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Is Your Workforce a Suicide Squad?

Ok. I admit it. I’m a fan of super-hero movies. When I found out DC’s Suicide Squad was opening on my daughter’s birthday it was a no brainer. So I loaded the family into the mini-van and took them to see it opening day. The basic plot consists of a team of dangerous, incarcerated super villains “recruited” for a top-secret mission.

Amanda Waller, the U.S. intelligence officer who assembles the team, specializes in getting people to do what she wants. She has one character’s heart locked in a box. She motivates another character by promising he can spend time with his family. The idea is that each member of the team has separate motivations. Waller uses–OK, exploits–those motivations toward a common goal.

Suicide Squad in Your Workplace?

As a movie, Suicide Squad did not disappoint. As an employment attorney, it got me thinking. I’m not suggesting employers run out and hire dangerous super villains. If we put aside Waller’s I-don’t-care-who-gets-killed mentality, and the hundreds of zombie-like bad guys put down by rapid machine-gun fire, there may be a few lessons for life and the workplace.

  1. A properly motivated team can overcome extreme obstacles.
  2. You can’t properly motivate someone unless you know what makes them tick.
  3. Although others can motivate us, we work better when we motivate ourselves.
  4. Working as a team is almost always better than working alone (except when it’s not).
  5. When management warns you of the consequences should you fail to follow directions, you’d better follow directions (Alas, poor Slipknot, we knew thee little).
  6. Failure is always an option, but we probably won’t like the results.
  7. A carrot is usually a better motivator than a stick.

Workplace Fairness

I frequently advise employee clients that employers are not required to treat employees fairly. I also advise my employer clients that treating employees fairly is the best way to avoid problems (including legal problems) in the workplace. Consider your work environment.  Whether you’re an employee or an employer, are you motivating your colleagues and yourself toward success? Are you treating others the way you want to be treated? Do you have a killer crocodile living in your sewer? If you answered yes to at least two of those questions, you probably have a stable workforce that is building toward success. If not, then think about what you can change to improve your workplace

I’m hoping to see Jason Bourne soon.  We’ll just have to wait and see if I can any more bright ideas about the workplace.

Original article by Robert E. Nuddleman of Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C.

Feel free to suggest topics for the blog. We are happy to consider topics pertaining to general points of Labor and Employment Law, but we cannot answer questions about specific situations or provide legal advice. If you desire legal advice, you should contact an attorney.

Your use of this blog does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C. The use of the Internet or this blog for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be posted in this blog and Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C. cannot guarantee the confidentiality of anything posted to this blog.

The Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C. represents employees and businesses throughout Silicon Valley and the greater San Francisco Bay Area including Pleasanton, Oakland, San Ramon, Hayward, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Los Altos, San Jose, the South Bay Area, Campbell, Los Gatos, Cupertino, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Sunnyvale, Santa Cruz, Saratoga, and Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Benito, Mendocino, and Calaveras counties.

New FEHA Regulations May Require Handbook Revisions

Most employers already have anti-harassment policies, but effective April 1, 2016, amended FEHA regulations may require some handbook revisions.  The following summarizes the requirements imposed by the amended regulations.  Read on to see if your anti-harassment policies need to be revised.

Anti-Harassment Handbook Revisions

All California employers with 5 or more employees must develop a written harassment, discrimination and retaliation prevention policy that lists all current protected categories covered under the FEHA.  The policy must indicate that the law prohibits coworkers and third parties, as well as supervisors and managers, with whom the employee comes into contact from engaging in conduct prohibited by FEHA.

Handbook Revisions Regarding Complaint Process

The policy must include a complaint process to ensure that complaints are kept confidential, to the extent possible.  The complaint process must also require a timely response and an impartial and timely investigations by qualified personnel.  The policy must include documentation and tracking for reasonable progress, appropriate options for remedial actions and resolutions, and timely closures.

The complaint mechanism cannot require an employee to complain only to his or her immediate supervisor. The policy should allow for oral or written communication with a designated company representative, such as a human resources manager, EEO officer, or other supervisor.  Alternatively, the policy can include complaint hotline and/or access to an ombudsperson.  The policy should also notify employees they have a right to complain the EEOC—including contact information for the organization.

The policy must instruct supervisors to report any complaints of misconduct to a designated company representative (i.e., HR manager), so the company can try to resolve the claim internally. Employers with 50 or more employees are required to include this as a topic in mandated sexual harassment prevention training.

The policy should also state that when an employer receives allegations of misconduct, the employer will conduct a fair, timely, and thorough investigation that provides all parties appropriate due process and reaches reasonable conclusions based on the evidence collected.  If at the end of the investigation misconduct is found, appropriate remedial measures shall be taken.  The policy must also make it clear that employees will not be exposed to retaliation as a result of making a complaint or participating in any workplace investigation.

Disseminating New Harassment Handbook Revisions

There are also new dissemination requirements.  Employers must either:

·      Print and provide a copy to all employees with an acknowledgment form for the employee to sign and return;

·      Send the policy via e-mail with an acknowledgment return form;

·      Post current versions of the policies on a company intranet with a tracking system ensuring all employees have read and acknowledged receipt of the policies;

·       Discussing policies upon hire and/or during a new hire orientation session; and/or

·      Any other way that ensures employees receive and understand the policies.

I recommend a discussing the policies during a new hire orientation AND providing a printed copy for the employee to sign and return.  Employers must also translate the policy into every language that is spoken by at least 10 percent of the workforce at any facility or establishment.

Given the speed with which the courts and the legislature alter the employment law landscape, employers should consider updating their handbooks every year, or at least every other year.  Adding or losing a significant number of employees may also require handbook revisions because different laws apply depending on how many employees work for the company.  There are a number of low-cost ways to create a handbook, but employers should not just copy and paste someone else’s handbook without ensuring the policies fit the workplace.  For more information about handbook revisions, see my article regarding Facts and Myths Regarding Employee Handbooks.

Original article by Robert E. Nuddleman of Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C.

Feel free to suggest topics for the blog. We are happy to consider topics pertaining to general points of Labor and Employment Law, but we cannot answer questions about specific situations or provide legal advice. If you desire legal advice, you should contact an attorney.

Your use of this blog does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C. The use of the Internet or this blog for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be posted in this blog and Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C. cannot guarantee the confidentiality of anything posted to this blog.

The Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C. represents employees and businesses throughout Silicon Valley and the greater San Francisco Bay Area including Pleasanton, Oakland, San Ramon, Hayward, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Los Altos, San Jose, the South Bay Area, Campbell, Los Gatos, Cupertino, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Sunnyvale, Santa Cruz, Saratoga, and Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Benito, Mendocino, and Calaveras counties.