Rural counties must reverse Millennial labor drain

by Dinita L. James

Hillbilly Elegy: Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis is the nonfiction best seller by J.D. Vance, 31, of Middletown, Ohio, with roots in the hills of Kentucky. He has gained renown since the November 2016 presidential election as a Donald Trump “voter-splainer,” a tribune of the white working poor.  Work and lifestyle crossroads concept

One thing that stood out was his report that the six groomsmen from his wedding all grew up in Ohio small towns, attended college at Ohio State University, found careers outside their hometowns, and had no interest in ever going back. Just as their parents had left their rural homes for jobs in cities and towns, Vance and his friends abandoned their hometowns for metropolises. Vance, a Yale-educated lawyer, lives in San Francisco and is a principal in a Silicon Valley investment firm. He writes that he has all he ever wanted—going to work each day, taking his dogs to the park, buying groceries with his wife, and making a nice dinner.

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You say gorilla, I say guerilla

Political discrimination: when politics and the workplace meet

by Luke Draisey

It’s likely that 2016 was a year that most people won’t soon forget. It was a year marked by international turmoil, celebrity deaths, and unprecedented political disunity. We saw Great Britain’s decision to withdraw from the European Union, the genesis of the Zika virus, and the deaths of several cultural icons, including David Bowie, John Glenn, and Prince. And who can forget the 2016 presidential election?  Politcs at Work

While many Americans have celebrated the election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States, for others his election is most notable for the controversy it has engendered. It should come as no surprise that the vitriol that characterized the 2016 election may crop up in the workplace, leaving employers at risk of accusations that they are fostering a hostile work environment or engaging in discrimination or retaliation.

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Wild kingdom: sexual harassment at the NPS

Election dynamics in the workplace: Free speech? ‘You’re fired’

by Courtney Bru

None of us were immune from this year’s presidential election dynamics. Disrespect and name-calling have seemed more prevalent than policy discussions. The election was highly polarizing, potentially pitting employee against employee.  PolticalDebate

In the midst of it all, employees were often misinformed about their “free speech rights” in the workplace. A recent instance from Georgia should serve as an example.

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How do ‘bathroom bills’ affect employers in other states?

Employees’ food allergies are nothing to sneeze at!

by Stefanie M. Renaud

Navigating the ins and outs of your obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and similar state laws can be a challenge for even the most seasoned HR professional. One situation that may be familiar to you is having an employee with food allergies. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, about 15 million people in the United States suffer from food allergies, and that number is steadily increasing. Allergies are not only miserable for the sufferer, but they can also hurt an employer’s bottom line: It’s estimated that employees miss about four million workdays per year as a result of allergies. Allergy food

Depending on their severity, food allergies may be covered by the ADA or similar state laws. To avoid employee complaints, lost productivity, excessive absences, and the risk of a lawsuit, it’s important to have a plan in place to address requests for accommodations based on food allergies.

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A story with legs: Fox News’ $20 million settlement provides warnings for employers

by Mark I. Schickman

Fox News understands the life of a news story. It knew that former anchor Gretchen Carlson’s claims of sexual harassment against its former CEO and chairman Roger Ailes would draw headlines for months, as would the ultimate resolution of the claims. In news parlance, Carlson’s claims had “legs.” So, too, would reports of a major settlement of the action. On September 6, Fox News compressed the story of Carlson’s suit with news of the $20 million settlement of her claims—hoping both stories would rise and fall over Labor Day and become a dim memory long before election night.  Sexual harassment

Fox News acted quickly to jettison Ailes, the actor prominently named in Carlson’s lawsuit. It also announced new sexual harassment policies and now touts a culture that no longer tolerates the type of blatant harassment reported by numerous women after Carlson’s story broke. It issued a public apology “that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and the rest of our colleagues deserve.”

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Don’t let Confederate flags lead to interoffice civil war

by Connor Beatty

While enjoying a scenic drive along the Maine coast recently, I was startled to come across a giant Confederate flag prominently displayed in a house’s front yard. Less than a week later, a client contacted our firm to ask for advice in responding to an employee’s claim that a vehicle with a Confederate flag bumper sticker in the parking lot made her uncomfortable. While the timing of the occurrences may have been a coincidence, the events are a reminder that the Southern symbol can appear at any workplace, including workplaces in one of the northernmost states in the country. For many, the Confederate flag is an offensive image, and addressing the symbol at work can be tricky. Employers in other states have been sued for ordering employees to remove Confederate flags, while other employers have been taken to court for failing to order workers to remove the flags.  Confederate flag flying

No right to display Confederate flags at work

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At the epicenter of life, death, and work: 4 tough questions for employers after Dallas

by Michael P. Maslanka

Dallas has been my home for 32 years. Currently, I live and work downtown. The murders of the five Dallas police officers took place just a few blocks from my home. Neighbors in my building heard the firefight as it unfolded. I am a law professor, and three of my students are police officers. I have thought of them a lot lately.  Dallas at dusk

The public-policy issues on race, guns, and violence are being debated and discussed everywhere from the dinner table to the classroom to legislative arenas. Those issues permeate our workplaces as well. Like the Venn diagrams we learned in high school, which use overlapping circles to show relations between different items, the issues overlap—not by a little, but by a lot. Here are some questions HR, company leaders, and anyone else who is grappling with these issues should ask.

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