Wednesday September 18, 2019

Developing a CBD oil policy? It gets complicated …

Just when you thought you had a handle on how your company policies align with laws on medical marijuana, along comes CBD oil.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, comes from either the marijuana plant or the hemp plant. Made available to consumers by the 2018 Farm Bill, which allows for production and sale of CBD products.

CBD is advertised as an
anti-convulsent, anti-diabetic and anti-psychotic, as well as an aid for pain
relief, anxiety, depression and sleep.

As a result, the market is booming for CBD products in oil form, vapors, beverages (e.g., coffee K-Cups) and infused edibles (chocolates and gummies).

CBD is not psychoactive, so employees are generally not at risk of getting intoxicated or impaired with use. It can, however, show up on a drug test as marijuana. That’s where your workplace policies come in.

The CBD rub

CBD isn’t regulated by the FDA,
although some states, like Texas and Georgia, are starting to legalize and
regulate it. In most of the U.S., your employees don’t really know what they’re
ingesting with CBD products.

Furthermore, pure CBD oil won’t report a positive result for marijuana in a drug test because tests typically look for tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) levels that are too low to be detected in pure CBD.

But some of these unregulated products
that tout themselves as “THC-free” or “CBD pure” have been tested to have THC.

That’s why CBD presents the same challenges to employers as medical marijuana, as indicated on JD Supra:

•   Do job
applicants know what’s in their CBD product?
And what impact, if any, does
the CBD use have on their employment?

•   What if a worker gets a positive drug test result? Even if an employee presents you with a “CBD pure” product as proof, how will you know what really caused the positive result? Are they also using recreational marijuana or unknowingly using CBD spiked with THC?

What to do

Before taking action against CBD users, here are some guidelines when developing a CBD oil company policy:

•   Consider
revising policies to address CBD use.
Employers in states with medical
marijuana laws in place may have a duty to accommodate the underlying condition
prompting CBD use.

•   Train managers. They’ll need to know how to address situations where an employee defends a hot test by using CBD.

Finally, in this evolving landscape,
review the laws of your state, work with employment counsel and prepare to be
flexible until more CBD rules and regs are in place.

The post Developing a CBD oil policy? It gets complicated … appeared first on HR Morning.

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Performance management success factors: Align PM with organizational strategy

Performance management processes and procedures have evolved
at a blistering pace, perhaps faster than any other part of the Human Resources

PM has transitioned from an industrial-age framework focused on maintaining consistent production schedules and quality to a flexible – and interconnected – tracking, coaching and talent development tool.

Technology capabilities and limitations often drove process design in early PMS implementations.

Organizations now require technology solutions that reflect their specific performance management framework and focus on the competencies that enable their unique strategy.

Aligning performance management with organizational strategy

To design an effective performance managemtn system, organizations need to understand how each job – and the career ladders or development paths for those jobs – feed into the organization’s strategic goals.

That understanding provides the framework for how and how often performance assessment and guidance is conducted.

It provides a way to assess performance not just in terms of “what have you done for me so far?” but also, “Where can we best use your talents and optimize your skills going forward?”

Why is that so important?

Effective and engaged employees share a couple of common characteristics, regardless of industry, job function, or seniority.

They understand how their daily efforts make a difference in
whether and how their organization achieves its strategic goals.

Without that understanding, how can they to rate their own
efforts and see where they should develop strengths and overcome limitations?

An effective performance management solution provides the tools to answer that deceptively straightforward question for individual contributors, teams and organizations.

And, like individual performance goals, a PM system design should flow from a clearly-defined strategy. Otherwise, those systems can limit, instead of advancing, that strategy.

Asking the right questions

Often, discussions about the need for performance management approach the topic at a tactical level.

Indeed, many vendors’ websites suggest that customers look at tactical drivers when they are researching performance management tools.

They suggest organizations ask themselves,” Why are we looking at investing in a new PMS?”

