HR Halloween Horror Stories

Halloween Costume Horrors 

Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA, was mentioned today in an article from The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The following excerpt, and full article, provides tips and best practices to help employers avoid an HR nightmare during the Halloween season.

Employco would like to wish everyone a safe and happy Halloween!

A Holocaust victim. An anorexic woman. A flasher. A “tranny granny.”

Those are among the Halloween costumes now being sold at retail stores and online.

They may be OK for some parties. But when it comes to workplace Halloween festivities, don’t even think about going there.

What’s meant to be a lighthearted celebration of Halloween can—if not properly handled—devolve into an event that offends colleagues.

“Remind everyone to stay away from political, religious, overly revealing or gruesome costumes because those can easily offend people,” said Rob Wilson, president of Westmont, Ill.-based Employco USA, which offers human resource services to companies. “HR can have an extra box of appropriate and inexpensive costumes for people to change into if they come to work dressed inappropriately.”

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For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

Here’s Why NFL Players Don’t Get to Plead “Free Speech”

Employment expert explains why employees should tread lightly when discussing politics

Wilson points to the recent termination of Google employee James Damore, who was given the ax because of an email ‘manifesto’ which became public. “Damore offended many people with his views about women and gender equality, and he ended up being terminated as a result,” says Wilson. “For many people, this was seen as an affront to free speech. Now, this issue is coming to light again in the NFL. Should players be punished for expressing their beliefs, or are employers within their rights to demand that they stand for the anthem or face termination as a result?”

The employment trends expert argues that the NFL owners could have a case for terminating their players’ contracts if the behavior can be proved to have a negative impact on their bottom line. “NFL ratings are down, as President Trump himself declared,” says Wilson. “If employers feel that the players’ protests is impacting their business, they will be within their rights to boot the player off the field. In fact, the contracts which players sign give owners plenty of leeway to fire them for any behavior they deem unbecoming, both on and off the field.”

In other words, says Wilson, the First Amendment cannot protect someone who has signed a contract promising to behave in accordance with their employer’s values. “For the average American, this means that your expression of free speech can come back and haunt you, whether it’s something you post on Facebook or a political discussion you have in the break room. If your employer has set forth certain points of decorum which you have agreed to, you can’t break those rules without consequence, whether you’re a server wearing a ‘Black Lives Matter’ pin or a lawyer making sexist jokes online.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

The Jim Fannin Show, Podcast

Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA, was recently a guest on Jim Fannin’s weekly podcast, The Jim Fannin Show. Jim Fannin is the World’s #1 Coach of Champions & America’s ZoneCoach, with over 40 years of coaching experience. Each week, Jim focuses the show on the peak performance mindset called the Zone.

“On this episode, Rob shares his story of coincidentally meeting Jim Fannin on a golf course in a torrential rainstorm when he was at a mental crossroad of balancing his work, family and overall life. It was this life-changing encounter that resulted in Jim training Rob to attract the Zone in all facets of his life.”

Read more and listen now:

Should Google Be Allowed to Fire Employees for Their Beliefs?

Human resources expert weighs in

Google FiringThe recent controversy over the now infamous Google Memo (and the author’s subsequent firing) has many Americans wondering if free speech is allowed in the workplace. What rules govern our ability to express ourselves in the office, and was the termination of the senior software engineer fair?

Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and human resources expert, says, “Google ultimately decided to fire employee James Damore because they said that his memo advanced harmful gender stereotypes, stereotypes which were offensive towards Google’s female staff and clients. However, many people are furious with Google’s decision, saying that it proves free speech is no longer allowed in the American workplace.”

Wilson further says, “Damore did not send this memo to his friends or family, or even post it on his own social media. He used company property to send this memo to his coworkers. This gives Google the grounds to fire him, as he is expressing controversial beliefs on company time and distracting his coworkers with his opinions.”

Whether or not you agree with Damore’s opinions, the fact remains employers have the right to prevent and punish speech which is political and divisive in nature. “Whether it’s an email saying nasty things about President Trump or an email complaining about diversity hiring, employees need to be cognizant of the fact that free speech does not mean freedom from consequences. If your employer finds your opinions to be distracting and offensive to other employees, they are within their rights to reprimand you for this.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

What Employers Need to Know About the Evolution of Marijuana Laws

How to make necessary changes to your employee handbooks and company policies

The Marijuana Justice Act of 2017A new congressional bill named “The Marijuana Justice Act of 2017” was just presented today by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. If passed, it would lift the federal prohibition on the substance. 26 states and the District of Columbia currently have laws broadly legalizing marijuana in some form. This number is only expected to grow as more patients turn to this treatment and as marijuana is being approved as treatment for more conditions, such as PTSD.  But, if The Marijuana Justice Act of 2017 is passed, how should employers tackle this issue in the workplace?

