Welcome to The Arnold Group’s monthly Labor and Industrial newsletter. We are excited to provide feature articles covering the latest trends and developments in employment and work force management as well as helpful tips, updates, observations and analyses from HR industry experts. Regardless of your company being brand new or well established, you are sure to strengthen your organization with this valuable information.
View the latest editions of The Arnold Group’s bi-monthly Human Resources magazine: Labor and Industrial Insights articles over latest trends and developments in employment and work force management as well as helpful tips, updates, observations and analyses from HR industry experts.
After a company puts in the hard work onboarding its new employees, it would be a shame to see them walk right back out the door in less than a year. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what can happen if managers and team leaders don’t make an effort to keep employees happy beyond the onboarding lifecycle. The following three retention strategies can help companies boost employee engagement and keep team members satisfied throughout their (ideally, lengthy) tenures.
>> Read more: LI Insights December 2020 eNewsletter
Thanks to the effects of AI and automation, an estimated 375 million workers may need to switch jobs by 2030. These changes will surely reshape the working world, but the outlook isn't all doom and gloom. Companies can have some control by proactively preparing their workforces through "reskilling (learning new skills for a new position) or upskilling (learning current tasks more deeply)." Unfortunately, although business leaders and employees alike are well aware of the impending digital revolution, most executives have not yet started such preparations or are simply getting it wrong.
>> Read more: LI Insights November 2020 eNewsletter
The need for skilled labor is an escalating concern for manufacturers. Not only does the low unemployment rate make it harder to find workers, but today's manufacturing jobs require very different skills from jobs of just a decade ago. The embedding of digital tools and technology in manufacturing (a transformation sometimes referred to as Industry 4.0) has necessitated a shift in the skills workers need to be successful.
Some manufacturers are turning to one type of workforce training program, skills initiatives, as a solution. These initiatives encompass a wide range of programs but are often styled as apprenticeships and fit under the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) umbrella.
>> Read more: LI Insights October 2020 eNewsletter
The skills gap that has plagued the manufacturing industry for the past several years shows no signs of disappearing any time soon. Unfortunately, the lack of skilled candidates puts high pressures on consumers, existing technologies, engineers, current workers, and oversight. If they want to avoid the dangers and profit losses that accompany those pressures, organizations that operate in factory settings need to develop strategies in a few key areas as they work to close their skills gaps.
>> Read more: LI Insights September 2020 eNewsletter
Anger is a strange and hard-to-understand emotion, especially when otherwise affable or thoughtful people become leaders and start to exhibit it more and more frequently. The people being led then begin to question what they thought they knew about their leaders (e.g., CEOs, department heads, principals, pastors), and the leaders themselves often wonder whether they’ve suddenly given in to the dark side of power. What’s particularly strange and ironic about this scenario is that in many cases unintended anger on the part of leaders actually results in their tendency to want to be too nice.
>> Read more: LI Insights August 2020 eNewsletter
For weeks, everyone’s been hyper-aware of the good work frontline workers do to help us through this pandemic. We see so much imagery of healthcare workers in full protective gear, working tirelessly in emergency departments, postal and delivery workers walking up to our doors with important packages; and grocery store workers stocking shelves to make sure shoppers get what they need.
But there’s another essential frontline worker who is just as important amid this pandemic, but, because of lack of visibility, rarely gets mentioned in media: the factory worker.
>> Read more: LI Insights July 2020 eNewsletter
Managers are nervous. They're worried about how to tell employees things they need to hear. They don't want to deal with arguments, denial, blame, and worse–lawsuits. Many of them are just plain scared silent. Others don't know the words to use so they manage by mental telepathy and subtle hints.
Let's stop the charades. We need to know and they want to tell us. So let's get on with it. Managers, rather than doing the 2-step, tell 'em straight. Employees, rather than feeling victimized and defensive, listen to what they have to say.
