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From my newspaper column, with my own headline and links. Enjoy!

Team Building on a Shoestring

Q:  I have a small staff of about 10 people, half of them have been with me for a while but the other half are fairly new.   I’d like for us to do a team-building activity but, like many small businesses we have no money set aside for this kind of thing.  Do you have... read more

Ransomware – What Is It, Should I Worry?

Q:  What the heck is ransomware? I’ve seen the word used in different contexts, but I’m not sure exactly what it means.  Do I need to worry about this as a business owner, or as an individual. A:  Actually both.  Ransomware can target individuals and... read more

Are Your Employees Affected by Travel Ban?

Update: The travel ban was stayed by a judge soon after this column was written a week ago.  The stay was appealed, and just last night the 9th Circuit court upheld the stay.  The case is expected to be appealed again this time to the Supreme Court. In short, everyone... read more

“Youth Wage” Is a Thing

Two weeks ago, I answered a reader who had questions about the employment rules that might apply to her 14 year-old who  landed a part-time job  in a power-washing  business.  I explained the  limitations on the number of hours allowed by our current law covering... read more

Is it Legal to Dock the Last Paycheck?

Q:  We are a small company of about 30 employees.  We have a small gift shop for customers on the premises and extend up to $100 credit for employees and ask they pay it in full at the end of each month.  The problem is sometimes employees leave before their accounts... read more

How to find work happiness – on your terms

On the first day I came back to work after a long holiday vacation  it hit me: I don’t want to do this type of work anymore.    I’m good at what I do but I’ve been doing the same thing for a long time and I want to change careers.  The problem is I don’t know what I... read more

My Favorite Workplace Trends for 2017

During the last week of every year, I scout business articles and professional journals for next year’s workplace trends (so you don’t have to).  Here are the three I found most interesting for 2017: The blended workforce.  We are not talking about blended generations... read more

How to Respond to Defensive Employee

Q:  I gave one of my employees a memo warning that her performance wasn’t meeting expectations and unless it improved I’d have to let her go. In it, I summarized her performance trajectory.  From her initial responsibilities when hired, to the downward adjustment of... read more

Expected Raise Was Withdrawn- Now What?

Q:  I am a salaried worker that was offered a contract to bring me up in compliance with the new overtime rule which meant a raise of a few thousand dollars.  That was great but before all the signatures could be finalized, national news broke that the new overtime... read more

Obamacare Changes, Yes. But Repeal? Unlikely

After the unexpected results of the presidential election many employers and employees are wondering what’s going to happen with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. Depending on how it has affected you personally, you may be either relieved or... read more

 Tracking Employee Hours – 3 Quick Q&A’s

Effective December 1st , the new overtime rule will result in many employers having to track work hours of those employees who are newly eligible for overtime.   For some, this is the first time they’ll be tracking hours and I’ve been getting some recurring questions... read more

Hidden Cost of Not Offering Sick Leave

Did you know that some companies offer their new hires the option to get paid a “quitting bonus”?  That’s right, if after initial training the employee doesn’t think the job is the right fit, the company is willing to pay them ($5,000 at Zappos) to walk away, just to... read more

Halloween at the Office: Do’s and Don’ts

Halloween is almost here! Every year I see more and more workplaces where employees are encouraged to dress up and celebrate Halloween during the workday.  Offices, supermarkets, and even banks are getting into the act.  I’m all for it, and see it as a chance to... read more

Want to Bring Your Pooch to Work?

Q:  Some of my employees have requested that we allow them to bring their dogs to work, citing Google and Ben & Jerry’s as examples of companies with a pet-friendly policy.  Although I’m a dog lover myself and I like the idea, I’ve resisted because I worry about... read more

Can I Pay Overtime with “Comp Time”?

Q:  I manage hourly employees and I heard I could give them comp time instead of overtime pay.  Is this legal? A:  Not if you work in the private sector.  The Dept of Labor has made it clear that “comp time” –defined as “compensating later with time-off” in lieu... read more

New Hire? How to Tell If You Are Not Working Out

Q:  Last week, you discussed three signs that tell a supervisor a new hire isn’t working out.  Well, I’m a new hire and I can’t tell whether I’m doing great or hanging by a thread because I’m not getting any feedback.    I’m fairly certain I don’t have an... read more

3 Signs That Your New Hire Won’t Work Out

You‘re excited about a new employee you hired who came highly recommended.  They start, you introduce them to co-workers, clients, upper management, board members.  Then a week or two or six go by and even though at first you don’t want to admit it, you realize you’re... read more

Move over Millennials, Generation Z is here!

I know you’ve heard a lot from me about Millennials in the workplace.  They’re the largest generation since the baby boomers and already make up the majority of the workforce.  They’re tech savvy, multi-taskers who work well in groups, appreciate frequent feedback and... read more

Show Employees Where They Fit in the Big Picture

Last week I wrote about younger workers’ career impatience and suggested ways employers could keep them engaged to stay longer. We discussed this generation’s need to “make a difference” and desire to know where they fit in.  I cited the  JFK and the janitor story... read more

Softening the News: From Salaried to Hourly

Q:  I’ve familiar with the new Overtime Rule that goes into effect Dec 1, and because I won’t be able to raise my administrative assistant’s salary to $47,476 in order for her to remain exempt from overtime, I have no choice but to reclassify her position as hourly.... read more

Payday and Holiday Combo Create Late Fees

Q:  We’re paid on the 1st and 15th of each month.  When payday falls on the weekend we don’t get paid until Monday.  But if Monday is a holiday, we don’t see our pay deposited until Tuesday which means it doesn’t show up in our accounts until Wednesday. The... read more

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