Weed and the Workplace

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By Kathleen J. Jennings (kjj@wimlaw.com)

As recreational and medical marijuana become legalized in many states, employers must be prepared to deal with the impact of marijuana use on employees in the workplace. The absence of a reliable test that can pinpoint the time of ingestion of marijuana/THC makes it extremely difficult to prove that an employee is under the influence of marijuana at a given time. And when some states, such as California, protect employee off-duty use of marijuana, an employer needs to know the possible legal consequences of any action it takes against an employee for using marijuana. In our latest Podcast, Thom and I talk about some of the legal issues that employers should be aware of. We expect this to be our highest rated episode yet! Have a listen: https://www.spreaker.com/user/10949568/cyaweed

Criminal Background Checks: How They Are Impacted By “Ban the Box” Laws

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By Kathleen J. Jennings (kjj@wimlaw.com)

If your company performs criminal background checks, have you checked to see if there are any state or local laws that restrict things such as the point in the hiring process when you can perform those checks, and how you can use the results to disqualify candidates? And what do you do if one of your employees is arrested? In this Podcast episode, Thom and I talk about these issues. Have a listen: https://www.spreaker.com/user/10949568/cyabanthebox

Quiet Firing: Is This Really A Good Idea?

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By Kathleen J. Jennings (kjj@wimlaw.com)

Everyone is talking about the concept of “quiet quitting, ” but over here at Cover Your Assets, we are also talking about a related issue: Quiet Firing. Tune in to this week’s Podcast to hear how we feel about this passive aggressive approach to managing employees. And find out how “quiet firing” could turn into a constructive discharge or discrimination claim. Have a listen: https://www.spreaker.com/user/10949568/how-is-quiet-firing-related-to-quiet-qui

The Far-Reaching Effects of Pay Disclosure Laws

By Kathleen J. Jennings (kjj@wimlaw.com)

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California and New York recently passed laws that require employers to disclose a salary amount or pay range for advertised positions. Colorado, Washington State, and New York City already have these requirements, and Connecticut, Maryland, and Nevada require employers to give job candidates salary information during the hiring process or upon request.

One of the stated goals of these laws is to reduce gender and race discrimination in wages by helping applicants and employees enter into wage negotiations with valuable information.

These laws can have other, more far-ranging effects. Pay transparency can reveal potentially discriminatory patterns in wages, resulting in EEOC charges or Equal Pay Act claims. Or they may reveal that your company’s wage scale is low in comparison to competitors–which may lead to an exodus of some of your employees seeking more money. This wage data can even be useful to unions in their organizing efforts; one of the selling points of a collective bargaining agreement is a completely transparent wage scale for bargaining unit members.

One thing that employers should do, regardless of whether you are in a state that has one of these laws, is to conduct regular internal wage audits. Are employees being paid similar amounts for similar jobs? If there are large disparities in pay among employees in the same job, are there legitimate business reasons for them? And how does your pay scale compare to those of your competitors or neighboring businesses? Are you losing good employees because you have not addressed your pay scale in recent months?

Keep in mind that even in the absence of pay transparency laws, you cannot prevent employees from discussing their wages with each other; to do so is a violation of the National Labor Relations Act. (And check your employee handbook to see if there is a rule that prohibits employees from discussing their wages with one another. If there is, remove it now.)

Kathleen J. Jennings is an attorney licensed to practice law in Georgia and New York. She graduated from Cornell University, College of Arts & Sciences, with distinction and New York University School of Law. She is a principal in the Atlanta office of Wimberly, Lawson, Steckel, Schneider, & Stine, P.C. and defends employers in employment matters, such as sexual harassment, discrimination, Wage and Hour, OSHA, restrictive covenants, and other employment litigation and provides training and counseling to employers in employment matters. She can be contacted at kjj@wimlaw.com.

The materials available at this blog site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between Kathleen J. Jennings and the user or browser. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author.

Copyright 2022 by Kathleen Jennings

What Is Quiet Quitting, and Why Should Employers Care?

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By Kathleen J. Jennings (kjj@wimlaw.com)

“Quiet quitting” is a concept that is gaining a lot of traction in mainstream media as well as the blogosphere and podcasting, so naturally, it seems like an ideal topic for our Labor and Employment Law Podcast and the companion blog. What I have learned about it is that it does not involve actual quitting, and those who talk about it are not very quiet. In fact, some “quiet quitting” seems to have arisen from deep seated hostility toward employers. Which is why employers need to be aware of the phenomenon and take steps to address it head on. Thom and I talk about handling “quiet quitting” among your employees. Have a listen: https://www.spreaker.com/user/10949568/cyaquietquit

How Are You Managing Employee Side Hustles?

By Kathleen Jennings (kjj@wimlaw.com)

Many employers are finding that it is not unusual for employees to have “side hustles” in addition to their main hustle. On this episode, we talk about the steps that employers can take to ensure that employees are not working other side hustles while on the job and on the clock. Have a listen!


Let’s Talk About Employee Morale

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By Kathleen Jennings (kjj@wimlaw.com)

On our most recent Podcast, we talk about employee morale. Do your employees feel appreciated? Or do they have one foot out the door? Do Employee of the Month programs help or hurt employee morale? Spoiler alert–they will hurt morale if employees perceive them to be unfair or only awarded to brown nosers. Have a listen! https://www.spreaker.com/user/10949568/employeemorale

Email Is A Great Tool–Until It Is Not.

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By Kathleen J. Jennings (kjj@wimlaw.com)

Nearly all of us use email to communicate at work. It’s fast, you can reach a lot of people, and the conversation is documented, which can be good–or bad–depending on how you use it. On this Podcast, Thom and I talk about email etiquette with Louise Hughes (lih@wimlaw.com), our very smart and multi-talented Firm Administrator. And we ask the question: who doesn’t get annoyed by that email sent to everyone in the office but really targeting one person? Have a listen: https://www.spreaker.com/user/10949568/cyaemailetiquette

Can You Recognize Potential Union Activity in Your Workplace?

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By Kathleen J. Jennings (kjj@wimlaw.com)

Employees at major companies such as Amazon and Starbucks are voting to belong to unions, and these successes are fueling union organizing campaigns at other companies. Indeed, the current labor shortage is empowering employees to seek more money, better benefits, and/or more flexibility, and some employees see a union as the means to this end. So can you recognize union organizing activity among your employees? And do you know what to do–and what not to do–if this type of activity occurs. In our latest Podcast, Thom and I talk about these issues. Have a listen: https://www.spreaker.com/user/10949568/cyaunion.

What At-Will Employment Really Means

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By Kathleen J. Jennings (kjj@wimlaw.com)

Do you know what “at-will employment” really means? And do you know how it is not the same thing as “right to work?” Find out how the confusion of these two very different concepts drives me crazy. Listen to our latest Cover Your Assets Podcast: https://www.spreaker.com/user/10949568/cyaatwill

Do you have an idea for a topic for our Podcast? Drop me an email!