Federal Contractors Beware! How Well-Prepared Are You In 2016?

In the last 18 months the federal contractor community has experienced more changes in regulations and additional Executive Orders than ever before. As most contractors are preparing to update their affirmative action plans (AAP), they should be aware of all of the changes and new requirements which make updating this year’s AAP more challenging than ever.  Contractors not working with a knowledgeable expert risk finding themselves in a nightmare scenario from which it will be very expensive to exit.

To detail all of the changes would make this article into a thesis, listed below is a recap of the most recent changes with the most pertinent points. There are additional details that this recap does not cover. For clarification or additional information, please contact PMP’s Affirmative Action Compliance Department.

  • Regulations effective since March 24, 2014 – Put greater emphasis on Protected Veterans and IWD outreach, self-identification, etc.
    • Contractors must request voluntary self-identification as “Protected Veteran and/or “Individual with Disability” (IWD) from applicants and new hires. For IWD identification, the OFCCP issued form must be used.
    • Resurvey workforce for IWD status within the first year of being subject to the regulations (using OFCCP issued form)
    • Established a 7% hiring benchmark for Protected Veterans
    • Established a 7% utilization goal for IWD per job group for contractors with 100 or more employees (for those with fewer than 100 employees, the goal is 7% for the entire workforce)
    • Additional data collection is required for these two categories using the applicant flow data
  • Regulation effective since October 14, 2014 – Revised OFCCP audit letter increased items for submission from 11 to 22.
    • Greater emphasis on compensation and how starting salaries are determined, as well as bonuses and overtime criteria
    • Data required on contractor’s outreach efforts and results for Protected Veterans and IWD
    • Analysis of Applicant vs. Hire will now be conducted by each individual race (vs. all others) rather than “minority vs. non-minority”
  • Executive Order #13665 – Non-Retaliation for Disclosure of Compensation Information (Effective 1/11/2016)
    • Requires posting as well as distribution of OFCCP language on this regulation
    • Language must be made part of handbook or employee manual
    • Applicants and employees must be made aware of this via the required paragraph being displayed or distributed electronically
    • “EEO is the Law” poster will soon be updated but in the meantime the current poster plus the supplement should be posted on bulletin boards and on career website
    • Contracts must include this language
    • If Unionized, the union must be sent the language
  • Executive Order #13672 – Prohibits discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
    • Update all policies where EEO statements list protected statuses to include these two protected statuses
    • Advise Union (if applicable) of updated language
  • Executive Order #13658 – Increased minimum wage. Effective 1/1/2016 the rate is $10.15 for those working 20% of the time or greater on government contracts (subject to certain criteria)
  • Executive Order #13706 – Paid Sick Leave becomes effective 1/1/2017 – PMP will make more details available as soon as they are released.

Most contractors have reached the conclusion that trying to remain compliant without outside assistance from a knowledgeable consultant who specializes in OFCCP regulations has become impossible. Dealing with a consultant for assistance with your affirmative action compliance should not be an expensive venture. A good consultant can review in detail what policies need to be updated, what should be on your bulletin boards, and what needs to be available to applicants on your website. If 2015 was any indication, should you be audited, you can expect it to be a long and drawn out process. You will be asked for far more data than ever before along with a long telephone conference on your compensation policies and procedures. It is prudent for contractors to conduct a pay equity analysis now, before the OFCCP dives into your data.

Applicant flow remains an area where the OFCCP continues to achieve high financial settlements. Not knowing how to correctly identify an “applicant” vs. a job seeker, having too small or too large of an applicant pool, and not having good documentation will sink you every time during an audit. To assist contractors in navigating this tricky road, PMP is conducting a workshop on Wednesday, March 16. Visit http://www.pmphr.com/Job-Seeker-or-Applicant.html for more details.

No doubt that being a federal contractor is more of a challenge. It will take far more time and effort to remain compliant. PMP is here to help. PMP offers our readers a free “Checklist of 2016 Compliance with Regulatory Changes” which can assist contractors in navigating the treacherous sea of recent OFCCP regulations and Executive Orders. Please contact Grace Conti for your free copy at gconti@pmpHR.com.