  • Compensation decision making?
  • Administrative support?
  • Developmental planning and guidance?
  • General performance measurement and reporting?

For nearly every organization, the answer is, “Yes, all of that.”

The good news is that there’s a growing ecosystem of performance management technology providers that support those core capabilities. And that’s fine as far as it goes.

But that is also a problem. In the end, those are questions about the tool’s capabilities, not about the competencies required to implement your strategy.

Strategy drives competencies, competencies drive PM

Strategy is the expression of an organization’s mission,
goals, objectives and interrelated action plans for achieving each of those

Those are the factors that determine what competencies you need to build, maintain and nurture.

Mapping strategy components onto various functions — product development, production, marketing, sales, management and administration and partnerships — helps define and prioritize the tasks that you ask each of your people to perform.

Answering strategic performance management questions requires the customer, and solution provider, to understand how each job – and any associated development plans and career ladders – feed into the organization’s strategic goals.

An understanding of the competencies needed to support your strategic aims provides a framework for defining jobs, assessing performance and guiding employee development.

Shared understanding of why, what and how

If each of your processes flow directly from strategy, you can trace everyone’s work (actions and behaviors) from task to outcome.

That allows everyone to see how their work combines with everyone else’s to enable the organization’s strategic ambitions.

When everyone shares a strategy-based understanding of job responsibilities and interdependencies, they are empowered to hold themselves, and each other, accountable for outcomes.

They can see where changes and improvements in their jobs might better support strategy. And they can anticipate and participate in realizing those changes.

Feedback and adjustment

So, if everything flows from strategy, is this a one-way, top down process?

No. Like any successful living organism, companies, government agencies, charitable foundations or any other group enterprise operate in an infinite series of feedback loops and adjustment mechanisms.

Designing a performance management structure and selecting the tools that can best support that structure needs to be a similarly interactive process.

PMS design needs to include ways to capture and consider input from all stakeholders ranging from senior executive management through to line managers, employees and unions and, in many cases, indirect input from end customers.

Are you optimizing people or processes?

When companies were measuring how many acceptable widgets came off production Line B, and knew they’d be making those widgets for the foreseeable future, performance was easier to assess and to manage.

Employees weren’t expected to change tasks on the fly, if at all. Training requirements were well-defined and could focus on a few specific skills.

Today, however, you need every employee ready to quickly learn new skills and perform new tasks to support an evolving strategy.

Managers need visibility into how workers’ capabilities fit with their current jobs and insight into any talents and interests that would be valuable elsewhere.

Workers need to see how their skills fit with current tasks and what new skills they can and should develop to climb their chosen career ladder.

That means both managers and workers need a holistic view of current and future competency requirements.

And there is a real payoff: the more of a role your employees play in recommending and selecting skills they want to develop, the more excited they will be to use those skills.

Performance management is everyone’s responsibility

Of course, these highly complex and interdependent performance management tools and processes are only valuable if used consistently across your organization.

Here again, tying the performance management process back to strategy makes it clear to all stakeholders just how critical it is.

Leadership support for and continued attention to employee development sets the tone, but ease of use plays a huge part in how effective PM processes and technology solutions are for the organization.

Employees and managers need to be able to learn and use PM systems without a massive time investment that takes away from productivity.

That means organizations need to make learning and using performance management processes and tools part of every job description.

And organizations should push PMS providers to continually improve both user interfaces and user training so those meet your specific needs.

Measuring performance management ROI

Performance management systems provide powerful tools for developing and nurturing competencies, making them among the most important investments an organization must make.

Ultimately, performance management that maximizes workforce development and flexibility in line with a strategic framework is what differentiates successful and less successful organizations – even in the most highly-automated industries.

The return on your performance management investment can be measured in financial terms reflecting increased efficiency, reduced turnover and other metrics.

But the true measure of a successful PMS implementation is a flexible, teachable workforce that understands and supports your strategy and that has the resources they need to succeed and grow with your business.

