms Must Be Posted by February 1The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that all employers who are required to maintain the OSHA 300 Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses post a summary of the previous year’s log between February 1st and April 30th each year, even if no incidents occurred in the preceding calendar year. The summary (OSHA Form 300A) must be certified by a company executive and posted in a conspicuous location where notices to employees are customarily posted. All employers who had more than ten employees at any point during the last calendar year are covered by this requirement unless they qualify as part of an exempt l

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HR Tip of the Month

The importance of documenting performance problems as they occur cannot be overstated. Although this requires meeting with the employee and discussing the issue, which will almost certainly be uncomfortable, it’s your best defense to a wrongful termination claim should the employee feel litigious after termination. Too many employers rely on the concept of employment at-will to protect them, when the reach of this concept is actually quite limited. The problem is that if an employer has little to no documentation and relies on at-will employment—and the theory that legally no reason is required—the terminated employee, their attorney, and possibly a jury of their peers will fill the

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Reminder: OSHA 300A Forms Must Be Posted by February 1

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that all employers with more than 10 employees—except those in exempt low-risk industries—maintain a record of work-related injuries and illnesses. Those who are required to maintain these records should use OSHA’s Form 300: Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses or an equivalent state-specific form. Those same employers must then post OSHA’s Form 300A: Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses each year between February 1 and April 30. As its name implies, Form 300A summarizes (and sanitizes) the information logged on Form 300. OSHA Form 300A must be certified by a company executive and posted in a cons

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How to Reduce Absenteeism

Taking time away from work is good for the health and morale of employees. When they can rest during an illness, recuperate after an injury, or tend to affairs in their personal lives, they’re better able to focus at work and engage in the tasks at hand. Too many absences, however, can be costly for employers and frustrating for other employees who have to pick up the slack. A lot of absences may be sign of absenteeism, which occurs when employees skip work for no good reason. You may not be able to prevent the illnesses, injuries, or family emergencies that keep employees from coming to work, but you can and should do something about absenteeism. Fortunately, there are a few steps you

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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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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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DOL Adopts New Unpaid Intern Test

The Department of Labor (DOL) adopted a new test for unpaid interns. Employers should use this test—called the primary beneficiary test—when determining if a worker can be properly classified as an unpaid intern or if they need to be classified as an employee and paid minimum wage and overtime. The test adopted by the DOL has already been in use in four federal appellate courts, most recently the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The DOL’s switch to the primary beneficiary test creates a nationwide standard. Balancing v. All-or-Nothing Previously, the DOL was using a six-question all-or-nothing test. An employer needed to be able to say “yes, the internship does that” to all six

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DOL Adopts New Unpaid Intern Test

Last Friday the Department of Labor (DOL) adopted a new test for unpaid interns. Employers should use this test—called the primary beneficiary test—when determining if a worker can be properly classified as an unpaid intern or if they need to be classified as an employee and paid minimum wage and overtime. The test adopted by the DOL has already been in use in four federal appellate courts, most recently the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The DOL’s switch to the primary beneficiary test creates a nationwide standard. Balancing v. All-or-Nothing Previously, the DOL was using a six-question all-or-nothing test. An employer needed to be able to say “yes, the internship does that”

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Four Misunderstood Terms in the Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to a lot of organizations—all public employers and any private employer with 15 or more employees. Nevertheless, there’s a lot of confusion about what the law requires and what its terms entail. A big reason for this confusion is the language of the law itself; the ADA speaks of nebulous concepts like undue hardship and reasonable accommodation. Words like undue and reasonable are by their nature open to some interpretation, which is not exactly a comfort to employers. Fortunately, while there’s no getting completely around the inherent ambiguity of the ADA, employers can feel confident in their application of the law by reviewing an

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