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Where’s Your Harvey? How To Keep Your Company Out of the Headlines 12-6-17

December 06 2017, 5:45 pm

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/where-s-your-harvey-how-to-keep-your-23311/

Bruce’s Summary: Well, timing couldn’t be better to address and recognize the dirty little secret that everyone has known about, however for some crazy reason continues to consciously ignore for various reasons until possibly now. If I learned nothing else over the last 30+ years in industry, there are not secrets.

You know that’s just Harvey, you know how he is. As a reality test for yourself, who is your Harvey and what should be done about him/her? I do know the earlier the inappropriate behavior(s) is recognized and confronted for what it is, the less dramatic the issue(s) are for all concerned. Simply, do you expose, address and nip it internally or allow it to continue and just wait until someone (probability scale is going up) internally addresses it in a public forum for you.

Is it worth damaging your brand, your public image and more than likely once exposed tons of expenses under the guise of damage control? In addition, no one goes un-scathed, besides the perpetrator, a few others may also pay the ultimate price of termination possibly for having known of the inappropriate and unprofessional behavior and not stepping forward. For those terminated, when interviewing for their next job ultimately the question about their departure from their old company will come up. It doesn’t go away.

The author does a good job of going a little deeper into the problem and provides some thoughtful solutions for the reader.

Very Good article.  

“None of the information contained herein should be construed as legal advice, nor are Calvin Associates consultants engaged to offer legal advice. If there is a need for legal advice, please contact and seek the advice of independent legal counsel.” www.calvin-associates.com

HR issues that arise when natural disasters hit 8-29-17

October 10 2017, 6:08 pm

http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/hr-issues-that-arise-when-natural-73419/

Bruce’s Summary: As HR professionals, we are quite often the expected resource for addressing and handling issues that arise unexpectedly. Natural disasters whether forest fires, tornados, hurricanes or earth quakes, depending on our geographical local. would come to mind. Being prepared is always the solution, but being prepared is a novel quest when you’re understaffed and low on budget. There are ways around large cost items.

For those of us on the west coast being prepared for an earthquake (now for up to 72 hours on our own) or forest fires, could be a main focus. I can still remember the quake on October 17th in 1989. The author presents a good overview as a first step in reviewing policies and procedures and dusting off evacuation plans. Conducting a mock/simulated disaster exercise jointly with local emergency agencies may not be that expensive but would pay off dividends later. The author covers some of the commonly asked questions about telecommuting, exempt and non-exempt pay requirements, working from remote locations, shut-down issues, types of time off and employee assistance plans, etc. Good things to think about and shore up before an actual need arises. “None of the information contained herein should be construed as legal advice, nor are Calvin Associates consultants engaged to offer legal advice. If there is a need for legal advice, please contact and seek the advice of independent legal counsel.” www.calvin-associates.com

 

Is Your Investigator More Biased Than You Think? Part II: How to Keep Truthiness Out of Your Workplace Investigations 7-19-17

August 22 2017, 3:43 pm

http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/is-your-investigator-more-biased-than-16017/

Bruce’s Summary: I mentioned in my Part I overview, that having been in industry for some 35 years and working from the ground floor (brick and mortar) to the executive suite has provided me with a birds eye view of the how organizations get themselves in trouble because basically the culture, morale and engagement all start and finish in the executive suite. The biggest challenge was always keeping the opinions where they belonged, out of the investigation. I can’t tell you how many times I had the conversation that opinions are not policy. Even today as a consultant offering mentoring/coaching, conflict resolution and internal investigations services, on numerous occasions this conversation had to be addressed. As in all discussions, it’s not what you say but how you describe the difference between the two.  

Both Part I and II would be great overviews to give organizational staff by their HR Executives. This is more the why and how of a good solid investigation. As I said in my overview of Part I, performing internal investigations has become one of the largest underlying potential cost items for business. If we don’t start off, as the author says with, “the person in the position to make decisions recognizes and can identify possible biases and takes steps to correct what might be negatively affecting the decision-making process” this will come out sooner or later at a cost and the potential embarrassment publicly for the organization. This shouldn’t have to occur. By reviewing the potential for bias early and either recognizing this may or may not be a potential issue, if felt an issue then the person making the decision can counter by bring in an outside neutral investigator. This is where the investigation should start.

The author offers “5 Corrective Measures” that are great reference points but also provides some excellent “Additional Tips” of good common sense to follow. This article is a little long but brings the needed depth for Internal Investigators and their HR Executive staff to understand what a potential slippery slope lies before them. Not that this wasn’t previously known, the two articles just clarify the subject matter. “None of the information contained herein should be construed as legal advice, nor are Calvin Associates consultants engaged to offer legal advice. If there is a need for legal advice, please contact and seek the advice of independent legal counsel.” www.calvin-associates.com

Is Your Investigator More Biased Than You Think? Part I: How Unconscious Bias Can Disrupt Your Workplace Investigations 7/18/17

August 17 2017, 4:45 pm

http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/is-your-investigator-more-biased-than-12685/

Bruce’s Summary: Having been in industry for some 35 years and now providing investigative consulting in the HR arena, I know performing internal investigations has become one of the largest underlying potential cost items in business. The word neutral should be paramount when considering doing an investigation internally. This article (Part I.) is a good overview on the subject of unconscious bias by the author(s) and certainly brings home the fact of being extremely conscious at the very beginning, in the decision process, when a potential internal investigation is on the horizon of what potential liabilities lie ahead.

