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Posts for HR Advisor

New Limits on Use of Criminal Background Checks During the Hiring Process

New Limits on Use of Criminal Background Checks During the Hiring Process

May 1, 2018 by Summit Law Group
Category: Recruitment and Hiring , HR Advisor , New Legislation and Regulations

Under the new Washington Fair Chance Act, an employer may only ask about a person’s arrest or conviction history once the employer has made the initial determination that the applicant is qualified.

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Is Your Organization Prepared for the #MeToo Movement?

Is Your Organization Prepared for the #MeToo Movement?

February 26, 2018 by Sebris Busto James
Category: Personnel Policies , HR Advisor

The consequences of failing to prevent or ignoring sexual harassment are significant for an organization, including millions of dollars in litigation and settlements, low employee morale, high turnover, and low productivity. This post looks at recent EEOC activity in this area and offers basic advice to organizations seeking to create a workplace free of any type of harassment. 

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Treat Your Elders Well

Treat Your Elders Well

May 3, 2017 by Jillian Barron
Category: Personnel , HR Advisor

It's estimated individuals age 55 and older will make up 25% of the U.S. workforce by 2020. The ADEA promotes employment of “older persons” based on ability and prohibits arbitrary age discrimination. Treat Your Elders Well: They can do the job, and they can also sue you for age discrimination 

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The EEOC Issues Publications on Mental Health Conditions

The EEOC Issues Publications on Mental Health Conditions

February 28, 2017 by Matthew R. Kelly
Category: Americans with Disabilities Act , HR Advisor

Last month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued two documents that summarize the workplace rights of job applicants and employees who have mental health conditions. Though not comprehensive, these documents provide some guidance that employers should be aware of.

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New EEOC Rules Affect Employer Wellness Programs

New EEOC Rules Affect Employer Wellness Programs

December 7, 2016 by Beth Kennar
Category: Personnel Policies , HR Advisor , New Legislation and Regulations

The EEOC recently issued a final rule to amend the regulations implementing Title I of the ADA and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 as they relate to employer wellness programs. This post discusses the impact of this new rule.  

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A 4-Step Approach to Progressive Discipline

A 4-Step Approach to Progressive Discipline

October 11, 2016 by Marci Wright
Category: HR Advisor , Administration and Management

Clear and consistent guidelines allow supervisors to manage employee disciplinary issues while providing employees with the information and the opportunity to improve performance. Supervisors often coach and counsel employees to fix minor behavioral- or performance-related issues but a template, such as the 4-step progressive discipline process, gives an employers tools to proactively manage more challenging cases. 

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Skills HR Professionals Need to Lead and Influence Change

Skills HR Professionals Need to Lead and Influence Change

July 1, 2016 by Cabot Dow
Category: HR Advisor , Administration and Management

This blog post highlights the key challenges that Human Resources professionals face and the skills needed to meet those challenges.

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NLRB’s Joint Employer Decision Adds Complexity to Legal Landscape

NLRB’s Joint Employer Decision Adds Complexity to Legal Landscape

December 21, 2015 by Sarah I. Hale
Category: Personnel , HR Advisor

The National Labor Relations Board’s recent ruling in Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc., 362 NLRB No. 186 (Aug. 27, 2015), lays out a new standard for the meaning of “joint employer.” 

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Hiring the Right Person: The Art of the Reference Check

Hiring the Right Person: The Art of the Reference Check

September 3, 2015 by Marci Wright
Category: Recruitment and Hiring , HR Advisor

Reference checks are essential in any hiring process and should almost always be done. 30-year HR veteran Marci Wright offers some tips and tricks for getting them most out of your reference checks.

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Sick Leave Benefits for Local Government Employees, Part 4: Establishing Clear Policies

Sick Leave Benefits for Local Government Employees, Part 4: Establishing Clear Policies

August 18, 2015 by Cabot Dow
Category: HR Advisor , Leave Policies

Part 4 in this series provides some review, guidelines for establishing clear policies, summation, and attempt to wrap up the subject for now.

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Hiring the Right Person: The Interview

Hiring the Right Person: The Interview

July 10, 2015 by Marci Wright
Category: Recruitment and Hiring , HR Advisor

Tips and strategies for making your interview process a success.

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Sick Leave Benefits for Local Government Employees, Part 3: Some Recommendations

Sick Leave Benefits for Local Government Employees, Part 3: Some Recommendations

June 10, 2015 by Cabot Dow
Category: HR Advisor , Leave Policies

MRSC HR Advisor Cabot Dow continues his series on sick leave with some policy recommendations for going forward.

