• Is it a Good Idea to Use Social Media to Screen Applicants?

    In the employment context, there are several instances when social media becomes important. During the hiring process, companies may review applicants’ social media profiles as a screening tool. During the employment relationship, companies may electronically monitor their employees and may continue to do so for a period of time after terminating an employee. We all know there are unintended consequences of sharing information online and particularly that those photos demonstrating unprofessional conduct have a very long digital tail and can negatively impact employment prospects. A study suggests that social media profiles can contribute to even more fundamental discrimination. On November...
  • Have You Heard of the 29ers?

    Have you heard of the "Obamacare 29ers" yet? Under Obamacare's employer mandate, companies with 50 or more "full-time" employees are required to offer health care insurance to their workers or pay a penalty if at least one of their employees purchases a plan through the healthcare marketplace with a federal subsidy. A "full time" employee is defined as those working 30 hours or more. Does this current provision encourage companies to cut work hours? The Congressional Budget Office’s noted in a recent report that there is no compelling evidence to suggest that part-time employment has increased directly because of Obamacare....
  • A Pain in the Assets?

    The first question a business will ask when approached by a buyer is whether the transaction will be structured as a merger, stock sale or asset sale. In a merger, the surviving entity assumes all the liabilities of the former entity. In a stock sale the seller sells stock or an interest in the entity and retains the liabilities. When the buyer purchases assets, the general rule is that the buyer is not liable for the seller's obligations - subject to four well-established exceptions that leave a buyer vulnerable to successor liability. The buyer can agree, either expressly or impliedly,...
  • Getting Smarter About Trade Secrets?

    Almost every person has at least one smart phone, tablet or similar device and soon Google Glass will become common. We have all come to expect real time communications and we have so much confidence in technology that we enter into important contracts with our digital signatures using our smart phone touch screens. Whether we realize it or not, these devices present challenges to the protection of our trade secrets. For example, regardless of motive, an employee may photograph and share highly sensitive information or a vendor who overhears a confidential conversation may tweet the details. Every company can benefit...
  • Break Down Silos?

    What is a silo anyway? It is a wall or boundary put up by an organization, business unit or group of persons for some reason. Silos may be formed for legitimate business purposes including mandatory, projects, competition as well as distracting or irregular activities. They can be formed because they are regulatory such as underwriters who are not able to speak with investors or because of financial reporting. Interest based silos may be formed for reasons like specific goals, exclusivity or privacy. Project based silos may form to focus solely on completing a specific project and can be intended to...
  • What Happens When the Hiring Process Takes Too Long

    Companies can lose top candidates when their hiring process takes too long. How does this happen? There are numerous ways to keep adding time to the hiring process. Setting that first interview may be delayed in an attempt to make sure every available candidate is reviewed, no stone left unturned. Top performers earn top compensation and it is tempting to hold out to see if there is a bargain candidate in the job market. Once the decision is made, the busy hiring executive must find the time to schedule that initial interview. It then takes more days to schedule the...
  • Productivity – Is it Habit or Willpower?

    We all want to be more productive; we want to accomplish more in less time. Oh, excuse me while I just check this new email that came in on my pop up! I will be right back. At one time or another almost everyone gets motivated to be more productive. We sign up for the latest productivity tools, we multi-task and we work longer hours hoping to get caught up. One second please, someone just popped into my office and asked me to email a document. I need to take care of this right away and it will only take...
  • Are those “No-Recruit” Agreements Good for Business?

    Adobe, Google, Apple, Intel and Pixar had entered into “secret” agreements that prohibited cold-calling and attempts to recruit each other’s employees. In 2010, the Department of Justice determined that these agreements restricted competition for workers within the industry and were therefore anti-competitive and illegal under federal antitrust laws. The involvement of the U.S. Department of Justice, civil lawsuits and the publicity have resulted in most firms refusing to enter into these agreements. However the fact remains that many companies still enter into discreet “no poach” agreements with competitors and customers. There are still legal entanglements for recruiting a competitor’s employees....
  • How Can You Reduce the Risk of Turnover?

    Imagine this scenario: your company is operating at an optimal level with record numbers in your first quarter then suddenly your top performer tenders their resignation. Learning to cope with employee turnover is critical for your company’s success. On average, an employee will remain in a position for only 4.4 years and will hold 11 positions over their lifetime. Turnover is expected but the resignation of a top performer has a greater impact since their contribution usually affects the top line. Companies can reduce the risks if they are prepared and the following are some suggestions: Identify the critical operation...
  • Non-Compete Agreement – Valued Employee or Indentured Servitude?

    A non-compete agreement is a contract signed by an employee in which he or she agrees they will not engage in certain employment within a certain geographic area for a certain period of time after their employment is terminated. Non-solicitation agreements preclude a terminated employee from contacting the employer’s customers or remaining employees after leaving employment. Non-compete agreements are becoming more common and generally employees are asked to sign one (1) at initial employment (2) to termination as a condition to receive a severance package and (3) during employment generally when there is a significant promotion. When it comes to...