Name: Josalyn Gibson
Title: HR Director
Company: Southern Community Newspapers, Inc. (“SCNI”)
1. How many years have you been working in HR? 20 years.
2. Favorite thing about working in HR? Every day is different.
3. Best piece of advice you ever received about a career in HR? Never bring personal belongings into your office that you can’t take out in your purse.
4. Most important thing on your desk? Stapler.
5. If you weren’t in HR, what would you do? A college professor.
6. Favorite interview question to ask potential hires? Tell me about your day at work yesterday.
7. One inexpensive, effective way you’ve utilized to improve employee morale? Personal phone call to say “Happy Birthday” or “Happy Anniversary” (with company).
8. Wackiest conversation you’ve had to have with an employee? About grooming themselves before coming to work.
9. Wildest thing you’ve ever seen an employee wear at work? No shoes!
10. Best tip for dealing with an angry employee? Lower your voice, then the employee has to lower their voice to hear you.
May 9, 2013 No Comments
Another one of our lawyers has been profiled in a “Q&A” Session with Law 360. This time, the discussion was with yours truly, Evan Pontz, and it appears today in Law 360. Notably, it includes further conversation about the NLRB and its status in light of the Noel Canning decision holding that the President’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board were invalid. As we noted in recent posts, the decision leaves a year-plus of NLRB decisions in limbo, and ultimately may require the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in. The case has now been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the Court has not yet decided whether it will hear the case.
Enjoy the Q&A session which also covers thoughts on reforming wage and hour litigation, one of my most interesting cases, another lawyer (now judge) who greatly influenced me, and what I learned from a mistake early in my career.
April 26, 2013 No Comments
One of our Labor & Employment Group partners, Rebecca Shanlever, is featured in a Q&A session with Law360 this morning. It is a quick discussion of valuable insights and lessons from her years as an employment attorney.
Of particular note, Rebecca gives special attention to the use of criminal background checks and credit checks in applicant screening for employment and how the EEOC’s current positions on these issues can be problematic for employers. For HR professionals, this is an area of special interest and real, practical concerns. Check out Rebecca’s thoughts on this and other topics, and give her a call if you’d like to talk with her yourself!
April 22, 2013 No Comments
As we previously discussed here, the National Labor Relations Board announced last month that it will seek U.S. Supreme Court review of the D.C. Circuit’s Noel Canning decision, which invalidated President Obama’s purported recess appointments to the Board, and held that the existing three-member Board lacks the quorum required for it to legally act. The Board’s deadline to request Supreme Court review (known as a petition for certiorari) is April 25, 2013, but even if the Supreme Court agrees to hear the case, this matter will not be resolved quickly and the Board’s refusal to curtail its activities pending that resolution continues to vex both employers and unions.
In the meantime, both the President and House Republicans are seeking ways to avoid ongoing action by the Board without the required quorum. [Read more →]
April 19, 2013 No Comments
The media has been full of stories recently about efforts by the city councils in New York City and Philadelphia to pass laws requiring employers to provide employees with paid sick leave. While it appears that the New York City law will come into effect, as it has enough support in the council to overcome the expected veto of Mayor Bloomberg, the Philadelphia city council does not have enough votes to override Mayor Nutter’s veto.
When the New York City law comes into effect, it will join the ranks of San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and the state of Connecticut, each of which have passed laws in recent years requiring employers to provide employees with paid sick leave. At the federal level, the proposed Healthy Families Act, which would require employers to provide paid sick leave, also appears to be gaining traction, particularly in the face of lobbying efforts in many states to pass laws that would specifically preempt efforts by localities to require that employers provide paid sick leave. Where has all this interest in paid sick leave come from?
April 16, 2013 No Comments
Over a year ago, I wrote our first blog post on HRLawMatters.com. It was about a favorite phrase of labor and employment lawyers: “No good deed goes unpunished.” It discussed how employers doing “good deeds” for employees was often the right thing, but that if not done thoughtfully and carefully, doing good deeds can lead to regrets and “punishment.”
