Friday, January 21, 2022

WIRTW #610: the “humor is the best medicine” edition


On behalf of myself and my daughter, I'd like to thank everyone for all of the kind words of encouragement and support I received for our most recent podcast episode. Whenever you go through any sort of trauma, you feel like you're in it alone. What I learned through the many of you who took the time out of your busy lives to email, comment, or message is that we are not alone and that so many have gone through similar experiences. That community of shared experiences offers a tremendous amount of comfort.

If you've yet to listen, please do so (Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts). If you have listened, please share. And if you've shared, please re-share somewhere else. Norah wants to make something positive out of her experience to help people by talking about and de-stigmatizing mental health issues. It's a conversation that is long overdue and very needed. 

I do want to take a moment to address one critique we've received from one very small corner of the internet, which has been bothering me and that I don't want to leave unanswered — that because we chose to attack this issue with some humor, we are devaluing the seriousness of the situation and are not taking mental health issues seriously. Nothing could be further from the truth. No one (and I mean no one) has the right to tell someone else how to process trauma. Some do so with anger or sadness. Some with quiet reflection. And some with serious discussion. Consistent with our personalities, we process with humor and sarcasm. It doesn't mean we're not taking the situation seriously or making light of it. Quite the opposite. It just means we're coping the best we can. I can assure you that no one takes what Norah went through and is going through more seriously than she and our family.

Here's what I read this week that I think you should be reading, too.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

If you treat employees like they are fungible, they will act like they are fungible


I spent the past few days at the Ohio Craft Brewers Conference promoting my new venture, OhioBeerLawyers.com. In addition to being one of the event's sponsors, trying to network in as Covid-safe of a way as possible, and learning about the business of craft beer, I also was a presenter. My chosen topic was how to hire and retain employees in the midst of the Great Resignation. 

I thought of my presentation as I read about the situation at Noah's NY Bagels in Vacaville, California. The restaurant's entire staff of 15 quit their jobs en masse in protest of their manager's (unjust, in their view) termination. The story took off after a TikTok, posted by one of the employees and captioned, "Say no to toxic management," went viral.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Accountability always starts at the top


How do you respond to an employee who states that the Covid-19 vaccine is a plot by "the Jews" to exterminate people? Does your answer change if the employee in question is the company's founder? 

The correct answers: You fire him, and no, it doesn't matter who he is.

The scenario recently played out at Entrata, a Utah technology company. David Bateman, Entrata's founder, sent an email to multiple parties, including various Utah tech leaders. Bateman's email started with the subject line, "Genocide." It went downhill from there. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

A very special episode of The Norah and Dad Show, talking about teen mental health


I recently asked you, my readers, followers, and friends, for a favor. I asked you to take a moment to hug your kids a little stronger and a little longer. What I didn't tell you was why I was asking that of you.

Today I'm sharing the rest of the story. Except it's not my story to tell. It's my daughter's.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Stepping out of my confort zone


Sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone to move forward, including in one's career. 

For the past 25 years, I've been a management-side labor and employment lawyer. I've represented employers in just about every type of employee dispute you can imagine and counseled too many to count on a countless number of issues.

Still, I yearn for growth. One of the industries I've had the pleasure of representing over the years is the craft beer industry. Thus, I've helped spearhead the launch of Wickens Herzer Panza's brand new Craft Beer Practice Group. I'm excited to be one of the two leaders of this group, along with one of my partners, Grant Steyer. You'll find our new practice at ohiobeerlawyers.com.

I'm still a practicing labor and employment lawyer (don't worry). I'm just adding "craft beer lawyer" to my arsenal.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

BREAKING NEWS: SCOTUS dumps OSHA vax-or-test emergency temporary standard


The Supreme Court has issued its opinion in the appeal of the 6th Circuit's decision that vacated the 5th Circuit's stay of OSHA's vaccine-or-test emergency temporary standard for employers with 100 or more employees.

In a 6-3 decision, strictly down ideological lines, the Court reinstituted the stay, blocking the ETS from taking effect. 

Coronavirus Update 1-13-22: The CDC is not updating its mask guidelines to better protect against Omicron … but it should


The CDC is not considering updating its current mask guidelines to recommend that everyone wear highly protective N95 or KN95 masks, contrary to earlier reports by the Washington Post.

In a White House briefing yesterday, Rochelle Walensky, the head of the CDC, said that any mask is better than no mask, and that the CDC would not be changing any guidance regarding the type of maks that people should be wearing. Walensky did concede that the CDC's website needs to be refreshed to include information on the "different levels of protection different masks provide."

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Pumping up workplace lactation rights


The U.S. Department of Labor has reached a settlement with Labcorp over allegations that it failed to provide lactating employees a space for them to express milk privately without fear of intrusion.

The investigation stemmed from an allegation of one employee in the company's Lynwood, California, location. DOL investigators determined that when the employee asked for a private place to express her breast milk, supervisors offered a common space that resulted in her being interrupted twice. As result, and per its settlement with the DOL, Labcorp has agreed, for all of its 2,000-plus locations nationwide, to "provide a private space as required with a notification on the door to guarantee an intrusion-free space."