Employee Issues

Post image for Avoiding a Shoot-Out with Your Freelancer ‘Gun for Hire’

I was asked recently in my Forbes.com Ask An Expert column whether you could copyright something you didn’t write.  The short answer is “no,” unless you’ve carved out a “work for hire” exception.  This is particularly relevant for entrepreneurs who outsource to freelancers for their projects. When you hire a freelancer to do work for […]

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Post image for Employee Taxes–What Are They?

I’m not saying that people don’t deserve a living wage, but when you add that to the cost of employee taxes, benefits, insurance and all of the risks that companies take on by hiring staff, it’s no surprise that in this economy, small business owners are thinking twice about it. Here’s a short list of […]

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Post image for Employee? Consultant? Or Independent Contractor?

You’ve reached a point where you’re ready to tear your hair out. You’re pulled in 17 different directions and, try as you might, you haven’t found a way to manufacture the 28-hour day. Much as it’s daunting, you’re staring down an inescapable fact: In order to grow your business, you . . . need . […]

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Post image for No Porn at Work.  Can I Make It Any Clearer?

Like this is news? But it seems that some employees just don’t get it (no pun intended). A recent 2nd Circuit case, Patane v. Clark and Fordham University, held that even viewing porn in one’s office (a somewhat private place) is a no-no. In Patane, Professor Clark watched hard-core S/M tapes on the VCR in his […]

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If you haven’t figured it out by now, you’ll learn that there’s no way a busy small business owner can accomplish everything you need to in a given day.  So you have two choices: leave things unfinished, or expand your capacity by developing a team. But creating a team–one that works effectively–is both art and […]

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“There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” said my colleague, Joe Harris, Esq. of White Harris PLLC. “That’s what small businesses need to understand about interns.” Joe reaches for the check (“Ironic,” I think, “… seems I am getting a free lunch!”) as we chat about the trends and challenges we’re seeing for small […]

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Post image for Why Not to Download Your Employee Handbook from the Internet

Because “one size does not fit all.” And because “you get what you pay for.” In “a whopper of a sexual harrassment claim” (thanks to blog author Jon Hyman for the turn of phrase I couldn’t resist), the case of EEOC v. V & J Foods, Inc., a Burger King franchise had an employee manual that […]

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Post image for Can You Dock an Employee for Damages?

Well, employees are people, too. And they may have some of your company equipment at home (laptop, cell phone, etc.).If they damage the equipment, do they have to pay for it? Can you dock their paycheck? The answer, generally, is no. Many states prohibit companies from making deductions from an employee’s paycheck, other than those required […]

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Post image for ‘Permission to Hug?’

Those who are NCIS fans may recognize the line from the episode “Driven,” where an AI-operated car supposedly kills one of its inventors.  The criminal shenanigans are only tangential to why I mention the issue.   The episode opens with the NCIS team sitting through sexual harassment awareness training. Like a lovingly dysfunctional family, the team […]

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Post image for Difficult Conversations: The Underperforming Employee

Talking to an underperforming employee ranks right up there with telling a boyfriend he’s not pulling his weight in a relationship. Blecch. Not something you really look forward to. But if you don’t nip the situation in the bud early, it will fester until it reaches ugly proportions. You need to handle the situation directly, […]

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