>> Read more: LI Insights June 2020 eNewsletter
As the U.S. economy reopens in the coming weeks and months, employers are faced with the challenge of bringing employees back to work to a workplace that is drastically different from the one that existed just weeks ago. While states and cities will have unique requirements and conditions with which employers must comply, they intend to rely on, in large part, the constantly evolving guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
>> Read more: LI Insights May 2020 eNewsletter
We’re living in a time of unprecedented change, but even under more “normal” circumstances, transformation and uncertainty are foundational to business (and life). Whether navigating challenging circumstances like the COVID-19 pandemic or positive ones like unprecedented periods of growth, managers have the ability to proactively strengthen team connections during times of change. Here are some tips to help keep your team engaged, even amid the most turbulent situations.
>> Read more: LI Insights April 2020 eNewsletter
Employers are rightfully concerned about what, if anything, they should be doing to respond to the continued spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), with confirmed cases in dozens of countries, including the United States. As U.S. officials encourage Americans and American companies to prepare for significant disruptions to their daily routines, employers will need to keep in mind the current state of applicable employment laws when deciding how to respond.
>> Read more: LI Insights March 2020 eNewsletter
The only thing constant is change. Though some aspects of business success are built upon bedrock principles that were detailed decades ago, you can’t stop evolving. There are new business models. There is new technology. And there needs to be new management.
No, we’re not talking about firing and replacing all the bosses. It is the very nature of management that needs to continue being updated with the times. Employee expectations are different than they were in the past, and any good enterprise will shift to reflect this fact.
While you certainly don’t need to abandon everything, there are new ways of thinking that you should work to incorporate. As we move through the year, the following three management tips will help steer you in the right direction.
>> Read more: LI Insights February 2020 eNewsletter
A short-sighted strategy that will ultimately cost you when that talent walks right back out the door.
Onboarding is here to stay. In fact, 77% of professionals believe that onboarding is more important than ever. But like every great change-maker, there is a big difference between doing it, and doing it well.
Every company onboards. A few have fully-fledged strategies to engage and inspire onboardees throughout the new hire journey. Many utilize a series of orientation activities and check-box training modules. And 22% have no formal process in place, relying on existing staff to ensure new hires are ‘shown-the-ropes’.
>> Read more: LI Insights January 2020 eNewsletter
The unemployment lows we’ve seen throughout 2019 are expected to continue into the new year. In 2020, recruiters will have to work harder than ever.
With fewer qualified applicants coming your way, you may find yourself scrambling to impress top talent, not the other way around.
To get ahead in 2020’s candidate-driven market, you’ll have to take a flexible approach – in more ways than one.
>> Read more: LI Insights December 2019 eNewsletter
One of my favorite phrases is “make it easy to buy and easy to use”. I learned it years ago in the hospitality industry. If you want to upsell a restaurant guest, make it easy for them to buy the premium product and use it. Basically, as the guest, I simply want to pay and enjoy.
This concept applies to other products and services too. For example, if you want me to upgrade my technology subscription then make it easy to buy and easy to use. If I have to logout, download a new app, reset my password, and it still doesn’t work, then this doesn’t make me want to spend the extra money.
>> Read more: LI Insights November 2019 eNewsletter
The future simply came too fast for HR. As new technology is increasingly introduced in the workplace, HR faces an existential moment–it’s time for HR departments to stand up and fight to keep the Human in HR. But that doesn't mean HR should resist technology adoption.
HR won’t win the race for talent fighting against the accelerating pace of technological disruption. On the contrary, HR needs to embrace technology. It needs to step up its game and assume its role as a human advocate in this digital world, and stop hiding behind the masks of administrative and compliance cops. If HR doesn't respond–and do it fast–Human Resources will quickly become the High-performance Robot department.
>> Read more: LI Insights October 2019 eNewsletter
The gig economy is the future of the workforce, right? Or is it an old concept with a modern twist? After all, using workers on a “freelance” or “independent contractor” basis is not a new idea. Whether old or new, there are legal traps that businesses should be aware of and precautions they can take to minimize their liability.
