A Little History of Presidents Day Replayed

by Michael Haberman on February 19, 2019 · 0 comments


I meant to post this yesterday, but the holiday got in the way. Originally posted two years ago.

Today is President’s Day, a Federal holiday. The origin of the day was the celebration of George Washington’s birthday, February 22nd. Although an unofficial observance at first, it was made an official holiday in 1879 by Rutherford B. Hayes, but even then, only applied to the District of Columbia. In 1885 it became a national federal holiday, and the first holiday to celebrate a specific individual. The only other holiday to do that was Martin Luther King, Jr. day. Today MLK is the only person to have a day solely named in his honor.

Consolidated

Because Abraham Lincoln’s birthday was also in February, when the holiday was deemed to be President’s Day rather than Washington’s birthday, many thought it was changed to include Lincoln in the celebration. In 1971 the Uniform Monday Holiday Act took effect and assigned Presidents Day to the third Monday of February, although the day was initially supposed to be Washington’s birthday still.

Not really celebrated

Only about 33% of the companies in the U.S. grant Presidents Day as a holiday. Even fewer companies grant this holiday to nonexempt hourly employees. The biggest recognizers of the holiday are state and local governments and banks.

The biggest celebrators of this holiday are retailers who see it as an opportunity to sell merchandise using the images of Washington and Lincoln to sell furniture, mattresses and cars, among other things.

My favorite president has been Theodore Roosevelt. I will end this post with a quote from him that many may find apropos to today.


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Future Friday: Are you prepared for a long life?

by Michael Haberman on February 15, 2019 · 0 comments


What are you going to do when he doesn’t want to retire?

We have all heard the trope that “60 if the new 40.” Those of us that are 60 or older are happy to hear that. That is causing problems for employers, however. An older worker that sees themselves as being younger is going to be less inclined to move into retirement. This will cause a traffic jam in companies in many positions as these workers do not vacate positions and make room for younger generations. What if it was going to get worse?

Longevity

As reported in the Arabian Gazette, world-renowned futurist Peter Diamandis, announced at a conference in Dubai that “100 is poised to be the new 60.” As we lengthen our lifespans people will be less inclined to want to retire at 65 or 75 or even 85, if being 100 is like being 60. Most people don’t want to spend 40 years or so in retirement.

What will you do as an employer? Will you have spaces for that 90-year old that only “feels” 50? Companies need to start thinking long-term about their older workers. Will this type of longevity require us to think of entirely new structures for our businesses? I think so.

Better get started on it now!


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Firing someone who reports harassment is not the best course of action.

When I train about sexual harassment or discuss it in a class, one area I mention is that companies can be liable for harassment from a nonemployee. The example I give most often is a delivery person who “flirts” with the receptionist that is receiving the packages. That is not a difficult example to understand for most people, though some are at a loss about what to do about it. What if the situation involved a male truck driver as the harassed party? What if the harasser was another male? Would that change the dynamics at all?

First time case for the Third Circuit

According to attorney Brett Anders, of Jackson Lewis, the Third Circuit Court, the federal court in Pennsylvania, had never encountered such a case. The court, in hearing the case, decided it did not change the definition of a hostile environment under the law. The employee did what all employees should do. He reported the harassment to his manager. His manager said he had talked to the management of the company that employed the offending party and promised that the harassment would stop. The driver’s manager asked him to not mention it again.

The harassment did stop for about six months but then started anew. The driver reported the harassment again to his supervisor, who not only chose to ignore the complaints, actually discharged the employee, presumably because the employee had been told not to mention it again. As you might expect the employee was unhappy with this turn of events and filed a lawsuit. According to Anders, the employee claimed:

various causes of action, including: (1) sex discrimination and retaliation under Title VII; (2) discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin under Title VII; (3) sex discrimination under the Pennsylvania Human relations Act (PHRA); (4) retaliation under the PHRA; and (5) aiding and abetting under the PHRA. The defendants included BS Transportation, the third-party vendor, an employee/supervisor of the third-party, and the BS Transportation owner – all of whom filed motions to dismiss.

The court, in turn, did dismiss all but ” (1) hostile work environment against BS Transportation under Title VII and the PHRA; and (2) aiding and abetting against the owner of BS Transportation.”

