Fridays with Frank – Nov 1, 2019

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clockHappy friday!

Typing super fast…on a leftover Halloween candy-induced sugar high! Here’s some interesting stuff I read this week…enjoy!

Minnie Mouse is not happy  The company behind the self-described “happiest place on earth,” The Walt Disney Company, is accused of refusing to pay its women employees equal to men doing the same work.” According to a class-action suit recently filed against Disney, “in many instances, Disney is paying women workers tens of thousands of dollars less than their male counterparts.” With an increasing number of women joining the action, Disney is fighting the suit’s class-action status, effectively saying, you can sue us, but like a trip to the deli, you’ll need to take a number and get in line. I doubt Minnie is happy with her employer right now.

Easy money  On October 28, 2019, the US Department of Labor announced that, in fiscal year 2019, its Wage and Hour Division recovered a record $322 million in unpaid wages owed to workers. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia remarked that “these record-breaking numbers top the department’s totals from last year, which also set records, and confirm our ongoing commitment to strong enforcement…” In other news, the DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance announced it had smashed its record on this front and brought in over $40 million. [Caution: shameless plug ahead!] It’s time for us to schedule an HR compliance assessment.

That’s what I’ve been saying!  In June, I wrote an article titled, “Is your training preventing sexual harassment or making it worse?” Unfortunately, the answer is likely, yes. Or, at best, a qualified no, because it had no effect on workplace behaviors at all. According to a Cornell Survey Research Institute report released in October–coincidentally on the heels of NY State’s deadline for employers to provide harassment prevention training–31% of women and 19% of men reported being sexually harassed at work. That amounts to 3.9 million New Yorkers experiencing workplace sexual harassment during their careers. Maybe it’s me, but I don’t think a crappy 45-minute video is going to solve this issue. 

Let it be written, let it be done  My team has written many excellent employee handbooks which include policies on topics ranging from attendance, to payroll, to workplace safety. All the policies are legally compliant and sound great. However, that’s only half of the equation. It’s not enough to have compliant policies; employers must also follow and enforce those policies. Anything less is a recipe for disaster.  According to Beth Zoller, JD, XpertHR legal editor, “an employer should frequently review the policies in its handbook to see if any need updating based on a change in any law or workplace practice or as the result of a workplace incident which requires clarification of a policy.” The primary purpose of your employee handbook is to educate employees about your policies and procedures and help them understand what they can expect from their employer. If your actual practices differ from your policies, neither purpose is satisfied, your credibility is undermined, and employment claims are more likely to occur.

The time has come!  In case you missed it, the Farmer’s Almanac is here to remind you that daylight savings time ends this Sunday, November 3. So, it’s time to “fall back” to standard time. That’s important for those of us who still have a clock or watch not connected to the Interwebs. Enjoy the extra time!

Thanks for spending a small part of your day with me, and have a great weekend! 


Posted by Frank Cania, president of HR Compliance Experts LLC.

Please feel free to contact Frank at frank@hrcexperts.com, or 585-380-1566 with questions or for more information.


Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only, does not constitute a legal opinion, and is not legal advice. The facts of each situation should be considered and analyzed individually. Therefore, you should always consult with competent employment counsel regarding any issues discussed here.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Frank Cania and HR Compliance Experts LLC.