PMP offers cost-effective support for federal contractors. PMP is very proud of its exceptional record of successfully closed OFCCP audits. Partner with PMP to assure your compliance before the OFCCP comes knocking at your door!



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Expected Changes to Workplace Laws Under President Trump – Part II

In Part I of this series, we examined expected changes at the U.S. Department of Labor under President Trump’s presidency.  In Part II, we will take a look at changes already made, and others expected to come, at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).  Under a Trump administration we are likely to see significant shifts in these agencies from Obama-era policies and regulations.  A more employer-friendly shift is expected, though not all Obama administration policies and rulings are expected to be wiped away.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

On January 25, 2017, President Trump appointed Victoria Lipnic as acting chair of the EEOC.  Lipnic was previously a Commissioner of the EEOC.  While a Commissioner, Lipnic voted against the EEOC’s July 2015 decision that sexual orientation discrimination is gender discrimination prohibited by Title VII.  In addition to appointing Lipnic, Trump can fill another vacant commissioner position.  But for now, the Democrat-appointed commissioners outnumber Republican-appointed commissioners.  Trump will have the opportunity to nominate the EEOC’s new general counsel.

President Trump has stated a desire to focus on job growth, which is something Lipnic will make a focal point for the EEOC.  Recently, Lipnic stated, “it is a new day and to the extent [we can] help foster employment opportunity and economic growth . . . that is something we will be focused on.”  Consistent with President Trump’s beliefs, Lipnic has said the EEOC will be mindful of ways to refocus regulations so as to foster job growth.

However, this is not to say the EEOC will forego its enforcement activities.  The EEOC, under Lipnic, is likely to pay attention to employer responsibilities in joint employment, independent contractors, and the gig economy.  Equal pay issues are also likely to be a focus of the EEOC going forward.  In the past, the EEOC has filed few equal pay cases but Lipnic considers this a “priority.”  In addition, since 2017 is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act’s 50th anniversary, Lipnic has stated that age claims will see an increased focus by the EEOC.

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)

On January 26, 2017, President Trump appointed Philip Miscimarra as acting chairman of the NLRB, taking over from Democrat Mark Gaston Pearce.  Miscimarra is presently the sole Republican member of the Board.  However, the NLRB has 2 vacant seats, both of which President Trump is likely to fill with Republican appointments.  Trump will also appoint a new NLRB General Counsel in November 2017, when the current term of Richard Griffin, Jr. expires.

During the Obama administration, the NLRB issued far-reaching decisions and rules most of which were not employer friendly.  Most notable among these decisions was the NLRB’s controversial joint employer standard in Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc.  That 2015 decision broadened the joint employer standard to encompass relationships where the potential joint employer has the ability to control employees’ terms and conditions of employment even if such control is never exercised.  That decision could be reversed by a Trump-appointed NLRB as Miscimarra opposed the ruling.

Other NLRB rulings that may be reversed include those: limiting employers’ ability to prohibit employee use of social media to air workplace grievances; striking down employer handbook policies as overly broad because of perceived “chilling effects on concerted activity”; favoring “micro units” which consist of small numbers of employees as proper bargaining units; and the enactment of the quickie election rules which significantly cut the time for employers to combat union election campaigns.

It may take a few years before decisions like those mentioned above are reversed.  However, we expect the NLRB to curtail its activity in the non-union sector where it has been focusing on employer actions that chill concerted activity.

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Should you have any questions about this matter, please do not hesitate to contact PMP. Please keep in mind that in addition to our staff of seasoned HR professionals, we also have experienced employment attorneys on-site to address any questions you may have regarding legal compliance.  Contact us at 800-921-2195 or 516-921-3400. You can also visit our website http://www.pmphr.com/ or e-mail us at info@pmpHR.com.

This article is intended for general information only and should not be construed as legal advice.



