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Feb 042013

lester_rosenEmployers have long recognized that conducting due diligence on new hires is a mission critical task. Firms cannot afford to be sidetracked by employee problems such as workplace violence, theft, false resumes, embezzlement, harassment or trumped-up injury claims. Employers can be sued for negligent hiring if they hire someone they should have known, through the exercise of due diligence, as dangerous, unfit, dishonest or unqualified.

In this week’s episode of The Proactive Employer, we’ll be talking with Les Rosen about the top 10 trends and best practices for 2013 when it comes to background checks and safe hiring. We discuss the use of social networking sites, the EEOC approach to the use of criminal records and credit reports, international background screening, resume fraud, dealing with temporary workers, privacy and off shoring of personal data, and tools to protect against workplace violence. We wrap up the conversation with some legally compliant best practices to keep businesses productive and out of court, as well as steps businesses can take immediately to avoid a bad hire.

This show will air live on Thursday, February 7th at 3 PM Eastern / 12 Noon Pacific on BlogTalkRadio.

Tweet your questions using the hashtag #TPESHOW or call in at 1-888-553-6673 to talk to our guests. The show will be available for on-demand listening at The Proactive Employer website, on BlogTalkRadio and via iTunes following the broadcast.


Jan 252013

swine-flu-at-work-coughing-jerk‘Tis the season: flu season. You’re coughing, sniffling, achy, and feverish. While climbing back into bed with the box of tissues by your side sounds like a great idea, do you do it? Or do you drag yourself to work?

If you are one of the estimated 40% of American workers who have no paid sick days, it’s likely that you will dose up on some over the counter medication and head to work.

Under current U.S. labor law, employers are not required to provide short-term paid sick days or longer-term paid sick leave causing tens of millions of workers to go without paid sick time. Millions of workers each year go to work sick resulting in decreased productivity and increased risk of spreading germs and illness to co-workers, clients and customers.

As the number of flu cases increases, so does the debate surrounding paid sick leave. While we can probably all agree that if you’re sick the best place for you is at home resting, getting well and keeping your germs to yourself. But for many, their financial situation and workplace policies dictate otherwise.

For Diana Zavala, a school speech therapist working as an independent contractor, missing work was not an option even though she was feeling miserable and fearful she had caught the flu. As she puts it, not having paid sick time creates “a balancing act” between physical health and financial well-being.

According to Connecticut Representative Rosa DeLauro and Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, who are calling on colleagues in the House and Senate to cosponsor the Healthy Families Act (HFA), it doesn’t have to be this way. DeLauro, who initially introduced the plan with Senator Edward M. Kennedy back in 2004, plans to reintroduce HFA with Harkin in mid-February.

Under the HFA, workers would be eligible to earn up to 1 hour of paid sick time for each 30 hours worked, up to 7 days of leave.

But many employers and small business owners, while sympathetic to their employees’ situations, find themselves in the midst of their own financial struggles and say requiring them to pay employees for sick days would impose an unrealistic and impractical burden.

It’s a tough call: assist employees at the cost of the company or vice-versa? We mustn’t forget the other important dynamic that needs to be taken into consideration: the well-being of customers and clients.

While paying a sick employee for the day off might not be the best financial option for your business, neither is losing customers because your barista is making the morning lattes while hacking with a cough, a sneezing waitress is delivering lunch to the table or a feverish executive is spreading more germs than ideas around the conference table.

It will be interesting to see what, if any, compromises can be made to protect the interests of all involved: employers, employees and consumers.

Jan 212013

timothylonglauridamrellDealing with complex gender discrimination issues in the workplace is very challenging. From pay to promotion to pregnancy, employers are facing risks they may not be prepared to manage. Understanding what these risks are, and knowing what internal processes you should have, and what data and documentation you should maintain is a critical component of reducing these risks and ensuring your workplace is free of gender discrimination.

In this week’s episode of The Proactive Employer, we speak with Timothy Long and Lauri Damrell  about gender discrimination. We’ll discuss why gender discrimination is a family issue, not just a women’s issue. We’ll talk about the growing popularity of multi-million dollar gender discrimination suits and the trends in gender discrimination investigations from regulatory agencies. We’ll discuss specific vulnerabilities for employers in the areas of pay, promotion and pregnancy discrimination, and provide some practical suggestions for employers on how to avoid gender discrimination lawsuits, and what to do should an employer find itself involved in complex gender discrimination litigation.

This show will air on Thursday, January 24th at 3 PM Eastern / 12 Noon Pacific on BlogTalkRadio.

The show will be available for on-demand listening at The Proactive Employer website, on BlogTalkRadio and via iTunes following the broadcast.


Jan 102013

This week’s Safe For Work Video looks at the legalization of marijuana in Washington state and what it means for employers.

In this video, Colin O’Keefe of LXBN TV talks with Jim Shore of Stoel Rives about common misconceptions surrounding the legalization of marijuana in Washington. As Mr. Shore explains, Initiative 502 changes very little for employers – employees can still be tested for marijuana and can be fired if it is found in their systems.

Take a look at the video, and be sure to join us this afternoon at 3PM Eastern for The Proactive Employer Radio Show - we’ll be talking with Peter Lowe about drug and alcohol use and impairment in the workplace, and what employers need to know.


Jan 072013

PeterLoweDrug and alcohol impairment in America’s workforce is a growing problem. According to studies by the Center for Substance Abuse and SAMHSA, 22.6 million Americans used illicit drugs in the past month. 66% of those users are employed. 3.1% of workers admitted to using drugs before or during work hours in the previous year.

Drug and alcohol impairment in the workplace presents a danger to employees and the public, causes increased workplace accidents, increased absences, decreased productivity, and lower morale.

In this week’s episode of The Proactive Employer, we speak with Peter Lowe about impairment in the workforce. We talk about the prescription drug pandemic, medical marijuana laws, the new recreational marijuana laws in Washington and Colorado, and the conflicts between federal and state laws. We discuss whether “medical marijuana user” is a new protected class, and how medical marijuana relates to the ADA. We wrap up the discussion with some recommendations for employers on what workplace alcohol and drug policies they should have in place, and how to enforce those policies.

This show will air on Thursday, January 10th at 3 PM Eastern / 12 Noon Pacific on BlogTalkRadio.

The show will be available for on-demand listening at The Proactive Employer website, on BlogTalkRadio and via iTunes following the broadcast.