Symmetry provides outstanding human resource advice, support, and advocacy to start-up and small companies who do not have an in-house human resource team.
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Willful blindness is a legal term that means there is information you could and should know but have elected not to know. Deliberate indifference and contrived ignorance also are used to describe the phenomenon. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of willful blindness in the world today. Willful blindness causes the downfall of an organization’s leadership and culture.
One of the most common questions we hear from employers involves when they can or can’t dock employees’ paychecks. It’s very tempting to use an employee’s paycheck as a way to recoup losses you’ve incurred because of her actions, especially when, as a practical matter, there will never be any other way to collect the debt from her. However, you should exercise caution when docking an employee’s paycheck because federal and state laws limit the deductions that can legally be made.
According to a 2012 Stanford University sociology study, 10 percent of people meet their spouses at work. Coworker dating is common. Unfortunately, not all relationships end well, and when they don’t, employers can face harassment and retaliation claims. Although most businesses have no rules about office relationships, now may be the time—while the office is awash in hearts and the fragrance of flowers—to decide what’s best for your workplace.
As an employer you know that your employment practices and policies need to comply with federal and state laws. What you may not realize is that the various state and federal agencies that enforce these laws could at any time conduct an audit to scrutinize those employment practices and policies. Regulatory audits can pose serious risks to your business, take up your time and money, and result in stiff penalties, effectively turning your business on its head.
Gossip is rampant in most workplaces. Sometimes, it seems as if people have nothing better to do than gossip about each other. They talk about the company, their coworkers, and their managers. They frequently take a partial truth and turn it into a whole speculative truth. Many managers turn a blind eye to employee gossip (or worse, participate in it). This results in low employee morale and a toxic culture.
Employment policies: Do they keep organizations running smoothly? Or are they trouble waiting to happen? The answer to both questions is: sometimes. Business owners spend a lot of time working on policies they hope will lead to productive, fair workplaces. Often, though, policies can cause more problems than they solve. Adding to the dilemma, HR practitioners and legal experts don’t always agree on what makes a good policy.
Unscheduled absenteeism costs American businesses billions of dollars every year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). There are myriad potential costs to take into account, including: • Overtime; • Paid sick days; • Use of temporary or “relief/reserve” employees; • Reduced productivity; • Poor quality of goods or services resulting from replacement workers’ inexperience or fatigue; • Administrative costs associated with absenteeism; • Time spent finding suitable replacements; and • Discipline and safety problems due to inadequately trained replacements.
Most managers think calculating overtime is simple—just take the employee’s hourly rate and multiply by 1.5. That’s one of the most common misconceptions about wages and hours, and consequently one of the most frequent violations. Overtime is 1.5 times the “regular rate,” which is often not the same as the hourly rate.
The challenges of the crazy weather has something in the air that has brought several employees and clients to call and ask about Hostile Work Environments. Some employees believe that a bad boss, an unpleasant work environment, a rude coworker, or the lack of perks, privileges, benefits, and recognition can create a hostile work environment. But, the reality is that for a workplace to be hostile, certain legal criteria must be met.
Jill does her job, but just barely. However, Jill has a lousy attitude which is affecting the entire team. You would like to fire Jill, but she isn’t quite doing enough to get fired. Does this sound familiar? It happens in almost every environment – sometimes Jill was one of your first employees and she was so valuable when you started but hasn’t adjusted to all the change as you’ve grown. Other times it I as simple as that pessimist attitude. So what are you to do? The good news is, you can fire for attitude, but it requires identifying the attitude and addressing the actual behavior.