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HIRING

3 things to know about background checks

 By Paul Edwards “No, we didn’t do a background check on her before we hired her. She seemed like such a nice person.” “Well, I just ‘Googled’ him, and it looks like he has some sort of criminal record, but I can’t see what it is.” These are things we occasionally hear from our CEDR members on the topic of background checks. Although nobody wants to think the worst of every applicant, it just makes good business sense to look into a person’s background before you make them your employee. This is especially true when you are hiring someone who will have access to your company’s financial records and/or to client financial information such as social security and credit card numbers. A call that we hate to get, but we… . . . read more

RISK MANAGEMENT

What you should know about new COVID-19 guidance

CDC is streamlining its COVID-19 guidance to help people better understand their risk, how to protect themselves and others, what actions to take if exposed to COVID-19, and what actions to take if they are sick or test positive for the virus. COVID-19 continues to circulate globally, however, with so many tools available to us for reducing COVID-19 severity, there is significantly less risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death compared to earlier in the pandemic. “We’re in a stronger place today as a nation, with more tools—like vaccination, boosters, and treatments—to protect ourselves, and our communities, from severe illness from COVID-19,” said Greta Massetti, PhD, MPH, MMWR author. “We also have a better understanding of how to protect people from being exposed to the virus, like wearing high-quality masks,… . . . read more

RISK MANAGEMENT

How to handle the office romance 2022 version

By Lynne Curry Three potential hot messes. In company Z, a senior manager considered his workplace a dating pool in which he fished. When he put the moves on a new female employee, the workplace grapevine ignited. In company Y, the head of marketing had serial crushes on one after another of the male management trainees. Because she was attractive and personable, several of them developed crushes in return. One put the moves on her when they worked all weekend on a project. In company X, the Chief Operating Office and Chief Financial Officer had a not-so-secret affair. Although he hated to, the Chief Executive Officer called them into his office and said, “One of you needs to resign. Unless this happens, we’ll have no defense if we fire someone… . . . read more

SAFETY

Workplace active shooter: Run, hide, fight

By Lynne Curry It’s not your imagination. There are more incidents of violence across our country than ever before. It doesn’t matter where you live. Nor that you don’t believe it could happen in your town, your workplace or at your kids’ school. You’ve seen the news reports. The violence in workplaces including offices, schools, restaurants, train stations, malls, and churches. Innocence can’t save you. It might get you killed. Would you know what to do if  someone started shooting? Knowing what to do could keep you alive. Suppose you hear something odd. At first, you think it’s a car backfiring. Then you hear the same sound again and again. Gunshots, repeated in rapid succession. Fear grips you. You hear others screaming. You struggle to catch a breath. You haven’t seen a… . . . read more

ADVICE FROM THE WHITE HOUSE

Is your law office vulnerable to Russian cyberattacks?

The White House is urging businesses to review and improve cybersecurity because of a heightened risk of cyber attacks from Russia. A statement from the Biden-Harris Administration advises businesses to take the following steps: Mandate the use of multi-factor authentication on your systems to make it harder for attackers to get onto your system; Deploy modern security tools on your computers and devices to continuously look for and mitigate threats; Check with your cybersecurity professionals to make sure that your systems are patched and protected against all known vulnerabilities, and change passwords across your networks so that previously stolen credentials are useless to malicious actors; Back up your data and ensure you have offline backups beyond the reach of malicious actors; Run exercises and drill your emergency plans so that… . . . read more

OBSCENE & UNWELCOME

Watch for harassment by emoji in your office

By Lynne Curry “How much trouble are we in?” the office administrator asked. I looked at the sheaf of text and Slack messages, loaded with emojis, and stopped on one sent in early March that asked, “Good to know you’re almost done with the project and headed for the weekend. Do you garden?” flanked by an eggplant emoji. Other texts included peaches, dump trucks, sweat droplets, and smiley faces with tongues sticking out. “How did you get these?” I asked. “An employee resigned, refused to come in for an exit interview, and sent these in the mail.” “Did you notice the recipient of the gardening question responded, ‘stop, just stop!” “No, these were just informal texts going back and forth between coworkers and employees and their supervisor. I don’t use… . . . read more

DRUGS & ALCOHOL

High at work: Anyone else smell that?

By Paul Edwards More often than you would think, we get calls from managers wondering what they can do about someone whom they think is impaired at work. When that happens, we immediately go into crisis control mode because, well, impairment at work is never acceptable. In this article, we are going to discuss impairment and odors from the perspective of marijuana legalization. From job candidates showing up to interviews smelling like a skunk to employees showing up to their shift distracted with bloodshot eyes, knowing how to handle an employee’s potential marijuana use has only gotten more complicated. Currently, marijuana legalization is in limbo between state versus federal government. While many states have moved to legalize or decriminalize its use, marijuana is still an illegal Schedule I drug under… . . . read more

INFORMATION SECURITY

Protect your data as Russia-Ukraine war increases cybersecurity risk

By Ron Slyker As part of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, Russian cyberattacks have primarily targeted Ukrainian government and bank systems, but the attacks may spread to countries outside of Ukraine soon. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) and the FBI have warned organizations to increase protection as a precaution in case these attacks begin to affect the United States. Experts have reported known Russian cyber groups gathering information on U.S. infrastructure like electric and gas sites. While the FBI and CISA have received no warnings of direct threats to any Western countries, it is best to act now to protect your information. What can you do to protect your business from global conflict? Take action. Experts believe that any Russian cyberattacks would be disruptive, rather than intended to steal data, but… . . . read more

WORKPLACE SAFETY

4 ways to prioritize staff mental health

Mental distress has long been a hidden issue in the workplace. Employees are often unaware of the resources—if any—available to help them, while employers may be unaware of the effects mental distress has on safety and their bottom lines. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has brought this issue to the forefront for many employers. Over 40% of Americans report experiencing increases in mental distress due to the pandemic, and over 85% say that work impacts their mental health. Employers are now recognizing the effects of employee mental distress, including increased absenteeism, negative impacts on productivity and profits, and an increase in healthcare costs. Encouragingly, organizations see a return of $4 for every dollar invested in mental health treatment in improved health and productivity. Supporting treatment alone, however, is not enough. Employers… . . . read more

RISK MANAGEMENT

Your keycard could be your office’s top security threat

By Todd Burner The days of tumbler locks and keys are fading, especially in high-traffic areas. Proximity cards—those credit-card-sized, contactless devices that grant users access to a variety of areas—have largely taken their place. But for too many facilities that card represents one of its biggest security gaps. Proximity cards (also known as keycards) are incredibly convenient—and certainly have some security and financial benefits. With personnel changes, there’s no need to physically rekey the office or change the locks. That can all be handled electronically without replacing the hardware. The problem is: Security protocols in many of those cards are nowhere near as secure as many security and property managers believe them to be. Instructional videos on how to clone the technology are easily found online—and the equipment to do… . . . read more


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