What is the gig economy?
>> Read more: LI Insights September 2019 eNewsletter
One of the most important services HR leaders are called on to provide is resources for new managers. New manager training varies so much based on length of previous management experience or, in the case of employees promoted from internal positions, knowledge of existing company rules, regulations and processes. It can be difficult to develop individual management training based on the resources you have available on your HR team, but there are some areas you can focus on to offer new manager training for internal or external candidates who are new to a supervisory role.
>> Read more: LI Insights August 2019 eNewsletter
Exit interviews are important tools for HR because they provide insights into company operations and culture that would otherwise be impossible to get from current employees. To make the most of the process, HR stakeholders should develop consistent processes that aim to collect valuable, measurable data.
To ensure consistent insights, it is important to develop a standard procedure for conducting exit interviews. Your policy should specify which stakeholders are responsible for conducting the interview, when the interview should be held, and which questions will be asked.
>> Read more: LI Insights July 2019 eNewsletter
One of the most overlooked–yet very valuable–sources for talent are former employees. Individuals who used to work for an organization and later return to it have long been known as rehires. As this trend has picked up in recent years, they’ve picked up a new name: boomerang employees.
Over the years, I’ve worked for a few organizations that placed a great emphasis on rehires or boomerang employees. Unfortunately, most companies don’t tap into this resource nearly enough and are therefore missing out on opportunities to access a terrific talent pool.
>> Read more: LI Insights June 2019 eNewsletter
Often, it takes more than a bigger paycheck to keep employee engagement up.
While making more money is a good motivator, it should not be the end-all when it comes to encouraging your employees to be more engaged. If you think that a bigger paycheck is the only way to achieve higher engagement levels, consider these five alternatives.
>> Read more: LI Insights May 2019 eNewsletter
In March, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks – again – to raise the minimum salary threshold for employees classified as exempt pursuant to one of the so-called "white collar" exemptions for executive, administrative, and professional employees.
>> Read more: LI Insights April 2019 eNewsletter
At 3.8 percent, the national unemployment rate in the U.S. hasn’t been this low since 2001. The low rate combined with a growing number of individuals who are retiring from the manufacturing workforce is creating a growing labor gap; Thomas Lee, head of Fundstrat Global Advisors, predicts a shortage of 8.2 million workers through 2027. Manufacturing jobs aren’t the most glamorous positions sought by new grads, and with fewer people seeking work, more factories will have openings on the line as these shortages continue.
>> Read more: LI Insights March 2019 eNewsletter
Nowadays, the majority of job descriptions look the same. They have the same structure and use the same phrases as if HR professionals had read the same manual, “How to write a job description.” Therefore, it’s not surprising if they get the same, unsatisfying results.
Fortunately, there are some ways you can enrich and enhance your job description to make it stand out.
>> Read more: LI Insights February 2019 eNewsletter
In the last 12 months, we faced a historically tight labor market, the initial impacts of Google’s entry into the talent acquisition space, and the gearing up for and the introduction of GDPR.Additionally, new technology disrupted the industry daily with mobile, social, and AI leading the charge.
With the New Year fast approaching, let’s take a look back at some of the top recruitment news of 2018 and how key trends might transition into 2019.
>> Read more: LI Insights January 2019 eNewsletter
"Come work for our company!! Great advancement potential! Be a manager in 2 years!!" Does this language sound familiar? Sure it does. It's probably part of at least half of all job postings out there right now. We love to dangle carrots, and this one is the macdaddy of carrots: promotion opportunities.
>> Read more: LI Insights December 2018 eNewsletter
Do you pay your employees fairly? Of course! You did your research when making salary offers, you award regular cost of living raises and you pay for their overtime work. Still, according to a recent study, 46 percent of employees feel that they are underpaid.
