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EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Who knew vaccine requirements could be so much fun?

By Mike O’Brien  As you might recall, in one of our previous updates we cautioned that implementing workplace-vaccination requirements could be a bit tricky. It turns out, we were right—just ask the federal government. On Nov. 5, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an Interim Final Rule regulating healthcare facilities (“Vaccination IFR”). The Vaccination IFR—which applies to most (but not all) healthcare facilities subject to CMS’s health and safety requirements—obliges covered businesses to develop and implement policies to (1) ensure that all staff is fully vaccinated against COVID-19; (2) track employee vaccination status, including boosters; and (3) grant and track vaccination exemptions, including those based on applicable federal law (e.g., the ADA and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act), or recognized clinical contraindications to COVID-19 vaccines… . . . read more

MANAGING STAFF

Will employees resign rather than get vaccinated?

By Lynne Curry Many anti-vax employees threaten to quit when their employers announce they’re considering a vaccination mandate. This shakes the confidence of employers considering vaccination mandates. What’s the truth? Many employees remain vaccine skeptics; more than a third of U.S. adults remain unvaccinated. But do they quit if told their job depends on it? It depends on the industry and it’s fewer than you think. You’ll find employees who refuse vaccines for a variety of heartfelt reasons. Some don’t want to have anyone mandate a personal health decision. Others have heard stories about individuals who’ve experienced vaccine complications, overlooking that many have died, become gravely ill, or continue experiencing long-term complications from COVID-19 because the disease caught them before they became vaccinated. Many hospital workers can tell real-life stories… . . . read more

MANAGING STAFF

Losing employees? Toxic workplace? Create a turnaround game plan

By Lynne Curry Productivity cratered many months ago. When you ask managers, “How’s it going?” you hear, “It’s going.” New resignation letters land on your desk every several weeks, with some employees leaving before finishing out their two weeks’ notice. You can’t avoid the truth. You need a turnaround plan, fast, before you lose more employees. Here’s what to know and do. Don’t blame your employees. Sure, some of them may need to go because they’ve become problems or contributed to creating a toxic culture. The major responsibility, however, lies with you. Your own inaction and behaviors fanned toxic fumes. Leadership that wants to “right the ship” needs to get right themselves. Ask yourself, when your employees voice concerns, do they fear you’ll shoot the messenger or believe you’ll act?… . . . read more

WORKING WITH PEOPLE

You knew she was depressed, but suicidal? Now what?

By Lynne Curry You knew your coworker felt depressed, squeezed by the financial hit she and her husband took when laid off, and the overwhelming pressure when her kids hated school by Zoom. Now, she worries every day that sending her kids to school exposes them to danger. Throughout the pandemic, she made off-hand comments that concerned you, but what she said this morning felt more serious. “With the Delta variant and people refusing to get vaccinated, I don’t see any end in sight. I’m failing my kids by not home schooling them. But they hated staying home, and I was so scattered I didn’t feel I was helping them. I’m worn out and just feel like giving up.” These comments, coupled with how haggard she looks, and the social… . . . read more

WORKPLACE SAFETY

Can you ask job applicants, “Are you vaccinated”?

By Lynne Curry You weathered the storm that blew through your workplace when you told your employees they needed to get vaccinated. You read the stories about Delta Air, Chevron, UPS, Goldman Sachs, and other major employers that made full vaccination a condition of employment.1 Like 59% of 1,000 small business owners surveyed, you plan to sidestep future problems by hiring only vaccinated employees.2 You’ve been pleasantly surprised by the many candidates who note on their applications they’ve been vaccinated. You wonder—is it okay to ask applicants who don’t supply their vaccination status if they’ve been vaccinated? You’re not alone in your hesitancy to make job offers when you don’t know a candidate’s vaccination status. According to ResumeBuilder.com, one-third of 1250 hiring managers surveyed automatically throw out resumes that don’t… . . . read more

MANAGING STAFF

Making hybrid work: Charting a new playbook for a future-ready workplace

By Lynne Curry Employers thought employees would want to come back to their offices, where they had easy access to equipment, coworkers, and managers. They were wrong. COVID-19 untethered us from our traditional workplaces and many employees don’t want to return. Employees enjoyed the flexibility and freedom, sometimes from micro-managing supervisors, they had when working from home. They discovered they could better balance home and work when they didn’t have to commute or leave home for eight hours daily. When the C-suite consulting firm McKinsey & Company surveyed more than 5,000 employees, it reported three-quarters of them want to work from home two or more days per weekly, with more than half of them wanting to work from home at least three days a week.1 Given this disconnect, if employers… . . . read more

HIRING

That glowing reference? It’s fake

By Lynne Curry It isn’t fair that honest, hard-working, quality applicants lose out on job opportunities to individuals who fake resumes and references. But they do. The reality: you can’t believe resumes A stunning number of applicants lie on resumes. According to a February 2021 article posted on one of the country’s top hiring sites, indeed.com, 40 percent of applicants lie on their resumes.1 The most common lies include lying about technical abilities, inflating titles, exaggerating accomplishments and previous salaries and falsifying dates of employment.1 A CareerBuilder survey reports an even higher percentage, noting that 75% of human resource managers have caught lies on applicants’ resumes.2 According to Business News Daily and HireRight’s 2019 Employment Screening Report, 87% of employers worry candidates misrepresent themselves on resumes and applications.3, 5 An estimated 71% of employees state… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

“Long COVID” looms ahead as leading ADA claim

By Mike O’Brien Legal commentators are already predicting that the condition now known as “long COVID” may displace back conditions as the leading impairment asserted in charges brought under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). CNN recently reported, “A large study has revealed that one in three Covid-19 survivors have suffered symptoms three to six months after getting infected, with breathing problems, abdominal symptoms such as abdominal pain, change of bowel habit and diarrhea, fatigue, pain, anxiety, and depression among the most common issues reported.” To date, COVID-19 has infected some 43 million Americans. The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) already has opined here that “long COVID can be a disability under” the ADA. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) agrees, citing the HHS paper. Guidance issued for federal contractor vaccine mandate… . . . read more

TERMINATION

Firing documentation that makes sense

By Lynne Curry As an expert witness (qualified in court in management best practices, HR, and workplace issues), I’m often handed documentation by attorneys or employers who ask, “What do you think? Will it convince a regulatory agency or jury this employee needed to be fired?” My most frequent answer: “This documentation doesn’t make the case.” Here’s why. It doesn’t convince Many supervisors confuse their opinions with facts. Their documentation consists of statements such as “he didn’t show initiative,” “she demonstrates a poor attitude,” “he doesn’t play well with others.” While those statements provide the supervisor’s view, they fail to convince. Well-written documentation provides the facts that will lead a third-party to reach the conclusion the supervisor holds. For example, “When Tish came to the staff meeting 45 minutes late,… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

All private-sector employers with 100 or more employees must mandate vaccination or a weekly negative COVID-19 test

By Mike O’Brien President Biden spoke from the White House Sept. 9 to announce his new Path Out of the Pandemic Plan. Among other things, President Biden has instructed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop rules that will require private-sector employers with 100 or more employees to mandate that their employees be vaccinated or receive a weekly negative COVID test. Employers who fail to do so will face fines. Some media outlets report that such fines could be up to $14,000 per violation. Along with President Biden’s spoken remarks, the White House also issued this statement: The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing a rule that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated… . . . read more


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