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The information provided in this blog is intended for general information purposes only. Readers should seek the help of an HR professional for guidance on specific issues.

2020 California Labor Law Update Labor Laws that Impact Employers

Posted by on 8:47 am in News and Features | Comments Off on 2020 California Labor Law Update Labor Laws that Impact Employers

Sequoia Personnel is ready to offer HR guidance in navigating these legal changes. Please reach out to us for more information. When you employ through Cardinal, you work with a firm who is prepared to help keep you compliant.

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Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Posted by on 1:28 pm in News and Features | Comments Off on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Here are some “safe practices” that can help you and your employees

Sequoia Personnel Services acknowledges the worry and the many questions on employers’ minds with the arrival of the Coronavirus in the Pacific Northwest. We want to share some best practices that can help you and your employees during this ongoing health challenge.

 

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Rules on “Safe Workplace”

Under OSHA, employers do have a responsibility to maintain a safe workplace, but at this time, the risk of exposure for the average worker is relatively low. Though many employees may feel uneasy about coming to work or working with the public, a few essential precautions and an open communication policy at your company can go a long way to easing fears.  

 

Call-In and Attendance Policies

Review your procedures for calling in sick or unplanned absences. Review these procedures with your staff and your managers so that they can review these with their work crews. It is crucial for every employee to know the company’s sick, vacation, or paid time off (PTO) policies, and managers should be prepared to answer questions from your staff.

Keep in mind, employees requesting time off for illness, may have some job protections under other Federal or State Leave Laws such as the Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA), California Paid Family Leave (PFL), California Family Rights Act (CRFA), or even the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Generally, however, an employee is not entitled to these protected leaves if staying home just to avoid getting sick.

 

Flu/Infectious Disease Best Practices
  • Encourage sick employees to stay home
  • You may legally send sick employees home
  • Wash hands frequently with soap & water (20 seconds)
  • Have an alcohol-based hand sanitizer available
  • Avoid close contact with people that are sick
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and face
  • Cover mouth when coughing or sneezing with a tissue—then wash hands!
  • Increase workplace cleaning frequency—disinfect frequently touched items and surfaces, including counters, doorknobs, break-rooms, kitchens, and restrooms
  • Offer virtual webinars or conference calls instead of in-person meetings, if feasible
  • Stay current with local and national health agency recommendations
  • Limit travel to affected areas
  • Consider offering telework, i.e., working remotely to potentially exposed employees during the incubation period

 

Mitigate Your Litigation Risk
  • Remember, all medical information must be treated as confidential. Remind your staff of this as well.
  • If an employer would like an employee who has been exposed to stay home (even though the employee is not exhibiting symptoms), pay the employee applicable sick leave or PTO while they are required to stay home.

 

Company Proactive Steps

Crafting and sending out a company-wide memo can help clarify questions and allay fears. This communique should include a reminder on safe infectious disease-avoidance practices, call-in protocols, sick-leave, and other information that is appropriate to your company, your location, or your industry.

 

Call Sequoia Personnel – We’re Here to Help

If you have any questions or concerns on how to handle this public health challenge, please contact the HR Specialists at SPS. We can advise you on how to proceed with your company communications and review your policies that apply to this situation.

FEDS TIGHTEN I-9 REQUIREMENTS & ADD NEW FORM

Posted by on 9:38 am in News and Features | Comments Off on FEDS TIGHTEN I-9 REQUIREMENTS & ADD NEW FORM

U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services releases new I-9 Form – Employers must begin using it by May 1, 2020.

 

EMPLOYERS USING OUTDATED I-9 FORMS RISK COSTLY VIOLATIONS

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have released a new Form I-9, and employers must begin using it by May 1, 2020. Employers may continue to use the previous form through the deadline, but for convenience, employers may begin using the new form now. To stay compliant, you may download the new form directly from USCIS’ website.

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WORKPLACE SAFETY: Calling 911

Posted by on 9:23 am in News and Features | Comments Off on WORKPLACE SAFETY: Calling 911

Can Your Employees Call “911” directly from the company phone?

If not, you are in violation of Kari’s Law!

Multi-line phone systems must allow direct dialing to 911 and automatically notify a designated staff member.

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When is “Harassment” NOT Harassment?

Posted by on 4:45 pm in News and Features | Comments Off on When is “Harassment” NOT Harassment?

Understanding the definitions of a Hostile Work Environment and Workplace Harassment

HARASSMENT means different things in different settings to different people. People will often say they’re being harassed when they’re actually being pestered or bothered. At work, harassment has a specific legal meaning. It is recommended that those in the workplace, especially supervisors, reserve the word “harassment” for conduct that meets the specific legal definition. Here’s the definition: 

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Ask HR: Sexual Harassment Complaint

Posted by on 4:45 pm in News and Features | Comments Off on Ask HR: Sexual Harassment Complaint

Dear HR,

We just received our first possible sexual harassment complaint. One of our female dockworkers was loading some inventory when a male employee came up and offered to help.  She declined the help, instead suggesting another co-worker (who is male) was struggling with his load and could use some help. The “helpful” employee grabbed the back of her neck, pulled her towards himself, and made direct eye contact with her while still smiling directly at her. Not only did this physical contact make her extremely uncomfortable, she felt it was uncalled for and came out of the blue, totally surprising her—she felt there was no reason to touch her. The other male coworker who was “struggling” actually watched the entire encounter; he then witnessed the other male employee looking the female worker “up and down” while making inappropriate gestures towards her while her back was turned. The female employee reported this incident to the crew leader, who in turn, reported it to me. We did interview both the female employee and the witness who confirmed the story. We have not yet confronted the offending employee. I don’t want this to escalate into a lawsuit! What should I do next?

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Holiday Gift Giving To Employees

Posted by on 10:55 am in News and Features | Comments Off on Holiday Gift Giving To Employees

A little thoughtfulness and sensitivity go a long way to preventing HR mishaps!

The holiday season is a time when business owners want to reward their employees with something a little extra.  Besides a holiday bonus, giving that “little something extra” often takes the form of parties and gifts. But beware!  Holiday gift-giving can quickly become an unintentional HR issue –so now is NOT the time to dismiss the idea of being politically correct. To avoid any potential Human Resource violations, here’s a review of some seasonal do’s and don’ts to assist you in preventing HR issues AND help you spread a little holiday cheer.  (more…)