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COMPLIANCE

Here’s why the NLRB hates your no gossiping policy

By Paul Edwards bio I keep running into this problem as we evaluate pre-existing employee handbooks across the country. The issue is that, as an employer, you want to address employees standing around and gossiping. Or standing around and not being productive, or standing around and distracting those who are being productive. In fact, you don’t want employees standing, or sitting, around at all. So you get creative, and a new policy is born. Here are examples we run into all the time: No gossiping! Employees may not stand around or be inactive for more than 10 seconds. Employees may not conduct personal business during working hours. Employees must not intentionally create problems for other team members, managers, or others. Doing so may result in warnings and/or termination. Employees must not… . . . read more

HUMAN RESOURCES

How to help employees at peak burnout

By Indira Totaram bio It’s the feeling of being drained but unable to recharge, the frustration of a tiring routine, the everyday distress in response to the current state of the world—employee burnout is now more widespread than ever. As the pandemic endures and its effects trickle down, many are struggling to keep up with workplace demands, longer hours, and remote work conditions. Burnout refers to the experience of chronic workplace stress, characterized by exhaustion, fatigue, cynicism, and feelings of reduced professional ability. Have we reached our physical, mental, and emotional limits? If so, how can we recover? Read on to learn more about reaching peak burnout: The mental health crisis Studies show that mental health in the United States is deteriorating among all age groups. Researchers and health officials are… . . . read more

MANAGING STAFF

Exit interviews: You might be surprised by what you learn

By Lynne Curry bio “Good riddance” the supervisor mutters the day his employee leaves. As the practice manager, however, you have doubts. “Kate” is the third employee who’s resigned from your practice in the last 18 months. All three worked for “Jim.” If you want to learn the truth, you need to talk to these employees who’ve chosen to leave—before they carry away the answers you need. Here’s how: Let each resigning employee know you’d consider it a gift to the employee’s coworkers and you to learn his or her thoughts about working in your organization. If the employee worries about potential retribution, find out why and offer to hold the information you learn confidential. You can also allay any fears the employees may have by offering to provide reference… . . . read more

WORKPLACE SAFETY

Mandatory COVID vaccination: new guidance & update

By Lynne Curry bio Can employers require their employees to receive COVID-vaccinations? While vaccination is one of an employer’s best tools for preventing COVID-19 outbreaks at their worksites, requiring employees to be vaccinated and disciplining them if they refuse comes with legal risks. Although the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)’s December 2020 guidelines stated that employers could implement and enforce mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies for certain jobs and with certain exceptions1, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that recipients of vaccines under an “emergency use authorization” (which includes the current COVID vaccines) must be informed that they have the option to accept or refuse the vaccination. For more detail on this federal agency contradiction, see https://workplacecoachblog.com/2021/01/covid-vaccination-update-in-light-of-the-vaccines-emergency-use-authorization-status/ “The current problem,” says Perkins Coie Senior Counsel Michael O’Brien, “is that many employees… . . . read more

MANAGING STAFF

Post-pandemic period a chance to try flexible staffing strategies

By Lynne Curry bio Question: COVID-19 hit our northern U.S. law practice hard. We cut employees, then salaries, and then we cut again. We lost half of our clients as their fortunes failed; other clients cut their work to the bone. Our revenue is down 70%. Some office staffers left our state when their spouses’ high-paying jobs evaporated. Others took off when COVID-19 combined with our cold, dark winter proved too much. Because these employees had talents we needed, we kept them as “snowbirds”. At first, it didn’t cause trouble. Everyone was working from home, so it didn’t matter where “home” was. Now that we’ve moved back into the office building, our local employees complain about the snowbirds. They feel the fair weather staff get an unfairly sweet deal, as… . . . read more

TRAINING

Are you measuring the right metrics for your law firm training program?

By Doug Striker bio I recently attended a fabulous webinar hosted by LearnUpon, the award-winning company that serves as the platform for our Savvy Academy Learning Management System. This webinar was designed to help learning and development (L&D) professionals quantitatively assess the impact of their training programs. Let’s face it—this is the biggest challenge of any training or educational program. Are you adding value to your firm? More important to upper management: Does your work contribute positively to the firm’s bottom line? During the webinar, Frances Kleven, Manager of Customer Success for LearnUpon, discussed: The key reasons leading L&D teams calculate the success of their learning programs. The most valuable metrics you should be recording. How to align your L&D metrics and business goals to develop a high-impact strategy. If… . . . read more

TECHNOLOGY

What problems does AI bring to the legal sector?

By Brittainy Boessel Artificial intelligence (AI) technology is steadily gaining traction in the legal sector, and some practitioners worry about the changes it’s bringing. Many legal professionals fear AI may infringe on their job security by significantly cutting the available jobs. A number of legal professionals raise ethical and legal concerns underlying the use of AI in their work. Still others wonder whether future attorneys will possess the skills needed to take advantage of this technology. This article will discuss a few of the valid concerns regarding the use of legal AI technology and explain why the benefits of AI outweigh the risks. Will AI make lawyers obsolete? When technology performs better than humans at certain tasks, job losses seem inevitable. But the effect may not be as dire as… . . . read more

Telecommuting

Cybersecurity risks rise when law office staff works from home

By Ron Slyker The number of people who work from home has slowly increased from year to year. In 2020 that number skyrocketed as companies including law offices were forced to implement telecommuting policies. Making the transition from traditional office to home office has brought some challenges, but arguably the most challenging aspect of the process has been maintaining cybersecurity. Now in 2021 the need for remote worker security is more important than ever. Keep yourself safe with network security assessments Employees who work from home are more susceptible to cyber threats than employees who work in the office. The reason is businesses can afford enterprise-level cybersecurity services. The average home not only does not have access to this level of security but may also lack basic security measures. When working from… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

New rules for wellness programs & marijuana legal in more places

By Mike O’Brien bio Employment law continues to change rapidly with a change in federal government administration and the continuing pandemic. As manager of a law office, it’s just one more thing to keep up with. Here are a few recent developments.  New rules coming for employer wellness programs On Jan. 7, 2021, the EEOC issued proposed rules related to what incentives employers can offer as part of wellness programs. The new rules come in response to a decision of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that vacated a portion of the EEOC’s previous ADA and GINA regulations. HIPAA allows employers to offer incentives up to 30 percent of the total cost of health insurance to encourage participation in certain types of wellness programs. However, the ADA… . . . read more

WORKPLACE SAFETY

What do we do about employees who refuse vaccination?

By Lynne Curry bio Question: What do we do if our employees refuse to get vaccinated? Several dozen employees have stated they don’t want the vaccine, as doctors don’t know enough about the vaccine’s long-term side effects. They point out that the Food and Drug Administration sanctioned the vaccines through an emergency use authorization procedure and rushed the vaccines through. We run a mid-sized practice.  Our management team read your Dec. 21 post about mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies. https://workplacecoachblog.com/2020/12/mandatory-covid-vaccinations-the-rules/ Now that vaccinations are starting, we’re considering a mandatory policy for safety reasons. How are other employers handling this? Answer: As a management team, you’re not alone in your concerns. Surveys by both the Employee Benefit Research Institute and Pew reveal that 21% to 24% of U.S. adults “will not get… . . . read more


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