>> Read more: LI Insights November 2018 eNewsletter
The rise of social media has created new opportunities and challenges in the workplace, affecting each and every department in different ways. The recruiting and HR departments are no exception, with businesses of all sizes increasingly looking to access candidates' social media profiles when shortlisting.
However, with great power comes great responsibility.
>> Read more: LI Insights October 2018 eNewsletter
Potential employees are continuing to disappear while we’re in the middle of our recruiting process – what can I do about this ghosting phenomenon?
Great question, and one that doesn’t have just one answer. For the various reasons that potential employees are ghosting, many of them may point to the image that you’re portraying as an employer online. In a world where we are inundated with different messages and forms of communication, what can you be doing to help yourself stand out from the crowd of employers on Indeed or ZipRecruiter?
>> Read more: LI Insights September 2018 eNewsletter
For all of our technological connectivity in the digital era, we have never felt so overwhelmed and fragmented as a society. We find ourselves stressed out by the size of our inboxes, by our social media feeds, by the tangle of wires on our nightstands.
So how can we begin to reverse this trend and bring humanity back into the workplace?
>> Read more: LI Insights August 2018 eNewsletter
Today’s headlines about robots and jobs are enough to give anyone whiplash. From the NY Times to Forbes magazine, we’re told that robots are taking all the jobs and then, in the same breath, that robots will be the biggest job creators in history. For manufacturing executives who are looking to automation to improve productivity, drive profits, and grow their businesses, it can be hard to know what to believe–and how to prepare.
>> Read more: LI Insights July 2018 eNewsletter
The success of your organization depends on the talent it hires. It stands to reason, then, that recruitment deserves an ample portion of company time and money. The key to gaining the resources necessary for developing successful hiring activities is getting buy-in from company management.
Executives need to be aware of the recruiting successes for HR to become the central business function it can be.
>> Read more: LI Insights June 2018 eNewsletter
There's a critical skills gap in the manufacturing industry today–over the next 10 years, new employees will be needed for 3.5 million manufacturing jobs, yet 2 million of those roles are expected to go unfilled, according to Deloitte's U.S. Manufacturers Survey.
There's an immediate need in this industry for highly skilled and highly educated workers that can develop creative ideas, solve complex problems and deliver innovative products. But these workers are proving to be scarce. Better employee training and development is needed, along with revised career progression models, new retention strategies and programs to facilitate knowledge transfer from one generation to the next.
>> Read more: LI Insights May 2018 eNewsletter
While our lives and careers can often find themselves in predictable patterns–go to school, get a job, work hard, rise to the top–there’s one little secret that most leaders never like to talk about. It’s a reality that can make us feel vulnerable. But it shouldn’t.
What’s the secret? It’s this: we rose to our leadership positions because we were good at a certain skill, not because we were skilled at leading others. We were promoted because we personally created great results.
>> Read more: LI Insights April 2018 eNewsletter
For decades, posting a job opening was a relatively simple task. All a recruiter had to do was share the job description across the appropriate channels and candidates came pouring in. Today, the competition for talent is fierce and writing content to advertise a job opening requires a lot more finesse.
>> Read more: LI Insights March 2018 eNewsletter
Oops, you did it again. You know what I'm talking about. You made the wrong choice and hired the wrong person.
The new hire is flailing, your hiring manager is frustrated, HR is trying to ensure they stay long enough to not be a total loss, and the CFO is wondering if her can take the recruitment costs and lost productivity out of your budget.
>> Read more: LI Insights February 2018 eNewsletter
Last year, my predictions for the top three recruiting trends of 2017 were new technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), a focus on workplace diversity, and talent rediscovery.
It turned out that 2017 was undeniably the year of AI.
What will the new year bring to the world of recruiting as the economy improves and unemployment dips to a 16-year low? Here are my top three predictions for 2018.