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The Evolving Legal Landscape of Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation

In the United States, federal and state laws differ with respect to whether they explicitly prohibit discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation. The state of New York has prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation since 2003. But the federal law governing employment discrimination, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, does not list sexual orientation as a protected class. This means that it is difficult for a plaintiff-employee to bring a claim under federal law arguing he or she was the victim of employment discrimination on the basis of being gay.

In March, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals addressed this issue in a case brought by a gay man who alleged that his supervisor had harassed him based on his sexual orientation and “effeminacy.” The plaintiff alleged that the harassment violated Title VII because it constituted discrimination based on sex, in that it resulted from gender stereotyping. In other words, he argued that the true reason his boss had harassed him was that he (the plaintiff) did not conform to his boss’s notions of how a man should be – e.g., masculine rather than effeminate, macho rather than submissive, etc. The court held that, because the plaintiff claimed that his supervisor perceived him as effeminate and submissive and harassed him for those reasons, his claim came within Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination.

Cases like this one, in which federal courts interpret Title VII in connection with sexual orientation discrimination, are notable since in many states there are no laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In those states, plaintiff-employees claiming this type of discrimination have no alternative but to try to frame their case in terms that would implicate Title VII – even when this exercise feels like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

Employers in New York with four or more employees are bound by the state law mentioned above, and thus prohibited from discriminating based on sexual orientation.  A number of other states have similar laws, but they vary widely in scope and application. In all states, however, refraining from discrimination based on sexual orientation is, at the very least, the best practice. Employers should be proactive in diminishing their exposure to litigation by scheduling anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training for all supervisors and managers on a regular basis.  Companies should also have a well-written, zero tolerance policy in both their handbook and on company bulletin boards.

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PMP will continue to monitor this rapidly changing legal landscape. Should you have any questions about sexual orientation discrimination, please do not hesitate to contact one of our HR professionals. Please keep in mind that in addition to our staff of seasoned HR professionals, we also have experienced employment attorneys on-site to address any questions you may have regarding legal compliance.  Contact us at 800-921-2195 or 516-921-3400. You can also visit our website http://www.pmphr.com/ or e-mail us at info@pmpHR.com.



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New York State New Direct Deposit Rules Cancelled…For Now

For now New York State regulations which would have imposed new notice and consent standards for paying employees’ wages via direct deposit have been revoked. The regulations, which were set to go into effect March 7, 2017, were found to exceed the authority of the Department of Labor and were invalidated on that basis. The DOL has 60 days to appeal the determination.

Stay tuned for more info…



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Salary History Inquiries Now Prohibited in Philadelphia

Employers who do business in Philadelphia, take note! It is now illegal to ask job candidates in Philadelphia about their salary history. This means you cannot ask an applicant about his salary at his current job or past jobs. Many employers routinely seek this information from job seekers to help them determine what salary to offer the candidate. Opponents of this practice say it perpetuates a cycle of lower pay for women and minorities. Philadelphia follows Massachusetts in banning salary inquiries; last year Massachusetts became the first state to pass such a law.

The Philadelphia ban will become effective May 23, 2017.



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Is Career Transition/Outplacement Services Right for Your Company?

The Great Recession of 2008 is not that far in our rear view mirror and its effects are still being felt by many employers.   Companies may find it necessary to realign themselves for the future by exercising different staffing techniques which may include downsizing, right-sizing, layoffs and terminations.  So how can a company navigate through these difficult actions and keep their company positioned for growth?

An experienced Career Transition provider can assist employers with messaging, ensuring business continuity, maintaining the employer brand and keep the remaining employee’s morale positive. The following are some benefits of utilizing Career Transition Services:

  • Terminated employees who receive Career Transition assistance are less likely to sue their employers for dismissal
  • Significantly lowers unemployment costs to the company as Career Transition increases the rate at which downsized employees get new jobs
  • Human Resources and management are not tied up assisting downsized employees with Career Transition coaching
  • It will protect your company’s brand and reputation
  • Remaining staff will feel less apprehensive about being laid off if they know they will get help finding their next opportunity
  • Helps keep morale of remaining staff positive
  • Protects your reputation as an employer of choice
  • Keeps client/public opinion positive

Add to this list one of the most important reasons to use Career Transition Services which is that it is the right thing to do.  Let’s take a look at this example:  you have an executive who has been with you for a long time but his skills are no longer relevant.  You know you have to terminate him but he has been a loyal employee.  By providing Career Transition Services you are providing valuable assistance to help him find his next opportunity – making the process speedier and less stressful than if he had to do it alone.  Likewise, HR professionals and Management often have to make the tough decision to lay off employees, through no fault of their own, due to a downturn in the business.