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Google HR faces another PR disaster

“I’m Not Returning to Google After Maternity Leave, and Here is Why.” That was the subject line of a post alleging pregnancy discrimination and retaliation that went up on an internal Google message board for new and expectant mothers.

The unnamed Google worker alleges that her manager actively retaliated against her after she told HR about the manager’s comments disparaging pregnant women. Thousands of her co-workers have since read the memo and it has been published by VICE.

Angry messages and public shaming

The employee says that, despite assurances from HR that she would not face any retaliation from her supervisor for reporting the pregnancy discrimination allegations, her manager began sending angry messages, ignoring her in meetings and humiliating her in front of her peers.

The abusive interactions, she says, impacted her health and caused her to be concerned about her unborn baby.

Joining a new team did not resolve the situation, she says.

And, she says in the memo, after joinng the new group she was given fewer responsibilities and told not to take on more managerial duties or attend some management events until she returned from maternity leave.

In the end, she says, she reported that she was being discriminated against because she was pregnant and HR launched an investigation.

HR’s findings? Poor communication and inadvertent exclusion from management gatherings due to administrative errors. It did not find that the employee’s manager discriminated against her.

HR also told her, she says, that there was no evidence she was discouraged from taking early leave when she developed complications with her pregnancy.

Damage control

The employee did not indicate whether she plans to sue Google under The Pregnancy Discrimination Act. But, if her allegations about hostile messages and unfair reductions in her responsibilities are backed up by internal communications records, Google could face a damaging court battle or an expensive settlement.

Google released a statement after the VICE story came out, saying, “We prohibit retaliation in the workplace and publicly share our very clear policy. To make sure that no complaint raised goes unheard at Google, we give employees multiple channels to report concerns, including anonymously, and investigate all allegations of retaliation.”

Reminder for other employers

Any company as large and high-profile as Alphabet Inc.’s Google is going to have its share of employee complaints and HR missteps.

But the Mountain View, CA-based tech behemoth has faced both complaints from many unhappy workers and an unusually public discussion of its response to those complaints.

Google workers have sent all-hands emails on issues ranging from sexual harassment and retaliation, to racial and gender-based discrimination, to Pentagon contracts. And a steady stream of those internal messages has leaked out onto social media and gone viral.

Regardless of how this allegation of pregnancy discrimination and retaliation plays out, it is yet another blow to Google’s reputation as an employer.

And it’s another useful reminder that all employers need to be vigilant in training employees on compliance obligations and identifying, addressing, and rectifying instances of pregnancy and other discrimination at every level of their workforce.

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5 cost-friendly training ideas using LMS software

Training is a must-have for many employees today. According to the consultant group, Guthrie Jensen, 68% of workers consider training and development the most important company benefit.

And these educational perks don’t just result in more
engaged employees. Companies
that invest in employee training also have a 24% higher profit margin than
companies that don’t.

Providing learning and development opportunities to your employees should be a no-brainer, but the costs can still be a hard pill to swallow.

Holding in-person classes or sending productive employees away to seminars is expensive. Businesses want to train employees while staying within budget.

Learning management systems (LMS) offer a cost-friendly alternative to traditional training sessions. They’re used by businesses to help employees learn and grow in their jobs – without breaking the bank.

What is a learning management system?

A learning management system delivers and tracks educational and training content online. E-learning tools include customizable content, mobile lessons and gamification. A LMS is used by companies to onboard and train employees, and it can improve engagement and retention.

Here are five cost-friendly training ideas using LMS

1. Offer on-demand training and professional development

Employees are more likely to stay with a company when
they’re offered professional development opportunities, such as management skills
or sales training.

The cost, however, of hiring instructors, renting a physical
classroom and coordinating times when all employees can attend classes can
often be too high.

LMS software provides on-demand classes that employees can
access online or through mobile devices. That means businesses save on teachers,
facilities and lost productivity.

