February 2016 HR Newsletter


It is finally February! In this month’s newsletter, we look at the difficult business of terminating well-liked employees and at the basics of state disability insurance programs. Check back with us midmonth for an article on office romances.

Featured Article: Terminating a Well-Liked Employee

Eight years ago you hired an extremely talented, energetic individual who quickly became a source of enthusiasm and expertise in your workplace. A friend to everyone, this star employee excelled in their work, acing every performance review. Until recently.

About six months ago, this individual developed a snooty attitude with management. Regular absences and tardiness soon followed. Projects weren’t completed when they needed to be. Those that got done were usually done poorly. You put the employee on a progressive discipline plan in accordance with your policy, hoping to see a return to their longtime stellar performance, but the employee showed no interest in improving.

It may be time to terminate employment, but because this employee is so well liked by their coworkers, you need to be prepared for the ramifications of letting them go.

First, this employee has built up a lot of relationship capital. You should expect the employees closest to this person to be very upset. Some of them might even want to quit. You’ll need to meet with these individuals, listen to their concerns, and try to help them adjust to the abrupt change.

Second, while this employee isn’t in management, colleagues may go to them for mentoring, guidance, and direction. You can expect some of these colleagues to be a tad aimless following the termination. Keep your eyes open for employees who look a little lost and offer to help them with whatever they need.

Third, because this employee was once very good at their job—and may still appear to be so—people in the office might fear that they’ll be let go next. You can reassure them without violating confidentiality by being openly appreciative of everyone’s contributions. Even small words of encouragement said here and there can put people’s minds to rest.

If you suspect that the fallout of the termination could be very disruptive to business operations, and you haven’t terminated others for the same cause, you may want to consider alternatives to termination, such as reassignment to a different manager.

But if you’ve decided termination is the best path forward, you’ll need to prepare for the likely consequences. Don’t wait to see what happens. Take proactive steps to ensure that upset employees are heard, aimless employees are guided, and anxious employees are reassured. The road will be rocky, but you can help smooth the way by addressing these issues before they significantly disrupt your workflow.

HR Alert: Post OSHA 300 A Forms Now
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that all employers who are required to maintain the OSHA 300 Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses post a summary of the previous year’s log from February 1st to April 30th each year, even if no incidents occurred in the preceding calendar year. The summary (OSHA Form 300A) must be certified by a company executive and posted in a conspicuous location where notices to employees are customarily posted.

All employers who have more than ten employees are covered by this requirement unless they qualify as part of an exempt low-risk industry. A full list of the industries exempt from OSHA routine recordkeeping requirements (including posting Form 300A) can be found in the guides section of our HR Support Center by searching “OSHA 300 exempt industries.” The OSHA Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (Form 300), Summary (Form 300A) and Instructions can be found in the forms section of our HR Support Center by searching for “OSHA Form 300.”

HR Tip of the Month:

Incentivizing your employees to reach a goal – whether it’s total sales, keeping the kitchen clean, or taking the stairs every day – doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, incentives improve employee engagement, and engaged employees improve your bottom line. Organizations with higher employee engagement have higher productivity, profits, sales, customer loyalty, and stock returns!

There is a vast amount of research on incentivizing employees, and among the things we know is that tangible benefits are more valuable to employees than cash. And the more unique or frivolous the better! Think massages, exotic foods or drinks, logoed tennis shoes, front row parking. The reward doesn’t have to be expensive. It will be compelling to employees if it’s something they wouldn’t – or can’t – buy themselves.

Did You Know?

There are 11 states that prohibit use of credit reports or credit information in employment, both in the application process and after someone has been hired. These states are California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.

But even in states where pulling a credit report is allowed, employers must still comply with the relevant provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. These provisions include getting the applicant’s or employee’s written permission, and then – if a negative employment decision is made as a result of the findings – providing the applicant or employee with information about the company that provided the report, a statement that the credit reporting agency did not make the decision and cannot give specific reasons for it, and a notice of the applicant’s or employee’s right to dispute the report and receive a free copy of it in the next 60 days.



 Looking Ahead:

February 1: Freedom Day
February 2: Groundhog Day
February 8: Chinese New Year
February 9: Mardi Gras
February 10: Ash Wednesday
February 15: Presidents’ Day



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