Personal hygiene in the workplace

April 2nd, 2018

When you took your job in HR, you knew that you would have to face some uncomfortable situations: terminations, poor performance reviews, disciplinary actions, but perhaps the worst of all is the “we need to talk about your personal hygiene” conversation. Your staff’s poor personal hygiene can negatively effect co-workers and customers alike, and management needs to take these delicate matters seriously. Here are few ways to deal with hygiene issues in the workplace. 

1. Have a policy in place. And use it. 

As we say often, the best way to enforce rules in the workplace is to have rules in the workplace. When you have a clear policy on what level of hygiene is expect of all staff members, your staff can clearly understand what is expected of them, and these uncomfortable issues are less likely to arise. When new staff is hired make sure to go over the employee handbook with them and highlight these areas. Here is a sample dress code policy from our partners at Polsinelli that includes hygiene. 

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Gender and workplace bathrooms

March 31st, 2018

In 2016 the Governor of North Carolina lit a fuse when he signed a law requiring individuals to use the restrooms consistent with their “biological sex”. Shortly after, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit preventing North Carolina from enforcing this law – and the “bathroom issue” as we know it was born.  As an employer you are legally required to provide workers reasonable access to restroom facilities under the Occupational Safety a...

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No FMLA for pet's death

March 23rd, 2018

The Family and Medical Leave Act does not provide leave to care for an ill or dying pet. (Because a pet is not technically a family member. Really. Despite how we pet-owners feel about our fur babies. That’s mine in the picture.) But I also said that, “if an employee becomes depressed because of the death of a pet, it is possible that this could rise to the level of a disability that would require a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, or a serious health condition for which leave must be granted under the [Family and Medical Leave Act].” I further noted, however, that most people may experience grief but not become clinically depressed as the result of a pet’s death. So my interest was piqued by a recent case in which the employee claimed that his insomnia following his dog’s death was a serious health condition under the FMLA.

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Master the modern method for managing March Madness

March 13th, 2018

March Madness is not, in fact, capturing the King of Leprechauns (although imagine the benefits). But it can be either:

  • an annual distracting scourge


  • an inevitable activity that you can manage.

Your choice.

Richard Meneghello and Shayla Balch at our author Fisher Phillips help you manage:

  • productivity
  • hourly workers
  • company organized pools
  • risks.

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Yes Virginia, there is a St. Patrick's Day in Ireland

March 12th, 2018

With thanks and apologies to the New York Sun:

He It exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus St. Patrick's Day! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias leprechauns. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.”

As long as we are mixing references, here is the The Fun, The Bad and the Tardy from David Bell, who I assume is an actual Irelander / Irishian / Slainte-ite:

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Background checks

March 1st, 2018

Most employers understand that it is very important to hire the right employees. To make good hiring decisions, many employers consider information about the applicant that comes from various sources. This pre-employment due diligence helps companies make informed choices, and it also helps them limit their possible exposure for negligent hiring claims. 

Liability can arise in this context where an employer hires an applicant without conducting a reasonable background investigation. Many services are available that can help employers conduct background investigations, but employers must account for laws such as the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which regulates certain types of investigations and/or requires employers to make disclosures about such investigations. Services include:

Click the title of the article to read more.

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Drug testing in The Office

February 28th, 2018

Learn how to minimize the impact of drug use in your workplace at an ABI seminar: "Employee Drug Testing Program: Signs, Symptoms, Solutions". 

The seminar will include:

  • Legislative update
  • Expert panel on signs and symptoms
  • Speaker on drug abuse in Iowa: evolving threats, impacts and responses
  • Speaker on litigation issues regarding drug testing
  • Lunch and breaks for networking

March 22, 8:30 a.m.-2:45 p.m., at the ABI office (400 East Court Ave, Suite 100, Des Moines). 

The seminar is $99 for ABI members and $115 for non-members. Early-bird pricing is $75 and $90, respectively, if you register by March 8. Lunch and breaks for networking.

Order a copy of the ABI Iowa Human Resources Manual using the code hrstweet and receive a 75% discount.
This BONUS OFFER is for a limited time only.

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"Thank you" and "I'm sorry" – meaningful, simple and impactful

February 26th, 2018

Two simple statements, for the workplace or anywhere else. Hey, if a cat can do it, so can you. SHRM shows you how and why with the help of all of these good people Fjuri Be Robin Hood @InsideOutProj Nancy Friedman Team Awesome Coaching Employment Resource Group

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Michael Corleone HR tip for the day

February 21st, 2018

Michael Corleone HR tip for the day: Should an ex-employee disparage or malign you and/or the company; hold your horses, go not to the mattresses, and do nothing. Real Evil HR Lady agrees, but does have some proactive recommendations.

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S'not flu or it is, doesn't matter

February 20th, 2018

S'not flu or it is, doesn't matter. Our good friend Joan Casciari @seyfarthshawLLP helps @SHRM and you sort out how FMLA, ADA, local leave laws and PTO can apply. S'not funny. Yes, it is.

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Looking for employees: an untapped source of talent

February 19th, 2018

This blog is courtesy of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) and can be found on their website here


Can individuals with disabilities benefit your business? Research, as well as my personal experience, says yes.

Multiple studies show hiring individuals with disabilities is good for your bottom line. While there were some differences by sector, a study by DePaul University comparing employees with and without disabilities in similar positions found employees with disabilities had longer tenure, fewer scheduled and unscheduled absences, and their job performance evaluations were almost identical. Spending less time in the hiring process and fewer disruptions in production are good for the bottom line.

Employees with disabilities can be loyal, reliable and hardworking. An additional benefit of employees with disabilities in the workforce is . . .

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Be prepared for ICE raids

February 19th, 2018

If your first reaction to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid would be "Ice. ICE! Baby." and a slow exhale/shaking head, then read this from our our authors at Fisher Phillips now, which includes:

  • background: heat has been turned up in 2018
  • what you can do to prepare: 5-step plan
  • what to do should the government come calling

then check this breakdown of Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby".

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Calling Dr. Love(less)

February 14th, 2018

We are Calling Dr. Love(less), a guest advice columnist for @RobinEShea and our authors @ConstangyLaw, to answer some workplace romance questions, including:

  • should we change our "consensual romantic relationships" policy in light of #MeToo?
  • is Valentine's Ash WednesDay a sign that the end, is in fact, near?
  • how do I move beyond a mere "working relationship" without being accused of sexual harassment?
  • what do you call marriage to a "great gal", a wandering eye, and an attractive and willing boss?

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Non-exempt employees – what counts as wages?

February 13th, 2018

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), “wages” paid to an employee are defined to include money, but may also include “facilities” such as the reasonable cost or fair value of board, lodging, or other facilities similar to board and lodging which are customarily furnished by the employer for the employee’s benefit.

Examples of other facilities are:

  • meals provided at company cafeterias
  • tuition provided by a college to student employees
  • general merchandise provided at company stores
  • transportation provided to and from work by the employer.

The FLSA permits employers to pay wages . . .

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HR is not a happy accident

February 12th, 2018

With all due respect to Bob Ross, you probably can't turn your HR mistakes into an aspen copse, so check out this list of the 10 biggest HR newbie mistakes from SHRM.

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