Some people are good at taking care of themselves. If you’re one, I admire and secretly envy you. (Right… that’s not what you said about them this morning!) Amid the stress and craziness of turning your life upside down, working from home, and being isolated and almost never alone—both at the same time—you’re going for walks and taking mental health breaks every day. I decided to give it a try a couple of days ago, so I took a 15-minute break. When I got back to my desk, there were nine emails, four texts, and two voicemails screaming for my attention. That was an epic fail!
One week. Seven days. One hundred sixty-eight hours. As I sit at my desk in the corner of our living room tonight, I can hardly believe how dramatically the world, as I knew it, has changed in such a short period of time.
Last Friday—one hundred and sixty-eight hours ago—Becky and I ate a late dinner while commiserating about another “crazy” week. The country was coming to understand the Coronavirus as a serious threat, Becky had been immersed in one conference call after another with her employer’s emergency response teams, and I continued preparing resources for my clients. Hearing what she was involved with at a corporate level emphasized to me that small businesses don’t have the money, internal experts, employee teams, plans, or strategies in place to quickly and effectively address emergencies like the spread of the Coronavirus. Little did we know what a difference one hundred sixty-eight hours would make.
What a freaking week, right? I wasn’t sure whether to start Fridays with Frank with my usual greeting. Then I realized, those two words might be the happiest thing many of us have heard all week!
So let me say it again, even louder, HAPPY FRIDAY!
Since questions and information related to “the novel Coronavirus” have dominated every waking minute of my life this week, I didn’t have time to think about, or write, a witty and informative post (oh please, don’t hurt your arm patting yourself on the back) you’ve come to expect. However, never fear, I’m sharing an equally witty and informative article I wrote (you’re shameless, aren’t you?) that was published in the Daily Record newspaper on Tuesday. With a title like, “HR compliance is easy and cheap, said nobody ever,” how could it be anything less than riveting! (Yep, completely devoid of all shame!)
Stay safe and healthy, and send me a text if you find hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes anywhere!
That’s a wrap on another Fridays with Frank. Thanks for spending a small part of your day with me, and have a great weekend!
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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.
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It’s March, and I couldn’t be happier! I’ve never had a good relationship with February. Although it has the fewest days, February has always felt like the longest month to me. It may be time Becky and I start taking February vacations to warm tropical places. Maybe that’s where I’ll find the answer to a question that has vexed HR professionals since the dawn of time. That’s right, “On what planet was that OK?”
Warning! The following should not be read by anyone offended by foul language, in the presence of children, in an area where others may be disturbed by the repeated muttering of “are you f-ing kidding me?,” or if one more story of reprehensible workplace behavior will forever destroy your faith in humanity. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
On Tuesday, March 3, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) announced a settlement agreement with Ithaca, NY-based Porous Materials, Inc. According to the press release, the employer “will pay $93,000 and furnish other relief” to settle a lawsuit brought by the EEOC on behalf of the complainants.
“Check. Check. Check—one—two.” If you’ve ever done a microphone check, you’ve probably said those exact words. Of course, I prefer random useless facts, like, “did you know Thomas Jefferson and John Marshall were second cousins (once removed) and they hated each other?” Anyway, there’s something about being recorded that makes me want to ensure I’m speaking clearly and precisely. Easy enough as long as I’m aware I’m being recorded. The problem is, there are microphones and recording devices everywhere! (Oh, no! Please don’t start with the conspiracy theories and big brother stuff again!) Every smartphone and tablet has a microphone and recording app. There are even pens and other office supplies with built-in recording devices! At any moment, every word you say could be recorded. Including that comment you made last week about where the new employee could stick their accommodation request to bring their emotional support Mastiff (appropriately named Thor) to work every day. (insert thunderclap followed by ominous music)
Yes, cellphone videos are a part of everyday life. We’re all inundated with cellphone videos of everything from adorable babies and crazy cats to tragic accidents and heart-wrenching memorials. For many, video recording everything—from the mundane to the incredible—has become as much a reflex as taking their next breath. Unless they don’t want you to know they’re recording. In those situations an old school audio recording does the trick.
We’re all creatures of habit to some extent. It’s just part of our charming personalities. Right? (Go along with me for now, I promise there’s a point buried somewhere in this post.) I know mixing things up is better for my brain, but sometimes not having to think is the way to go. For me, the uninterrupted flow of my morning routine has been a pillar of stability in my otherwise unpredictable workdays for years—until last week. That’s when the reality of two very frightening words entered my life—bathroom remodeling. For two weeks, I’ve been a guest in my spouse’s sacred domain: scheduling showers, cautiously using counter space, and doing my best to erase any signs of my presence as soon as I’m done each morning. Fortunately, today marks the end of that adventure and a return to our separate morning routines—our marriage still intact.
Many of us have also developed habits and routines at work. Raise your hand if you get annoyed when someone parks in “your” parking spot at the office. Or, maybe you like to arrive 20 or 30 minutes early to have your first cup of coffee and go through email.
Ken (not his real name), by all accounts, is a good employee and manager. With the company for more than a decade, Ken’s dedicated to its success, and respected by his employees. One of Ken’s most appreciated traits is that he takes personal responsibility for any issues involving his team. He takes the focus off the problem and moves everyone forward to a solution. To do this, Ken has a habit of using self-deprecating humor to diffuse potentially tense situations.
Did you miss me last week? Or even notice I was gone? Well, either way, my absence was for a good reason. I was traveling to NJ for a special event. My grandson, Connor, turned two last weekend, and Papa had to be there to celebrate. Although I really enjoy my time with all of you each week, sometimes a papa’s gotta do what a papa’s gotta do!
If you recall, in my last Fridays with Frank I bared my soul to you about the impact that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (“ADHD”) has had on my life. Both personally and professionally. (I know, it really explains a lot!)
Clearly, I am not alone. It’s estimated that four percent of adults in the U.S. have ADHD. However, less than 20 percent have been diagnosed, and fewer still are treated. Although a significant number of people have managed to turn the challenges of ADHD around to their advantage, many more struggle with ADHD-related issues every day. (“Hey Frank, can we move this along? Remember, it’s Valentine’s Day, and a lot of us have plans.”)
Goodbye January! You always begin with so much promise. A month associated with valiant efforts (resolutions); excuses (“mom would be crushed if I didn’t have a big piece of her birthday cake), disappointments (“we need a new scale, this one says I gained five lbs. since last week!); and frustrations (“$3 a day for an annual gym membership only makes sense if you actually go to the gym more than three F@#*&%G days a month!) But, tomorrow starts a new month, a fresh start! We can do this!!
Can you believe it’s already the end of another workweek? Once again, time went speeding by me like a new Corvette on the Autobahn (check out last week’s post). So, before we get too far into 2020, I want to discuss one of my favorite compliance topics. Wait! Don’t go; it’s not about I-9 forms this time! This week’s post is about exemptions from minimum wage and overtime. If you recall, I briefly discussed the new minimum salary requirements for exempt employees in the January 11, Fridays with Frank. So, let’s dive into some details!
Another busy and exciting week is behind us! I remember when I was a teenager—or at least I think I do, that’s going back a few decades—days, weeks, and months seemed to drag on forever. If you were like me, you wished you were 16, so you could drive; then wished you were 18, so you’d be done with high school and on to college; then wished you were 21, so you could get into a bar (legally). My father used to say, “wish in one hand, and…” well, ummm, maybe I better not repeat that one. Anyway, my point is that the days, weeks, and months that dragged on forever when I was young are going by at warp speed today! Why? Because I’m “older,” 56 to be exact.