Employer Response to Feb 17 General Strike

If you are an employer and have employees participating in today's called General Strike here are a few tips.  The demands of the General Strike are not employment related: they are political and are not about to your workplace's specific terms and conditions of employment.  As such this is not subject to the "no strike" clause of your collective bargaining agreement (if you have one), and is not a non-union "wildcat strike".  As such it is not NLRB protected concerted activity in my opinion. You can take corrective action in accordance with your policies. But be careful: this "is" protected First Amendment speech so terminating for absences related to this event could prove problematic.  Still you probably don't want people walking off the job without consequences and/or disrupting your workplace. Here is what you can do.  Insist that the strikers leave your premises, not block your entrances and exits, and not disrupt your business. You c

I Feel LIke I Owe It To Someone: A Blog Reboot

A dear friend of mine used to keep a cartoon taped to his office window. One dog was talking to another saying, "I used to blog, but then I just went back to howling at the moon."  In May of 2015 I posted on this site that I was taking a break from blogging.  You can find that easily so I won't repeat it.  At that time I had not posted in almost a year, so now two years have gone by without original content. I felt, and feel, that the risks of a social media misstep must be outweighed by some greater purpose.  Without that, like the dog in the cartoon, all you do is risk your job and reputation howling at the moon.  In the last few weeks I believe I have found that purpose.  A former colleague contacted me asking for my help in his job search. I counseled with him and casually mentioned afterward on LinkedIn that I would do the same for any former Nelson colleague still in transition and would never charge.  Then I had a family member decide to change careers, then re

Taking a Break from Blogging

One day I looked up and I had only posted twice since April of 2014.  The reason is simple: it no longer feels safe.  The number of Trolls looking to make a huge deal of social media missteps has grown exponentially since I first began blogging.  The number of companies with policies against social media missteps has grown, and those policies carry real consequences.  Finally, I used this blog for communications with the Thomas Nelson workforce of which I am no longer a leader or member.  The combination of these factors makes blogging all risk and no benefit. The dilemma for me personally is that my old content, my "backlist" as we would say in publishing, still gets several hundred to a couple of thousand hits per month.  One day last month I had 700+ hits on an old article in one day.  There seems to be "an" audience, but not one I have been able to successfully define.  But again, unless I were to try and monetize that audience and make a living blogging, the

DOL Issues Final Rule on FMLA and Same Sex/Common Law Couples

Since July of 2014 the Department of Labor has been soliciting public comments on proposed rule changes to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regarding same-sex and common-law marriages.  It recently announced that the Final Rules have been written and will become effective March 27th, 2015. Those rules replace interim guidance that had been in place for some time since the Supreme Court's striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). First you might ask why this was necessary.  Some will of course say that this is part of the federal government's push under a liberal administration to redefine marriage.  That is hardly the rationale.  Currently 37 states and 18 foreign countries recognize same-sex marriages, but the FMLA is a federal law that applies in all US states and governed territories.  The potential for confusion was significant. More and more young couples are cohabitating and raising families outside of a traditional marriage. The FMLA, were it not to con

Don't Elect COBRA! Buy Exchange Coverage

One of the little-talked-about benefits of the Affordable Care Act's Insurance Marketplace is that people who lose their health coverage during the year become eligible to sign-up.  The same COBRA qualifying events that make you eligible to elect COBRA also make you eligible for mid-year sign ups on state or federal Exchanges.  Employers can charge you 102% of the full premium for your existing coverage, and generally employees pay about 1/3 to 1/2 of the full premium.  COBRA premiums, then, are sure to be anywhere from double to triple what you normally pay. Exchange coverage will be 100% of the full premium.  The coverage pool is also larger than most employers.  Chances are your premiums will be the same or less than COBRA coverage.  However depending upon your income you could be eligible for a subsidy which could make the coverage less expensive.  Another advantage is that if you did not elect a certain coverage as an employee you cannot elect it under COBRA.  Exchange cove

How to Construct Great Interview Questions

Interviews are possibly the most important thing a manager will do.  Hiring the right people, and keeping the wrong fit out, is one cornerstone of good performance for the whole team.  A poor contributor, or poor attitude, or both will drag down a whole team.  All-stars properly motivated left the whole group. Bad interview technique can also lead to legal exposure if questions drift into non-job-related subjects. I have found that this happens far more out of ignorance and lack of planning than prejudice. With this in mind here is how to construct interview questions that will keep you legal and focused on the search for great people. Plan your interview questions into two groups: 1. Task-based 2. Probing for Past Performance and Attitudes Task-Based Questions You want to know if the candidate can perform the essential functions of the job.  To do that you want to marry the duties of the job with the prepositional phrases from Behavioral Interviewing.  Here's how: 1.  S

My Opinion: Plan Now to Discontinue Executive Benefits Next Renewal

Part of my first-year's learning in Senior Living has been discovering that some communities, even with small workforces, have special benefits for their management teams.  This will become problematic and potentially cause employers to pay penalties once the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented.  Since most plans are based upon the calendar year and have renewed for 2014 now is the time to plan and communicate a discontinuation of those plan options. The regulations have not yet been written and so implementation is delayed: this gives employers time to eliminate those plans for 2015. Section 2716 of the Affordable Care Act prohibits discrimination based upon salary in the provision of benefits under a pre-tax benefits plan. In layman's terms, your highly compensated management cannot receive better benefits than the rest of your employees and your plan still enjoy pre-tax status.  For the definition of "highly compensated employee" the government could have u