>> Read more: LI Insights January 2018 eNewsletter
The 2017 holiday season is upon us. Most of you have a good handle on this, but for some new managers, HR people, and payroll people there may be some confusion in how people should be paid for the holidays. Here is some guidance from the FLSA. Some of you may be in states that have other regulations, such as California, so be aware of your local jurisdiction.
>> Read more: LI Insights December 2017 eNewsletter
The allegations of outrageous conduct against former film executive Harvey Weinstein have dominated the news for more than two weeks. If the allegations are true, Weinstein represents the quintessential "superstart" harasser - the high earning, successful leader whose bad behavior is tolerated because of his perceived value to the corporation.
>> Read more: LI Insights November 2017 eNewsletter
Many employers want to be able to monitor their employees' communications, including phone calls, emails and instant messages, with or without notice. Some employees may want to secretly record unsafe working conditions or harassing behavior. However, both employers and employees have an interest in workplace privacy and confidentiality.
>> Read more: LI Insights October 2017 eNewsletter
Although Americans are notoriously bad for not taking their vacation time—even when they’ve accrued it–paid time off (PTO) remains one of the most attractive benefits employers can offer. So, when you’re hiring, don’t underestimate its importance as a recruiting tool. Having outdated PTO policies or offering minimal vacation, sick, and personal time can turn potential candidates off. Generous policies, on the other hand, can help you secure your next dream hire. Here’s what you need to know about why PTO matters so much.
>> Read more: LI Insights September 2017 eNewsletter
While apprenticeships are not as common in the U.S. as they are in Europe, these programs are growing in popularity because of the clear career path for workers and benefits for employers. In June of 2017, President Trump signed an executive order in an effort to expand apprenticeship programs across the country. Trump said that his executive order would empower companies, unions, industry groups, and federal agencies to “create apprenticeships for millions of our citizens.”
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 206,000 individuals nationwide entered the apprenticeship system last year. Typically, these programs are used as a strategy by employers to find and hire skilled workers.
>> Read more: LI Insights August 2017 eNewsletter
A key theme during this year’s Great Place to Work Conference was developing talent. Are organizations asking their managers the question, “What are you doing to develop talent? And specifically, your replacement?”.
I’ve always felt the primary role of a manager is to hire and train their replacement. It goes without saying that a big interrupter can occur in company culture when there’s a change in management. Organizations don’t always get to plan for management changes, so when they do, it’s a big deal. It’s a visible process that demonstrates whether the company really lives their culture.
>> Read more: LI Insights July 2017 eNewsletter
There are many skills that managers can learn on the job. For example, they can learn how to approve time cards, the key elements in an employment law, or the steps in conducting a good interview. But there are some basic skills or qualities that organizations want to see in managers from day one.
So, if you’re an HR professional trying to communicate expectations for the management team, this list might be helpful. Or, if you’re an individual who wants to eventually become a manager, think about building on these basic skills:
>> Read more: LI Insights June 2017 eNewsletter
The days of employees spending decades at a company -- and receiving a gold watch in gratitude -- are long gone. Workers today are constantly on the move, a fact of life that will only accelerate as job growth picks up. But the turnover poses particular challenges for companies looking to hold onto their best and brightest.
In response, innovative companies are embracing a promising new retention strategy: employee rotation.
>> Read more: LI Insights May 2017 eNewsletter
Starting a new job can be a pretty stressful experience. You want it to go smoothly so that your new hire feels happy and welcomed, and settles into the position as quickly as possible. While onboarding can be an effective way of achieving this, it won’t work well if it’s boring or regimented. Let’s look beyond the usual checklists and documentation, training, and tours, to find other, more creative things you can do to help employees adjust to their new work environment successfully.
>> Read more: LI Insights April 2017 eNewsletter
Retention and employee experience are two sides of the same coin. Here’s a quick story: In one of my previous roles at a different company, a new senior leader came on and laid off half of our department. Those of us remaining were in shell shock. We knew this happens at companies all the time. But little was done to alleviate the fears of those who remained (and had a lot more work on their plates) and the culture seriously suffered. I started looking for a new job almost immediately and accepted an offer a few months later. The day before I was going to give my notice, my manager started a discussion about compensation but for me, it was too little, too late. And for most people, money can’t make up for a negative work experience.
