Who or What Is Lilly Ledbetter?

Lilly Ledbetter was an employee at an Alabama plant of The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, plant from 1979 until 1998. She filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1998, alleging her supervisors gave her poor performance evaluations because of her sex.

In 2007, by a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court found in favor of Goodyear.

President Obama recently signed a law that overturned that ruling. The new law will make it possible for employees to assert claims of discrimination in compensation virtually without any time limit. Depending on how the statute is construed, it could affect other discrimination claims as well. As a result, employers not only will face increased discrimination claims, but also difficulty defending against them. (Even more ominous is the law backdates any claims to May 2007, when the Court made its ruling).

So now what?

  1. Review your pay practices. Conduct a pay/compensation audit for your entire company to ensure your procedures meet the criteria of the Ledbetter Pay Act. This includes reviewing your past pay practices as well.
  2. Train and educate your management team. Everyone who conducts performance reviews needs to understand the ramifications of this act.
  3. Review your records retention policies.
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2009 Pay Raises in a Bad Economy

The economy is not good (not a surprise there). But how does a business in the midst of that economy find an equitable way of managing any increases in pay for employees?

First, understand that the most valuable employees are the ones who contribute the most to your bottom line success. Identify them. What are they currently making, and are they in an acceptable range versus your competition? (Compensation studies can be incredibly helpful and well-worth the cost).

Secondly – what is the level of difficulty replacing that employee? If they leave, who is going to replace them? The best employees always have the most options for success outside of your company.

Finally, communicate. Consider a modest employee satisfaction assessment program. Find out what employees’ concerns are; what they are looking for from you (or in the job marketplace). Take those general trends and apply them to each individual working for you – and then sit down with them one-on-one. Let them know what’s going on in the business.

The short-term economic difficulties are just that – short-term. Make sure to balance your long-term corporate goals against your short-term needs.

Dealing With Problem Employees

The Employment Law Alliance conducted a study showing that 44% of all employees have violated workplace rules or regulations.

No surprise there, except that the number is so low.

The study further identifies some of the common attributes of a poor employee, as written in the New Hampshire Business Review:

  • Late arrivals and early departures on a regular basis (that are not part of an accommodation)
  • Unexcused excessive absenteeism
  • Disrespectful, abusive, vulgar or rude language towards co-workers, managers and/or customers
  • Poor attitude toward the company and/or co-workers
  • Constant complaints, gossip or other disruptive behaviors that bring down employee morale
  • Poor or unprofessional job performance and/or quality of work

The lesson for employers is DON’T WAIT! If you see these behaviors in an employee, do not delay. Immediately sit down with that person and correct the behavior immediately. You cannot afford to wait. A negative employee is a cancer on the workplace, spreading that disease throughout your organization. If you allow poor behavior from one employee, others will believe they can get away with that behavior as well.

Some of Swenson’s Management Principles apply here:

What you allow, you encourage.
Inspect what you expect.

Employees Quit Because of a Bad Boss

Once again, another survey finds the number one reason employees leave a company is because of a bad boss.

The HotJobs Survey found that employees:

  • Want to quit because of a bad boss (43%)
  • Want more money (36%)
  • More growth potential (34%)

Employers and managers get so engulfed in their day-to-day business they forget what got them there: their employees!

Do not wait to do a performance appraisal every year. Check in with your employees frequently – don’t just say you have an ‘open door policy’ – follow through with it.

If you’re working for a ‘bad boss’, then manage up – what can you do to make the situation better.

It’s all about effective and frequent communication.

The "Engagement Gap"

Towers Perrin recently published a study of over 86,000 workers around the world showing that only 21% of employees are ‘engaged’ (meaning, they have a total and complete dedication to their job and company).

More and more small businesses are looking for solutions to reduce employee turnover, and the best way do to that is to develop systems to engage your employees.

Today’s article in the Baltimore Sun explains.