HR Blog

"Moms in the Workplace" quiz!

May 10th, 2019 by Robin Shea at Constangy

Mom at nw game 2

My Mom quiz experience had a "Groundhog Day" quality to it: the same quiz every time, one question, yes/no.

"Didn't I tell you to clean your room?"

Bill Murray eventually learned to play the piano, right?

Robin Shea helps us celebrate our Moms with a six-question, open book, multiple choice quiz with a grading scale from "Little Women" to "Throw Mama From the Train".  And I learned how to make a flower with my keyboard.

Happy Mother's Day Moms!

Obesity - disability, impairment, disease? Depends

May 8th, 2019 by Melissa Legault at Squire Patton Boggs

The American Medical Association has officially recognized obesity as a disease.

The EECO takes the position that obesity is an impairment under the ADA under some, but not all, circumstances.

Many courts have concluded that physical characteristics, such as obesity, are not considered disabilities under the ADA.

Melissa Legault helps you weigh the factors and provides some court examples.

Temperance in the workplace

May 7th, 2019 by hrsimple

We’ve talked at length about the issues of dealing with alcohol in the workplace, but here is a new take: how does an employer deal with a non-drinker?

While it seems like a no brainer, we all know that nothing in the employment law world is as black and white as it seems, so check out what the Evil HR Lady has to say in Inc. Magazine and read up on all things teetotaler now

12 more steps you can take to reduce workplace violence risks

May 1st, 2019 by Pamela Williams at Fisher Phillips

If you would like 12 more steps to reduce the risk of workplace violence, Pamela Williams coincidently has 12 more steps.

The previous 12 steps to handle workplace violence come from our Workplace Safety and Health Compliance Manual authored by former head of OSHA (and currently at Fisher Phillips) Ed Foulke.

That 12-step plan to handle violence in the workplace is also already on this blog.

Hint: This is important - do all 24 now.

FMLA - speak clearly and carefully and explicitly

April 25th, 2019 by Fiona Ong at Shawe Rosenthal

What not to say to an employee seeking FMLA leave:

  • "I'll take care of it."
  • "You're terminated."
  • "What's FMLA?"
  • "I will obtain the required form from the doctor for you but then just fax the form and forget about it."

Fiona Ong shares a story and some lessons and calls her teenagers crazy. 

Termination and social media posts - peanut butter and vinegar?

April 24th, 2019 by Aaron Holt at Cozen O'Connor

Thai peanut sauce

Termination can be sticky/messy (think peanut butter). It's also part of your job.

Social media can be sweet/sour (think vinegar). It can also be part of the workplace.

Aaron Holt provides some examples of social media and termination combining to produce different results, then shares three pieces of practical advice when it happens to you .

And for the record, termination could have been oil and social media could have been jelly. But what kind of sauce is that?

"Fat shaming" at work can cost more than money, a lot of money

April 22nd, 2019 by Robin Shea at Constagy

Fat-shaming at work (and everywhere, but we do pander to the SEO gods) is rude, offensive, clueless, inappropriate, (insert your own adjective(s)), and expensive.

Not always expensive, but never helpful.

Robin Shea provides some background, including some help with the behaviour requirements for a legal claim of "intentional infliction of emotional distress" (spoiler alert - did this particular case reach the burden of proof? - OK, not really a spoiler alert) and a bit of potent advice" "Employers should never ignore such behavior".

I forgot ignorant. So ignorant.


Employees are volunteers if . . .

April 17th, 2019 by Michael J. Lorden

. . . they truly volunteer.

[vol-uh n-teer]: a person who performs a service willingly and without pay.

Michael Lorden breaks down what that means, helps decipher the U.S. Department of Labor's Opinion Letter and provides two voluntary guidelines.


One step beyond March Madness

March 26th, 2019 by Fiona Ong and Nick Vogt at Shawe Rosenthal

Onestepbeyond madness tribute berkshire 1 profile

It's March, so Madness is sure to follow. Or is it One Step Beyond March Madness?

Regardless, the NCAA tournament is here, brackets and all, and if you aren't one step ahead, you could be playing from behind.

Fiona Ong and Nick Vogt cover the spread on: gambling, computer use and cybersecurity, productivity, dress code and civility policies, attendance policies.

And a bonus for those of you who wondered if the English ska band Madness was still around (spoiler alert – they are).

Better parental leave or you better believe parents leave

March 18th, 2019 by Jake Rubenstein at Cozen O'Connor

Which comes first, the parent or the leave?

Jake Rubenstein summarizes five cutting-edge parental leave benefits you can use to attract top talent in a job market with historically low unemployment. Because if you aren't offering them, maybe your competitors are. And you know what that means:

Parents leave.

Religious holidays - what to do, how to do it and a calendar

March 13th, 2019 by Valerie Ferrier at FordHarrison

Holiday calendar

For those of you who know the holidays and where they fall on the calendar for nine, yes 9, different religions, please move on to your celebration of Ken Day (as in Barbie, and did you know his last name is Carson?) or Earmuff Day or National Coconut Torte Day.

For the rest of us, please click through so Valerie Ferrier can help and FordHarrison can send you the calendar.

And just in case you also want a daily wall calendar of non-religious, slightly unique holidays (not nearly as helpful as Valerie's calendar, but how embarrassing to miss National Baked Scallops Day – which was yesterday).

If Saint Valentine had a workplace romance policy what would it be

February 13th, 2019 by Emily Reber at Troutman Sanders

Workplace relationships don't work, at least for the workplace.

But they are going to happen anyway, so Emily Reber provides some policy options: prohibiting, discouraging and requiring disclosure (love contracts).

Workplace romance red (heart-shaped) flags

February 12th, 2019 by Emily Fullerton at Schwabe

Valentines day

Workplace romance - flirting, unwanted gifts, and scheduling someone just because they are single, unmarried or childless - can cause problems for managers, supervisors and employees. Emily Fullerton helps you keep Cupid, and lawsuits, at bay whether it is Valentine's Day or not.

Calling Dr. Love(less) again

February 11th, 2019 by Robin Shea at Constangy


Last year around the holiday of hearts we featured a guest post from Dr. Love(less) via our friend Robin Shea. In addition to a link to last years good advice, this year the good Dr. tackles:

  • Huggie Bear concern about full-body "front hugs" and potential sexual harassment claims
  • Skeptical questioning the veracity of the Dr.'s cred
  • Heartsick hoping for good news concerning the shortage of Sweathearts valentine hearts candy
  • Jezebel wondering about her rights because her bosses wife found out and is insisting he fire her
  • Office Gossip wondering if it would be retaliation if the boss fires her if he finds out she is the one who ratted Jezebel out
  • I Am An Idiot seeking confirmation that it is A-OK for him (35 year-old manager) to date her (16 year-old employee) because "she is cute as a button and quite the flirt".

Gender identity in the workplace

February 5th, 2019 by James Patton at Ogletree Deakins

If an employee or applicant identifies themselves as a gender that may not be "visible to others" or as non-binary (not identifying as male or female):

  • are they protected from being discriminated against?
  • for purposes of EEOC reports or OFCCP data, do you have to choose a gender for them?
  • do you have to tell the employee that you did?
  • can you ask them to prove their gender identity?

James Patton provides some answers, FAQs, training resources and technical assistance links,