Vendors often use a software-as-a-service (SaaS) pricing
model, so customers pay a subscription fee instead of a large upfront cost. Typically,
the fee is $5 or less per learner, per month.

In addition, having managers run training sessions isn’t always a good idea. They may not have the experience or time necessary to prepare course materials or accurately assess performance.

On the other hand, LMS software can help employees learn
efficiently and effectively, because they’re designed using teaching best
practices. These include microlearning, multimedia, pre- and post-training
assessments, convenient access and individual learning paths.

2. Onboard new employees

Studies show engaged employees stay with companies longer,
and engagement begins with a structured onboarding program.

LMS software can provide educational materials to help new
hires get acclimated to your company’s culture and the responsibilities of
their role.

Because some solutions include more features than you would ever possibly need, it pays to find a vendor with a per-use pricing plan. This allows clients to opt out of certain parts of the software and pay only for what they put to use.

This could mean being charged based on certain modules, the
number of active accounts or a specific piece of content. It depends on the
arrangement made between the vendor and client.

Prices generally range from $1 to $10 per use. Companies
that don’t need to train employees regularly or only need an LMS platform to
onboard new hires should consider this option.

3. Provide online industry certifications

Some industries or jobs, such as human resources, healthcare
and safety, require certifications or continuing education credits.

In the past, this meant employees had to travel and miss
work to attend days-long seminars and classes. Now, an LMS solution can help businesses
with these industry-specific requirements either by providing on-demand content
available in its internal library or by partnering with third-parties to
deliver lessons.

Additionally, LMS software can help administrators track
which employees need additional credits and when certification must be renewed.

In this situation, vendors usually charge companies per
course. Compared to a per use pricing plan, there’s a premium, since the content
is specialized for compliance-focused industries. However, this option should
still be much cheaper than in-person certification classes.

4. Try open-source or free versions of LMS software

Many companies want the ability to deliver training and
education but don’t need all the bells and whistles that come with advanced
software. In this case, open-source or free versions of LMS solutions may be a
good option, as they generally include basic functionality and provide access
for a limited number of users.

Open-source LMS software has source code that’s publicly
available. Companies can download, install and customize the software on their
own, for free. Some LMS vendors also offer free versions of their software.

Businesses that choose these options will still have to
consider implementation, customization, integrations and maintenance. In
particular, installing and customizing open-source software can be complicated
for companies that haven’t used an LMS before, and there’s no support if
something goes wrong.

Companies that choose this route should also have a
knowledgeable in-house IT team or hire implementation consultants. But if your
company already has the technical know-how, using open-source software can
provide a cost-friendly alternative.

5. Use a premade course library or build custom content

One of the difficulties of training employees is finding
relevant content to your business.

In response, many LMS vendors offer course libraries with
premade lessons for a variety of industries, from safety to workplace ethics to
sales. Companies should research vendors to see if they have content for their
specific needs.

Businesses that have more site-specific requirements, such
as assembly line procedures, often rely on third-party professionals to create
training videos. However, this can be a costly process.

LMS software provides course authoring tools that can help
organizations create course content using templates or from scratch. And it’s
not generic content either. The software can handle a range of content from site-specific
videos to PowerPoint slides and also make interactive quizzes and games.

If your company doesn’t have the resources to create this
content, some vendors can also create custom training courses. This service may
be charged per hour or as a one-time fee. But the benefit of using an LMS
content creator versus a third-party is that the content will be designed to be
used in their specific software.

Bottom line

Investing in an LMS solution shouldn’t be taken lightly. You
should make sure to talk with potential users who’ll receive training and
figure out which key performance indicators will be affected. If implemented
correctly, however, the software can significantly reduce your overall training

You can find more details on expenses in this 2019 LMS pricing guide.
If you’re in the market for a solution, check out
these reviews of the best learning management systems.

