How often have we heard some company owner or representative declare “Our employees are our most valuable asset”? Certainly more than occasionally. Some companies have even adopted this claim as their byword. In this era of more-than- full employment and a growing shortage of qualified job applicants in virtually every industry, those words have now become a reality for most employers.
As the overall economy continues to expand and improve, in virtually every industry employers are finding it increasingly difficult to hire employees. The number of baby boomers reaching retirement age, estimated to be almost 10,000 each day, makes the labor shortage even more acute. In addition to the loss of their services, baby boomers who leave take with them institutional knowledge, operational know-how and informed best practices that may be difficult or even impossible to replace. Such losses are likely to continue for at least several more years if not longer.
The tsunami of sexual harassment allegations that has engulfed so many rich, famous and powerful men that are reported on an almost daily basis raises a fair question – How will this affect the workplace where the not so rich and famous spend their workdays helping their company succeed?
Too often workplace policies are only considered in the context of some negative workplace action when it is actually occurs, such as a termination or other employment issue. Sometimes it may involve a legal claim by an applicant or employee. Whether our current policies are adequate for dealing with issues in the most regulated area of our economy, today’s workplace, rarely is explored or even considered.
It should come as no surprise to most employers that today's workplace has come to be regarded as the most regulated place in America. It is so because of one simple fact. The federal government, state government, and even local entities, such as cities, can and do issue workplace rules and regulations that require employers to do or not do a myriad of things.
Whether an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspection of your workplace is triggered by a workplace injury, a formal complaint, or a programmed wall-to-wall inspection, being prepared beforehand will help limit exposure and help defend against any citations that may be issued.
Today's employers have an increasingly regulated and overly litigious landscape to navigate in managing their workplace. The continued growth of federal, state, and even local regulatory protections for employees, coupled with an overabundance of lawyers, has made virtually every workplace decision a potential lawsuit.
Over the past several years, we have seen nationwide efforts, often precipitated by unions, to increase the minimum wage at the local level to $15 as a means of addressing economic inequality. The movement, called the "Fight for $15," has seen some success in several states as well as in numerous cities.
Issues surrounding immigration have been a focal point for employers since the 1986 passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). The effects of that law and its requirements have made the hiring process a source of major concern for many employers.