Lookout corner: here’s some money, go get your own health insurance

With the potential to fundamentally change the way employers handle benefits, Sears and Darden (the restaurant company behind Red Lobster and the Olive Garden) are implementing a new program for employees. The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that these big firms have decided to give workers a sum of money and let them “go shop” for health insurance.

What do you think of this game-changing move? Would your company consider switching to this model? Tweet us your thoughts @hridiot.

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HRUtube: break time is for the cats

Welcome to the second installment of HRUtube, or as we like to call it “how we justify watching Internet videos at work.”

This week we would like to share this video of an unusually pensive cat. Which reminds us, are you giving your employees the proper meal and break times? While requirements vary from state to state, a majority of states require that you give your employees some sort of break during the workday. Lucky for you, we have compiled these regulations in one place. Click here to go to your Wages and Hours guide on HRSimple.com and make sure you are meeting your state’s requirements.

Law and Order: Human Resources Unit

Drug-testing employees is pretty common-place amongst employers.  You have to be careful how you go about it, of course, but for the most part it’s pretty routine.  So why is an auto parts manufacturer settling a dispute with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over drug testing – and to the tune of $750k?

Here’s what happened:

  • In 2007, Dura Automotive Systems drug tested its employees in a Tennessee manufacturing plant.
  • Of the 12 substances the employees were tested for, 7 were legal prescription drugs.  (I think it’s safe to assume they were the fun ones – you know, like beta blockers.)
  • Any employee who tested positively for the legal prescription drugs was then told to disclose the medical condition that required the drug and subsequently stop taking them or be terminated.  (Keep in mind, this was without evidence of job performance being affected by the drugs.)
  • The company then shared with its entire workforce the names of employees who tested positively.
  • Finally, Dura fired any employees who refused to stop taking their prescriptions, and also fired individuals who were unable to perform their job duties because they had stopped taking their prescription drugs.

I know what you’re thinking – “How do I get a job at Dura Automotive?!”  (Yep, they’re real mavericks over there.)

To read more on this nearly unbelievable EEOC case and for info on why Dura’s actions violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), click here.

How to probate legalese pursuant to the where to for

We here at ACCR go through a great deal of effort to keep legalese and jargon away from our readers. Our editorial department has nightmares of “pursuant to”-s and “where to for”-s chasing them down the street.

But, we figured if you work in human resources, there are a decent amount of legal terms you do need to understand.

Click here and read the article “HR Legal Terms Explained,” which covers four such definitions – and then probate the heck out of it.

Save the drama for…your television dramas

It is no secret that employer/employee relationships are problematic. I mean how many times did we have to watch Burke and Cristina argue about her not getting a surgery she wanted because he couldn’t show her special treatment? I mean, come on!

Well, maybe if the head honchos over at Seattle Grace had read this article by our partners at Fisher and Phillips they would have known better than to allow relationships between employers/employees. The article, titled – SPOILER ALERT – “Supervisor-Subordinate Relationships: Never a Good Idea,” says it is probably best for you to simply have a policy prohibiting such relationships. While this is probably a good idea for the workplace, it doesn’t make for very good television.

To check out the full article, click here.

Headphones: a disturbance in the workforce?

If you thought headphones were on your side in the fight against workplace disturbances, think again. While allowing employees to listen to music or podcasts (or Darth Vader reading the Bible) has been shown to increase individual employee productivity, it can also be seen as causing a great disturbance in the (work) force.

And why do you think that is?  Hey, I just asked you a question.  Oh, you have your ear buds in.  Sorry.  Didn’t mean to bother you.

According to a recent Forbes article, office workers are becoming increasingly detached from one and other which, in author of It’s Always Personal: Emotions in the New Workplace Anne Kreamer’s words, can result in “a huge and real loss in terms of career development.”

Click here for more from Forbes on the subject.

Resume screening – how to find the fluff

If you’ve subscribed to this newsletter, chances are you’ve read through plenty of resumes – many of them absolutely terrible. As a results-oriented go-getter, we think you should use your proven ability in HR to check out the article “Nine Phrases You Should Never Put on Your Resume,” where you’ll learn what resume phrases to look out for and ignore, so you can more easily focus on the actual experience of your candidates.  (And while you’re at it, maybe make sure none of the nine are on your resume.)

Click here to read “Nine Phrases You Should Never Put on Your Resume.”