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12

Nov

2019

Suicide Awareness – Workplace Strategies for Employers

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

According to federal data, suicide rates in the United States have recently hit their highest rate since World War II.  There has been a 33% increase just since 1999.  High rates of stress, pressures, isolation factors of social media use, and opioid abuse are some of the larger contributing factors. 

1

Oct

2019

What Managers Do That Make Employees Quit

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

We’ve all heard the saying, “people leave managers, not companies.”  Managers have the most direct influence on the employees they supervise, and creating effective retention strategies to decrease turnover should be one of their most important jobs.  With the tight labor market and the unemployment rate hitting a record 50 year low, many employers have indicated that finding and retaining good talent is their greatest obstacle for growth. 

17

Sep

2019

Vaping Deaths and E-Cigarette Use in the Workplace

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

According to the CDC, as of September 16, 2019, six people have died from vaping-related lung illnesses, and the number of possible cases has grown to 450.  In Michigan, six individuals have been hospitalized according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.  All patients had vaped within days or weeks of getting sick, and many had used e-cigarettes with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).  While the CDC continues to investigate these illnesses and deaths, they advise...

3

Sep

2019

The Explosion of Employee Monitoring Technology

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

Innovation and the sophistication of employee tracking technology has grown exponentially over the last several years opening up a wide range of options for employers to track their employees' activities.   Some of the earliest technology that employers implemented included video cameras, phone listening, and keyboard stroke recording.  Technology from there evolved to the use of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) devices installed in vehicles, laptops, or through apps installed...

20

Aug

2019

Employee Memo Goes Viral - “I'm Not Returning to Google After Maternity Leave, and Here is Why”

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

In late July, a woman who worked in the Seattle/Kirkland branch of Google posted a memo titled “I’m Not Returning to Google After Maternity Leave, and Here is Why,” to an internal message board for expecting and new mothers.  After the initial posting, it was also posted to other internal message boards within the organization and from there went viral.  It has been viewed by over 10,000 employees, and it alleges that Google has discriminated and retaliated against...

6

Aug

2019

HRCI Certification vs. SHRM Certification – Is One Preferred?

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

This summer marks five years since the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) announced the launch of their HR certification program intended to compete with the established HR certification program offered by the HR Certification Institute (HRCI).  Many were left very frustrated by this development trying to determine whether the profession could sustain two HR certifications and if one would eventually emerge as predominant and more prestigious over the other. 

23

Jul

2019

Most Common Employee Handbook Mistakes

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

It’s hard to believe that summer is halfway over, and Labor Day is going to be here before you know it.  While the office is a little quieter due to heavier vacation schedules, this is a great time of year to tackle that handbook update project before things get busy again in the fall.

9

Jul

2019

Digital Addiction in the Workplace

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

Technology over the past decade has found its way into practically every part of our daily lives.  It has transformed how we communicate, the way we interact through social media, the access we have to information, how we shop, and how we conduct business – just to name a few examples.  You look around anywhere these days, and people are staring at their electronic devices, and many feel helpless without them.  As a result of this heavy dependence on technology, it should...

25

Jun

2019

Employers – Ensure Your Grooming Policies Aren’t Discriminatory

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

Most employers have policies that outline requirements regarding dress and appearance.  These can range from business vs. casual dress, if body piercings or visible tattoos are allowed, and some outline grooming standards.  Some employer grooming standards not only require a neat appearance but may also detail whether certain hairstyles or certain hair colors are prohibited or whether male employees must be clean shaven or have short hair.  As employers define their dress code...

11

Jun

2019

JP Morgan Chase Settles for $5 Million in Largest Paternity Leave Lawsuit

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

In May 2019, JP Morgan Chase reached a tentative settlement of $5 million dollars to resolve a class action lawsuit alleging the bank’s parental leave policy was biased against dads.  It is the largest recorded settlement in a U.S. parental leave discrimination complaint. 

28

May

2019

Women are More Productive in Warmer Offices

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

More often than not women complain about feeling cold at much higher rates than men, and there are several scientific reasons behind this fact.  Women typically have a lower metabolic rate that results in being colder at rest.

14

May

2019

Summer Hour Programs on the Rise

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

While the weather recently hasn’t exactly been warm, Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner and it marks the unofficial start of summer.  As the rain will eventually (we hope) start to let up, the attention of many employees will turn to thoughts of getting outdoors, spending more time with family, and having some downtime to unplug and recharge.  One benefit that is dramatically on the rise are employers who have implemented a summer hours program.

30

Apr

2019

Employee Request for Less Stressful Boss Does Not Qualify for ADA

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an employee must show that they have a physical or mental impairment and that the impairment “substantially limits one or more major life activities” in order to qualify as a disability.   The recent ruling in  Tinsley v. Caterpillar Fin. Servs., Corp., No. 18-5303 (6th Cir. Mar. 20, 2019) by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee), sends a good reminder to employers...