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Hiring the Right Person: Screening Your Applicant Pool

Hiring the Right Person: Screening Your Applicant Pool

April 29, 2015 by Marci Wright
Category: Recruitment and Hiring , HR Advisor

You are a busy manager trying to fill a vacant position. You've advertised the job and received applications. How should you screen the applicants?

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Changes to Washington Law Require Timely and Complete Responses to Unemployment Claims

Changes to Washington Law Require Timely and Complete Responses to Unemployment Claims

April 17, 2015 by Sarah I. Hale
Category: HR Advisor , Termination

Washington state law creates a penalty for employers who contribute to unemployment compensation via an experience-based payroll tax and who fail to respond adequately to ESD unemployment benefit inquiries.

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Sick Leave Benefits for Local Government Employees, Part 2: Framework for Issue Assessment

Sick Leave Benefits for Local Government Employees, Part 2: Framework for Issue Assessment

April 10, 2015 by Cabot Dow
Category: HR Advisor , Leave Policies

This is part two of a four-part series on the subject of sick leave benefits for local government employees, focusing on identifying issues to think about and questions to discuss regarding paid sick leave benefits.

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Hiring the Right Person: Getting The Job “On the Street”

Hiring the Right Person: Getting The Job “On the Street”

March 18, 2015 by Marci Wright
Category: Recruitment and Hiring , HR Advisor

You are ready to actively begin your recruitment process. Here are a series of questions to help you focus the recruitment.

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Sick Leave Benefits for Local Government Employees Part 1: An Overview

Sick Leave Benefits for Local Government Employees Part 1: An Overview

March 2, 2015 by Cabot Dow
Category: HR Advisor , Leave Policies

This blog post (written before Washington's sick leave law was passed) provides an introduction to local government sick leave policies.

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Hiring the Right Person: Getting Started

Hiring the Right Person: Getting Started

February 17, 2015 by Marci Wright
Category: Recruitment and Hiring , HR Advisor

Vacancies often occur with little notice and at a bad time.  As busy as you are, you lack time and energy to devote to an unexpected, time-consuming recruitment and selection process. You need to refill this job as soon as possible. But, as busy as you are, a wise manager will spend a little time thinking about the vacant position and the process requirements before rushing to hire a new employee.

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Hiring the Right Person: An Overview

Hiring the Right Person: An Overview

January 16, 2015 by Marci Wright
Category: Recruitment and Hiring , HR Advisor

For most managers, the most important decisions you make are hiring decisions. Unfortunately many managers make a common mistake in their approach to hiring that results in making a poor choice.

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"Employers Must Accommodate Religious Beliefs," Says Washington Supreme Court

September 1, 2014 by Nate Bailey
Category: HR Advisor , Leave Policies

The Washington Supreme Court recently announced that the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) requires employers to accommodate employees' religious beliefs. The Court's recent decision in Kumar v. Gate Gourmet, Inc. marked the first time Washington's high court has directly...

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New Bill Gives Public Employees Two Unpaid Religious Holidays Per Year: What Does It Mean for Employers?

June 30, 2014 by HR Advisor
Category: HR Advisor , Leave Policies

In 2014, Governor Inslee signed into law a bill giving public employees two unpaid religious holidays per calendar year. SB 5173, which passed with overwhelming support, was designed to provide flexibility to employees of faiths like Islam or Judaism whose holy...

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A Review of Labor Contracts, the Labor Negotiations Process, and Costing Issues

March 31, 2014 by Cabot Dow
Category: HR Advisor , Collective Bargaining

This post discusses a framework for reviewing existing labor contract issues and provisions, guidelines for nagivating the negotiation process, and resources for costing out labor contract provisions.

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What Every Project Needs to Succeed

February 1, 2014 by Eric Svaren
Category: Leadership , HR Advisor

At a large public institution, a high-profile team is on the verge of implosion. Morale is abysmal. The team has broken into factions. Because this team deals with the most complicated, high stakes situations in the institution, the team's problems have pushed people's level of stress through the roof. Gossip is rampant. People are afraid of being attacked. Some team members won't talk to one...

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ICE: Is Your Organization Prepared for a Silent Raid?