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Amazon pulled into yet another flap over wages and hours

About two dozen night-shift
workers at an Amazon delivery facility in Chicago have filed a complaint with
the Illinois Department of Labor claiming the company did not pay them for
overtime during Prime Week in July.

“We’ve followed all
applicable wage and hour laws and are committed to speaking directly with
employees to help them understand their pay,” Amazon said in a public statement.

Prime Week is one of Amazon’s
biggest and busiest sales weeks. It fell during a record heat wave in Chicago,
that workers said made warehouse conditions unbearable.

The 23 workers involved in the complaint say they were dismissed early on July 19, but promised pay for a full shift.

Celebrated too soon?

They initially celebrated. In an online video, workers cheered when they were sent home. But those high spirits soon gave way to dismay.

The workers say when they checked their time cards, Amazon had counted those six hours in the following week’s pay period — meaning workers would not be paid overtime for those hours.

Since workers officially complained to management, several say they’ve seen adjustments to their timecards to shift the hours to the correct week — but they still aren’t being paid overtime.

In addition, 17 of the 23
workers in the complaint alleged that Amazon incorrectly docked their
attendance on the day of work in dispute.

Amazon workers have long
complained about grueling conditions at the company, including mandatory 60 hour
work weeks, delivery drivers working without breaks physical
labor, fears about taking time off, workplace injuries, and the pressure to
keep the wheels turning, even when the weather is treacherous.

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Stop summertime FMLA abuse: The Friday Monday Leave Act

Does summertime feel like FMLA stands for the “Friday Monday Leave Act” instead of the Family and Medical Leave Act?

From late May to early September, you expect some empty desks or vacant work stations because of pre-approved PTO.

What can’t be planned for is people making FMLA claims for absence that may not be on the up-and-up.

Keep employees honest

Don’t hesitate to put a system in place and use it to protect the company from lost productivity due to FMLA abuse.

FMLA is intended to protect workers from losing their job over a medical or family emergency.

It’s never meant for “It’s too nice outside to go to the office” or “The kids want to go to the beach” time off.

5 ways to stop FMLA abuse

That’s why Jeff Nowak, author of the blog, recommends the following tactics to make sure all time taken as FMLA fits the criteria:

Get written leave requests. You can’t deny FMLA if the worker provides verbal notice of leave and gives a reason why they can’t follow proper procedures to request it in writing. However, ask for their request upon their return.

• Ask questions. When FMLA is requested, ask the worker: What is the reason for your FMLA absence? What functions of your job can you not perform? Will you see a doctor?

Have call-in procedures. If you don’t have written policies requiring when an employee should report an absence, work with legal counsel to get this started. It also allows you to address staffing issues early in the workday.

Certify and re-certify. Many employers fail to request the medical certification form from the doctor which states why an employee is in need of leave. Make it a practice to request it and keep it handy. Then request recertification every 30 days.

Follow patterns. If the employee takes FMLA only around holidays or weekends, check with their doctor to confirm if this is related to their health condition. But only ask about what’s covered on the certification form.

If you aren’t using these guidelines, meet with employment counsel to audit your FMLA policies.

Use best practices to combat abuse and effectively administer FMLA in your workplace.

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5 ways an applicant tracking system can help attract top talent

These days, talented employees are
getting harder to find. The current economic growth means there are more job
openings and more competition for strong applicants.

In fact, 73% of employers
are having difficulty finding skilled candidates.

And when companies see top talent,
they often act fast. The best candidates are usually off the market
within 10 days.

That means recruiters face more pressure
than ever with 67% saying
their job is more difficult than it was five years ago.

So what can your company do to attract
top talent in this heated labor market?

Many businesses are now taking
advantage of applicant tracking systems (ATS) to cut through the pile of
resumes, improve their company brand and hire the best candidates before their

What is an applicant tracking system?

An applicant tracking system streamlines recruitment by analyzing resumes, identifying top candidates and organizing interviews. A centralized database stores resumes and allows filtering by skills or job requirements. Companies can create a branded career portal and post job openings on external job boards.