Rob Wilson, human resources and employment expert and President of Employco USA, says, “The federal government still classifies marijuana as a schedule 1 substance, which is the same class as heroin and ecstasy,” he says. “However, many states now permit the use of marijuana, either medically or recreationally. This leads to very murky waters for employers, especially as some states prohibit the discrimination of employees with a medical marijuana card, while other states do not.”

So what should an employer do to navigate this issue?

First, Wilson advises employers to get familiar with their state’s specific legislation. He also says, “If your employees are part of a collective bargaining unit, then it is likely that drug stipulations already exist, including specific limits for drug use. For example, in a recent case, an employee was found to be under the influence while on the job, but he claimed his medical marijuana card gave him permission to use while working. However, a drug test revealed that he was 10 times above his prescribed limit.”

For this reason, Wilson stresses that employers should not just rely on the results of a rapid drug test, as these results do not hold well in a court of law. “If you live in a state such as Illinois that does not permit the discrimination of employees who use medical marijuana, then you should definitely send the drug test results out to a lab in order to back up any fears that an employee might be using more than he should. However, if you live in a pass/fail state, this won’t be necessary.” Continue reading

New Study Says Half of Workers Will Be Replaced by Robots

Employment expert weighs in

A recent study has just revealed that technology could replace as many as half of all low-skilled jobs in the United States. The findings confirm earlier findings which say that fast-food workers could be at serious risk of losing their jobs to robots in the next several years.

Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and employment trends expert says, “While the technology industry does offer employment, it also will eventually end up taking millions of positions away. And, not only do they take positions away, they also lower wages. A recent study found that each new robot added per 1,000 workers causes wages to drop in the surrounding area by around 0.25 and 0.5 percent.”

Wilson says minimum wage hikes could also make robots the preferred option for employers. “Robots don’t need raises,” he says. “They don’t need healthcare or sick days. For employers who are looking down the barrel of ever-increasing business costs, robots are a cost-saving option in the long-run.”

However, Wilson assures Americans that automation is far from a death knell for the economy. “Yes, automation is going to change the economic landscape, but it’s not going to turn the country into a dystopia run by robots. However, workers do need to make sure that they diversify their skills and become adept in many different functions, as robots (such as the automated burger flippers in fast-food joints) have limited abilities. It’s no longer enough just to show up and do your daily duties. A worker has to be engaged, present and connected to their fellow workers and their customers, as this human connection is something that a robot can never achieve.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

The Fearful Cost of Going Freelance

Employment expert reveals the hidden dangers of the gig economy

RideshareOver 25 percent of Americans are now participating in the new “gig economy,” in which they work part-time or contracted positions, instead of dedicated full-time positions. However, a new study warns that the gig economy could be destructive for Americans’ health and well-being.

Rob Wilson, employment trends expert and President of Employco USA, says, “The research shows that a gig economy leaves most part-time workers without health care, retirement funding, dental care, or disability benefits. Meanwhile, many of these ‘giggers’ often have to work more than one job in order to make ends meet, and this is particularly increasing among female workers.”

In fact, Wilson says that holding multiple part-time jobs can actually be destructive to a woman’s earning potential, saying, “One study showed that women who held a number of part-time jobs in their 20s saw absolutely no increase in earnings in their 30s, meaning that even as their experience and their families’ needs grow, they do not earn a dollar more.”

The gig economy can also be destructive to a worker’s physical health. “An Italian study found that contract workers are more likely to suffer from depression and require prescription anti-depressants,” says Wilson. “Which is ironic considering these workers often don’t have health insurance which makes this medication extremely cost-prohibitive.”

Furthermore, Wilson says that these workers are offered very little protection under the law, which has led to many gig employees complaining about inhumane work environments and harassment. “Those who work for companies like Uber don’t have much in the way of legal protection, nor do they have any certainty of their earning potential even a few months into the future. It’s clear that the gig economy is not kind to workers on many levels, which is why the focus right now needs to be on creating permanent full-time positions for employees of all ages. While it is possible to make a lucrative living solely off freelance work, the reality is that it comes at a cost, and not many Americans are prepared to pay the price.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.