January 1, 2014 by HR Advisor
Category: Legislation , HR Advisor

Immigration reform has been on the government's radar for some time, and 2014 promises to be no different. Over the past four years, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has audited the I-9 employment records of over 10,000 employers and imposed more than $100 million in fines. In September 2013, ICE notified another 1,000 employers that it would be conducting I-9 compliance and...

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New for Q3 and Q4: Withholding Tax Changes for Benefits Paid to Same-Sex Couples

October 1, 2013 by HR Advisor
Category: Compensation , HR Advisor

Employers will need to use special care in handling their federal employment tax duties for Q3 and Q4 of this year. In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's Windsor decision, which struck down federal restrictions on same-sex marriage, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued recent guidance that clarifies how employers should address their Q3 and Q4 tax reporting. In particular, the...

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What

What's Important Now?

September 1, 2013 by Cabot Dow
Category: HR Advisor , Collective Bargaining

A simple but powerful acronym that comes from the well-known and entertaining football coach and ESPN commentator Lou Holtz is W.I.N. In the gospel according to Lou Holtz, it stands for 'What's Important Now?'

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The EEOC Provides ADA Guidance on Specific Conditions

June 1, 2013 by Mark Busto
Category: Americans with Disabilities Act , HR Advisor

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued four new "Question and Answer" documents that address how the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) relates specifically to diabetes, epilepsy, intellectual disabilities, and cancer. These documents provide clear answers to common employer questions about hiring and accommodating employees with one or more of these...

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Why Retreats Don't Work and What to do About it

April 1, 2013 by Eric Svaren
Category: Management , HR Advisor

At a non-profit start-up, the entire staff meet to review their progress and address strategic and tactical challenges. Deep conversations emerge about the value the non-profit creates, people's personal commitment to the mission, and how to continue to grow sustainably, without burning out staff or burning up working capital. After two days, participants leave new clarity and understanding about...

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Meal and Rest Breaks for Public Employees

February 28, 2013 by Sofia D'Almeida Mabee
Category: Compensation , HR Advisor

There continues to be much confusion regarding meal and rest period obligations for public sector employees. Public employers in Washington State are required to provide meal and rest breaks for non-exempt employees (i.e., overtime-eligible employees.) However, unlike the situation for private employers, public employers can also have agreements with unions...

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What Happened to Comparability?

December 1, 2012 by HR Advisor
Category: HR Advisor , Collective Bargaining

Comparisons of compensation for like jobs is a criterion of fundamental importance in labor negotiations, mediation and interest arbitration. Why? Because all parties at interest derive benefit from them and the public is likely to support the outcome.

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Single Comment, Together with "Background Evidence," May Establish Hostile Work Environment

October 1, 2012 by M. Edward Taylor
Category: Personnel Policies , HR Advisor

In Washington, hostile work environment claims can be based on the cumulative effect of discrete acts. As a result, a hostile work environment can arise over a period of days or even years. When a claim involves several years of cumulative conduct, how do Washington courts address the situation where the conduct becomes unlawful in the middle of the series of acts?

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How Stories Keep Us in Conflict

August 1, 2012 by Eric Svaren
Category: Management , HR Advisor

One thing I've learned from working in conflict resolution and team building is: People work hard to stay in conflict. The players in any given situation expend extraordinary energy to prevent themselves from approaching someone, broaching a topic, truly listening and understanding—and, ultimately, from finding a resolution.

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Criminal Background Checks in Hiring: EEOC Provides Updated Title VII Guidance

August 1, 2012 by Peter Altman
Category: Recruitment and Hiring , HR Advisor

Criminal background checks provide valuable information to employers when screening job applicants and are required for certain positions in Washington, including positions where employees have unsupervised contact with children and vulnerable adults. Properly implemented criminal record screening policies help employers ensure a safe and productive workforce while reducing the risk of liability...

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Gain Sharing Strategy

May 1, 2012 by Cabot Dow
Category: HR Advisor , Collective Bargaining

As economic and political change happens, sharing the challenge of dividing up a smaller pie in good faith, while adhering to carefully weighed guiding principles, leads to more mutually beneficial outcomes, going forward. This column will address in more detail four subtopics...

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Bullying in the Workplace

March 1, 2012 by Janice Corbin and Janet May
Category: HR Advisor

Often, one of the factors contributing to a dysfunctional team relationship is bullying behavior by one or more employees and/or by a supervisor. This post explains what bullying is, why it matters, and how to stop it.

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Is it Safe to Provide a Job Reference?