Here are the top six ways that ATS
software can help companies attract top talent.

1. Promote your company culture using a branded career website

Because top candidates know their
worth, they’re often selective about where they work. They aren’t looking for
just any company, but one with a culture that’ll help them reach their
long-term potential.

One of the first places applicants
look when researching a company is its website. With an ATS solution, you can
create a branded career portal to showcase why your company is the ideal work environment.

In addition to company info, the
career website helps candidates find job openings, manage a profile, answer
pre-screening questions and submit their resume. ATS software can
even let you embed Glassdoor reviews and social media feeds without any HTML

Marketing company culture, however,
doesn’t stop with the website. Candidates don’t want to read a dry, monotonous job
ad. They want to understand not only the position and its responsibilities, but
also what kind of people they’ll be working with.

Companies are responding in creative
ways. They’re using ATS technology to develop engaging hiring videos and
glowing employee testimonials. Adding real human faces and voices can go a long
way in demonstrating that your organization cares about the people that work
for it.

Once you’ve put together a branded
website and creative job ads, analytics can show how many people visit each
page, which websites they’re coming from and how long they’re spending on each section.
This data helps you adjust your career website to increase future engagement.

2. Reach more high-quality candidates through job boards and social media

Online job boards, such as Indeed
and Monster, are some of the most popular sources to hire applicants. Especially
for small and medium-sized businesses whose names might not be top-of-mind for
candidates, posting to multiple job boards is vital.

But the process of posting to each board
individually can be time-consuming, leading to costly errors and delays. Hiring
managers can use ATS software to post jobs directly to multiple boards
simultaneously, as well as social media websites like LinkedIn, Twitter and

An ATS solution can also analyze
which candidate sources lead to successful recruitments. Not only will it save
you time and energy in the long run, but it’ll also save you money, as you’ll
avoid job boards aren’t effective.

In addition, 84% of organizations are
now using social media for
recruitment and to increase brand visibility. Recruiters can engage
with professional on LinkedIn, hold live Q&A sessions on Facebook and
comment on trending Twitter hashtags. Some hiring managers are even getting
involved in online professional and technical communities to find potential

3. Engage current employees to find new ones

Top candidates will often ask to
speak with current staff members during the interview process, because they
trust fellow employees to be more honest than senior managers. Staff members with
the same job function can also give applicants a better idea of day-to-day
responsibilities and work culture.

That’s why it’s important to involve
current employees in sourcing new candidates. Staff members can serve as powerful
brand ambassadors during recruitment, speaking to not only what
makes your company different, but also attractive to potential candidates.  

Be sure, however, to only select
employees with good experiences and high performance. Otherwise, you may draw
less-than-stellar candidates.

Applicant tracking systems also
provide email templates to send to employees – either in specific departments or
company-wide – to let them know about new job openings. They can then forward direct
job links to prospective applicants in their network or use buttons to share
the positions through their social media account.

As recruitment moves beyond job
boards, businesses would be wise to take advantage of both employee referrals
and social media recruiting.

4. Separate top resumes from the pile

You might assume that getting
more resumes is always a good thing. But when most employers receive
between 75 and 250
applications per job opening, identifying the cream of the crop becomes
a harder task.  

In fact, 80% of employers say the
most common barrier to identifying top talent is filtering through unqualified
candidates. You may not have the resources to thoroughly read
every single resume. And by the time you find a great one, the candidate may already
be off the market.

Many businesses are now using applicant
tracking software to automatically collect and analyze resumes, so that companies
can identify top talent quickly.

An ATS solution automatically
imports resumes from online job boards, emails and social media. It then
converts the resumes into a standard format, which can be searched and filtered
by specific keywords or skills.

Some applicant tracking systems even
suggest the best candidates based on qualifications or how closely their
experiences match your job description.

