Moments of Clarity:
was right when he said, “Nature abhors a vacuum.” Companies and
politicians like to say that they’re transparent, when in fact, they’re
often the opposite. And, as in nature, in the absence of facts, people
will often fill their minds with what is perceived.
you’re working at a company, rather than being one of its customers,
and you’ve been told by senior management that they’re transparent
about what goes on, then make sure you take a close look at what
they’re willing to share.
article titled “The Price of Secrecy” in Human Resource Executive Online,
employers are quick to cite company policy, yet are reticent to share
if and how those policies are being enforced. This has a huge impact on
employee trust and can quickly have the opposite effect on employees
following said policy.
employees want to know that if they follow the rules, others will also
follow them, or there will be consequences for not doing so. Companies
can hide behind the mantra of “it’s being handled,” or “it’s an
employee issue,” but what the employer may forget is that gossip will
sometimes fill in the unknown. Compounding matters is that employees
want to know that if a colleague violates company policy, the
appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.
seldom reveal any disciplinary process or policy enforcement simply
because it may violate privacy, or it might embarrass either the employee
or employer. For example, an employee has been stealing company
property for months. Eventually, the employee is caught, but it may
reflect poorly on the employer that it took a long time to realize this
was happening, or that safeguards were not in place to prevent the
theft in the first place. So, while the employer wants to inform its
employees about this violation and how it was handled, they also don’t
want to expose vulnerabilities that could undermine the employee’s
trust in the company.
benefit of policy transparency is that it keeps the enforcers honest.
That is, if a company employee is responsible for doling out
punishment, then that person is more likely to do it fairly and
impartially if they know everyone is watching.
are places where you expect things to be noisy, such as a rock concert,
and places where you expect it to be quiet, like an office. And while
nobody likes being “shushed,” there are few things more annoying than
trying to work when someone else is talking in the background.
‘80s music group ‘Til Tuesday said it best: “Hush hush, keep it down
now, voices carry.” An article in Human
Resource Executive Online titled, “A Not-So-Quiet
Little Problem: Noise!,” points out the current problem of modern,
open offices—NOISE. When offices had doors, or at least cubicles, along
with sound-absorbing carpeting and ceiling tiles, background noise
wasn’t such a problem. Now, however, offices are wide open with nothing
to block sound waves. Combine that with hardwood, or concrete floors,
lots of glass and tall, echoing ceilings, and you’ve got the perfect
storm for noise pollution.
or technology companies especially like open offices, and you can
imagine what it sounds like with people talking on the phone, banging
away at their keyboards, and conversing with each other. According to
the article, nobody considers the acoustics of a room. They look at how
beautiful, modern, and spacious it is. Then, once the room is filled
with busy employees, the shock of its lack of tranquility sets in.
become distracted by the noise, which in turn leads to reduced
productivity. You can tell a lot about the noise level of an office by
how many employees are wearing headphones. For workers to feel
“healthy” at work, noise is a major factor, along with air quality and
are many ways to fix a noisy office if you follow the A, B, Cs—absorb,
block, cover. Materials can be placed to absorb noise, walls or
furniture can be positioned to block noise, and there are electronic
devices that use counter-measures to cover noise. The industry, office
layout, and other factors will influence the choice of the best
solution to mitigate noise. One thing is certain: when choosing a new
office, or remodeling an existing one, it’s best to factor in a room’s
acoustics along with its aesthetics.
Get Moving… To
phrase: “If I’m lying, I’m dying” should be changed to: “If I’m
sitting, I’m dying” even though it doesn’t rhyme. If you haven’t heard
by now, sitting for long periods of time increases the chance that
you’ll die early, regardless of your race, gender, age, body mass index
(BMI), or even if you exercise. The longer you sit, the higher your
risk of dying sooner rather than later.
morning, people get ready for work and then sit in their cars (or
public transportation), then sit when they get to work, then sit again
in their cars, then sit in from of the TV when they get home. It’s time
everyone breaks that cycle and starts moving around more during the day
and not just when they’re at the gym, assuming they even go.
in an article on CNN’s
website titled, “Yes,
sitting too long can kill you, even if you exercise,” reveals that
taking “movement breaks” every 30 minutes basically cancels out this
health problem. But it’s not as simple as just standing, there are two
factors impacting this—frequency and duration. How often you sit during
the day, and how long you sit each time, have an effect. The article
references the American Heart Association’s message of “Sit less, move
more,” but admonishes them for not telling people how they should move
around, or for how long.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has specific
guidelines and recommendations for exercising, but none for sitting.