March 1, 2012 by Elizabeth Kennar
Category: HR Advisor

Under state law, employers cannot be held liable for providing job references unless they provide information that is deliberately misleading or made with reckless disregard to the truth.

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Labor Relations Policy Development: New Balance is Smaller Concessions

March 1, 2012 by Cabot Dow
Category: HR Advisor

This 2011 blog post focuses on significant differences between past and present environments in which labor contracts are negotiated, with an emphasis on smaller concessions.

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Elected Officials Can be Subject to Recall for Violating Employment Laws

March 1, 2012 by Sofia D'Almeida Mabee
Category: HR Advisor

Elected officials can be subject to recall by the voters in certain situations. The court case In re Recall of Washam (2011) applied these principles to an elected official accused of violating county ordinances prohibiting certain employment practices, including retaliation against whistleblowers.

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Fair Labor Standards Act Classifications: Are Your Employees Correctly Classified?

March 1, 2012 by Jennifer A. Parda
Category: HR Advisor , FLSA

Stepped-up enforcement from the U.S. Department of Labor highlights the importance for employers to ensure that employees are properly classified under FLSA, as well as the high monetary costs that can ensue if they aren't.

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Dangerous Decisions

March 1, 2012 by Eric Svaren
Category: HR Advisor

Managers often need to make a decision and move on while also making room for staff who want to be involved in the decision. Involving people is risky, but leaving people out of the process also presents big problems. What is a decider to do?

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What to Do About Gossip in the Workplace?

March 1, 2012 by Janice Corbin and Janet May
Category: HR Advisor

Gossip can negatively impact the workplace, and employers are well within their rights to try and stop it. But what exactly is gossip, and what can be done to stop the behavior?

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PERC's New Decision on Weingarten Rights

March 1, 2012 by Sofia D'Almeida Mabee
Category: HR Advisor

The 2010 Public Employment Relations Commission Omak School District decision reviews what Weingarten rights employees have in Washington and redefined the contours of those rights.

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When People Complain About "Communications"

March 1, 2012 by Dee Endleman
Category: HR Advisor

Poor communication is a tricky topic because it can mean different things to different people. So how go you get to the root of the problem?

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Employers Need to Promptly and Effectively Address Complaints of Workplace Harassment

March 1, 2012 by Mark Busto
Category: HR Advisor

If an employer fails to take prompt and effective action to correct or end a workplace harassment issue, it can incur significant liability as shown in the 2010 court decision EEOC v. Prospect Airport Services.

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When Emotions Run High

March 1, 2012 by Eric Svaren
Category: HR Advisor

How do you handle broken work relationships? What do you do when conflict seems to be bubbling just under the surface? And how do you begin to restore trust and respect when anger and frustration are running high?

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Budget-Related Furloughs: Employers Must Bargain Both Decision and Effects

March 1, 2012 by Kristin Anger
Category: HR Advisor

Unpaid furloughs are an attractive alternative to layoffs for some public employers. In 2010, the PERC's King County decision affirmed that employers are obligated to bargain both the decision to implement furloughs and the effects.

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Electronic Communications and Social Media: Managing Employer Risks with Clear Policies

March 1, 2012 by Mark Busto
Category: HR Advisor

When employees engage in social media, the line between workplace and personal conduct can be easily blurred. This post reminds public employers to revisit their electronic communication policies and establish guidelines and expectations concerning employee use of social media.

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Employee Performance Evaluations

March 1, 2012 by Janice Corbin and Janet May
Category: HR Advisor

Many employees and supervisors do not particularly enjoy performance evaluations. This post addresses why performance evaluations are important and key issues to keep in mind while preparing for the evaluation.

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When Conflict Is Good (And When It's Not)

March 1, 2012 by Eric Svaren
Category: HR Advisor

Emotional conflict is profoundly unproductive and destructive, but cognitive conflict, which involves disagreements over ideas, decisions, or actions, helps to refine and tighten ideas in order to come to the best decision possible.

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Drawing the Line Between Physical Fitness Tests and Medical Examinations Prohibited by the ADA

March 1, 2012 by Mark Busto
Category: HR Advisor

Does a physical capacity evaluation for an employee returning to work from medical leave constitute a lawful physical fitness test, or a prohibited medical examination under the Americans with Disabilities Act? The court decision in Indergard v. Georgia-Pacific Corp. (2009) addresses the issue.