5. Optimize recruitment workflows to hire candidates faster

Although you may think you’re
running a smooth hiring process, most applicants would disagree. 69% of candidates
want employers to respond faster and 60% have quit
an application process because it took too long.

That means if your recruitment
workflows aren’t organized
and efficient, your company may be missing out on top performers.

In addition, candidates are now
treating the job search like an online shopping experience. They use company
review websites like Glassdoor to research not only work culture, but a
company’s recruitment process.

If previous applicants receive poor or
slow communication or get lost in the hiring process, they’ll write a bad
review. After reading these reviews, strong candidates may decide to skip your
company entirely.

ATS software can speed up the hiring
cycle by centralizing important candidate information and communication into a
single profile. Hiring managers can access this info quickly and even view
candidate profiles side by side to compare qualifications, skills and
interviewer feedback.

If your hiring team includes
employees in different departments and locations, it can be easy to drop the
ball and lag on recruiting. An ATS solution provides a range of collaboration
tools, such as team scoring, visualization tools, and notification triggers, to
help coordinate recruiting for disparate teams.

The software can help diagnose
bottlenecks in the recruitment process and trigger alerts when team
members are taking too long to schedule an interview or provide feedback. As
candidates advance through recruitment stages, the software can automatically
send follow-up emails, screening surveys and scheduling requests.

Bottom Line

Businesses are in competition for
the best candidates, so it’s important to take every measure to stand out from
the pack. Here are the ways an ATS solution can help you attract top talent:

  • Promote your company culture using a branded career website
  • Reach more high-quality candidates through job boards and social media
  • Engage current employees to find new ones
  • Separate top resumes from the pile, and
  • Optimize recruitment workflows to hire candidates faster.

If you’re in the market for a
solution, check out these reviews of the best applicant tracking systems.

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Supreme Court asked to rule whether the ADA applies to your business website

The website states that when a case
lands before the nation’s highest court, “with rare exceptions, each side is
allowed 30 minutes argument.”

Coincidentally, you can “order pizza,
pasta, chicken & more online for carryout or delivery from your
local Domino’s restaurant,” according to Domino’s website, and when
you do, you should let them know “YOU GOT 30 MINUTES.”

Someone set the timer, ‘cause
things are heating up in here.

Domino’s, backed by the U.S.
Chamber of Commerce, earlier this month asked the Supreme Court to step in to
decide whether the Americans With Disabilities Act applies to online ordering.

ADA and business websites

A blind customer first sued
the pizza chain in 2016, saying he couldn’t order a pizza through its website
or app, since it wasn’t compatible with standard screen reading software.

He argued Domino’s should
bring its digital ordering tools into compliance for making online content
accessible to people with disabilities.

Earlier this year, the Ninth
Circuit Court of Appeals agreed. It said Domino’s had ample notice of the law’s
requirements. The court didn’t say what the appropriate solution should be.

Now the High Court will get
to place its order.

What it means

For now, if a business
website or app offers customers a direct link to good or services offered at a
physical location, the ADA applies and the company should include ways to make
the website accessible to disabled persons, according to the National Law

In its analysis of the nexus
between Domino’s website and its offered goods and services, the Ninth Circuit
noted that the ADA only covers “actual, physical places where goods or services
are open to the public, and places where the public gets those goods or

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AARP sues Yale University for discriminatory ‘wellness’ practices

The AARP Foundation announced it has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of Yale University employees, alleging that Yale’s employee wellness program violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).

The lawsuit contends that Yale forces certain employees and their spouses to either submit to medical exams and disclose personal health information and family medical history or pay heavy financial penalties.

Yale’s employee wellness program, called Health Expectations, requires approximately 5,000 union employees and their spouses to submit to medical tests and allow release of all of their insurance claims data to multiple wellness vendors.

Employees who refuse to disclose private medical and genetic
information must pay a penalty of $1,300 per year.

