Entries by Tracey Chantry

Working Better Together

How many times have you worked with people who just don’t understand you, or you do not relate to them?  Isn’t it easier sometimes to work with people who are just like us?  Yet if we were all the same, that would not be best for our organizations (or even for us, if we are willing to admit it.) Some people are more relationship-oriented, while others are more task-driven.  When these different types try to work together, they often have a breakdown in communication.   Most workplaces include a mix of different personalities.  We need all types to be successful, and it is important to provide people with the tools to communicate and relate to one another, even when they have […]

Inclement Weather – To Pay or Not to Pay?

Employers should address two key questions with their inclement weather policy: How will you notify employees if the company will be open or closed?  How will employees be paid if the company is closed all day, or for a partial day? The method of payment for hourly employees when they miss work due to inclement weather is quite simple.  If a non-exempt, hourly paid employee does not work, the company is under no obligation to pay the employee.  This is true regardless if the company is open for business, or if it is closed due to the weather.  The Fair Labor Standards Act says that you must pay non-exempt employees only for time “actually worked.”  The same holds true when […]

from Human Resources

QUESTION: As the holidays are approaching, we are looking for ideas for employee gifts. If we give gift cards or gift certificates, will they be taxable to the employee? What about hams and turkeys? ANSWER: Anything that equates to giving cash must be considered taxable income for the employee. This includes gift cards, gift certificates (even if they cannot be redeemed for cash and can only be used to purchase certain items), and bonus checks. The value of all of these must be included in the employee’s income and is subject to employment taxes. However, if the employer buys a gift that is not equivalent to cash and gives it to the employee, it is not included in the employee’s […]

Human Resources: What Measures Can An Employer Take To Stop Employees From Gossiping?

Casual gossip is inherent in the culture of many companies and, for as long as people work together, employers will have to deal with gossip. But at its worst, gossip involves vicious rumors that create animosity among co-workers and disruptions in the workforce. Gossip rarely is a form of flattery and in most circumstances lacks any real validity. It can cause irreparable damage. When individuals assume to know and talk about the private affairs of others, they display an unprofessional and unattractive personality trait of their own. Also, employees who spend their time standing around the water cooler catching up on the latest gossip are wasting valuable work time and affecting their ability to be productive. Realistically speaking, an employer […]

HR’s Perspective on Social Media

Social Media Dos & Don’ts  Do have a policy. As with all policies, if you aren’t going to follow it, it’s better not to have one. However, most employees have come to expect social media guidelines from their employer. The following are a couple of tips if your company institutes a social media policy, which is our recommendation. Your Social Media policy should reference other company policies, such as anti-harassment, anti-discrimination, conflicts-of-interest and confidentiality. Make it clear that these policies apply equally to online conduct just as they do in the physical workplace. Make sure your company policies specifically define inappropriate conduct and that they do not have a “chilling” effect on your employee’s Section 7 rights. Section 7 of […]

Unpaid Intern or Paid Trainee?

Question: We are considering recruiting several college students for summer internships. Do we have to pay them? Answer: In some cases, individuals working for an employer in a training capacity do not qualify as “employees” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and therefore do not have to be paid. Their activities and work completed during the internship will determine their employment status. The following criteria are used to determine if the trainees or students are employees within the meaning of the FLSA. ALL of these criteria must be met in order to establish the internship as unpaid. The training, even though it includes actual work done at the facilities of the employer, is similar to that which would be […]

Someone Smells Funky

How do you address offensive body odor in the workplace?  This can be a very delicate employee relations issue.  Such a problem cannot be ignored, whether it is something you notice, or if a colleague complains.  Yet, it is important to take a direct and sympathetic approach directly with the individual.  If it is left unresolved, it could affect the employee’s ability to work with others and reduce productivity.  Additionally, if the employee with body odor deals face-to-face with customers, relationships and even sales could be hurt. This problem can result in either an embarrassing situation, or worse, a potential discrimination claim.  For example, if an employee’s body odor is caused by a medical condition, and you do not deal […]

Protecting Your Center’s Children: Policy and Child Abuse Prevention

As a provider of sports programming for youth, your organization can play a critical role in protecting the lives of young athletes. You can help put an end to child sexual abuse by implementing a comprehensive child protection program and training your coaching staff and volunteers. Ask any organization that has experienced a case of sexual abuse and they will tell you that knowing what they know now, there is NO amount of time that would have been too great to spend on prevention and educating their staff and volunteers. As a youth sports organization you have the opportunity to set a new standard within the sports community. Make the commitment for the long term wellbeing of your organization and […]

Workplace Violence: What Steps Should You Take Now?

Due to recent events in the news you have probably found yourself asking what if violence entered your workplace? This can happen in a number of different ways – a disgruntled current employee, a potentially violent individual you recently terminated, an unhappy spouse, or someone who wasn’t even on your radar.  Under the OSHA General Duty Clause, employers have some liability for the well-being of their employees. You can’t prepare for everything, but there are certain steps that should be taken now. Zero Tolerance. Dealing with violence begins before something even happens. Do not dismiss threats, even if it is said they were meant in a joking manner.   Address any physical violence immediately, with significant consequences. Have a plan now. […]

Human Resources: Termination for Performance Issues

What steps should an employer take before terminating an employee for performance issues?  Ideally, termination of employment is never a surprise to an employee who has performance issues. Throughout employment, managers should have ongoing conversations with all employees about their performance, and employees need to be coached and counseled at the first signs of performance problems. In some cases, an employee may need additional training or resources to be able to fully perform in his or her job. Informal feedback and coaching or additional training should be conducted prior to any disciplinary procedures, but in some circumstances coaching and training is conducted at the time of the disciplinary action or development of a performance improvement plan. It is always best […]