Hurricane season brings unique employer issues

October 10, 2016 - by: Kristin Starnes Gray 0 COMMENTS
Kristin Starnes Gray

In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, evacuation orders are lifting and recovery efforts are in their early stages. Employers are facing a number of storm-related issues as they prepare to resume normal operations. Here are just a few of the questions employers are asking.  Hurricane Season Sign With Stormy Background

1.  Does the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) require me to pay employees who miss work because of the weather?  It depends on whether the employee is exempt or non-exempt. If the business closes because of the weather, the FLSA requires employers to pay an exempt employee his or her regular salary for any shutdown that lasts less than a week. If the business remains open but an employee cannot get to work because of the weather, an employer can deduct an exempt employee’s salary for a full day’s absence. Employers generally aren’t required to pay nonexempt employees for any days that they don’t perform any actual work. However, this doesn’t apply to nonexempt employees who are paid on a fluctuating workweek basis.

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From sports and entertainment to politics and social justice—when worlds collide in your workplace

September 19, 2016 - by: David Kim 0 COMMENTS
David Kim

It’s everywhere. Whether you like it or not, you can’t escape it. While the topics of politics and social justice are undoubtedly important discussions to have in our country, the reality is that they now seem ever present. Consider, for example, two popular entertainment outlets many individuals usually go to in order to “escape” from their daily routines: sports and television.  protesting with different opinions

Within the sports realm, and with apologies to the other sports, there is no question that the return of the NFL season garnered the most anticipation the last couple weeks. Yet the biggest story wasn’t necessarily the play on the field. Instead, it was San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel for the national anthem as a demonstration of protest against racial inequality and oppression in this country. A number of other NFL players subsequently joined in the protest in their own way, as did athletes from other sports, most notably in the news was U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe.

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#Fired: Post a tweet, lose your job

August 23, 2016 - by: Katie O'Shea 0 COMMENTS
Katie O'Shea

Many people enjoy spouting off what they view as 140-character tidbits of wisdom on the social media platform Twitter. But recently several individuals have found themselves in trouble with their employers (read: former employers) for their tweets or other social media posts.  Tweet

One recent example was a loan officer from Michigan who crafted a racist tweet, not worth repeating here, following First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention. Twitter users saw the tweet and tracked down the home loan company the woman worked for. The result was a flood of tweets directed to the company’s Twitter profile calling their attention to the tweet and asking if the employee’s views represented the company’s values.

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No bluff: Wright demands equal pay on House of Cards

Kristin Starnes Gray

Actress Robin Wright, who plays the formidable Claire Underwood on House of Cards, is the latest in the entertainment world to speak out on equal pay. According to a recent interview, Wright demanded equal pay after statistics showed that her character was just as popular (if not more so) than that of her male costar, Kevin Spacey. In negotiating a pay raise to make her earnings equal to Spacey’s (who reportedly earns half a million per episode), Wright says she threatened “to go public.” Channeling her inner Claire, Wright came out on top. Playing Card-club Queen, isolated on white background with clipp

Wright has joined a growing number of women in the sports and entertainment world who have spoken out on pay inequality. We recently did a post on the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team’s demands for pay equal to their male counterparts. In addition, Patricia Arquette famously spoke about pay inequality at the Oscars in 2015. Jennifer Lawrence later spoke out about earning considerably less than her male costars in American Hustle because of the gender pay gap in Hollywood. Meryl Street sent letters to each member of Congress, accompanied by a copy of the book Equal Means Equal by Jessica Neuwirth, asking them to revive the long dormant Equal Rights Amendment.

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Westeros might have benefited from recent trends in paid family leave

May 03, 2016 - by: David Kim 0 COMMENTS
David Kim

Game of Thrones, one of my favorite shows, most recently returned for its sixth season. Don’t worry, no spoilers here if you haven’t seen the first couple of episodes of this season. However, if you haven’t noticed, one of the recurring themes for characters in Game of Thrones appears to be daddy issues. In fact, in virtually every circumstance, a major character’s flaws, insecurities, or other personality traits can easily be traced to the relationship with one’s parents, specifically the father. Here are some examples:  Parents want to spend time with baby read more…

Beyonce: I just might be the next Bill Gates in the making

February 08, 2016 - by: Kristin Starnes Gray 0 COMMENTS
Kristin Starnes Gray

Who wants to be the next Bill Gates in the making? The answer may surprise you. Beyoncé (or “Queen Bey”), a music scene A-lister and the woman who “runs the world” (if you ask her legions of devoted fans, known as the “BeyHive”), gives the world’s richest man a major shout-out in her new single, “Formation.” If you have not seen the video on YouTube or streamed the track on Tidal, Beyoncé gave us all a taste of it in Sunday night’s Super Bowl halftime show with Coldplay and Bruno Mars. In her new single, she sings, “You just might be a black Bill Gates in the making/I just might be a black Bill Gates in the making.” Gates may appreciate the positive press, especially after some recent criticism about his early managerial methods, such as his penchant for profanity and prowling the parking lot on weekends to document who had arrived at work. leadership

