Increased Penalties for Immigration Violations

The ICE crackdown continues, with increased penalties for employers who knowingly employ unauthorized aliens that are now in affect.

  • First violation for knowing employment of an unauthorized alien, $375.00 (previously $275.00)
  • First violation maximum penalty, $3,200.00 (previously $2,200.00)
  • Multiple violations maximum penalty, $16,000.00 (previously $11,000.00)

All of these fines are per person. So if you’re employing 10 authorized aliens, it’s $375 per person you illegally employed.

Make sure to audit your employee files and I-9 procedures.

How To Talk To Your Boss

(Almost) everyone has a boss. And bosses spend so much of their timing dealing with and listening to complaints, it becomes easy to ‘tune out’ another employee with yet another complaint.

I made it a rule with my employees – never complain unless that complaint comes with your solution. And make your point quickly – no one (least of all the boss) wants to spend long hours hearing someone make the same point over and over again.

James Lukaszewski, author of “Why Should the Boss Listen to You?” and a crisis-management expert, says workers who want to be listened to also need to:

  • Understand where the boss is coming from, and the goals he or she may be trying to achieve. “Bosses hear many voices every day,” he says. “You have to say something that will matter to them from their perspective.”
  • Recommend solutions rather than giving orders. Too often employees seeking to be trusted advisers act as if they were entitled to give their opinion and a boss should be obligated to listen.
  • Reduce stress and tension. Be the person who can walk into a room and everyone is comfortable you’re there, Lukaszewski says. Humor and stories often help ease tension.
  • Deliver recommendations in a digestible, usable form. Be brief, positive and constructive.
  • Propose incremental solutions. Don’t insist that you have the entire answer to a problem, but your suggestion may be part of a solution for your boss. “They want a menu of things to choose from,” he says.

From the Colorado Springs Gazette via South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

March Madness and its Effect on the Workplace

Even the most casual sports fan is aware of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Next to the Super Bowl, more money is wagered on this event than any other.

As many as 37 million people are expected to participate in the wagering, according to an estimate by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a job counseling firm in Chicago.

The FBI has estimated about $2.5 billion will be bet on the tournament.

With this popularity comes major issues for the workplace.

First of all, betting is illegal everywhere in the United States except Las Vegas and Atlantic City.

Next, the basketball ‘pool’ that’s prevalent in many businesses likely violates a handbook policy that prohibits solicitation and distribution.

CBS and the NCAA have also announced that all games this year will be available live on-line, so the possibility of workers spending their hours watching basketball and not being productive is also likely. In fact, economic experts are predicting all the office time spent following the games over the next several weeks could add up to more than $1.2 billion in lost productivity. The estimate is nearly 20 percent of the work force, will spend an average of 13.5 minutes a day following the games and updating their brackets.

Do not wait to solve problems before they happen. Although there’s interest and fun involved, your business should prohibit office pools. In addition, you should have a written policy should state that internet and e-mail use is for business purposes only. (If not just to reduce lack of productivity, it should also reduce the potential for harassment and discrimination).

Thanks to CNN, Dallas Morning News, WRAL * Local Techwire

Perenchio’s Rules of the Road

Jerry Perenchio is one of the savviest managers I’ve ever seen. He is a multi-billionaire through a long career ranging from a sports-event promoter (remember the Billy Jean King-Bobby Riggs tennis match in the 1970’s) to his brilliant acquisition and sale of Univision.

I particularly respect his low-key public persona. You’ll never see him give an interview. He’s brutally tough of his managers, but if they perform – their careers are limitless.

Here are his rules of the road, which should be required reading for anyone in management.

  1. Stay clear of the press. No interviews, no panels, no speeches, no comments. Stay out of the spotlight — it fades your suit.
  2. No nepotism, no hiring of friends.
  3. Never rehire anyone.
  4. Hire people smarter and better than you. Delegate responsibilities to them. Doing so will make your job easier.
  5. You’ve got to know your territory. Cold!
  6. Do your homework. Be prepared.
  7. Teamwork.
  8. Take options, never give them.
  9. Rely on your instincts and common sense. If you go against them you generally regret it.
  10. No surprises. We don’t give them. We don’t want to get them.
  11. Never lose sight of what business you’re in. Stick to your “last.”
  12. When you suit up each day it’s to play in Yankee Stadium or Dodger Stadium. Think big.
  13. If you have a problem, don’t delay. Face up to it immediately and solve it.
  14. Loose lips sink ships!
  15. Supreme self-confidence, never arrogance.
  16. A true leader is accessible — no job too big, no job too small.
  17. Communication is our business. You can reach any of your associates anytime, anywhere, anyplace.
  18. If you make a mistake, admit it. Just don’t make too many.
  19. Don’t be a “customer’s person” (man or woman).
  20. Always, always take the high road. Be tough but fair and never lose your sense of humor.

