California Supreme Court-Same Sex Marriages!

May 27, 2008

Well, whether you have moral or spiritual convictions regarding same sex couples being able to legally wed, the California Supreme Court has cleared the way for same sex couples to get married. In the workplace, this can have significant ramifications. Those individuals who are leading the alternative lifestyle will be excited at the opportunity of being able to wed their significant other. They will be happy and may want to share their happiness with fellow staff members who may, for their own reasons, find the thought appalling. Managers and supervisors will have to educate staff members. California, several years ago, through the Fair Employment & Housing Act, have provided protection for sexual orientation. It’s simple, they are in a protected class group, and management needs to act accordingly. In November, the voters will have an opportunity to vote on whether to amend the California Constitution to read that a marriage must be between a man and a woman. If it passes it will be interesting to see the impact it will have on those who have already tied the knot. Any feelings about this? Would love to hear from you!

Motivating Employees-The Do’s and Dont’s

May 19, 2008

Tough economic times are having a higher than normal challenge for managers trying to get their staff members motivated (especially in the sales department). What many call motivation is really intimidation ( yelling and screaming) and manipulation. Neither one is an effective tool. Supervisors, however, can create a postive environment where employees will want to motivate themselves. Each manager must get to know each of their staff members and learn what drives them. By the way, sitting in your office and trying to motivate them by remote control doesn’t work. For some, the manager will learn that they are driven because of their home life, upbringing, and individual personality.  Others are motivated by money, job security, fair treatment, doing something worthwhile and being appreciated. Money, as a motivator, is not always possible and that’s why it is critical to get to know each of the people working under you. These days, if they can’t get an increase in their wage, they will settle for job security. Too many layoffs are making staff members nervous. Give them some assurances regarding the stability of the company, don’t make promises that you either do not have the authority to keep, or they are unrealistic. Do not get too creative with commission plans without them being reviewed.  We don’t need labor board claims that pay out monies that will hurt the organization financially. Try to discover their interests, aspirations, and pursuits and work with them toward that endeavor. Finally, as you observe, talk, and listen to your employees, you will find that most are motivated by one or more of the basic needs: security, acceptance, self-esteem, independence and achievement. Don’t believe me? Then you may have lost already! Get on board and try it. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Jim’s Book-“Right To Counsel” is coming out!!!

May 12, 2008

We have been receiving inquiries regarding the release date of my book, “Right To Counsel” and I am proud to announce it is coming out in July. However, the book signing, will be at the Altadena Town and Country Club on August 23, 2008, from 1 until 4. Please mark the date! A few details-it is a paperback back, true crime, $14.95, and chronicles my involvement as part of a defense team to overturn the conviction of a self-confessed serial killer. The main thrust of the book is my struggle to represent an individual who has kidnapped, raped, and murdered six girls between the ages of 9-22. We are already getting inquiries from the movie industry so this just may be the beginning. Don’t miss out!

Spiffs-Can The Dealership Be Held Financially Liable?

May 12, 2008

Well, it never stops!! The Labor Board is at it again. This time it concerns “Spiffs” which are bonuses that are given in combination between the manufacturer and the dealership. The employee (salesperson) signs a contract between themselves and the manufacturer whereby they are in agreement with the manufacturer that if they sell, as an example, 75 cars throughout the year, they will receive a matching bonus of $25.00 from each the manufacturer, and the dealership, with the stipulation that they must still be employed on Decemember 31st of that year. One dealer terminated a salesperson who had in fact sold 72 in November. He filed with the Labor Board that he was denied the opportunity to sell the last three (but had several in the pipeline). The agreement is clearly a contract between the employee and the manufacturer. The Labor Board is sending the matter to a formal hearing arguing that the bonus is a performance bonus and that the dealership “allegedly” should have paid their $25.00 portion on the vehicles sold. The hearing is coming up soon and I will let you know the results. This is really cutting edge stuff! I know that the industry, as a whole, has not paid out the bonus if the employee is not employed on December 31st.

Calculating Auto Mechanics Overtime Pay

May 5, 2008

We have been conducting a number of HR Audits on behalf of dealerships in an attempt to uncover illegal practices. The results are astounding! You have to understand that the law is the law and it will catch up to you. We also have been finding out that some dealerships are not understanding the law regarding calculating auto mechanics overtime pay. Here is the formula.

Shortcut: Flag hours times the flag rate divided by the total clock hours divided by 2 times the overtime hours equals the overtime pay.

Please make sure the above formula is being used.


New Laws Emerging Regarding Caregivers!

May 5, 2008

As always we are on the lookout for emerging laws. Now we are getting ready to be faced with the unlawful treatment of workers who are responsible for caregiving. Most mangers will equate this with childcare. Not so, and with the Baby Boomers exploding onto the senior citizen scene we have to understand that there will be a “sandwhich generation” (those between the ages of 30 and 60) who will be responsible for childcare and eldercare.

There are also caregivers who are responsible for individuals with disabilities which can include adult children, spouses, or parents. President Bush has also signed into law that under the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) an individual can now take off as a caregiver to a returning wounded veteran for up to 26 weeks.

In all of the above we normally look to females to be the caregiver and as a direct result decisons regarding hiring, promotions, and terminations are made which can open the door to litigation. Remember, men can also be caregivers!

When confronted with the above circumstances be sure to call. This area will be evolving very quickly.