(Design by Sara Bogovich; elements from Shutterstock)

Dilemma of The Month: Fragrance in the Work Place

I recently developed a sensitivity to fragrances. I get headaches, suffer from vertigo and generally feel awful. My boss allowed me to post signs that say “Fragrance-Free Zone,” but some people persist in wearing fragrances. I’m non-exempt and can’t work from home: Part of my job is to take notes in meetings, and the biggest fragrance offenders are in these meetings. What can I do?

Jun 3, 2016 Suzanne Lucas
Inside the control room of California ISO, headquartered in Folsom.

Will the Mega-Grid Get Built?

Cal-ISO maps out the prospects for a single power grid for the West — but skeptics want to know who will run it.

Cal-ISO is one of 38 system operators for the geographic area that covers everything west of the eastern boundaries of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. That compares with six system operators responsible for most of the rest of the country. “The divided operation of the western grid is not unlike having a bus with 38 drivers.”

Jul 12, 2016 Steven Yoder
From left: Anna Zwieniecka, Jessica Wong and Peiman Aminabadi spray a harmless strain of E. coli on cantaloupe crops at a UC Davis test field. (Photos by Sena Christian)

Watching What You Eat

UC Davis scientists work to ensure safety of U.S. food supply

Within the past year alone, dozens of foodborne disease outbreaks have impacted the U.S. food supply, implicating all sorts of ingredients. Contaminated cucumbers have been blamed, along with tomatoes, cilantro, pork, turkey, tuna and raw milk. Cases have also occurred at the food-service level, often because employees failed to wash their hands.

Jun 16, 2016 Sena Christian
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Don’t Wait to Create Social Media Guidelines

One misstep can spell disaster for your business

Social media is like quicksand. From afar it looks innocent, but one misstep posting the wrong image or making an improper comment can sink your reputation faster than you thought possible. Additionally, while social media can be a powerful tool to reach clients, get media attention and share promotions with your audience, managing it all can be time consuming.

Jun 7, 2016 Kelly Azevedo
J-E Paino runs the Ruhstaller beer label. (Photo by Joan Cusick)

Status Check: Legacy Crop

In 2015, we reported on the exciting new changes J-E Paino hoped to bring to Dixon with his Ruhstaller beer label (“Legacy Crop” by Allison Joy, April 2015). The 8.5-acre hop yard and farm and outdoor tasting room in Dixon, however, had their power turned off in April following a long-running disagreement with Solano County. We talked with Paino and county officials about Ruhstaller’s future.

Jun 1, 2016 Robin Epley

Independent Contractors and the Threats They Pose

Know the risks before you hire

Knowing the difference between employees and independent contractors becomes imperative when an injured customer or client decides to sue. When it comes to making the decision of hiring an independent contractor, do yourself and your business a favor: Do your research and protect yourself. Or, even better, consult with your lawyer.

May 23, 2016 Frank  Radoslovich
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Dilemma of the Month: When a Personal Matter Gets Professional

The less you trust your boss, the more honest you need to be

I am an exempt employee and have been working at my company for just under three years. I recently had a serious medical issue that required me to terminate a pregnancy for my own health. I’ve now had three doctor visits in comparatively short succession, and my supervisor is asking why. Since this is an incredibly personal matter, I’m wondering how much I am required to disclose?

Mar 3, 2016 Suzanne Lucas

How to Exit Gracefully

4 tips for leaving a job on good terms

Long gone are the days of employees spending 40 years in service to the same company. Some experts now say that you should plan to change employment every three to five years to continue to advance and grow. Whenever it comes time to leave your job, you’ll want to make a graceful exit both as a professional courtesy and in consideration of your reputation.

Feb 29, 2016 Kelly Azevedo
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I’m Exempt — What Does That Mean?

If you feel you're owed flexibility, you're wrong

I just started a new job where I am an exempt employee. When I started, I was asked to provide a “regular work schedule” that I selected as 7:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. When I inquired about coming in at 8:30 on Monday and Friday mornings, my employer said they didn’t favor that and as a new employee,  I didn’t feel comfortable pushing back. As an exempt employee, what are the rules about standard hours?

Dec 3, 2015 Suzanne Lucas
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Exempt Versus NonExempt: Why You Need to Know the Difference

Misclassifying could cost your business megabucks

You have 10 seconds to name the key differences that determine if an employee is exempt or nonexempt. Ready, set, go.​ Oh, you couldn’t do it? Color me surprised. Whether you’re an employer or an employee, not knowing the difference between the two is doing yourself a huge disservice, and, as an employer, can land you in some hot – scalding hot – water.

Nov 6, 2015 Frank  Radoslovich
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Age Discrimination Is Widespread in U.S. Job Market, Study Finds

Discrimination, rather than lack of skills, may help to explain why older workers have longer periods of unemployment duration. Long periods of unemployment — six months or longer — have been one of the lasting problems in the wake of the 2007-2009 recession, the biggest downturn since the 1930s. What’s more, the bias worsens when gender is considered.”

Oct 27, 2015 Steve Matthews
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Forget Raises: Employers Lean on Health Benefits to Retain Workers

Wages are still stagnant, yet employers have found something else to help attract and retain employees: health-care benefits. A good insurance plan has become a more vital tool than ever for hiring, according to a recent survey from the Society of Human Resources.

Oct 22, 2015 Rebecca Greenfield