Dilemma of the Month: Snooping on Employee Email

I have an employee who hasn’t been performing well. Last week, she was out sick again and I needed a report. I tried to call her, but she didn’t answer. So, I asked IT if I could get the report from her email, and they gave me access to her inbox. I found the report, but curiosity overcame me, and I opened a few other emails. I feel totally guilty — I snooped. Is this legal? Is it moral? What do I do with this information?

Nov 2, 2017 Suzanne Lucas

Commonly Used Employer Interview Practices Now Prohibited by Law

By now, most employers know there are certain questions they can ask, and certain questions they must avoid when interviewing a candidate for a job. They know that anti-discrimination laws apply before a worker is even hired, and have heard stories about costly lawsuits resulting from an employer asking the wrong question of a prospective employee during a job interview.

Oct 27, 2017 Marcus L. Turner

Mitigate the Legal Risks of Terminating an Employee

When an at-will termination is at issue, there are certain steps to take and considerations an employer should evaluate to minimize the risk of later becoming the target of a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Sep 25, 2017 Marcus L. Turner

Dilemma of the Month: He Said, She Said

We have a female employee who reported sexual harassment from a male coworker. The woman didn’t want to come forward, but once the CEO found out, he felt he had an obligation to handle the claim. We currently are without an HR manager. What is the proper way to handle this? Should an investigation be made? 

Aug 3, 2017 Suzanne Lucas

Lawmakers Must Focus on Alleviating California’s Housing Crisis

What a difference a decade makes. Ten years ago, the regional homebuilding industry — like many other industries — faced an uncertain future. The Great Recession dealt a harsh financial blow to our industry that made the prospect of recovery feel like a far-off possibility. Fortunately, after several lean years our industry has started to climb out of the economic doldrums of a few years ago.

Apr 20, 2017 Michael Strech

Dilemma of the Month: Getting People to Give Notice

We service clients who are kids in the foster care system. We really value when our employees that resign give at least a three-weeks’ notice, so they can transition their clients — kids who have already had upheaval in their lives — to their team members before they leave. Is there any meat that we can put on the bones of a policy requiring a three-week notice, with some type of consequence for not providing this notice?

Mar 30, 2017 Suzanne Lucas

Dilemma of the Month: How to Lay Off an Employee

We are reorganizing and will be eliminating one position. We will have to lay this person off, and I have a few questions about how to handle it: Who needs to be in the room when we tell her? How much severance should we offer? What else do I need to do?

Mar 9, 2017 Suzanne Lucas

Cannabis Can Go From Conundrum to Catalyst

Elections matter. The people have spoken. And marijuana — more appropriately known by the less pejorative label, cannabis — is now legal for adults in eight states, including California, and for those with medical needs in 28 states. That means the majority of Americans now live in states where cannabis is legal in some form.

Feb 27, 2017 Daniel Conway

Safety First

For construction workers, safety training is about more than wearing a hard hat

There’s an ethical reason to follow safety measures on construction sites, but there’s also financial reasons. The first is obvious: It’s simply the right thing to do to take care of your employees and ensure their workplace safety. The second is that insurance rates can skyrocket for companies that have numerous on-site injuries and incidents. It’s worth the time and investment in safety training, in order to save tens of thousands of dollars, he says.

Feb 21, 2017 Robin Epley

Clearing the Air

California construction companies fought nine years ago to bring common-sense exemptions to OSHA's dust regulations — now, federal updates are complicating compliance

More than 2 million workers nationwide (1-5 percent of the American workforce) are exposed to silica dust on the job every year, according to OSHA, including those that work in construction, glass manufacturing, landscaping, maritime work, foundries and dental laboratories, to name a few of many.

Feb 21, 2017 Robin Epley

5 Ways to Stay Safe at Work

We spend a large portion of our lives at the office, so whether it’s having multiple evacuation routes out of your building or routinely checking cords and heaters, office safety is not something we should take for granted.

Jan 13, 2017 Robin Epley