Gates, who has seemingly mellowed considerably over the years, has been pretty open about his early methods, disclosing in a recent radio interview for BBC’s “Desert Island Discs” that he did not really believe in vacations and he memorized everyone’s license plates to see when people came into work. However, Gates stated, “I had to be a little careful not to try and apply my standards to how hard [others] worked . . . . Eventually I had to loosen up as the company got to a reasonable size.” Others have come forward over the years with stories about Gates’ allegedly harsh leadership style earlier in his career.

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The Intern: delightful movie—risky employment practice

January 12, 2016 - by: Marilyn Moran 0 COMMENTS
Marilyn Moran

Well, the Golden Globes were Sunday night and all of Hollywood tuned it to celebrate the best of film and television. One movie that was noticeably absent from the nominations (at least in my opinion) was The Intern, a heartwarming film starring Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway, that tells the story of a lovable retiree who interns at an e-commerce fashion company when its CEO agrees to participate in a community outreach program that places senior citizens in internships. Although the movie highlights the benefit of internships (both for the intern and the company), in recent years the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has taken a dim view of companies that use unpaid interns to augment their workforce.  Internship

Approximately half a million Americans hold unpaid internships every year, with about 40 percent of those working in the private sector for for-profit companies. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the DOL (and courts) consider six criteria for determining whether an internship can be unpaid: read more…

Alcoholism and how USC may have violated ADA by firing Steve Sarkisian

October 19, 2015 - by: David Kim 8 COMMENTS
David Kim

On October 12, 2015, Steve Sarkisian was fired as  head coach of the University of Southern California (USC) football team. While USC contends Sarkisian was fired for “cause,” there is no question that his alcohol-related behavior led to his termination. Whether the termination was or was not properly for “cause” is relevant, in part, because it would likely determine whether USC would have to pay the remaining three years of his five-year contract. Whether the termination was lawful under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), or analogous state law statutes alcoholismprohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability, is another question. And due to the high public profiles of the institution and the individual involved, this may be a question that is never entirely answered.

Back in August, video emerged of a clearly intoxicated Sarkisian at a USC pep rally, slurring during his speech and using profanity. The coach publicly apologized, contending that his behavior was the result of mixing alcohol and certain undisclosed medication. While Sarkisian denied having a drinking problem, he contended he would go to “treatment” to seek help. It appears Sarkisian neither sought help nor ceased his alcohol consumption. Reports last week emerged from sources that the coach “showed up lit to meetings again” and was told to leave the premises on Sunday. That same day, it was announced by USC Athletic Director Pat Haden that Sarkisian was asked and had agreed to take an indefinite leave of absence for his condition. On the next day, he was officially fired.

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American Horror Story: Hotel—Gaga for this deliciously terrifying workplace

October 12, 2015 - by: Kristin Starnes Gray 0 COMMENTS
Kristin Starnes Gray

The latest installment of American Horror Story was off to a screaming start with the premiere of Hotel. If you missed it, proceed with caution as this article contains some minor spoilers on the first episode. This season is set in a sprawling art deco hotel that manages to be both beautiful and frightening at the same time, much like its penthouse occupant, The Countess (played by Lady Gaga). From vampires (large and small) devouring hotel guests to The Addiction Demon crawling out of mattresses with a drill bit dildo, working in this hotel is not for the faint of heart.  read more…

Human Resources lessons from NFL preseason football: employees returning to work after cancer treatment

August 24, 2015 - by: Josh Sudbury 1 COMMENTS
Josh Sudbury

For fans of Southeastern Conference football (and, I mean, who isn’t, right?), the name “Eric Berry” is one you don’t easily forget. Berry made his presence known as a defensive back for the Tennessee Volunteers from 2007-2009. Even though he played only three seasons in college, he was twice named a Defensive All American by unanimous vote. Berry was drafted in 2010 by the Kansas City Chiefs and was selected to the Pro Bowl as a rookie. He suffered a torn ACL in 2011 but returned the following year and earned another Pro Bowl selection in 2012 and again in 2013. Quite simplywater covers 71 percent of the Earth, Eric Berry covers the rest.  Back At Work

Berry’s career took a surprising and unfortunate turn in 2014, however, after he complained of chest pain during a game against the Oakland Raiders. He was soon diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, ending his season, and threatening his life. Thankfully, after several months of chemotherapy treatment at Emory Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, Berry is now cancer free. In June of this year, doctors cleared Berry to return to football activities. So far, he has played in both of the Chief’s preseason games.

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