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MANAGING STAFF

5 lessons employers can learn from Elon Musk’s Twitter crises

By Lynne Curry When multi-billionaire and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk acquired Twitter on Oct. 27, he assumed leadership of a company that hadn’t earned a profit in eight of its ten years, By Nov. 4, eight days later, 1.3 million users had fled Twitter. Revenue dropped dramatically as advertisers, Twitter’s main revenue source, pulled out. One could feel sorry for Musk—except Twitter’s crises resulted in part from Musk’s own “I wing it” actions. His mistakes provide valuable lessons for other employers. Don’t alienate those you most need to survive Musk’s own tweets and heavy-handed actions alienated Twitter’s employees and stakeholders. In his first eight days, Musk fired massive numbers of Twitter’s full-time workforce, throwing remaining employees into survival mode. Remaining employees heard about the mass layoffs but didn’t learn… . . . read more

COMPLIANCE

What to do when an employee uses FMLA to cover drinking

By Lynne Curry Question: We suspect one of our employees of using intermittent FMLA leave to cover her abuse of alcohol. We see a clear pattern. She takes leave two to three Mondays a month. Prior to her requesting FMLA leave, she claimed occasional sick days on Mondays. Other employees have noticed her leaving early on Fridays as well. With this fact pattern and given the rumors now circulating, may we start asking her to bring doctor’s notes each week to justify her need for Monday leave? Answer: While a Monday absence pattern may indicate alcoholism, you can wind up in legal hot water if you ask for weekly doctor’s notes from an employee using intermittent Family Medical Leave. In a landmark case, Oak Harbor Freight Lines v. Antti, the… . . . read more

HIRING & FIRING

Employees who ask to be fired: A new trend to obtain a strategic advantage

By Lynne Curry At first, you think you’re imagining things. Your employee, “Kevin,” seems to want you to fire him. It started with Kevin not showing up for two critical team meetings in a row. When you sent him a text asking, “what happened” after the first, he responded, “It wasn’t on my radar.” You sent him an individual meeting request to ask him about this, but he was a “no show.” You planned to ask him to stay after the second team meeting, but he didn’t show up. In the meantime, your hear a complaint from another staffer: “He treats me with total disrespect. Maybe it’s that I’m a woman, or Hispanic, but I don’t plan to take it anymore.” This cascade of problems tells you need to act… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

6 things to do when remote workers want to move to another state

By Mike O’Brien Is it a problem for a law office suddenly to have an unplanned, unexpected, and perhaps undesired branch office when an employee moves to another state? Yes! The United States has a national government, state governments, and local governments. They each have powers over employers and make laws that typically apply to and protect people subject to the various jurisdictions. And these laws are not always uniform! There is a lot of variation in state laws related to COVID-19, masks, vaccines, etc. Arizona law requires paid leave, Utah does not. Montana law prohibits age discrimination against any age, not just 40 and above, and also prohibits termination without “good cause” as defined by the statute. Utah does not do either of these things. Nevada law requires daily… . . . read more

TERMINATION

To avoid a messy workplace theft investigation, can we just fire our prime suspect?

Question: Several years ago, when one of our employees was stealing from other employees’ purses and desks, we called the police. The process—calling the police, alerting our insurance carrier and interviewing multiple employees to show fairness so we wouldn’t get sued for wrongful termination when we fired the one employee—tore apart our office. Some of our best employees couldn’t believe we didn’t trust them. We tried to explain we had wanted to be fair, and that if we only singled certain employees, we’d stigmatize them forever, but two of our best, long-term employees were so angry they quit within a few months. Once again, we have a problem. Several employees have reported missing small things from their desks. These items appear to have been taken at night. Since everyone has… . . . read more

Employment Law Update

Supreme Court ruling extends workplace protections to LGBTQ workers

By Mike O’Brien bio SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND TRANSGENDER STATUS NOW ARE PROTECTED CLASSES NATIONALLY: Federal civil rights law protects gay, lesbian, and transgender employees, the United States Supreme Court announced June 15 in a landmark ruling. The historic decision will extend workplace anti-discrimination and anti-harassment protections to about 8 million LGBTQ workers nationwide. The ruling also vindicates a position long taken by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). It is a defeat, however, for the Trump administration, which opposed the EEOC. President Trump instructed the Department of Justice to argue that the provision of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that bars discrimination based on sex did not extend to claims of gender identity and sexual orientation bias. This led to the odd circumstance where two parts of the same government argued for opposite… . . . read more

BLOG

Immigration alert, social media, salary threshold, minimum wage, trafficking and more

By Mike O’Brien  bio
The Social Security Administration (SSA) just announced its plan to mail a second set of…


. . . read more

BLOG

Salary threshold increases getting review

By Mike O’Brien  bio
On Aug. 12, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor sent its proposed salary threshold rule change to…


. . . read more

HIRING & FIRING

Hiring and firing risk factor: careless words

When jobs are in short supply, “people are desperate to find work and desperate to keep the work they have.” They’re willing to…


. . . read more

HIRING AND FIRING

Always ask these 7 questions before you fire a staffer

They are the seven-question solution. They have become the standard for determining whether a firing is justified…


. . . read more


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