My story is not unique, which is why retention remains a serious issue for HR and business leaders. This article is the first in a series on findings from the new SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey (sent to nearly 800 HR professionals). The first finding is: The top three workforce management challenges faced by organizations today are retention/turnover, engagement, and recruitment.
>> Read more: LI Insights March 2017 eNewsletter
You arrive at work bright and early, only to find that someone beat you there – OSHA is waiting to perform an inspection. Now what? Many employers think they have little say in what happens next. Actually, employers have many choices to make, starting as soon as OSHA arrives.
The first step is simply bringing the compliance officer to a conference room or other appropriate location. You should select a location that is private and located close to the entrance, so you do not have to walk the compliance officer through any more of your facility than necessary. If the compliance officer happens to see something that may be a violation, this could provide the basis for a citation and/or expansion of the inspection.
>> Read more: LI Insights February 2017 eNewsletter
When an employee has to leave work due to a work-related injury it causes difficulties for many people, especially if it is a disabling injury. That disability status throws the situation into a different category. It is no longer just a worker’s comp issue. It is also now a potential Americans with Disabilities Act issue. This was a the situation for a grocery store in Maryland and that mistake cost them $27,000.
>> Read more: LI Insights January 2017 eNewsletter
The fears of workers being replaced en masse by robots has been well documented in the press. Rather than replace them however, how about if technology allowed companies to retain workers by melding them with machinery to make them much more efficient and productive?
>> Read more: LI Insights December 2016 eNewsletter
Talent acquisition is big business. U.S. corporations spend $130 billion dollars on recruitment in order to fill their open positions with the right people. According to Bersin by Deloitte, U.S. companies spend an average of $4,000 to fill an open position, so the need to find the right hire is paramount.
Over the past several years, many businesses have been steadfast in their initiatives to hire military veterans and with good cause..
>> Read more: LI Insights November 2016 eNewsletter
Mention the idea of bullying, and most people immediately envision a kid on an elementary-school playground pushing smaller children around. While most people outgrow childhood habits, many bullies never stop trying to intimidate others, and their behavior frequently extends to the workplace.
Nearly everyone has worked with someone who was an adult version of that playground bully. Whether you were the target of that bully’s actions or simply watched as he or she made life miserable for other workers, you probably recognized that the bully makes the workplace unpleasant at best and frustrating at worst.
>> Read more: LI Insights October 2016 eNewsletter
There’s an old saying that says, “Employees don’t leave jobs, they leave managers.” And it’s often true. Throughout my career, I’ve talked to hundreds of employees who love the company and their work, but they can’t stand their manager. So they leave. Sometimes they will just transfer to a different department or another location. Sometimes they will leave the organization all together.
>> Read more: LI Insights September 2016 eNewsletter
Companies want to attract the best talent. People want to work for the best companies. The definition of "best" varies, of course, but that's the beauty of a brand: it doesn't have to be “one size fits all.”
Now a business imperative, a good talent brand successfully attracts the kind of people who help a business grow. A strong talent brand also reflects the new workplace paradigm: a two-way relationship between organizations and talent. Hiring is no longer just a matter of an employer deciding whether to hire someone but now includes candidates researching and considering companies in much the same way they evaluate consumer products.
>> Read more: LI Insights August 2016 eNewsletter
With warmer weather and longer days, employers now have the opportunity to focus on outdoor projects that have fallen dormant for several months. However, while warmer weather offers employers a chance to get outside and work, moving that work outside can present some hazards to employees that are often overlooked. Whether your workplace is a saw mill, a factory, or an office, the natural inhabitants of your environment who are also awakening at this time of year can pose a threat to your employees. Employers should spend time identifying these potential threats and making to minimize the risks that they present.
