Do not repeat the mistakes of your diva

January 03, 2017 - by: Josh Sudbury 0 COMMENTS
Josh Sudbury

Preparation pays off. While it may be well known that “practice, practice, practice” gets you to Carnegie Hall, it appears you don’t even need to do the sound check to play Times Square on New Year’s Eve. Mariah Carey’s performance to close out the year may have felt like a fitting end to 2016, a year that has caught so much flack for surprise results and the loss of so many notable actors and musicians. Twitter was ruthless, as usual. Here it is, if you haven’t seen it (and you’ll probably watch it again even if you already have, just because). Like a train wreck in slow motion, you cannot look away.  BE PREPARED, message on business note paper

As the album version of her hit “Emotion” blared through the speakers, Carey attributed her Milli Vanilli impression to not having run a sound check. And herein lies today’s lesson for employers: Preparation Pays Off. Whether you’re a start-up company or a well-established brand, preparation in all thingsespecially HRis key. While Mariah Carey may be able to just say “S**t Happens” and move on, you and your company may not get off so easily.

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Top 5 HR resolutions for not getting sued in 2017

December 19, 2016 - by: Marilyn Moran 0 COMMENTS
Marilyn Moran

As 2016 draws to a close, each of us will likely take time to reflect on what we hope to achieve in the coming year. In my case, this reflection usually involves resolving to be happier and more productive and reduce my carb intake. I would be remiss as an HR lawyer, however, if I did not bid 2016 adieu by leaving you with a few nuggets of wisdom to help you navigate your way through the new year. So, ladies and gentlemen, I give you my Top 5 HR resolutions for not getting sued in 2017.  2017 To do list year on white poster with pencil

Resolution #5: Train your employees and managers

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Baseball purists

December 13, 2016 - by: Matt Gilley 0 COMMENTS
Matt Gilley

“Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”

-H.L. Mencken

This post may not be the usual finger-wagging scold you may have come to expect from an employment lawyer. I’m confident, though, that this blog’s audience of fellow practitioners and human resource professionals will take a little solace in it. After all, it’s no fun to be a killjoy and we are thrust into that role more often than we’d like.  Young male baseball referee blowing a whistle

Why? Because potential liability under the employment laws too often compels us to manage to the lowest common denominator.

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Peter Dinklage takes on Elf

December 05, 2016 - by: Kristin Starnes Gray 0 COMMENTS
Kristin Starnes Gray

It’s December, which means that those of us holiday fanatics can decorate and watch Christmas movies to our hearts’ content without shame.  Of course, I won’t tell anyone if you already had your tree up in November (like me) or if you never took it down from last year.  One of my favorite Christmas movies is Elf, starring Will Ferrell.  It is surprisingly packed with various employment law issues, such as employee substance abuse at work, sexual harassment, and workplace violence.  In one of the more memorable scenes, Peter Dinklage’s character, Miles Finch, demonstrates how good intentions can still lead to a harassment complaint.  Facepalm, retro disappointed man slapping forehead, d'oh!

As background, Will Ferrell’s character, Buddy, has been raised as one of Santa’s elves and only recently learned that he is actually human. He has tracked down his biological father, who works for a children’s book publisher in New York City. Unaccustomed to the human world and innocent to its realities, Buddy has difficulty adjusting to life in the Big Apple and working in his father’s office.

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Mila Kunis’ open letter on gender bias at work

November 29, 2016 - by: Katie O'Shea 0 COMMENTS
Katie O'Shea

Many people know actor Mila Kunis for her role in the TV series “That ’70s Show” and her film roles in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and the drama Black Swan. Kunis has recently been in the headlines for her open letter on sexism in Hollywood and the workplace entitled, “You’ll Never Work in This Town Again…” originally posted here.Accusation. Sad woman looking down fingers pointing at her

In the letter, Kunis discusses some of her personal experiences, including being told by a producer that she would never work in Hollywood again after she refused to pose semi-naked on the cover of a men’s magazine to promote a film. Kunis explained that she felt objectified and that the threat that her career would suffer because of her refusal embodied the fear that many women face with gender bias in the workplace. She explained her view about how many women feel–that if they speak up against gender bias, their livelihoods will be threatened. Because of her career success and financial ability, Kunis explained she is fortunate to be in a position where she can stand up against gender bias and bring it to light when she experiences it, but recognized that many women may not be able to do so.