The "Boomerang" Employee

Used to be that an employee who left a company was persona non grata in terms of ever being rehired. In fact, one of A. Gerald Perenchio’s famous “rules of the road” is to never re-hire a former employee. (It’s his only rule I disagree with).

Times have changed, and employers are finding out that a ‘boomerang’ employee adds value to their business.

An employee who left and returns adds a new perspective; additional skill sets; and often an additional appreciation for their former employer.

Many employees leave because of the ‘grass is greener’ theory, but often don’t find it to be true.

If you’re looking for a skilled worker, don’t automatically reject a candidate merely because they used to work for your company. Take an objective look at what they bring to the table for you today. If their original departure was amiable and professional, chances are you’ll reap benefits from hiring a person who is familiar with your corporate culture and who can re-appreciate the benefits of working for you.

Thanks to South Jersey Courier Post Online.

Obesity Costs Employers $165 Billion

The problem with obesity in America has begun to financially affect the workplace.

A new report from Health Media, Inc. indicates that obesity costs employers $165 Billion in medical care and lost productivity.

Since it is illegal to take any action against an employee or job candidate because of their weight, employers are faced with a dilemma: what to do about it?

Many Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) have a wellness component, in which affected employees can participate at little or no cost in weight loss and related courses.

Of course, many employers do not participate in EAPs, primarily because of cost reasons.

Yet some studies indicate that offering EAPs may result in various benefits for employers, including lower medical costs, reduced turnover and absenteeism, and higher employee productivity and morale.

And if your business is sharing in the $165 Billion, an investment in an EAP may be the cheapest medicine of all.

You can check out EAPs through the Employee Assistance Professionals Association.

How to Manage Cellphones in the Workplace

It used to be that an employer only had to limit personal use of business phones in the workplace. “Personal phone calls should be kept to a minimum” was an easy handbook policy to write.

The advent of cellphones has exacerbated the problem. Now, the irritating ring of cellphones is considered a major workplace annoyance by co-workers.

In addition, the camera feature on these phones creates a privacy concern, and using cellphones while driving on business has become a huge liability for employers.

Recommendations for employers and employees:

  1. Cell phones in the workplace – for personal calls – should be limited to emergency calls only.
  2. Cell phones should be turned off during meetings or when with clients.
  3. Cell phones should never be used while driving on company business. If it’s necessary to make a call, then pull off to a safe area, park, and make the call.

From Jim Evans via the Zanesville Times Recorder.

Survey: Tuesday is the Most Productive Day

The temporary staffing firm Accountemps has released a survey showing executives believe that Tuesday is the most productive workday of the week.

The results mirror results of the same survey conducted in 2002, 1998, and 1997.

In some ways, the results make since. Fridays are the most common day for vacation, and Mondays are the second most common (and Mondays are the most frequent day taken for sick days).

It’s up to managers and business owners, however, to manage productivity throughout the week. There is no excuse for Tuesdays being more productive than, say, Wednesday or Thursday.

Make sure your employees have a plan for each day of the week. Ensure they focus on the most important thing they need to do, and not just going through a checklist of menial tasks.

Get in their offices or work stations. What employees tell you they do is usually completely opposite of what they actually do.

The ‘ivory tower’ is the wrong place to lead people – especially if productivity is inconsistent throughout the work week.

What you allow, you encourage.

$1 Million Sexual Harassment Verdict Awarded

A woman has just been awarded $1 million in damages as the result of a sexual harassment lawsuit against an automotive dealer in Maryland.

Unfortunately, sexual harassment in auto dealerships is nothing new.

It seems the male-dominated industry has generally not evolved with the rest of the U.S. workplace in training and preventing sexual harassment. In California and other states, harassment of third parties (customers and vendors) is also prohibited.

A non-harassment policy, training and awareness are critical components to reduce the likelihood of harassment complaints, but ownership must take personal accountability in ensuring all managers and employees are following the rules.

What you allow, you encourage.

Discrimination Charges Highest in Five Years: EEOC

The EEOC is reporting that job bias charges increased 9% in 2007, the highest volume of complaints in five years, and the largest increase since the 1990’s.

“Corporate America needs to do a better job of proactively preventing discrimination and addressing complaints promptly and effectively,” said EEOC chairwoman Naomi Earp in releasing the annual tally.

No kidding.

Part of the problem is that more and more workers are becoming knowledgeable about discrimination in the workplace. What is concerning is that ‘merit factor’ rate is 23% – meaning almost 1 in 4 complaints had enough merit for the EEOC to pursue action.

Preventing discrimination is a key. The first question a business owner should ask of himself/herself is the following:

If an employee came to you today stating they had been harassed or discriminated against, what is the first thing you’d do?