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WORKPLACE SAFETY

Use contact logging to ensure law office employees practice social distancing

Managing a law office compliance program in the age of COVID-19 poses new and unprecedented challenges. One of the biggest and most important is ensuring that employees and the persons they interact with on the job follow social distancing requirements. To succeed in this effort, you must have the capability to track actual encounters. One possibility is digital technology, the use of apps, wearables and other so called “contact tracing” solutions that monitor encounters in real time. But in addition to being highly privacy-invasive, these solutions may be too costly and cumbersome for many offices. So, you may want to consider using this cheaper, easier and less intrusive manual method instead. What’s at stake Without a vaccine or treatment, social distancing, i.e., keeping at least six feet away from other… . . . read more

Tool: Model COVID-19 Contact Log Sheet

Maintaining social distancing will be the price that law offices and other businesses will have to pay to reopen and remain open until the COVID-19 threat goes away. But for social distancing to work, there must be a way to track and analyze actual encounters between people at your office. One simple way to gather the essential data is to have employees and visitors complete a contact log sheet. Here’s a model your office can adapt for its own use.

GOING AHEAD WITH SHORTER SESSIONS

Survey shows COVID-19 impact on summer programs, recruiting, and OCI

The National Association for Law Placement, Inc. (NALP) has released the results of two short “pulse” surveys about the impacts of COVID-19 on U.S. legal employers, law schools, and JD students. The surveys, conducted in May, were designed to quantify the rapidly evolving changes in the legal profession and the industry as a result of the pandemic. NALP is following up with a second set of surveys to members in the coming weeks. Key findings for legal employers include: • The overwhelming majority of offices (86%) that originally planned to host a 2020 summer program still plan to do so. • Almost two-thirds (64%) of offices reported that their 2020 summer programs will now be 5-6 weeks in length, a considerably shorter period than in recent summers. In 2019 the… . . . read more

Employment Law Update

COVID-19, discrimination, DACA, and immigration developments

By Mike O’Brien bio EEOC says no to COVID-19 antibody testing: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently (6/17/20) updated its COVID-19 guidance to indicate that employers should not be requiring employees to submit to antibody testing. Here is the verbatim Q&A (found at EEOC Guidance): Question: (A.7.): CDC said in its Interim Guidelines that antibody test results “should not be used to make decisions about returning persons to the workplace.” In light of this CDC guidance, under the ADA may an employer require antibody testing before permitting employees to re-enter the workplace? Answer: No. An antibody test constitutes a medical examination under the ADA. In light of CDC’s Interim Guidelines that antibody test results “should not be used to make decisions about returning persons to the workplace,” an antibody test at this time… . . . read more

MANAGING STAFF

Handle these 3 HR challenges in COVID-19 era

 By Lynne Curry  bio  1 Anticipate reluctance to come back to the office Question: I’ve been working from home since late March. At first I thought I’d hate working remotely; instead I love it. My work day is relaxed because I don’t have to put up with my micro-managing supervisor and can walk my dog during the day rather than waiting until after five. Working at home gives me something I haven’t had for a long time, work/life balance. Fast forward to May 1. My supervisor sends all of us an email saying we need to return to work May 4. My heart sank. Do COVID-19 risks give me the chance to say I need to work from home due to health concerns? Answer: The short answer—probably not. The long… . . . read more

So, your employee wants to stay on unemployment

By Paul Edwards bio It’s been a couple of months of COVID chaos and business owners across America are thinking about what it’s going to take to reopen their businesses—and the economy, in general. Of course, the first piece of that equation involves recalling your employees who have been temporarily furloughed or laid off. And, since one portion of the CARES Act included an additional $600 per week to anyone collecting unemployment benefits, one common question we’re hearing is, “What if my employees refuse to come back to work because they want to keep collecting unemployment?” Usually, this question seems to be based on a misunderstanding of how unemployment benefits work. Generally speaking, if your employees refuse work in favor of collecting unemployment benefits, they will likely not be eligible for those… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Top 10 questions an employer should ask before returning employees to work

By Mike O’Brien bio As various states and municipalities across the country lift shutdowns and begin easing COVID restrictions, employers are faced with complex questions about safely bringing their employees back to the workplace. We’ve compiled the top 10 questions every employer should consider before returning employees to work.    How do we implement proper infection prevention measures? First, and perhaps foremost, employers should design, implement, communicate, and begin to monitor basic infection prevention measures as they return employees to onsite work. Although a complex task, OSHA and CDC have both published step-by-step instructions for employers on how to implement appropriate infection prevention measures. OSHA has published an employer Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, which outlines the specific steps it believes all employers should take to reduce workers’ risk of exposure… . . . read more

YOUR CAREER

Managing virtual teams in a COVID-19 era

By Lynne Curry bio If you’re a manager struggling your way up the steep virtual workplace learning curve, you may discover the COVID-19 pandemic makes you a better leader. Here’s how to navigate your way through this trial by fire. Focus on results Effective remote supervision requires managers to switch gears from supervising activities to managing results. Train yourself to keep your focus, and that of your team, on results and overall productivity. Say goodbye to micro-management.  Not only doesn’t it work, but you’ll drive your employees and yourself crazy if you keep them under a microscope from a distance.  Things come up for employees working from home that don’t when they’re at a regular work site. Let your employees know what you hold them accountable for and allow them… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Coronavirus pushing rapid changes in employer law

By Mike O’Brien bio Employer  law is rapidly changing amid the coronavirus pandemic. For one thing, Congress has passed another coronavirus related law. The United States Department of Labor (DOL) has provided some helpful guidance and answered a number of questions about the recent expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and about the new paid sick leave law, see: DOL FFCRA Q&A. Here are updates:  PAID LEAVE UNDER THE EMERGENCY PAID SICK LEAVE ACT (EPSLA): Employees of covered employers (private employers below 500 employees and certain public employers) are eligible for up to two weeks (80 hours) of paid sick leave for certain COVID-19 related reasons. If leave is because he/she is quarantined (by government order or a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking medical… . . . read more

RETAINING YOUR EMPLOYEES

Avoid these mistakes when creating staff development plans

By Cheryl Toth bio For nine consecutive years, “lack of career development” has led the reasons why employees quit. To reduce the costly turnover that results from these resignations, many practice managers are looking for ways to develop and enhance the skills of their team. A straightforward way to approach this is to create a professional development plan for each employee. These plans support staff career development by identifying training needs, providing resources, and laying out timelines to achieve professional growth goals. Here are 7 common pitfalls to avoid as you create development plans for your team.  Setting too many goals. Enthusiastic staff and high performers often set too many goals, creating a plan that’s unfocused and difficult to achieve. A high performing nurse administrator I coached listed 14 goals… . . . read more


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