Whether your company needs to lay off many employees or terminate only one executive, PMP Career Transition Services can provide job search assistance in the following ways:

  1. Provide support to managers and Human Resources professionals on notification day
  2. Give emotional support and consultation on next steps to downsized employees on notification day
  3. Organize in-house job fairs
  4. Create and deliver customized Job Search workshops
  5. Give one-on-one Career Coaching including generational preferences, career changes, where and how to look for opportunities, resume construction, career assessments, interviewing skills and creating a brand on Linkedin. This can be provided in person or remotely.

Working with an experienced Career Transition Counseling during downsizing of employees can significantly improve the process for both the employer and their employees.  To quote one of PMP’s Career Transition Clients, “In using Mary Simmons for career transition services to help a group of employees we had to let go, I knew they would be in great hands and receive a wealth of knowledge and support.  They said it was a great help to have someone who would assist in resume writing, interviewing techniques, and aid in networking and her welcoming personality made the process a much more pleasant experience. Mary has quickly become my go-to person when it comes to Career Transition services.”

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Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl & Associates, Inc. is here to answer any questions you have regarding this matter.  Please keep in mind that in addition to our staff of seasoned HR professionals, we also have affiliated employment lawyers on hand to address any questions you may have regarding compliance. Contact us at 800-921-2195 or 516-921-3400. You can also visit our website http://www.pmphr.com/ or e-mail us at info@pmpHR.com.

 

This article is intended for general information only and should not be construed as legal advice.

 

 

 



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Expected Changes to Workplace Laws Under President Trump – Part I

Though President Donald Trump has not yet stated in detail his plans with respect to labor and employment issues, it can reasonably be expected that his administration will upend current federal labor and employment law trends.  While former President Obama’s administration focused on a middle class economics agenda, it is likely that President Trump will pursue policies more friendly to businesses.

For the past eight years the Obama administration put in place employment regulations mainly through executive orders and administrative rulings.  That will provide President Trump and his administration significant opportunities to effect change and alter the workplace landscape at the federal level.  We can expect the Trump administration to scale back existing regulations which may influence state and local governments to do the same.

On February 24, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order entitled Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda, which requires each federal agency to develop a regulatory reform task force to identify burdensome regulations for repeal, replacement, or modification.  Within 90 days the task forces are to evaluate regulations and issue recommendations.  While the executive order contains broad language, this could result in reform to various workplace regulations.

In Part I of this series, we take a look at anticipated changes at the Department of Labor (DOL) under President Trump.  We will examine potential changes at other federal agencies in our April newsletter (Part 2).

Nomination of Alex Acosta for Secretary of Labor

President Trump announced that he intends to nominate Alex Acosta as Secretary of Labor after Andrew Puzder withdrew his candidacy (as of this writing, Senate has not yet approved him).  Mr. Acosta was appointed to serve as a member of the National Labor Relations Board by President George W. Bush and served on the Board for about eight months.  Mr. Acosta has also served as Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice as well as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, where he increased the office’s focus on white-collar crime.

At this point it is difficult to predict how Mr. Acosta would steer the DOL if confirmed by the Senate.  However, based on his background and brief NLRB stint, Mr. Acosta may advocate for increased agency rulemaking and more management-friendly positions on workplace regulations.

Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division

The Obama administration issued a final rule toward the end of President Obama’s term that would have significantly altered overtime pay regulations and increased the minimum salary level for exempt employees.  However, the final rule was prevented from going into effect by a federal district court judge after various states and business groups challenged the rule.  The DOL, under new leadership, may withdraw the appeal or initiate the administrative process to alter the regulation.  Likewise, a republican-led Congress may pass legislation to invalidate the final rule.