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Getting a Grip on Grievances

March 1, 2012 by Janice Corbin and Janet May
Category: HR Advisor

Most collective bargaining agreements contain very specific grievance processes concerning how disagreements will be made known to the employer and the timeline for resolving disagreements. How can you manage the grievance process more effectively?

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The Latest in Retaliation Law

March 1, 2012 by Mark Busto
Category: HR Advisor

A 2009 Supreme Court decision, Crawford v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee, confirmed that federal law broadly protects employees who oppose discriminatory conduct and explains "opposition" activity.

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Taking the Mystery out of Loudermill Meetings

March 1, 2012 by Janice Corbin and Janet May
Category: HR Advisor

Loudermill meetings are often a source of frustration or concern, but in reality they are generally fairly simple to conduct. This post discusses some of the do's and don'ts for conducting a Loudermill meeting.

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Strategies for Preventing Workplace Violence

March 1, 2012 by Janice Corbin and Janet May
Category: HR Advisor

The first steps in preventing workplace violence are adopting a workplace violence policy and a violence prevention program. This post outlines some of the do's and don'ts for developing these policies and programs.

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Recent Legal Changes Add to Employees' Rights and Benefits in a Reduction-in-Force

March 1, 2012 by Shannon Phillips
Category: HR Advisor

Legislation in 2008-2009 involving COBRA benefits, as well as a court decision addressing an employee's due process rights in a layoff situation, add to employers' obligations concerning layoffs.

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New Domestic Violence Leave Expands Washington Employees' Right to Time Off

March 1, 2012 by Mark Busto
Category: HR Advisor

Effective in 2008, employers must provide leave to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. This post provides an overview.

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Ringing in the New? Pregnancy Discrimination and Pregnancy-Related Leaves

March 1, 2012 by Mark Busto
Category: HR Advisor

In light of the 2007 Supreme Court decision Hegwine v. Longview Fibre Co., local agencies should review their policies and procedures to ensure that they are following the most recent guidance regarding employing pregnant women.

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Engineering Success for the Productive Employee

March 1, 2012 by Janice Corbin and Janet May
Category: HR Advisor

Employers often spend enormous amounts of time focusing on problematic employees who can cause disruption and are challenging to deal with. But in doing so, they may be missing opportunities to create success for good employees who quietly perform their jobs but are seldom recognized.

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Managing Change Effectively In the Workplace - Part 2

March 1, 2012 by Janice Corbin and Janet May
Category: HR Advisor

With any change, managers need to be prepared for employees to demonstrate a wide range of emotions before the change is fully implemented. How can managers respond to such emotion?

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Managing Change Effectively In the Workplace - Part 1

March 1, 2012 by Janice Corbin and Janet May
Category: HR Advisor

Today's workplaces are changing at lightning speed. Even when the change is positive, it still means we are giving up something that we are used to in exchange for an unknown, which can make even the most upbeat employee apprehensive.

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Are Your Workers Misclassified?

March 1, 2012 by Elizabeth Kennar
Category: HR Advisor

Important consequences flow from the determination that an individual is a "regular employee" as opposed to a temporary employee, seasonal employee, or independent contractor, and state law prohibits public employers from misclassifying employees.

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Staff Meetings - Friend or Foe?

March 1, 2012 by Janice Corbin and Janet May
Category: HR Advisor

Effective staff meetings can provide accurate and up-to-date communications and provide a forum for employees to share their thoughts in a controlled environment. So, what information should be presented at staff meetings?

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Negotiate a Labor Contract and Repair Relationships at the Same Time

March 1, 2012 by Eric Svaren
Category: HR Advisor

In the face of limited revenues and greater demand for services, labor relations can be difficult. But interest-based bargaining allows management and labor to collaboratively identify their unique and shared interests.

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Social Media in Hiring: Minimizing Legal Risks

March 1, 2012 by Sofia D'Almeida Mabee
Category: HR Advisor

While employers may be tempted to take advantage of social media information to evaluate job candidates, they should understand and take steps to minimize the associated risks.

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Medical Marijuana and Drug Testing - What Employers Need To Know

March 1, 2012 by Brian M. Flock and M. Edward Taylor
Category: HR Advisor

The 2011 state Supreme Court decision in Roe v. TeleTech Customer Care Management (Colorado) LLC confirmed that the Medical Use of Marijuana Act does not protect medical marijuana users from adverse hiring or disciplinary decisions based on an employer's drug testing policy.

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