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TRAINING

Now is the time to train for technology

By Doug Striker bio I think it’s safe to say that the legal industry is not the most “agile” profession in the marketplace. The law actually breeds the opposite of agility. We tend to reward slow processes, long research endeavors, decisions-by-committee, slow turning of the ship to accommodate changes. So, it is no surprise that the rapid changes demanded by the COVID outbreak have rattled law firms to their cores. To put it more bluntly, I’ll quote a couple of people I recently heard speak at an ILTA Roundtable discussion regarding the legal industry’s use of tech tools to get work done “during these difficult and challenging times:” “I have a lot of self-represented litigants on my [virtual] docket and many of them are more comfortable with technology than the… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

COVID, opioids and payroll taxes on HR radar

By Mike O’Brien bio Applicants, testing, and screening The EEOC has said you cannot test applicants for COVID-19 until after a conditional job offer. Fine, makes sense. What about taking temperatures? You can take a temperature of visitors to your business/office to make sure they are not bringing COVID-19 with them. In fact, you may have an OSHA duty to do so to protect your workers from the pandemic. What about applicants visiting your office to apply to interview—can you subject them to the same temperature screening as all other visitors? Logic would say yes; but the EEOC guidance says no, you can only take an applicant’s temperature after a conditional job offer. Yet, a visiting applicant with COVID-19 could turn your office into a virus hot spot, thus attracting… . . . read more

YOUR CAREER

Preparation is the key to a good ZOOM interview

By Lynne Curry bio Question: After unsuccessfully responding to job listings on LinkedIn and Indeed.com for five weeks, I finally received a request to interview. When I asked, “Where do I meet you?” I learned I’d be interviewed via Zoom. I’ve had bad experiences with Zoom. For some reason, they have my name misspelled; I’ve tried but haven’t been able to fix this. I can’t even get into my Zoom account; my password’s at my former office and Zoom insists on sending the password reset to my former, extinct email. And I find it distracting looking at my face when I’m speaking. My brother-in-law promises to help me fix the name thing, but I’m even more panicked about the interview itself. I need this job and need to know how… . . . read more

COVID & Telework

Are employers responsible/liable for an employee’s home ergonomics, safety and expenses?

By Lynne Curry bio Question: COVID-19 has caused employers large and small to require the employers work from home rather than their employer’s worksites. Word has it that this may continue beyond weeks and months and become the new normal. What is my employer’s responsibility/liability for workplace ergonomics and safety when my home becomes my workplace? Do they need to compensate me for my expenses in upgrading my WIFI and getting a new office chair? Answer: “That depends,” says FisherBroyles management-side employment attorney Eric Meyer. According to Meyer, because the “Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) ensures safe and healthful working conditions–even outside of the normal workplace, employers technically have a duty to protect remote workers at home.” “But in reality,” notes Meyer, OSHA won’t inspect employees’ home offices. Additionally,… . . . read more

YOUR CAREER

Make the most of your time during coronavirus

By Elizabeth Miller bio I know this is not only a time of uncertainty but also fear as we try to make sense of this situation.  It’s difficult to know what to do and what not to do.  Conflicting stories and information seem overwhelming.  And then there is your law practice to worry about. When all is said and done, your law practice needs to survive. Fortunately working remotely is now an option for so many firms. In fact, the firms that are doing it are actually thriving because everyone is on board with working remote and using technology. Years ago, it would have been stop work or risk going into the office. There are some things that you can do to make good use of your time: Work on… . . . read more

COVID-19

Can my employer fire me for going to a bar or do I have any freedom? Left?

Question: My employer sent a two-part email to every employee last week. “As you know we’ve had a local spike in COVID-19 infections. The health department has provided a list of the establishments, primarily bars, where COVID-19 individuals spent extended time. The health department asks that anyone who was in these businesses during these times monitor themselves for symptoms, check their temperatures twice daily for fourteen days and avoid potentially exposing others who fall into high-risk categories for COVID-19 vulnerability. Please comply with this guidance.” That was okay, but then the email obligated me as an employee to offer up personal information. “We have learned that a bartender at (named) bar has tested positive and was serving customers on ____ date and between ____ p.m. and ____ p.m.  during these… . . . read more

WORKPLACE SAFETY

Coworker exposed all of us to COVID-19

By Lynne Curry bio Question For weeks, “Carolyn” told the five of us in our department that she had allergies whenever any of us asked her about her sneezing. She worked with us in the same building, used the same copier, restroom and office fridge and handled the same coffeepot. I tried to avoid her because she kept forgetting her mask and didn’t seem to understand what six feet of separation meant. I saw that she didn’t use sanitizing wipes after she used the copier or coffeepot, so I wiped the copier before I used it and started bringing my own coffee from home. I didn’t talk with the others about this because I’m not a gossip. I regret that now. Because Carolyn’s and my job overlapped and I have… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Here’s new guidance on COVID-19 and FLSA

By Mike O’Brien bio For managers in charge of HR, the so-called lazy days of summer have been anything but lazy, as they strive to adapt to the COVID era and stay up to date on seemingly constant new government guidances. The Department of Labor has provided more information for employers regarding pandemic-related wage and hour issues. Specifically, the agency answered questions about hazard pay, FLSA’s overtime and minimum wage exemptions, and what time is compensable with respect to pandemic-related telework arrangements: DOL notes that hazard pay is not required under FLSA, but may be required under state or local laws, collective bargaining agreements, or company policies. DOL makes clear that taking leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) will not jeopardize an employee’s exempt status under FLSA’s… . . . read more

CYBERSECURITY

Employees worse than hackers for putting firms at risk

By Jay Stromberg bio A recent study shows that cybersecurity breaches aren’t caused by issues with your firm’s hardware or software; it’s your people. But, come on, I’ve been saying this for years. Still, it’s nice to have (yet another) study to prove my point. In this case, SolarWinds reported that human error is by far the leading case of security breaches. I mean, seriously, humans are WAY outpacing the machines and other tools in terms of mistakes. HelpNetSecurity.com reported on the study, saying: “Internal user mistakes created the largest percentage of cybersecurity incidents over the past twelve months (80%), followed by exposures caused by poor network system or application security (36%), and external threat actors infiltrating the organization’s network or systems (31%).” Put another way, unwitting employees are actually doing… . . . read more

TRAINING

How to implement remote learning in your law office

By Doug Striker bio I keep hearing from my IT and trainer friends at law firms, who tell me that their attorneys are really digging this work-from-home change. Of course, this shift also demands that attorneys work more independently, which is pushing their (often lax) tech skills to the limits. Enter remote training and learning Remote training gives your law firm the power to train each and every employee regardless of location, be it in one of your worldwide offices or in their home office. What is remote learning?  Remote learning, also referred to as distance learning, gives learners, who aren’t in a physical location for in-person education, access to online training materials. It’s become a go-to training method for law firms, as it enables them to train every employee… . . . read more


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