Speaking of unconscious bias, for those poor folks who are internal, you already know you’re in trouble when middle or upper management wants it done (investigation) “quickly.” When you hear, “just do it and get it over with but don’t interview so many people this time,” and it is certainly implied that you aren’t being told what to do, “you’re neutral.”

This certainly doesn’t happen in every case but in those where this kind of discussion occurs you already have unconscious bias but not from the investigator, this lies with middle and upper management. Is this the tail wagging the dog? This is a clear signal that something is up and those in power positions are possibly too close and some form of outside help may be needed. It’s not that you can’t do it, the basic reason many times is you and/or the management team are just too close to the issue/person and that is when unconscious bias can and does very easily come into play.

In HR today, HR Professionals can’t be everything to everyone, but professionally we all need to recognize when either the internal investigator or the internal team is too close to the issue/person and that the front end cost of an outside neutral investigator will offset the potential legal cost associated with letting unconscious bias seep into and corrode an investigation. “None of the information contained herein should be construed as legal advice, nor are Calvin Associates consultants engaged to offer legal advice. If there is a need for legal advice, please contact and seek the advice of independent legal counsel.” www.calvin-associates.com

Workplace Violence Occurring At Alarming Rate: Time For Employers To Be Proactive 6-20-17

June 22 2017, 4:55 pm

http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/workplace-violence-occurring-at-43681/

Bruce’s Summary: When articles like this are written, is this supposed to conger up fear and panic? Of course not. As Business Professionals part of our role is to ensure that our plans such as our Emergency Action Plan (EAP) is up to date and our employees are aware of what to do and how to react. With the recent wave of violence in the news again and again, a review may be in order and if you don’t have a plan, it’s really time to seriously consider such a program. It’s one of those programs you hope you never need, but if needed, you’re grateful you had one. The authors present a good overview of the steps to take in preparing a plan, and suggest, as part of the training, reviewing with employees a copy of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) latest brochure. As I’ve said before, it’s sad that we are at a point where fighting for your life and training how to do that must now be a major focus in protecting our employees as well as our citizens. Please share! Great overview. “None of the information contained herein should be construed as legal advice, nor are Calvin Associates consultants engaged to offer legal advice. If there is a need for legal advice, please contact and seek the advice of independent legal counsel.”

EEOC Releases Enforcement and Litigation Data for Fiscal Year 1-23-17

June 08 2017, 4:33 pm

http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/eeoc-releases-enforcement-and-12397/

Bruce’s Summary: In reference to the EEOC Commission Report for Fiscal Year 2016, the authors do a good job of presenting the key highlights outlined in the report. One key element discussed by the authors is the overall numbers for total “number of charges” being only slightly higher than the numbers in 2015 and 2014. Shown also is the LGBT-related statistics now followed by the EEOC showing a consistent increase in charges. Another number is the litigation statistics for FY2016 which show the total number of lawsuits being significantly down.

One number within the EEOC’s report that I feel somehow seems to get lost is the number and percentage found under the “No Reasonable Cause” section. There’s an old saying I like to use during regulatory training sessions in reference to this section, “If you aren’t talking to your employees, someone else is” and I feel that this section says it loud and clear.

The “All Statutes” Report total number for FY2016 was 91,503 claims and of that number 65,882 (67.7%) were found to have “No Reasonable Cause”. When communication lines break down within an organization, regardless of size, and employees feel that they are no longer being heard internally, they will talk turn to someone outside the organization whether in the legal and/or government field. I feel the data above shows that most employees want to be heard. With the honor of building and sustaining partnerships falling on HR, right or wrong its HR’s role to ensure communication lines are open between both HR and their employees and HR and the management team. No one said it was easy. We are as HR Professionals supposed to be representing both parties. We need to do more of that. “None of the information contained herein should be construed as legal advice, nor are Calvin Associates consultants engaged to offer legal advice. If there is a need for legal advice, please contact and seek the advice of independent legal counsel.” www.calvin-associates.com

Top 10 Mistakes Employers Make in Employment Applications 5-18-17

May 24 2017, 5:43 pm

http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/top-10-mistakes-employers-make-in-89757/

Bruce’s Summary: Applications, what a pain! The question is a pain for whom? I have heard this so many times over the years from applicants and loudest have been those who reside in the senior level ranks. These folks feel it only necessary that they fill out what they think is important, especially in the employment section. After spending a sizable amount for the creation of their resume, it only seems logical to just insert it in the application. Come on, it needs to be put to good use. The applicant feels all that is necessary is just write, in large letters, in the Employment History Section, “See Resume” and there it’s finished and ready to be submitted. It’s not that I feel that the individual is lazy, well it depends, but what’s really going on?