The Obama DOL has also narrowed the definition of those who can be considered independent contractors while expanding the circumstances when businesses can be held as joint employers.  A Trump DOL may modify these interpretations to more business-friendly constructions.

Department of Labor, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)

The OFCCP is the agency that oversees federal contractors and subcontractors, protects workers from discriminatory practices, and promotes diversity.  They ensure compliance with certain wage and discrimination laws specific to federal contractors and subcontractors.  The Obama administration was very active in OFCCP rulemaking.  President Trump may seek to modify or repeal the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order (a/k/a the “blacklisting” order). The order requires federal contractors (and subcontractors) to disclose past employment law violations and to provide wage statements that detail wages and hours to employees and independent contractors.  There is currently litigation pending to enjoin the final rule and Congressional republicans have introduced a joint resolution of disapproval to permanently block the final rule pursuant to the Congressional Review Act.

Among other things, the Trump administration may also seek to modify President Obama’s executive order raising the minimum wage for federal contractors to $10.20 on January 1, 2017, as well as an executive order requiring paid sick leave to employees working for federal contractors.

Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

There could be a number of changes to OSHA standards issued by President Obama’s administration such as modification of the new record-keeping rule requiring certain employers to file injury and illness information with the government by July 1, 2017 and thereafter on an annual basis, as well as the standard of proof for retaliation under many of OSHA’s whistleblower statutes.

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Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl & Associates, Inc. is here to answer any questions you have regarding this matter.  Please keep in mind that in addition to our staff of seasoned HR professionals, we also have affiliated employment lawyers on hand to address any questions you may have regarding compliance. Contact us at 800-921-2195 or 516-921-3400.

 

This article is intended for general information only and should not be construed as legal advice.

 

 



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Employers, Beware! Under FMLA “Parent” Is Interpreted Broadly – And It’s Your Job to Ask the Right Questions

Employers who are familiar with the Family and Medical Leave Act are well aware that employees can use FMLA leave to care for their child, spouse, or parent with a serious health condition. But not all employers are aware that, under the FMLA, “parent” is interpreted broadly to include not only biological, adoptive, step, and foster parents, but also any individual who stood in loco parentis to the employee when the employee was a child. Some employers are aware of this definition, but assume that it is the employee’s responsibility to inform the employer if he or she had an in loco parentis relationship to a family member now in need of care. Recently, one employer learned the hard way that, in fact, it is the employer’s obligation to find out, when an employee requests FMLA leave to care for a family member, whether the family member stood in loco parentis to the employee.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals held in February that, where an employer had denied an employee’s request for leave to care for his sick grandfather, the employer should have first asked the employee if the grandfather had ever stood in loco parentis to him. (Coutard v. Mun. Credit Union, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2322, *13 (2d Cir. 2017)).

In Coutard, the employee had asked for FMLA leave to care for his grandfather, who had a serious health condition. The employer denied the request on the grounds that FMLA does not apply to time off to care for a grandparent. The employee took time off to care for his grandfather anyway, and the employer fired him for his unexcused absence.

The employee had not mentioned to the employer that his grandfather had raised him from the ages of 3 to 14. Due to this relationship, the employee’s grandfather met the definition of an individual who stood in loco parentis to the employee when he was under 18. The employee sued, and the lower court found in favor of the employer, ruling that it had not been obligated to ask the employee whether his grandfather had ever stood in loco parentis to him.

The appellate court, however, reversed this decision, holding that it was in fact incumbent upon the employer to request additional information from the employee. In other words, before denying the leave request on the grounds that the seriously ill family member was a grandparent, not a parent, the employer should have followed up with the employee to ensure it had all the relevant information. Had it done so, the employer would have learned about the in loco parentis relationship and would have been obligated to grant the FMLA leave request.

