Extreme wellness – Imagine this: before your workday starts, you line up all your workers and measure their waistlines. That’s what employers and local governments in Japan must now do to comply with a new national law intended to reduce the prevalence of diabetes and vascular disease. The law sets thresholds on waistlines for people between the ages of 40 and 74. Those who exceed the limits – 33.5 inches for men and 35.4 inches for women – will either need to lose weight or be subject to dieting guidance. Governments and businesses that fail to comply with the new law could face financial penalties. Compliance entails not just measuring a certain percentage of workers and retirees in the target age group, as well as their family members; in addition, employers and local governments must find a way to get 10 percent of those above the threshold to lose weight by 2012, and 25 percent to lose weight by 2015.
Underwear alert – Now that warm summer weather is here, managers everywhere face one of their most daunting challenges: underwear in the workplace. Some employees push the boundaries of business casual when the temperature soars and this can make for a distracting, unprofessional environment – see 10 Crimes of Work Fashion for a listing of a few common violations. Susan Heathfield of Human Resources at about.com offers guidance on wording for summer dress codes, and suggests that managers may need to hold a difficult conversations on the topic. See her write up on tackling annoying employee habits and issues.
EEOC on Caregivers – In response to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s May 23 issuance of guidance on on unlawful disparate treatment of workers with caregiving responsibilities, Human Resource Executive offers a variety of online caregiver resources. HRE also provides copies of the EEOC’s Enforcement Guidance (PDF) and Q&A (PDF) on this topic.
WARN refresher – Is there a staff reduction in your organization’s future? Diane Pfadenhauer of Strategic HR Lawyer suggests a refresher of employer obligations under the Worker Adjustment Retraining and Notification Act (WARN) might be in order, and links to a good resource. She also suggests an overview of things an employer needs to address after notice is given.
Five results killers – Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership Blog says that one advantage of experience is that you start to notice common ways to succeed and common ways that people snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. He offers concrete examples in his post Managers Behaving Stupidly: Five Results Killers.
California mobile phone law – If you are a California employer with workers who have driving responsibilities as part of their jobs, you will need to update your policy and procedure manuals. Beginning on July 1, California’s new hands-free law will prohibit the use of any hand-held mobile phones while driving and offenders will be subject to fines. Speaker phones are allowed for drivers over the age of 18 as long as the driver is not holding the phone. As an employer, you would not be subject to a fine if one of your employees with driving responsibilities violates the law; however, some legal advisors suggest that you update your policies to explicitly prohibit the use of phones while driving to ensure that you are not held liable for costs in the event of an accident in which a phone was involved. (More info on the new law at California Department of Motor Vehicles.
Mean employer of the month – at least one employer in Florida isn’t kidding when he says he wants his employees to get serious about their jobs. Workplace Prof Blog reports on the strange case of an employee who was fired for laughing.
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