16

Apr

2019

Trial-by-Jury at Work? Amazon’s New Performance Improvement Process

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

Amazon’s culture has certainly made headlines over the years at a minimum as being demanding and at the extreme described as being downright brutal.   In 2015 the New York Times wrote an article about employee life at Amazon and one former human resource director described a facet of the culture as “purposeful Darwinism.”  This is where employees either quit due to the inability to keep up with the demands of the job or there are routine “cullings”...

2

Apr

2019

Using Snapchat as Part of Your Recruiting Strategy

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

When many HR Professionals think of social media tools and platforms that can be used for recruiting, the app Snapchat is probably one that doesn’t come to mind.  For those that are not familiar with Snapchat, it is a mobile messaging application used to share photos, videos of up to 10 seconds, and drawings that are called “snaps”.     

19

Mar

2019

Failure to Stop Workplace Rumor About Employee “Sleeping Way to Top” Can Create Sex Discrimination Liability

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

Gossip is a natural part of human behavior and an inevitable temptation in every workplace.  Evolutionary scientists believe that gossip among early humans was a way to communicate social norms and keep bad behavior in check.  A 2012 study conducted at the University of Amsterdam and later published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology found that 90% of office chit-chat is made up of gossip.  But employers should be aware that they have responsibility to investigate and...

5

Mar

2019

EEO-1 Filing Deadline May 31 – Tips for Completing Report

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

As a result of the federal government shut down, employers have two additional months to file their EEO-1 report.  The normal filing due date for the EEO-1 is March 31st, but the 2018 EEO-1 report for employers is due this year by May 31, 2019.  The tool will open up for reporting in two weeks per the EEOC.  Filing instructions will be posted soon on the EEO-1 survey website.

19

Feb

2019

Paid Time off for Parental Leave is on the Rise

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

While Michigan employers are preparing for the new Michigan Paid Sick Leave Act that takes effect on March 29th, another paid leave benefit is on the rise.  Employers offering paid parental leave benefits rose significantly between 2016 and 2018 according to SHRM.  Employers offering paid maternity leave increased from 26% to 35% in 2018, and paid paternity leave increased from 21% to 29% during that same time period.  Paid adoption leave increased from 20% to 28%, foster child...

5

Feb

2019

Record Setting Polar Vortex - What is Your Inclement Weather Policy?

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

Many organizations found themselves unprepared for the record cold that gripped the Midwest for days last week.  Inclement weather can have a serious impact on an employer’s productivity, be it managing employees who can’t make it into work due to heavy snowfalls or school closings, or trying to figure out whether to send employees home early due to an approaching blizzard or closing the office and allowing telecommuting due to the bitter cold.

22

Jan

2019

Best Practices of Written Warnings and Performance Documentation

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

Creating a solid documentation trail is critical for employers when working with an employee on performance issues.  Documentation creates a written history of the happenings and discussions that occur around specific events.  In a legal proceeding, having documentation about the employee’s past performance is key to obtaining an outcome favorable to the employer.

8

Jan

2019

Help Employees Keep their New Year’s Weight Loss Resolutions by Providing Healthy Snacks

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

The holidays are officially over.  After weeks of abandoning exercise and restraint when it comes to eating, many employees have made New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and get in shape.  For 2019, polls indicate that 38% of Americans have made losing weight and exercising their number one resolution.  Unfortunately, it is no surprise that very few of us actually keep this resolution.  According to statistics, 92% of people don’t keep their New Year’s...

11

Dec

2018

Tis the Season in the #MeToo Era – Fewer U.S. Companies Celebrate with Holiday Parties

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

While the holidays are a wonderful time of the year to let down your hair, blow off some steam, and boost morale within the office, employers must be cautious about legal liability that can result from sexual harassment complaints, drunken driving accidents, and property damage arising out of a holiday party.  According to a recent survey released by consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., fewer U.S. companies are celebrating with holiday parties this year with only 65% of...

27

Nov

2018

Do Holiday Gifts Motivate Employees?

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

It’s hard to believe that we are already in the midst of the 2018 holiday season.  One question that frequently comes up this time of year is whether employers should consider giving their employees a holiday gift.  Hawk Incentives recently conducted a survey on employee attitudes and preferences toward specific workplace reward programs and how they keep employees engaged at work.   One of the key findings is that the majority of respondents indicated that holiday...

13

Nov

2018

Recruit and Retain Employees with These Top Non-Insurance Related Benefits & Perks

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

It’s that time of year when many employers are deep in the middle of their benefits open enrollment period.  With unemployment at record lows, employee retention and engagement remain the two most pressing issues in HR today.  In order to differentiate themselves from their competitors, many employers are finding it imperative to utilize their benefit packages and employee perks as another tool in their arsenal to help promote loyalty and retention.  Recent data indicates...

29

Oct

2018

Don’t Let Your Office Halloween Party Become a House of Horrors

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

Celebrating Halloween in America has become a huge holiday.  In 2018 Halloween retail spending will be $9 billion which is only slightly less than 2017’s all-time record high of $9.1 billion.  Approximately 175 million will celebrate Halloween spending on average $86.79 per person.  As Halloween has become the 2nd biggest commercial holiday in America, Halloween parties at work are also on the rise.  Recent studies have shown that celebrating Halloween is a great...
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