In a difficult economic climate, most people are grateful to be gainfully employed. However, there are times when employees accept unsafe or unjust workplace conditions simply because they fear losing their jobs if they “rock the boat.” However, recession notwithstanding, employees should be aware that the law protects their right to a safe and hazard-free work environment.
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) protects the right of employees to request a workplace inspection if they feel their jobs pose a threat to their wellbeing. Under OSHA regulations, employers cannot in any way discriminate or retaliate against employees who file such a request.
During an OSHA inspection, workers (or their representative) have a right to talk privately with the inspector before and after the inspection. They may also participate in meetings with their employer and the inspector.
Just as job seekers have trouble finding quality job opportunities, business owners have a similar struggle in finding and holding onto talented employees. In order to keep employee turnover to a minimum, it helps to create a positive work environment that not only attracts loyal employees but make them want to stick around as well, and if you’re wondering how to improve your employee success rate, here are a few tips to get you on the right track.
Office romances. What’s an employer to do?
Valentine’s Day is this week and quite fittingly, we turn our thoughts to the ever sensitive subject of office romance. And whether or not it’s company culture to frown on personal relationships in the workplace or to look the other way, they do happen. Strong bonds develop when employees work long hours together— and nowhere is that more true than in the intense environment of a small business or start-up. Couple that with social media platforms that keep us connected to our co-workers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and you have the ingredients for office romance.
So the question is, how should you handle it? Look the other way in the hopes that either the relationship will be short-lived and others won’t notice or that one of the employees in the relationship will leave the company and/or department? Or wait until the relationship turns sour and either you are dealing with a sexual harassment complaint or other employee relations issues as employees “take sides” or claim “unfair advantage”? And what about employees losing focus on work projects as they deal with their relationship issues that have spilled over from their personal lives into their work lives? Continue reading
When a small business owner looks at hiring a new manager, the hiring cost can seem discouraging when the prospective employee has an MBA. There is a strong assumption that MBA students are trained too generally and that they lack decision making skills from a lack of real world experience. Can they be trusted when left unattended with helping to run your business? These are undeserved and unfounded assumptions as MBAs bring real value to small businesses.
The EMBA Advantage
The joy, the pleasure, the inexplainable rapture of the lemonade stand. We all had one when we were a kid, or some venture that was close to one. Subsidized by the kindness, patience, and hard cash of our parents, most of us know the sheer bliss of making a few bucks selling glasses of lemonade for a nickel a pop. Then, as we grew up, selling lemonade transformed into mowing grass or washing cars. Every summer meant a bit more money for clothes or movies or, if you were more responsible, college.
The work ethic of millions has been built on experiences gained during summer employment. And I feel like it shouldn’t stop when we grow up. We become content – content with our jobs, our lives, our little ruts – and we forget about that entrepreneurial spirit that had us up at 6 AM to wake our parents and build a stand out of old plywood.
We’re a pretty close knit bunch here at MyCorp. Everybody knows everyone pretty well and gets along. But our team is also pretty small and since we aren’t a large corporation, sometimes a couple of us wonder what our lives within a more global company might be like…
There are two different first impressions that come to mind. The first is Google headquarters based. Picture bright colors, ping pong tables, free food and drinks, and flip flops. Laidback and interactive while still getting the job done. The other comes from the film Office Space. Hours of sitting in traffic, hours of sitting in a cubicle, a copy machine that doesn’t work, and a mountain of pointless “TPS reports.” The worst case scenario, as we all voted and agreed on. Continue reading
Lawsuits are an unwelcome guest in any household not to mention in any business; no one wants to be sued! Unfortunately, lawsuits surrounding the workplace are on the rise. Compensation issues, discrimination complaints as well as wrongful termination suits were all in abundance in 2010. For example, in 2010 wage and hour lawsuits under the Fair Labor Standards Act jumped dramatically, adding 700 more cases than in 2009 totaling 6,800 lawsuits.
Other areas contributing to an increased number of lawsuits are disability and leave of absence claims. Requests for disability accommodation as well as for a leave of absence are on a dramatic upswing. Employers are now seeing work-related injury claims stemming from physical or emotional ailments that don’t stem from the job but affect it. Denial of such claims can lead to a lawsuit under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The issue appears to be finding a balance between what legal right the employee has versus what legal right the employer has; the two rights often overlap. Continue reading
For everyone of the class of 2011… or 2010… or 2009, or maybe even 2008, finding a job is going to be a difficult and trying process. Finding someone who will actually pay you money for work is exciting, but the economy is in a volatile state, and has been for a few years. So what should the recent graduate going to do? Graduate schools, years off, and temporary positions in retail and food service are all on the table as newly minted professionals attempt to “wait it out.” Many are also looking to unpaid internships, which are an old source of college credit and experience. In a recent release, the Department of Labor revealed that the only sector of the job market that is truly showing growth is the unpaid internship. More and more are hoping that, with another sentence emblazoned on their résumé, dream jobs will be that much more attainable.
Don’t think that way. While unpaid internships are great when you have something else on your plate, like finishing college, they are simply not worth the time or effort once you are out of school for three main reasons. Continue reading
Small businesses face a unique set of challenges in the current economy.
The Senate voted to repeal the unpopular 1099 tax reporting requirement of the Affordable Health Care Act Tuesday, April 5th. This is the first piece of legislation that officially repeals part of President Obama’s widely-debated health-care reform movement.
Small business owners have expressed their frustration at the provision, which would require them beginning in 2012 to report to the IRS all payments of more than $600 on 1099 forms—work that many small companies just don’t have the time or manpower to do. According to the Washington Post, The bill would have generated an additional $22 billion in tax payments over the next ten years. In addition, the major provisions of the Health Care Act include: Continue reading