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MANAGING STAFF

Staffers push back about returning to work

By Lynne Curry Question: We’re getting enormous pushback from our staff to an email we sent out stating that billing and clerical employees need to return to the workplace. At the same time, our organization can’t survive if we let all the employees who want to work from home do so. It’s not fair to our patients or the employees who show up at work. Further, when I call those who allegedly work full time but at home during the workday, they often let slip the fact that they’re not working. I’ve been told, “let me turn down the TV” or “sorry I didn’t answer right away, I was out in the garden.” Those who want to work from home insist they’re afraid they’ll catch COVID if they return to… . . . read more.

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Disability discrimination and lookism in the workplace

By Mike O’Brien EEOC sues a work placement agency on behalf of disabled workers for disability discrimination The EEOC announced this week that it has filed suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) against a Hawaii work placement agency for disabled workers. The suit alleges that the agency refused to provide sign language interpreters for deaf employees, despite repeated requests by several deaf individuals. The workers had asked for interpreters to be present at staff meetings where matters such as work safety, protocols, and assignments were discussed. Despite these requests for accommodation, the agency declined to provide interpreters and instead gave the deaf workers written notes and handouts, or asked a deaf employee to interpret for other deaf employees. The EEOC asserts that these accommodations were ineffective and that as a… . . . read more.

MANAGING STAFF

Performance reviews: Dread them? Ditch them? Replace them?

By Lynne Curry Do you dread filling out annual performance reviews? Do you wonder about their effectiveness? You aren’t the only one with doubts. A Gallup survey reports that only 14% of employees strongly agree their performance reviews inspire improvement.1 According to 58% of executives surveyed, their company’s current performance management system produces neither higher performance nor employee engagement.2 And 8 out of  10 (83%) of HR managers surveyed report that their company’s performance assessment systems need to be overhauled.3 What’s wrong with most reviews? They don’t fix poor performers. Some managers fear giving negative ratings and may give problem employees “meets expectations” or higher ratings. This leads some mediocre employees to feel “I’m doing everything right; I don’t need to change.” This can result in legal difficulty should the employer later… . . . read more.

TOOL

Model Medical Office Employee Remote Monitoring of Telecommuters Policy

Letting employees telecommute poses significant operational and management challenges to employers, not the least of which is ensuring that employees are actually doing their jobs and meeting expected productivity standards when working from home. Software, apps and other monitoring technology can go a long way in meeting this goal; but it can also get you into hot water under privacy and other laws. The best way to manage privacy liability risk is to include specific language in your telecommuting policies and arrangements that provides for monitoring. The idea is to let employees know exactly what you’re going to do and how, and ensure they don’t have reasonable expectations in the information collected. Here’s some model language you can adapt for your own use.

WORKPLACE WELLNESS

Survey: 60 percent of US workers concerned about their mental health in pandemic’s aftermath

Amid growing anxiety about the pandemic’s impact on wellbeing, a new survey finds that US workers rank mental and psychological wellbeing as one of their biggest wellness concerns. Despite these worries, The Conference Board survey reveals that participation in programs including mental health resources and Employee Assistance programs has dropped. On the upside, the nationwide survey found that most respondents continued routine doctor’s visits to some degree during the pandemic—although women struggled more. Employees also report that they aren’t suffering in silence: An overwhelming majority feel their supervisor genuinely cares about their wellbeing—a likely basis for their comfort speaking of wellbeing challenges at work. Conducted from early to mid-March, the online survey polled more than 1,100 US workers representing a cross-section of people across industries, from lower-level employees to the CEO. Key findings include:… . . . read more.

MANAGING STAFF

1 in 3 remote workers may quit if required to return to the office full time

More employers are calling workers back to the office, but will they readily return? A new study by a global staffing firm shows that about one in three professionals (33 per cent) currently working from home due to the pandemic would look for a new job if required to be in the office full time. What workers want More than half of all employees surveyed (51 per cent) said they prefer a hybrid work arrangement, where they can divide time between the office and another location. Professionals also expressed the following hesitations about working from home full time, underscoring the need for organizations to offer flexibility: Relationships with co-workers could suffer: 39 per cent Fewer career advancement opportunities due to a lack of visibility: 21 per cent Decreased productivity while… . . . read more.

COMPLIANCE

Wage whispers: Can we stop salary talk?

By Paul Edwards When one employee finds out another employee makes more money, it can send ripples throughout your entire workplace. In light of the morale damage this kind of talk can cause, you may be tempted to tell employees not to discuss salaries at all. The problem is employees have a legal right to discuss their salaries with other employees because of existing NLRA protections. What is the NLRA? The NLRA or National Labor Relations Act, is a large, developing area of federal law that’s rapidly changing the way you can regulate your employees’ speech, both on and off the job. Section 7 of the NLRA grants union and non-union employees alike the right to engage in certain activities so they may collectively bargain. These protections apply to all speech related… . . . read more.

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Three White House announcements for employers

President Biden calls on employers to provide paid time off for employees to get vaccinated In a White House press release dated April 21, 2021, President Biden called “on every employer in America to offer full pay to their employees for any time off needed to get vaccinated and for any time it takes to recover from the after-effects of vaccination.” The White House statement adds that President Biden will announce “a paid leave tax credit that will offset the cost for employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide full payment for any time their employees need to get a COVID-19 vaccination or recover from that vaccination.” By Executive Order, President Biden increases the minimum wage for federal contractors to $15/hour On April 27 President Biden signed an executive… . . . read more.

ONBOARDING

9 tips for virtual onboarding of new remote employees

Designate someone who will communicate with the new employee in terms of the expectations of their first day, first month, and beyond. Consider assigning the new employee a mentor or ‘buddy’ in their department who will check in regularly and answer any questions. Consider having a representative from upper management meet the new hire. Showing they are valued in the organization will help new employees feel welcomed and motivated. Ensure consistent communication and updates from company leaders. Digitize your onboarding process. Utilize the tools available to you by amalgamating onboarding documents and welcome packages into organized PDF documents that can be easily shared digitally. Arrange to have a laptop configured and shipped to their home in a timely manner, and coordinate secure sharing of any profile logins or passwords. Avoid setting… . . . read more.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

Most of your medical office employees are vaccinated. Now what?

By Lynne Curry bio Most of your office staff have received vaccines. Those who remain unvaccinated either haven’t decided whether they will or have refused to get vaccinated. What’s next? Can you relax your workplace protocols? How do you handle the conflicts between vaccinated and unvaccinated employees and those who differently interpret safety protocols? New CDC guidance In recent weeks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided new COVID-19 guidance for fully vaccinated individuals.1 Fully vaccinated individuals may interact indoors with other vaccinated individuals without wearing masks or physically distancing. Fully vaccinated individuals, except for those who live in a group setting or themselves experience COVID-19 symptoms, no longer need to quarantine and test if they’ve been around someone who has COVID-19.2 Fully vaccinated individuals do need to… . . . read more.


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