There are two key takeaways here. The first is that, if there is any possible basis to believe that a family member with a serious health condition fits into any of the categories of family members covered under FMLA, it is the employer’s burden to dig deeper and get all the relevant information.  FMLA requests should not be treated as an exercise where employees simply check some boxes and the request is granted or denied. Employers must take a thoughtful, careful approach to these requests, bearing in mind that not every family fits into traditional ideas of what a family looks like.

The second takeaway is that any employer who is considering (a) denying an FMLA leave request or (b) taking adverse action (such as termination) against an employee who has previously requested or taken FMLA leave should always consult with counsel first. Employers who try to navigate the rocky waters of FMLA law alone do so at their own peril, as the employer in Coutard no doubt learned.

If you have questions about FMLA, please contact one of the HR professionals at PMP, who, if needed, can connect you with one of PMP’s affiliated employment attorneys.

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Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl & Associates, Inc. is here to answer any questions you have regarding this matter.  Please keep in mind that in addition to our staff of seasoned HR professionals, we also have affiliated employment lawyers on hand to address any questions you may have regarding compliance. Contact us at 800-921-2195 or 516-921-3400. You can also visit our website http://www.pmphr.com/ or e-mail us at info@pmpHR.com.

This article is intended for general information only and should not be construed as legal advice.

 



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When Cupid’s Arrow Strikes In The Workplace

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and love is in the air – including at the workplace. Workplace romance is very common; according to a 2015 survey, 37% of workers have dated a co-worker at some point. While many companies maintain written policies on workplace romance, there is no real consensus on the most effective approach. Some companies attempt to prohibit workplace dating altogether, while others seek only to prohibit supervisor-subordinate relationships. Other companies require employees who enter into romantic relationships with each other to sign a document stating the relationship is consensual and voluntary. Still others have no policy regarding workplace romances at all.

With so many competing approaches to choose from, it can be difficult for businesses to navigate the possibilities and decide on an appropriate policy. Below, we discuss a few of the more common approaches to workplace romance.

  1. “Love contracts”

Some companies require employees who enter into romantic relationships with each other to disclose the relationship to HR. Then both members of the couple must sign a document stating that he or she entered into the relationship voluntarily and without coercion, promising not to engage in any favoritism toward the other employee, and acknowledging the company’s rules regarding appropriate conduct. Such documents are colloquially known as “love contracts.”

The primary purpose of having an employee sign a love contract is to avoid claims of harassment or coercion that might be raised later when the relationship sours. But critics of love contract policies maintain that they have the unintended effect of encouraging employees to hide their romantic relationships. Clandestine relationships lend themselves more easily to allegations that the relationship was harassment-based than relationships that are conducted out the open.

  1. Fraternization policies

Some companies seek to totally prohibit workplace dating. Others take a less extreme approach, imposing some restrictions but not an outright ban. Both types of policies are generally known as “fraternization policies.”

While imposing an all-out ban on all workplace romances may seem attractive to some employers in its simplicity, it is unlikely to be effective. The reality of today’s economy is that many workers spend more time with their co-workers than with their families and friends. It is thus inevitable that attractions and romantic connections will form among employees. An outright ban is, therefore, unlikely to be successfully enforced, and a policy that cannot be enforced has no value to the employer.

For employers who wish to exert some control over the potential fall-out from workplace relationships, a more tailored approach is to prohibit some, but not all, romantic relationships. Commonly, romantic relationships between supervisors and their subordinates are prohibited, since such relationships may result in other employees making claims of favoritism toward the subordinate or, when the relationship ends, the subordinate claiming sexual harassment. Employers that prohibit supervisor-subordinate relationships should be vigilant in enforcing those policies, by taking appropriate action when such a relationship develops.

  1. Robust anti-sexual harassment policies

Many employers choose to forego maintaining a workplace romance policy, preferring instead to focus on preventing and addressing sexual harassment.  These employers may believe that, while they have no real control over employees’ romantic proclivities, they can control their own policies, procedures, and response to sexual harassment.

