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WORKPLACE SAFETY

Are there guns in your workplace?

By Lynne Curry If you think the national division over guns hasn’t hit your workplace, you haven’t been listening. Not only are the employees who advocate for increased gun control, including a ban on assault-style rifles like the AR-15, engaged in an active argument with those who argue for fewer restrictions on gun owners’ ability to carry concealed firearms—but some of your coworkers or employees may be packing. Does your employee handbook address whether your employer allows employees or non-employees to bring guns onto worksites? What about whether employees can keep guns in their cars or trucks? The concealed handgun permit statues in many states don’t address whether those legally permitted to own guns can bring them to work or carry them into others’ workplaces. Instead, it’s up to employers… . . . read more

WORKPLACE SAFETY

Signs of potential disaster were present at Walmart—Are they at your workplace?

By Lynne Curry There were signs of potential disaster that later erupted in six deaths when Walmart supervisor Andre Bing shot and killed six coworkers in November. There always are. Four decades of investigating violent workplace incidents have convinced me of this. “I didn’t want to say anything,” someone always says, “but….” “That was just ‘Jon,’ but we all sort of knew it, and didn’t poke the bear.” “I didn’t want to get anyone in trouble, so I didn’t tell anyone.” “I was too scared to say anything.” The Walmart investigation uncovered significant information detailing the genesis of the November disaster. Bing had written a note on his phone filled with complaints about coworkers, saying they mocked and harassed him. He named the coworkers he felt had antagonized or betrayed him. One coworker… . . . 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

Risk Management

Don’t write a positive reference for a problem employee; instead do this

By Lynne Curry Question: After an investigation, we fired one of our employees for threatening and stalking two co-workers. He now demands a positive letter of reference, which I’m writing. I tried to appease him with an innocuous letter that gave the dates on which he’d worked here along with what his job duties were.  He refused to accept this, and frankly he scares me. Can you give me any pointers for writing a reference letter that sounds positive but not too positive? Answer: Don’t. If you write a falsely positive or even neutral reference, you can be sued for “negligent referral,” defined as “the failure of an employer to disclose complete and factual information about a former or current employee to another employer.” True story When Allstate Insurance Co…. . . . read more

COMPLIANCE

How to give your analog workplace harassment policy a digital makeover

One of the only nice things about the pandemic is the relief it’s provided from workplace harassment. After all, employees are far less vulnerable to workplace harassment when they work from home. Right? Absolutely wrong!!! Since the pandemic began: More than 4 in 10 U.S. workers (41 percent) reported that they’ve been subjected to some form of digital harassment (Pew Research); Nearly half (45 percent) of women experiencing sexual harassment say it happened remotely (Rights of Women, UK and Wales (“ROW”)); 23 percent of women reporting that they’ve been harassed say the problem has actually gotten worse since they began working from home (ROW); and More than 7 in 10 (73 percent) of victims say they don’t think their employer is doing enough to protect them from remote harassment (ROW)…. . . . read more

WORKPLACE VIOLENCE

What about guns in cars in the parking lot?

By Lynne Curry Question: Our office takes threats of violence seriously. We prohibit any act or threat of violence by or against any client, staffer, supplier, or visitor. Our policy applies to all employees, whether on or off company property. We specifically state that we prohibit any use or possession, whether legal or illegal, of weapons on company property or while on business for our practice. In our rural practice some of our employees use their personal vehicles for office business. We pay them $200 a month to compensate them. Can we enforce the no firearms policy for their vehicle while travelling for our office? Answer: According to Perkins Coie Senior Counsel Michael O’Brien, “Your company can enforce a no firearms policy while your employees are on company time. Because your… . . . read more

INSIGHT

Why do some get away with sexual harassment?

By Lynne Curry  bio
Harvey Weinstein. Bill Cosby. Roger Ailes. Bill O’Reilly. Uber executives. And maybe someone you know. How can these men not “get it?” How do they…


. . . read more

INSIGHT

Preventing an active shooter tragedy and saving your life

By Lynne Curry  bio
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workplace homicides are on the rise. Forty-four or 69.8% of the sixty-three incidents for which analysts have determined the…


. . . read more

INSIGHT

Protecting your employees from workplace violence

By Lynne Curry  bio
On June 5, 2017, John Neumann Jr. brought a semiautomatic pistol and a hunting knife into his former workplace…


. . . read more


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