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TERMINATION

To avoid a messy workplace theft investigation, can we just fire our prime suspect?

By Lynne Curry Question: Several years ago, when one of our employees was stealing from other employees’ purses and lockers, we called the police. The process — calling the police, alerting our insurance carrier and interviewing multiple employees to show fairness so we wouldn’t get sued for wrongful termination when we fired the one employee — tore apart our company. Some of our best employees couldn’t believe we didn’t trust them. We tried to explain we had wanted to be fair, and that if we only singled certain employees, we’d stigmatize them forever, but two of our best, long-term employees were so angry they quit within a few months. Once again, we have a problem. Several employees have reported missing small things from their desks. These items appear to be… . . . read more.

RISK MANAGEMENT

What you should know about new COVID-19 guidance

CDC is streamlining its COVID-19 guidance to help people better understand their risk, how to protect themselves and others, what actions to take if exposed to COVID-19, and what actions to take if they are sick or test positive for the virus. COVID-19 continues to circulate globally, however, with so many tools available to us for reducing COVID-19 severity, there is significantly less risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death compared to earlier in the pandemic. “We’re in a stronger place today as a nation, with more tools—like vaccination, boosters, and treatments—to protect ourselves, and our communities, from severe illness from COVID-19,” said Greta Massetti, PhD, MPH, MMWR author. “We also have a better understanding of how to protect people from being exposed to the virus, like wearing high-quality masks,… . . . read more.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

AMA renews call for gun violence prevention in wake of Tulsa shooting

The American Medical Association (AMA) has again called for prevention of gun violence, this time in response to the targeted killing of physicians on June 1 in Tulsa, Okla., one of the latest in a string of mass shootings across the country. “As we have said repeatedly since declaring gun violence a public health crisis in 2016, gun violence is out of control in the United States, and, without real-world, common-sense federal actions, it will not abate,” said AMA President Gerald E. Harmon, M.D. “The victims are grade school children and their teachers, people shopping for groceries on a Saturday afternoon, those attending their house of worship, and most recently in Tulsa, those who have dedicated their lives to healing. The House Judiciary Committee is taking an important first step… . . . read more.

YOUR CAREER

The art of subtle self-promotion

By Julie Perrine As an administrative professional, you’re used to working behind the scenes. Your job is to make your executive look good in the spotlight, not to shine it on yourself. You may even feel more comfortable behind the curtain than on stage. And that’s OK…most of the time. However, to keep your career moving forward, you need to practice some self-promotion, too. There’s a big difference between bragging and subtle self-promotion. Bragging is implying that you’re somehow better than others. You brag to stoke your own ego. For instance, “I was just promoted to team lead and got a big raise because I’m the best admin ever!” Self-promotion is stating a fact. For example, “After five years with my practice, I finally got the promotion I’ve been working… . . . read more.

SAFETY

Workplace active shooter: Run, hide, fight

By Lynne Curry It’s not your imagination. There are more incidents of violence across our country than ever before. It doesn’t matter where you live. Nor that you don’t believe it could happen in your town, your workplace or at your kids’ school. You’ve seen the news reports. The violence in workplaces including healthcare settings, schools, restaurants, train stations, malls, and churches. Innocence can’t save you. It might get you killed. Would you know what to do if  someone started shooting? Knowing what to do could keep you alive. Suppose you hear something odd. At first, you think it’s a car backfiring. Then you hear the same sound again and again. Gunshots, repeated in rapid succession. Fear grips you. You hear others screaming. You struggle to catch a breath. You… . . . read more.

DRUGS & ALCOHOL

High at work: Anyone else smell that?

By Paul Edwards More often than you would think, we get calls from managers wondering what they can do about someone whom they think is impaired at work. When that happens, we immediately go into crisis control mode because, well, impairment at work is never acceptable. In this article, we are going to discuss impairment and odors from the perspective of marijuana legalization. From job candidates showing up to interviews smelling like a skunk to employees showing up to their shift distracted with bloodshot eyes, knowing how to handle an employee’s potential marijuana use has only gotten more complicated. Currently, marijuana legalization is in limbo between state versus federal government. While many states have moved to legalize or decriminalize its use, marijuana is still an illegal Schedule I drug under… . . . read more.

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Harassment continues in era of remote work

By Mike O’Brien  In the early days of the pandemic, there was speculation that workplace harassment would decrease when so many workers shifted to remote work. Some recent surveys indicate that hasn’t been the case, and that incidents of harassment have been increasing. Possible reasons for this spike include the stress of the pandemic, the fact that remote workers may lack the kind of personal connections with colleagues that might otherwise hinder poor behavior and a more casual approach to conversations due to working in a more relaxed environment. Zoom meetings have also provided a whole new forum for trouble, with employees behaving badly (sometimes while thinking they are off-camera). The quick and unexpected shift to remote workforces may also have left many employers unprepared for the challenge. To combat… . . . read more.

EMPLOYER ALERT

Find the CDC’s new (relaxed) masking recommendations for your location

You can find the new COVID-19 masking recommendations your area on a map just released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Recognizing that a substantial portion of the population has been vaccinated or has acquired some level of natural immunity, the agency has turned its focus to “protecting those at highest risk of severe outcomes” and minimizing the strain on healthcare systems. So on Feb. 25  the CDC released a color-coded map of all U.S. counties, with green indicating low levels of transmission, yellow indicating medium levels, and orange indicating high levels. A link to the map and related recommendations is here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/community-levels.html CDC advises that masks are no longer necessary in green counties (those with low levels of transmission). In yellow counties (medium transmission), CDC recommends that those… . . . read more.

EMPLOYMENT LAW

Where we are on vaccines and masks in the workplace

Vaccine roundup The Biden Administration, through Executive Orders and various agencies, has adopted four separate vaccine mandates for (1) employers with 100+ employees (the OSHA ETS), (2) federal contractors, (3) federal employees and onsite contractors, and (4) healthcare employers who receive Medicaid or Medicare reimbursements (the CMS mandate).  Except for the CMS mandate, all these various vaccination mandates have either been rejected or stayed by the courts. On Jan. 13, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the CMS mandate. OSHA mask guidance On Aug. 23, 2021, OSHA updated its workplace safety guidelines to recommend that employers require all employees–regardless of vaccination status–to wear masks when indoors and not physically distanced. That guidance has not changed since it was added in August 2021.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

4 ways to prioritize staff mental health

Mental distress has long been a hidden issue in the workplace. Employees are often unaware of the resources—if any—available to help them, while employers may be unaware of the effects mental distress has on safety and their bottom lines. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has brought this issue to the forefront for many employers. Over 40% of Americans report experiencing increases in mental distress due to the pandemic, and over 85% say that work impacts their mental health. Employers are now recognizing the effects of employee mental distress, including increased absenteeism, negative impacts on productivity and profits, and an increase in healthcare costs. Encouragingly, organizations see a return of $4 for every dollar invested in mental health treatment in improved health and productivity. Supporting treatment alone, however, is not enough. Employers… . . . read more.


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