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September 30, 2012

News Briefs: Language litigation, worker hygiene, political pitfalls, and other news of note

Language litigation - Language lawsuit costs hospital nearly $1 million - an English-only policy put a California hospital on the wrong side of the EEOC to the tune of nearly one million dollars, one of the largest discrimination settlements that the EEOC has ever negotiated. "The case stems from allegations by 69 Filipino-American workers at the hospital that they, alone among employees who spoke other languages, were harassed and disciplined for speaking, even among themselves, in Tagalog, Llocano or other languages common in the Philippines."

Hygiene discussions - The Difficulties of Discussing Hygiene - at Human Resource Executive, Keisha-Ann Gray looks at the legal implications of addressing hygiene concerns with employees. For more on coping with this difficult issue and handling other tough conversations with workers, see our July post When your employees stink.

Survey Smarts - If you are planning any employee or customer surveys, who better to get advice from than Gallup? In Executives: You're Leaving Money on the Table, authors David Helvadjian and Allan Watkinson talk about why emotional engagement is essential in any surveys, and how measuring, managing, and focusing on your customers' and employees' emotional engagement can significantly boost your company's performance.

Death on the job - Workplace fatalities declined in 2011, according to preliminary results from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2011, 4,609 workers died from on-the-job injuries, down from a final count of 4,690 in 2010. On average, 13 workers die at work every day.

Surviving the political season at work> - In a series of seasonally handy posts, HR Daily Advisor offers election season guidance for employers: What You Can and Can't Do About Workplace Campaigning and Can You Ban Campaign Posters and Buttons?.

Brief News Bites

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ESI-Logo.jpg When complex employee issues arise, ESI EAP offers member employers direct access to Certified Senior Professionals in Human Resources (SPHR) and senior clinical counselors. If you need an Employee Assistance Program give us a call: 800-535-4841.

September 28, 2012

October Wellness Resources: Breast Cancer, Mental Illness, Bullying, Stuttering & more

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) is a collaboration of national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies working together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to services. At the NBCAM, you can find links to organizations participating in Breast Cancer Awareness activities and outreach. Find resources on breast cancer from the American Cancer Society. Find a local low-cost or free Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection screening services. An estimated 8 to 11 percent of women in the U.S. who are underinsured or uninsured may qualify for services.

Mental Illness Awareness Week 2012: Oct. 7-13, 2012 - Since 1990, the first full week of October has been declared as Mental Illness Awareness Week in recognition of the National Alliance on Mental Illness's (NAMI) efforts to raise mental illness awareness. This year's theme is "Changing Attitudes, Changing Lives." NAMI's site offers great information and resources on specific types of mental illnesses.

National Bullying Prevention Month - access a variety of resources you can use during October — and throughout the year — to engage, educate, and inspire others to join the movement and prevent bullying where you live. Many states and local governments have taken action to prevent bullying and protect children. Through laws and policies, each state addresses bullying differently. Find out how your state refers to bullying in its laws and what they require on part of schools and districts. Use this clickable map to learn about your state's bullying laws and policies. Also, see warning signs a child is being bullied and signs a child is bullying others.

October 22 - Stuttering Awareness Day - The Stuttering Foundation offers a variety of resources, including facts and case histories of famous people who stutter. They offer a specific set of stuttering resources for employers, including 6 Tips For Speaking With Someone Who Stutters and a state-by-state list of speech pathologists. See also: Job Seekers Who Stutter Can Become Great Employees

Other Health Observances in October
Health Literacy Month
Eye Injury Prevention Month
Down Syndrome Awareness Month
Bone and Joint Health National Awareness Week October 12-20

esi.JPG Learn how ESI Employee Assistance Program can help address your employees' health - from a wellness benefits and help for everyday work-life matters to comprehensive assistance for a wide array of potentially disruptive issues and problems.