For example, if you sit for 30 minutes, you should probably walk around
for at least five minutes before sitting down again. And don’t assume
that a “standing desk” is healthier than a traditional desk where you
sit down. There isn’t enough evidence to say that a standing desk is
better. It’s all about actual movement, which is why simply standing up
another factor that would seem to make a difference, but actually
doesn’t. The article discusses age, yet the same principles apply.
Older adults who sat more often and for long durations were far more
likely to die earlier than those who sat less.
message is clear. Regardless of who you are, what you do for a living,
or how “fit” you may be, if you’re not moving around during the day and
sitting for fewer than 30 minutes, you’d better get used to the fact
that you may not be around as long as you expect, so get moving!
Out Your SSN Like Candy
Security numbers (or SSNs) used to be tied just to your Social Security
benefits. Now, that number is tied to just about everything used to
identify you. In this age of identity theft, your Social Security
number is one of the most valuable, if not THE most valuable,
identifiers you have. Yet, people frequently hand this number out to
anyone requesting it without even a second thought as to how it will be
protected. Is whatever product or service you want at the time worth
risking your identity?
more egregious habit I’ve seen is people carrying their Social Security
card, and their children’s cards, in their purse or wallet. If you’re
doing this, please stop right now and put those cards in a safe place
article titled, “5 times you don’t need to give out your Social Security
number” in Yahoo
Finance said that there were more than 15 million cases of
identity theft in 2016. In order to limit your risk, consider whether
someone requesting your SSN truly needs it. The five places we think
should have our SSN really don’t need it. Those are prospective employers,
doctors, schools and colleges, retailers, and when booking travel.
the reasons you don’t necessarily have to provide your SSN, is detailed
in the article. What’s important to consider for anyone requesting your
SSN is why they need it, how they will use it, whether they accept
another form of identification, and what will happen if you don’t
provide it. I consider it even more important to ask how they plan on
safeguarding your SSN and what will they do for you should there be a
data breach and your SSN is stolen.
there are many other places that offer products and services where you
must supply your SSN. Typically, those involve government agencies or
financial institutions such as credit card companies, applying for a
loan, filing your taxes, state and federal benefits, etc.
important thing to remember is that just because someone asks you for
your Social Security number doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to
provide it. Before handing it out, take your time and think about
whether they truly need it, or just want it. Then, decide if you’re
willing to risk giving it to them so that you can avoid being another
statistic of identity theft.
Need to Know about Wellness Program Administration
October 10, 2017
2:00 p.m. ET / 11:00
webinar will cover what to consider when sponsoring a wellness program.
webinar, we will:
- Describe wellness
- Briefly describe the laws
and regulations that govern wellness programs
- Discuss how employers
should approach different levels of wellness program involvement,
such as engaging with the carrier's wellness program, offering a
health risk assessment, and administering payroll deductions
- Address how an employer
can be compliant with wellness program regulations when an employer
uses a carrier-provided wellness program
- Discuss the U.S. Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission's regulations regarding spousal
consent when the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008
(GINA) applies to a wellness program
- Discuss the importance of
having a bona fide wellness program if an employer implements a
- Provide sample language
for a tobacco surcharge affidavit
- Discuss payroll deduction
administration, such as applying a discount to an employee's
premium, changing premium amounts, and giving money back to
employees based on their participation in the wellness program
60-minute intermediate level webinar will help employers understand how
to administer wellness programs.
for the webinar. The presentation will be posted on the UBA website
the day before the webinar.
is Of Counsel in the Atlanta, Georgia, office of Fisher Phillips. She
focuses her practice on helping employers navigate Employee Retirement
Income Security Act (ERISA) and other state and federal laws impacting
the design, implementation and ongoing compliance of their employee
benefit plans and programs. She regularly advises clients on the
Affordable Care Act, health and welfare benefits, qualified plans,
executive compensation, Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangements (MEWAs)
and multiemployer plan issues. Lorie also represents employers in
managing Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Labor (DOL)
audits, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
compliance and fiduciary obligations. She serves clients in the public
and private sector, including non-profit organizations and trade
webinar event has been submitted to the Human Resource
Certification Institute and the Society for Human
Resource Management to qualify for one recertification credit hour.