>> Read more: LI Insights July 2016 eNewsletter
"Millions to Earn More Overtime!" That is what the newspaper headline read on the front page of the morning paper. Yes, as many of you are aware, the Department of Labor has finally released the final regulations regarding the new wage standard for exempt level employees. There was both good and bad news in the notice published by the Department of Labor.
>> Read more: LI Insights June 2016 eNewsletter
Employers should pay close attention to OSHA's recent revisions to its enforcement procedures on injury reporting, particularly those dealing with Rapid Response Investigations, which the agency frequently asks companies to conduct after a reportable injury.
It has been over a year since OSHA's revised injury reporting requirements took effect. Employers are now required to report to OSHA any fatality, inpatient hospitalization of a single employee, amputation, or loss of an eye. Shortly before the new reporting requirements too effect, OSHA published what it termed "Interim Enforcement Procedures for New Reporting Requirements." These guidelines, which have just been revised, explained how OSHA would receive and respond to injury reports under the new rules.
OSHA's initial interim guidelines called for injuries reported under the new requirements to be placed in one of 3 categories.
>> Read more: LI Insights May 2016 eNewsletter
Unemployment costs are beginning to come down from all time highs over the last 6 or 7 years, but they are still one of the most expensive employer costs. Why then, do most employers take for granted that their tax rates and the charges to their Unemployment Insurance (UI) reserve accounts are correct? Honestly, it is because most employers do not know that many of these charges (and therefore, their UI tax rate) are incorrect.
Currently, depending on the state in which you are doing business, between 6 and 14 percent of all charges to your UI account are incorrect – with most of those mistakes being overcharges. These errors lead to higher UI tax rates (or for reimbursable employers – hight direct costs) that are calculated in error. With this kind of error rate, should you simply trust that no mistake was made to your account?
>> Read more: LI Insights April 2016 eNewsletter
Looking to send a strong message to employers who fail to provide a safe workplace, the Departments of Labor and Justice (DOL and DOJ, respectively) are teaming up to investigate and prosecute worker endangerment violations, namely, violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA), and the Mine Safety and Health Act (MINE Act). Under a new worker endangerment initiative federal investigators and prosecutors will look to possible environmental crimes committed by companies in conjunction with workplace safety violations in order to seek felony convictions and enhanced penalties available under federal environmental laws. With the DOJ’s additional focus on holding individual corporate wrongdoers accountable, corporate executives could find themselves criminally and civilly liable for their roles in such crimes.
>> Read more: LI Insights March 2016 eNewsletter
When people get promoted into a management role, the going phrase is that you now have "hire and fire" power. Almost everyone enjoys using his or her hire power – it's great to build your own team and see each individual employee grow. But fire power? Unless you're a cold-hearted person, you generally don't enjoy using your fire power – ever. But should you? If you think the answer is "no," consider the hiring and firing options of the federal government for a moment – you're more likely to die that to be fired in a government job. Then, think about the level of service provided by most government organizations: Do you want to run your business with the efficiency of a DMV? Then don't fire anyone. But if you want to be better than that, you need to be willing to let people go when it's warranted.
>> Read more: LI Insights February 2016 eNewsletter
Since OSHA's revised fatality and severe injury reporting rule went into effect on January 1, 2015, employers have been deeply concerned that the agency would use information contained in Rapid Response Investigation Reports (RRIs) – required by OSHA in response to approximately 50% of the reports made this year – as the basis for issuing citations and fines. This concern stems from the fact that when OSHA finds an employer's RRI unsatisfactory, such as where the employer merely blames the victim or fails to provide what the agency determines is an adequate plan to address identified hazards, OSHA may determine that an inspection is in order. Last week, in an interview with Business Insurance Magazine, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, Dr. David Michaels, clarified that OSHA has never used information contained in a RRI to justify a citation or fine and never will.
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