- Parental Leave
- Pay Disparity
- Religious accomodation in the workplace
- Equal pay and prior salary information
- I quit! How to avoid constructive discharge
- You Can't Shred Email
- Navigating Unemployment Claims
- Considering Criminal History in Pre-Employment Decisions
- Defamation Claims from Former Employees
- Mixed Motive Causation
- Requesting Accomodation: Kowitz v. Trinity Health
- Antitrust Law in Human Resources
- An Evolving Standard: Joint-Employment
- What Does At-Will Employment Mean for Employers?
- Let's Talk About Wages
- THE FLSA: CHANGES ARE COMING
- Follow Up: Obesity and the ADA
- The Importance of Social Media Policies
- Is Obesity a Qualifying Disability under the ADA?
- Retaliation on the Rise: The EEOC Responds
- What Motivates You?
- "But I thought ...
- Who’s expecting? And what is he expecting?
- Are You Still Doing Annual Performance Reviews?
- Who is Your Employee?
- The unpaid intern trap Part II
- “We’ve been the victim of a cyber-attack”
- So, a Hasidic Jew, a nun in a habit and a woman wearing a headscarf walk into your office?
- The unpaid intern trap
- Pregnancy in the workplace
- Let's talk about honesty.
- "Did You Know" Series - Part I
- Conducting an Internal Investigation
- What HR can look forward to in 2015!
- The chokehold of workplace technology
- Does your company have trade secrets?
- North Dakota Construction Law Compendium for 2014
- Does the North Dakota baby boom affect you?
- Ban the Box? Why?
- The end of the world as we know it
- Everybody has an opinion
- Changes, Changes, Changes!
- Nick Grant presents at North Dakota Safety Council's 41st Annual Safety and Health Conference
- Email impairment: A potentially harmful condition
- Are Employers Required to Give Stressed-Out Employees Time Off?
- Can you obtain a credit report when investigating employee wrongdoing?
- Can’t we just sidestep the ACA?
- Should Your Employees Telecommute? Part III
- Should Your Employees Telecommute? Part II
- Should Your Employees Telecommute?
- Proper Investigation of Employee Misconduct
- Battles in the Wellness War
- Rules are rules! Aren’t they?
- What's going on in Bismarck
- A glimpse ahead
- Obesity as a disability under the ADA – reweighing the issue
- What’s next for your business under the Affordable Care Act?
- Criminal Background Checks
- Becoming a lawyer is a process, not an event [Section 5 of 5]
- Congress Says Yes To North Slope Energy Jobs Bill
- Test Your Knowledge of Social Media Policies and Employee Discipline
- Becoming a lawyer is a process, not an event [Section 4 of 5]
- What Every Employer Needs to Know About the NLRA
- Will the 2012 Elections Make A Difference
- Where There's Smoke...
- Dress Code Etiquette: Is Casual Friday Becoming Freaky Friday
- The Next Disaster May Be Yours
- Hostile Work Environment Claims
- North Dakota Employment Law Links
- There's An App For That
- Am I a “Business Associate”? Why Should I Care?
- Do You Recognize a Cat's Paw When You See One?
- Cell Phones Can Cost a Lot, Part II
- Becoming a lawyer is a process, not an event [Section 3 of 5]
- Cell Phones Can Cost a Lot, Part I
- The Economy - What HR Professionals Need To Know
- Becoming a lawyer is a process, not an event [Section 2 of 5]
- Three New Challenges For HR Professionals
Rules are rules! Aren’t they?By: Paul Ebeltoft
Human resource professionals often begin their conversations with me by saying, “Why can’t people just follow the rules?” There are many answers to this question. One of them is, “Sometimes people think that the rules don’t apply any more.”
For example, I had a case where my client approached a remote, seldom traveled rural intersection controlled by a stop sign. The stop sign was old, faded, had many bullet holes and was hanging askew. Should my client have stopped? In a perfect world, yes. In the real world, human factors engineers tell us that most people would not honor that stop sign. Why?
Simply put, disorder breeds disregard. Just as children not corrected by their parents for rude behavior will test the limits, becoming more and more unruly; stop signs that are not fixed and straight impliedly permit drivers to test the limits, ignoring them. An article appearing in the March 1982 Atlantic Magazine explains it better than I. “[D]isorder and crime are usually inextricably linked, in a kind of developmental sequence. Social psychologists and police officers tend to agree that if a window in a building is broken and is left unrepaired, all the rest of the windows will soon be broken.”
What does this have to do with Human Resource Professionals?
In the workplace, if you tolerate misconduct it will become the norm for conduct at your workplace. Stated another way, even if you have rules, employees will disregard them if they are outmoded or a low management priority.
Refresh your policies
Follow these steps to minimize disregard of your workplace rules.
• Keep your rules up-to-date. One rule that “no one follows any more” will jeopardize the effectiveness of your entire handbook.
• Make sure your employees know the rules. So many companies give their new employees a handbook, assuming that the employee will study it. Research shows that employees read their handbooks with about the same frequency and attention as they read the owner’s manual in a car; just a bit at first and virtually not at all later. Face-to-face training is expensive and hard to schedule. Keep the rules fresh by sending periodic “did you know” emails that outline a single handbook provision, requiring employees to acknowledge receipt. If you have an internal website, post your handbook with searchable features.
• Educate your management team. Few will follow a rule that the boss does not follow.
• Address the smallest infraction of zero-tolerance policies, like those prohibiting any act of sexual harassment. Do not ignore the first broken window even if it is a “joke” or a misguided comment.
• Make your rules the basis of discipline. If your company cites to chapter and verse in its decisions, employees will know that the rules are real.
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My law firm’s goal is to give understandable information and to foster discussion about real-life issues facing human resource professionals. If we are not achieving that goal or if you would like us to address other employment law issues, please email me at email@example.com We promise to take your comments and ideas to heart.
(Otherwise known as “the fine print”)
I make a serious effort to be accurate in my writings. These articles are not exhaustive treatises, though, so do not consider them complete or authoritative. Providing this information to you does not create an attorney-client relationship with my firm or me. Do not act upon the contents of this or of any article on our homepage or consider it a replacement for professional advice.
Reprinted with permission from an article submitted for publication in the March, 2013 Southwest Area Human Resource Association newsletter.