A very old American tradition, still in use today, is the art of embellishing one’s resume. This is big business and has reached the level of having become a true art. I certainly don’t blame anyone for trying to skip this step but if something were embellished or even let’s say mistakenly added such as someone implying within their resume that they have a degree and somehow it is shown later to be an intended or just a honest mistake, what would be the organization’s recourse. A resume does not have the language an application has about falsification nor is there a signature testifying to the accuracy of the information. Without a completed and signed application verifying all the information to be true – good luck HR or the organization. How I have handled it in the past with applicants, is simply the interviewing process cannot start without it. With those applicants who loudly complain and/or refuse to complete the application, it usually is a sign of more surprises to come.

If your application has not been reviewed over the last couple of years, it’s time. The author gives some great insight into things that shouldn’t be in an application and things that should not be asked “None of the information contained herein should be construed as legal advice, nor are Calvin Associates consultants engaged to offer legal advice. If there is a need for legal advice, please contact and seek the advice of independent legal counsel.” 

 

Harassment in the workplace: Where do we stand? Where are we going? | 4-12-17

May 10 2017, 7:24 pm

http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/harassment-in-the-workplace-where-do-we-19343/

Bruce’s Summary: The Select Task Force created by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has completed it examination as to where U.S. employers collectively stand in the fight to end workplace harassment. The author does a great job of laying out the conclusions raised by the Task Force. According to the author the Task Force reviewed not just harassment of a sexual nature, but a broader range of types of harassments. Most interesting was the Task Force’s review of those factors that tend to lead to harassment. Of those factors found was the “rain maker” employee who acts as if he/she are above the rules, but due to high performance supervisors are reluctant to discipline. My experience over the last 35 years in HR is everyone knows who this is and yet as mentioned, these individuals were protected by upper management and what has always been amazing is that this always comes out at some point in the future and by the time it is addressed, the cost has become significant for the organization protecting the individual. The author further addresses what the Task Force suggested as ways to stop and/or prevent harassment before it starts. “None of the information contained herein should be construed as legal advice, nor are Calvin Associates consultants engaged to offer legal advice. If there is a need for legal advice, please contact and seek the advice of independent legal counsel.” www.calvin-associates.com

Guess Who You Should Never Invite to Dinner? What We Can Learn From Sexual Harassment Claims in the News 5-1-17

May 02 2017, 6:07 pm

http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/guess-who-you-should-never-invite-to-79086/

Bruce’s Summary: The author takes us on a ride along with definitions, basic rules to live by (if you are the boss), scenarios and some great guidelines to follow. Ah, people in power, be it male or female, don’t always see it the way mere mortals do and really to an extent never have. Not everyone of course, but it does seem interesting in how the pendulum swings more in a certain direction. The author presents the guidelines of what to do and not do in a simple straight forward manner almost laying out Human Resource’s next Sexual Harassment Training Program. Don’t forget these statutes and rules have been evolving since the 1970s. Oh yes, the author closes beautifully on one last major issue, one could also have personal liability. “None of the information contained herein should be construed as legal advice, nor are Calvin Associates consultants engaged to offer legal advice. If there is a need for legal advice, please contact and seek the advice of independent legal counsel.”

“HR Horribles” — Collect ’em all! 3-10-17

April 18 2017, 3:07 pm

http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/hr-horribles-collect-em-all-28444/

Bruce’s Summary: What a great collection of characters. I believe we have all experienced each of these during our career. If you haven’t yet, believe me you will, but hopefully only one at a time – wow, try dealing with three or four at a time. My experience has been the larger the organization, the more opportunity to deal with multi-levels of these personalities just based on the pure numbers – the good news is there is less effect on the whole organization. These individuals can however, devastate teams, departments or divisions. As I have said in the past, there are no secrets, everyone knows who these people are. The smaller the organization the more direct negative impact experienced by everyone. I once had the owners of a small organization stop going to all staff meetings due to the toxic atmosphere controlled by one employee. The author does a great job of clarifying what each personality loves and hates and that really brings it home. Please no names at this time. I did have someone at one point in my career who had, I would say, at least three distinct personalities and you knew when the bad on showed up for work. After several years of not feeling appreciated the bad personality moved on and the other two followed her to a new job. Actually, I wouldn’t just call these personalities HR Horribles, they end up effectively being everyone’s office nightmare, not just HR’s. “None of the information contained herein should be construed as legal advice, nor are Calvin Associates consultants engaged to offer legal advice. If there is a need for legal advice, please contact and seek the advice of independent legal counsel.” www.calvin-associates.com