All employers should, of course, include a section on sexual harassment in their handbooks. These provisions should prohibit sexual harassment, explain what it is, and provide methods for employees to report it. But including such a provision in the handbook is the bare minimum, from a legal and HR standpoint. Taking a more proactive approach can go a long way toward limiting potential liability for sexual harassment. Holding regular training sessions, for example, is one way to enhance a claim that a company’s sexual harassment policy is substantive.  It is also helpful to allow employees to report harassment via several different avenues rather than, for instance, having them choose between only their supervisor (who may be the harasser) and upper management (who may be intimidating)). Ensuring that the policy is clearly and frequently communicated, rather than just another page in a handbook employees may never open, is another way to boost the effectiveness of these policies.

Employers concerned about office romances are well-advised to give their policies careful thought. While it is true that “the heart wants what the heart wants,” that does not mean that employers have no say when it comes to workplace romance. Adopting an appropriate, pragmatic workplace romance policy may well save an employer from future heartache.

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Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl & Associates, Inc. is here to answer any questions you have regarding this matter.  Please keep in mind that in addition to our staff of seasoned HR professionals, we also have affiliated employment lawyers on hand to address any questions you may have regarding compliance.  Contact us at 800-921-2195 or 516-921-3400.

This article is intended for general information only and should not be construed as legal advice.

 

 



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Coaching- Not Just For Sports

Coaching employees has been around since the 1980’s, but it was not until recently that companies and employees have begun to recognize its ability to develop leaders and give them an edge in today’s competitive business environment. A recent study commissioned by the American Management Association discovered that 57% of companies included in the study are using coaching now more than they did in the past. But what exactly is coaching and why would a company invest in it?

Coaching is a partnership between the coach and employee that is structured to produce positive results in the employee’s professional life; moving them from the ordinary to the extraordinary. The philosophy behind coaching is that an employee will be able to reach desired goals and improve in necessary areas faster and more efficiently by partnering with a coach. Just as for an elite athlete, coaching can enhance performance and personal awareness and drive change. Through goal setting, powerful questions, action plans, and other coaching tools, the coach helps foster solutions and strategies that support and enhance natural skills and abilities for a stellar employee.  Conversely, for an employee who is not meeting standards, a coach will guide them to improved performance so that company objectives are met.

Examples of why companies use coaching to improve Return on Investment (ROI):

  • Retaining high-potential employees
  • Training newly promoted supervisors and managers
  • Assisting laid off employees to gain employment quickly
  • Coaching millennials on workplace ethics
  • Improving productivity
  • Guiding management and business owners to reach company goals
  • Assisting problem employees to meet company standards

There are different types of coaching that can be beneficial to employees at different levels and phases in their careers. Career coaching assists individuals in moving to the next level in their professional careers and helps them find new opportunities during transition. Management/Supervisor coaching helps managers and supervisors better understand their roles while developing skills and strategies for success. Executive Coaching provides support to top-level C-suite executives, high-potential employees, and business owners to help them achieve their targeted goals. Coaching can also be used to correct negative behaviors when employees violate HR policies such as anti-discrimination and anti-harassment.

While companies are benefiting from coaching investments in their employees by seeing improvements in performance and productivity, individual employees are reaping benefits as well. Some of these benefits include meeting deliverables, improved leadership and management skills, support of company culture, enhanced communication with upper management, conflict resolution, career development, increased employee engagement, and higher retention rates. Coaches are able to work with employees to identify and clarify key business goals and establish effective management strategies to ensure that these goals are met. This one-on-one attention shows your employees that they are valued and provides dedication and motivation for them to continue to work hard for a common goal.

Coaching has been highly successful for businesses of all sizes and the individual employees as well. If you are looking to invest in your company or your individual career, coaching is an excellent option to consider. Through coaching, a more productive way to cultivate behavior that is consistent with desired goals will be explored in order to achieve strategic and operational success.

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Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl & Associates, Inc. is here to answer any questions you have regarding this matter.  Please keep in mind that in addition to our staff of seasoned HR professionals, we also affiliated employment lawyers on hand to address any questions you may have regarding compliance. Contact us at 800-921-2195 or 516-921-3400.

 

This article is intended for general information only and should not be construed as legal advice.

 

 

 



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