HR Blog

MN I gotta do what?

July 8th, 2019 by Ashley Thronson at Fredrikson & Byron

What mn

You gotta make changes because changes have been made to various disclosure, recordkeeping, commission and/or sick leave requirements. And Bruce Boudreau, like you, wants to know what they are.

Lucky for you and Bruce that Ashley Thronson has laid out your need-to-know in 800 words (or thereabouts). And for those of you who are PBS fans, she does it without an Australian accent, dontcha know.

Summertime and HR - dress codes, office picnics, manning the grill

June 25th, 2019 by Robin Shea at Constangy

Underwear boy

Somebody shows up at the office in essentially shamrock underwear.

Finances dictate you terminate someone so you tell them you will pay them their accrued vacation pay if they will release all claims.

Your mail room clerk says the office manager asked her to man the grill at the office picnic - who's grilling who?

The office softball team and workers' comp – 'nuff said.

Robin Shea says more about all of this.

RIF - Reductions In Force Require Initial Fundamentals

June 18th, 2019 by Jean Ohman Back at Schwabe


Reading Is Fundamental has been a part of children’s literacy since 1967. Reductions In Force have been a part of the labor landscape since the 1980s. We just made up Require Initial Fundamentals.

RIF requires volunteers and donations - consider providing your support. RIFs require a sequential list of fundamentals needed to help a company refocus and rebuild while avoiding legal liability - consider Jean Ohman Back your support (for the Reduction in Force stuff).

While none of us at have a favorite Reduction In Force, here are some of our favorite chilldhood books:

Workplace leave for fathers who know best

June 17th, 2019 by Robin Shea at Constangy

Father knows best

In celebration of yesterday being Father's Day, and to avoid any sort of discrimination charge or group protest (Quiz Equity? Father Mother Level Access? Primary Caregivers Are People Too?) because we already posted Robin Shea's "Moms in the Workplace" quiz!, here is her "Dads in the workplace" quiz!*

* We believe that the use and/or non-use of capital letters and/or punctuation is a right of every writer / reader / phonetic punctuator, so talk to the hand.

CBD – the oil, not the alphabet, under the influence

June 12th, 2019 by Bruce Douglas and Jennifer Bocchinfuso at Ogletree Deakins

CBD oil is legal in most states if derived from hemp, and the uses, although not necessarily efficacy, range from anxiety to acne, pain relief to heart disease. It is considered an effective anti-seizure medication by the Mayo Clinic and is being studied as a treatment for Parkinson's schizophrenia, diabetes and MS. And if it is derived from marijuana, it may contain THC and be psychoactive. Dude.

So it is coming to your office, if it isn't already there. Now you have to figure out how to deal with it.

Bruce Douglas and Jennifer Bocchinfuso help with a little background, perspective and some takeways.

Everybody leave! For any reason? Maine says yes

June 7th, 2019 by Shiloh Theberge, Tara Walker and Will McCartney at Bernstein Shur

Everybody leave

Paid leave is for:

  1. vacation
  2. health
  3. parental
  4. all of the above
  5. polishing the dog or standing in the garage until your eyes become adjusted to the light or figuring out why beets tasted so nasty when you were a kid (and maybe even still) or just any reason.

If you are an employer in Maine, please be sure to answer #5.

Shiloh Theberge, Tara Walker and Will McCartney discuss some exemptions, accrual and carryover, required notice, other restrictions and penalties, and next steps.

Stay tuned for more . . .

Gift cards, taxes and the WABAC Machine

June 6th, 2019 by Melissa Shimizu and Jeffrey Smith at Fisher Phillips

Wabac machine

The WABAC Machine revisits the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

In light of the iTunes shutdown, we wondered how that might affect your employees and the drawer full of gift cards - iTunes, Chipotle, Target, Starbucks, Subway (come on, you're better than that), Ulta -  that you have been giving out for holidays, incentives, employee achievement awards, and winning the St. Pats Day karaoke tournament.

So we got into our WABAC machine - the cartoon version, not the internet archive - and went down the wormhole of the 2017 Tax Reform, which affected not only gift cards but health care, retirement plans, employee compensation, and other fringe benefits.

Melissa Shimizu and Jeffrey Smith take you back and promise to return you, unharmed but wiser, just like Simon and Mr. Peabody always did.

Uber employee, Uber independent contractor or excellent driver?

June 5th, 2019 by Kathy Speaker MacNett at SkarlatosZonarich

Im an excellent driver dad lets me drive slow in the driveway yea

So is an Uber driver an "excellent" driver, an employee or an independent contractor? 

And what test would you use to determine such?

  • Common law test
  • Economic realities test
  • Just throw a box of toothpicks on the floor

Kathy Speaker MacNett helps you sort out the NLRBs Advice concerning the Uber classification issue and how it might affect you and your "employees".

Measles in the workplace – just the FAQs ma’am

June 3rd, 2019 by Katherine Dudley Helms at Ogletree Deakins

Just the facts maam

The measles is (are?) back and whether you believe in vaccination or not, the chances that you will need to deal with them (it?) in the workplace is greater than it has ever been in your professional lifetime. Katherine Dudley Helms answers six measles FAQs.

The dog days of summer apply to workers too

May 31st, 2019 by Shawe Rosenthal

Dog days of summer

In recognition of National Heat Awareness Day (at least the Farmers Almanac calendar on my desk says it is today), here are some tips on keeping your workers cool as the summer heats up.

BONUS #1: "Quick Card" link - OSHA provides everything from risk factors to symptoms or heat exhaustion, prevention to how to protect workers to what to do if they overheat, all neatly packed on a 9"x4" card.

BONUS #2: Heat Safety Tool link - yep, there is an app for that.

And yes, everything will translate for your dog's days of summer, except the app, which is only provided in English and Spanish. 

Fitness trackers = healthier employees (and privacy concerns)

May 29th, 2019 by Lariza Hebert at Fisher Phillips

Coach mellor 3

In my day, our fitness tracker was our gym teacher, someone like Coach Mellor (Mr. Benesh).

Nowadays you can fit a phone, calendar, games, entertainment system, weather station, camera and a map of the world on your wrist. And the fitness tracker you wear to help you stay healthy and save your employer some money on insurance.

Turns out that fitness tracker can also collect data that can cost your employer money.

Lariza Hebert helps you understand:

  • an employee's "right to privacy"
  • technology and healthy living in the workplace
  • concerns with data privacy
  • employer best practices

No-match letters from the SSA - read and understand, then react

May 22nd, 2019 by Davis Bae, Shanon Stevenson and Jeffrey Winchester at Fisher Phillips

That no-match letter from the Social Security Administration is not them breaking up with you (come on, who else who would date them? and that is no reflection on you - really). 

That letter is to let you know that you have a whole bunch of work in front of you trying to figure out why some of the employee information you sent them doesn't match the employee information they already have.

Don't freak out. Davis Bae, Shanon Stevenson and Jeffrey Winchester have worked out a 7-step guide, including what not to do, that will help you respond, will get the SSA the info they need and might even help you get your HR house in a little better order. The  seven steps:

  1. understand
  2. gauge the impact
  3. review records
  4. policies?
  6. respond
  7. I-9s

"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