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Be prepared even if taking the wait-and-see approach

November 21, 2016 - by: David Kim 0 COMMENTS
David Kim

My son is addicted to movie trailers. Don’t get me wrong, I love movie trailers myself, but my son takes it to another level. I recently checked the YouTube history on the iPad we permit our kids to use and found that instead of playing games on the multitude of kid-friendly applications we downloaded, my son has been digesting trailers for upcoming movies via YouTube on a fairly regular basis. The funny thing is, it hasn’t been my five year old son, but rather my three year old who has taken to this habit, allowing me to come to four conclusions.  Coming soon in cinema hall

First, my three year old somehow knows how to navigate YouTube even better than I do. Second, now I know why my son keeps beating his chest like a gorilla and then roaring (Thank you trailer for Kong: Skull Island), as well as why he keeps asking me “Where are the beasts?” (Thank you trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them). Three, I guess I need to spend Thanksgiving weekend putting some parental restrictions on the Ipad and/or YouTube before this gets really out of hand. And four, there are a lot of movies coming out soon, which makes sense because it is the holiday season.

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Office Christmas Party–strategies to avoid the legal fallout

November 10, 2016 - by: Robin Kallor 0 COMMENTS
Robin Kallor

You may be wondering why I selected to write about a movie that is not yet in the theaters.  Truthfully, I do not need to see the movie to write about its relevance to HR issues. In fact, all that’s necessary is to read the title—Office Christmas Party.

Yes, we are in Human Resources. What that means is that when others look forward to getting dressed up and celebrating year-end with their colleagues in a laid-back social setting for which the company often spares no expense, we HR professionals get stomachaches in anticipation of the event. When others spend time at the party kicking back and enjoying a couple of cocktails at the five-hour open bar, we spend our time in a corner covering our eyes or doing damage control. While others need the next day off to nurse a nasty hangover, we HR professionals are “up and at ’em”—again doing damage control. We are the stiffs, the Grinches, the Scrooges. Even during the planning stages, the more fun the party sounds, the louder the screeches in our brain become.

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Yes, Cher, you can ‘Turn Back Time’—you’ll just have to pay for it

November 07, 2016 - by: Josh Sudbury 0 COMMENTS
Josh Sudbury

By the way, if you haven’t heard, the Cubs won something called “the World Series.” Our long, national nightmarearrogant Cubs fanshas now officially begun. Now, onto things that actually matter.  Turn Back Time!

This past weekend, we rolled the clocks back. And though we got an extra hour of sleep (well, you may haveI have two children under four who didn’t realize it wasn’t time to get up yet), the cold, harsh reality is that the days are much shorter and the nights much longer, at least until March.

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Employers haunted by Halloween

October 31, 2016 - by: Katie O'Shea 0 COMMENTS
Katie O'Shea

Happy Halloween! We hope you are getting only treats today and no tricks. But in keeping with the holiday spirit, today’s post highlights some unintended tricks employers may face from Halloween.    Pug dog with Halloween costume sleep on sofa

Many employers will have already hosted a Halloween office party or allowed employees to dress up today to celebrate, but the Halloween festivities, whether work-sponsored or not, can continue to haunt employers long after today. Below are several examples of problems employers encountered because of Halloween activities: read more…

Terminating the walking dead employee: What would Negan do?

October 24, 2016 - by: Marilyn Moran 0 COMMENTS
Marilyn Moran

Like many of you, I am still reeling from last night’s brutal season opener of The WalkiBussiness batng Dead. Looking at the episode through the lens of an employment lawyer, a few thoughts came to mind: first, Negan’s managerial style is a tad harsh; second, he could really use some training on positive motivation techniques; and third, I think I can spin a blog post about how to discipline employees from this awful, gory episode! So here are four tips to help you navigate the risky waters of employee discipline, no Lucille required.

Communicate expectations

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