“This is a particularly important issue for older workers, who are more likely to have disabilities and medical conditions—such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer—that are at risk of being revealed by wellness questionnaires and exams,” said AARP Foundation President Lisa marsh Ryerson, “and it hits low-income workers the hardest.

Violation of civil rights

“Allowing employers to financially coerce workers into
relinquishing their personal health information is a clear violation of medical
privacy and civil rights protections,” Ryerson said.

Both the ADA and GINA are federal laws that protect employee
privacy and allow workers to shield themselves from discrimination in the
workplace. The AARP Foundation lawsuit argues that Yale’s Health Expectations
program puts workers between a rock and hard place: employees either must hand
over sensitive medical and genetic information on themselves and their spouses
or pay a heavy financial penalty to protect their personal health information.

“Under federal law, disclosing medical and genetic information and test results in workplace wellness programs must be voluntary,” said William Alvarado rivera, Senior Vice Preisdent of Litigation at AARP Foundation. “Workers should have the freedom to choose whether to divulge personal health information in the workplace, as Congress intended.”

Allowing employers and others access to private medical
information could lead to people being fired, not hired, or discriminated
against in other ways based on their health history. Ensuring that inquiries
and exams in wellness programs are voluntary is a self-help mechanism for
workers who do not want to risk these consequences.

Yale University had not publicly responded to the lawsuit.

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Employee burnout is costing you: 5 best ways to help

Good HR pros are aware of how much damage burnout can cause — both to productivity and the mental health of employees.

But many may not know just how serious this issue has become. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared employee burnout an “occupational phenomenon” that may require medical attention.

While WHO isn’t going as far as classifying burnout as a disease, it’s calling it a “syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that hasn’t been successfully managed.”

Identifying burnout

How do you know if your employees are suffering from burnout? WHO defines the top three symptoms:

  • feelings of depleted energy/exhaustion
  • increased negativity about one’s job, and
  • reduced professional efficiency.

Top causes

While employee burnout has been around forever, this is the first time WHO is recognizing it as a direct result from workplace stress only — any personal issues aren’t contributing to this phenomenon.

So what’s causing the big burnout spike? Here are the top five reasons employees are more stressed than ever before, and how you can fix it, straight from HR expert Ross Brooks.

1. Overwhelming workloads

Employees will quickly burnout if they have too much on their plates, Brooks says. Workers tend to get in over their heads when they lack some of the skills needed to complete their tasks.

One way to avoid this is to set clear goals for your employees at the start of the week. Instead of the never-ending to-do lists, encourage managers to give employees one to three manageable tasks at a time. Regular check-ins are a good idea, too, Brooks says, to ensure employees aren’t too overloaded.

2. Lack of control

Nothing causes more stress than rigid work schedules or being micromanaged. Brooks suggests giving employees more autonomy over their day-to-day tasks to reduce some of the pressure.

Managers could try just giving employees the desired result, and allowing them to reach that goal through whichever method works best for them — instead of spelling everything out.

3. Lack of rewards

If employees aren’t fairly compensated or rewarded for their work, they’re going to quickly stop caring.

Of course, raises aren’t always an option. Luckily, studies show recognition can be just as effective as a salary bump, Brooks says.

One way to effectively recognize your employees is to point out specific actions or behaviors that contributed to a job well done. Sharing employees’ triumphs in the form of a story can also help to motivate the rest of your staff.

4. No sense of community

Employees do their best work when they’re surrounded by likable co-workers who support them. When workers don’t have this sense of community with their colleagues, burnout is more likely to happen.

To foster this sense of community, it’s important to focus on team building activities, Brooks says. Lunches and happy hours are great ideas. Friendly competitions like some kind of fitness challenge can also bond colleagues.

5. Unequal treatment

When employees see managers holding workers to different standards or carrying out policies unequally, they’re quickly going to become disengaged with the company and their work.

The best way to address this is to write up clear policies and enforce them consistently, Brooks says. And when employees come to you with concerns about fairness, look into the situation and get back to them.

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