We see this all the time in our practice. For instance, a manager is demoted into a non-management role rather than being terminated outright for poor performance. Despite the risks of this decision, the employer thinks it is helping him by not terminating him. But when the employee fails miserably in the non-management role, he is fired. He sues, largely because of the “indignity” of the demotion prior to his termination. There might have been no lawsuit (or at least a much simpler one), if the manager had just been fired. The employer’s “good deed” of demoting him first rather than firing him blows up in its face.
While this type of “punishment” for attempting good deeds happens often, I am not totally against doing “good deeds.” My faith in them was reaffirmed recently while I was traveling with my family. My wife, my two young kids and I were flying home. None of us had seats together on a completely full flight, so we had to do some seat swapping once on the plane so each kid had a parent sitting with them. [Read more →]
April 4, 2013 No Comments
Who has not felt like they needed to take a few days off from work to regroup and clear their minds before tacking your job’s many challenges? I call these days off “mental health days.” While everyone needs to take some time off (whether it’s over a weekend, extended vacation, or holiday), a federal district court in Florida has confirmed that the need for mental health days does not count as a serious medical condition under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).
In Pivac v. Component Services and Logistics, Inc., an employee sued her employer for denying her FMLA leave, and then terminating her in retaliation for the FMLA leave that she had already taken. The employee first met with her employer and discussed her desire to take FMLA leave; however, she decided to think about whether she wanted to actually request the leave. The employee then went to her doctor and told him that she needed some time off from work. The doctor apparently agreed that the days off would be good for her health and gave her a note for her employer. Armed with this medical “excuse” from her doctor, the employee told her employer that she was taking seven days off. [Read more →]
April 2, 2013 No Comments
The EEOC just sued J.C. Penney claiming that it refused to hire a woman at a Brunswick, Georgia store because she was pregnant. While that is not big news (except to perhaps the woman and the management at that J.C. Penney location), the lawsuit offers some good lessons.
Why? Well, the case involves two interesting set of accusations. First, Cecely Rogers, the woman who applied for a job as a cosmetologist, had held the exact same job at a J.C. Penney in Las Vegas during the prior two years before relocating to Georgia, and she was listed in the company’s HR system as “eligible for rehire” at the time she was turned down for the job in Georgia. So, it was probably quite surprising to her that she was not hired. These facts likely contributed to the dispute ending up in litigation, and they point out how HR and its processes can shape and affect an employee’s or applicants expectations. But these facts are not the most notable parts of this case.
What stands out most — and undoubtedly sparked the EEOC’s interest and decision to file suit – is the second notable allegation. According to Ms. Rogers, when she was not hired, she was told that the hiring manager “hasn’t had much luck hiring pregnant women.” Ms. Rogers was pregnant at the time she applied for the job. She claims she was told to re-contact the store after having her baby and they could consider her application again then.
Seriously? Anyone at the Brunswick J.C. Penney store heard of pregnancy discrimination? [Read more →]
March 26, 2013 No Comments
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (the “USCIS”) recently released the new Eligibility Verification Form, Form I-9 (Rev. 03/08/13), as well as a revised Handbook for Employers (M-274). The revised form is longer—two pages, rather than one—and includes additional instructions for completing the form. It also includes new fields for e-mail address, phone number, and foreign passport numbers in Section 1 of the Form. [Read more →]
March 22, 2013 No Comments
The National Labor Relations Board (the “NLRB”) recently announced that it will seek U.S. Supreme Court review of the D.C. Circuit’s Noel Canning decision, which invalidated President Obama’s purported recess appointments of three of the Board’s five members. As we previously discussed here, the D.C. Circuit held that because the Board members were not properly appointed, the Board lacked the quorum it needed to act. [Read more →]
March 22, 2013 No Comments