SPRING HAS SPRUNG, DA GRASS IS RIZ, I WONDER WHERE ALL MY EMPLOYEES IS?

You’ve survived March Madness, but Spring is in the air. Here are a few suggestions to help your employees work off their Spring Fever!

  1. Put some “spring” in their steps. Encourage lunch-time walks. Walking is a great form of exercise. It boosts energy, improves health, encourages communication, and increases productivity. Consider starting a walking program that offers prizes and incentives to those who participate.
  2. Organize a spring cleaning. This is the perfect time of year to take a break from the daily office toils and purge those files. Go through personnel files to remove unnecessary information and ensure that protected information, like medical records, have not made their way into the file by accident. In West Virginia, payroll records must be maintained for a period of five years. I-9 forms must be kept for the duration of employment plus one year (minimum of three years). Many other statutory timeframes may apply. Also, don’t limit spring cleaning to just the HR office. Many managers maintain their own files on employees. When you’re involved in litigation, these files may wind up in the hands of the opposing attorney. Know what’s in them and cull anything unnecessary. CAUTION: Make sure you comply with your litigation hold procedures during this process.
  3. Be “springy”. Flexible hours can keep your employees happy and productive. If it’s possible for your business to loosen up on business hours by allowing employees to come in earlier to work and enjoy a longer lunch or leave early, then do so. Warmer weather brings with it many distractions. Slight adjustments can help your employees focus on their work and not their worries about getting Timmy to baseball practice on time.
  4. Make time for spring training. Start a wellness program. The benefits of a workplace wellness programs are widely extolled. Insurance costs decrease as employee wellness increases. Morale boosts and with it productivity. Most employers experience substantial savings through their workplace wellness initiatives. One important factor, however, is participation; and the swimsuit season may be all the incentive your employees need to start living healthier. Even better, the habits they develop now can carry them through those dark winter months.
  5. Springtime is a fine time to get your business in shape too. Review, revise, and rejuvenate those company policies and procedures to make sure they comply with any changes in the law. For example, the Americans With Disabilities Act Amendments Act (“ADAAA”) has broadened the coverage of the ADA by making it easier for an employee or applicant to prove the existence of a disability. Policies relating to discrimination, leave, and accommodations should be reviewed to ensure compliance with these changes. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”) became effective November 21, 2009, making it illegal for employers to use genetic information when making employment decisions. Now is a good time to review company practices to make sure this information is not being inappropriately used or maintained.
Vanessa Towarnicky's primary focus is in the area of labor and employment law. She has been involved in representing clients in various employment cases, including sexual harassment; deliberate intent; age, race, and disability discrimination; wrongful discharge; and various other employment-related torts. She is admitted to various state and federal courts as well as the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
 
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