The reasoning

In hostile environment claims numerous courts have decided that “if the employer knew or should have known” then they have a responsibility to correct the issue. The aiding and abetting claim was used to show that the company had not contacted the offending worker’s employer, thus bolstering the employee’s claim that immediate action had not taken place.

As Anders concludes, as should we all, employers must pay attention to any claim of harassment and take immediate remedial action to solve the problem. The lesson, in this case, was that you do not ignore harassment claims, even when they involve same-sex issues and employees of other companies.


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Should a new minimum wage come with some education?

by Michael Haberman on February 12, 2019 · 1 comment


The amount of money someone makes is not always the problem.

The push for a new minimum wage of $15 per hour is starting to gain some traction. Recently the state of New Jersey joined the small number of states and municipalities that now have a $15 per hour minimum wage. The new wage is not going to be enacted until 2024, so it does not solve or cause any problems immediately. In reading an article on the wage increase the author cited the example of an employee, Terrence Wise, working for MacDonald’s saying:

My family has been homeless despite two incomes. We’ve endured freezing temperatures in our purple minivan. Try waking up in the morning and getting ready for work and school in a parking lot with your family of five. That’s something a parent can never forget and a memory you can never take away from your children. You should never have multiple jobs in the United States and nowhere to sleep.”

I agree with Mr. Wise that this is not an acceptable situation. But does the business, or the government, bear all the blame for this situation?

Many, many factors

There are many, many factors that go into the situation that Mr. Wise finds himself in. Education level and personal decisions are just two factors. But part of the reason many people find themselves in this type of situation is lack of education on simple money handling and budgeting. We all know someone who has dug themselves into a hole by their spending habits or the lack thereof. This spans many levels of income but is certainly more disastrous when you are making minimum wage.

Perhaps a minimum wage bill should also require education

Since these minimum wage bills that are being proposed endeavor to raise the living standards of those earners perhaps the bills can include a provision that any employee receiving a minimum wage should also receive some financial education on budgeting? Perhaps these bills should include a provision in them that all high school students or college students receive this education before being sent into the world to fend for themselves?

I don’t know what the answer is, I just know that giving more money to people who don’t know how to handle their money will not produce a good citizen. More money doesn’t change bad habits. Good habits change bad habits.

Just a suggestion.


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Future Friday: Common Ground

by Michael Haberman February 8, 2019

Tweet We are now in a state of workplace being where we have five generations working together. The challenges for leadership, particularly HR leadership, is how to develop communication that reaches the maximum number of people.  Richard Bailey, the president of HP’s Americas region, writes in Fast Company,  I have found that every generation in the […]

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A February reminder…don’t I have to publish some OSHA form?

by Michael Haberman February 7, 2019

Tweet Well, I am a week late reminding you of this. But if you have not done this yet you need to do it NOW. The answer to that question is a resounding YES! At least if you have more than 10 employees and are not on the list of exempted industries. Post in a […]

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Deadline on submitting the EEO-1 extended

by Michael Haberman February 6, 2019

Tweet The EEOC posted the following press release: Due to the recent partial lapse in appropriations, the opening of the EEO-1 has been postponed until early March 2019. The deadline to submit EEO-1 data will be extended to May 31, 2019. Details and instructions for the 2018 EEO-1 Report filers will be forthcoming. Please continue to visit […]

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How incentive travel program can boost your employee’s productivity: A guest post

by Michael Haberman February 4, 2019

Tweet Today’s post is authored by Sarah Hill. She is a content writer at Seven Events Ltd – one of the leading event management companies in the UK. She started her career in the events industry almost a decade ago; as time progressed, she became an avid event blogger sharing her insight on corporate event planning.  Motivating your […]

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Future Friday: Why Automation Won’t Remove Humans From HR

by Michael Haberman February 1, 2019

Tweet Something new today. This is the first time I have published a guest post on Future Friday. This author seemed appropriate to do it with, however. Sara Carter is the co-founder of Englighted Digital. She is a consultant and freelance programmer, who has been fascinated with technology since childhood.  Is a robot coming to […]

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Correcting I-9 mistakes

by Michael Haberman January 31, 2019

Tweet As a consultant, I often find that companies make mistakes with the I-9 form, also known as the Employment Eligibility Verification form. These mistakes, if discovered by the USCIS, can cost a great deal. In fact, one company had to pay over $600,000 for 808 mistakes. The good news is that you can correct […]

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