September 23, 2012

Workplace stress - signs, causes, treatment

We thought this infographic on workplace stress was pretty handy - click here for a larger version



September 22, 2012

Inspirational story of the week - bring tissues

This past week, the internet introduced us to Taylor Morris, a Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal tech from Cedar Falls, Iowa. If you're looking for an inspirational story, this is it - it's a story packed with courage, grit, and humor. It's also an incredibly moving love story. And if it doesn't convince you to move veterans up to the top of your hiring list, well, nothing will.

On May 3, 2012, Taylor stepped on an IED. The explosion claimed both legs, his left arm and his right hand. Now a life-changing event of that magnitude would slow most of us down. Not Taylor - he's apparently got too much life to live. Follow his story over the four and a half months since his injury occurred - right through to his welcome home parade -- a model for how our injured vets should be treated -- and on to his wedding to his sweetheart and partner, Danielle. Incredibly, and against all odds, Taylor danced at his own wedding. Tim Dodd,a photographer and hometown friend chronicles Taylor's recovery in a three part narrative with photos and video clips.

We encourage you to set aside some time to read the three entries Tim has posted, but if you have limited time, the excellent photos tell the story.

Part 1: Do you know my friend TaylorMorris?

Part 2: Have you seen my friend Taylor walk?

Part 3: Did you see my friend Taylor come home?

You can follow more about Taylor Morris at his journal.

Hire a Vet

Top 11 Reasons to Hire a Vet

From the Department of Labor:
Employer Toolkit for Hiring a Vet

Information on Hiring Wounded & Injured Veterans


esi.JPG Returning service members face the challenge of reintegration in the family, the workplace, the community. Some will face the special challenges of coping with physical or psychological wounds, such as PTSD. ESI EAP offers members a variety of services addressing the challenges of military deployment. We also have resources for employers. To learn more about how ESI EAP can help, give us a call: 800-535-4841.

September 16, 2012

Poor Worker Health = $576 Billion

According to a recent report by the Integrated Benefits Institute, poor worker health and the related loss of productivity take an estimated $576 billion annual toll (PDF). This includes absences ranging from sick days to time lost to workers' compensation claims - see the accompanying chart. IBI researchers attribute 39 percent (or $227 billion) to lost productivity associated with poor health. They say, "Lost productivity results when employees are absent due to illness or when they are underperforming due to poor health (“presenteeism”—when employees are at work but not performing at their peak)."

poor-worker-health.JPG

IBI researchers hope that these numbers will influence political candidates to see the link between worker health and economic health, issues that are "tightly coupled" due to the impact of health on productivity. They also note that investments in worker health can pay off:

Sean Nicholson, Ph.D., a Cornell University economist and a leading researcher on the link between health and productivity, stated, “The literature shows that employers can save an average of $3 for every $1 they invest in improving their workers’ health, so there are opportunities for companies to increase profits and wages while they improve worker health."

Researchers at The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) agree that a strong American economy depends upon an able, productive workforce, but they note that the challenges have never been greater: The American workforce is rapidly aging and is increasingly burdened by epidemic levels of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions. Middle-aged and young workers are facing earlier onset of chronic health conditions, such as obesity and diabetes.

In response, they have introduced Total Worker Health, described as "a strategy integrating occupational safety and health protection with health promotion to prevent worker injury and illness and to advance health and well-being." As part of this initiative, they have compiled a comprehensive suite of Employer and Employee Wellness Resources. If you are looking to strengthen your workplace wellness program, that is a good place to start.


More resources
Building a Stronger Evidence Base for Employee Wellness (PDF)
New evidence that wellness programs yield high ROI
How healthy are your employees? Track via your state's Well-Being Index


esi.JPG Learn how ESI Employee Assistance Program can help address your employees' wellbeing issues - from a wellness benefits and help for everyday work-life matters to comprehensive assistance for a wide array of potentially disruptive issues and problems.

September 14, 2012

Normal aging or dementia - how can you distinguish?

Uh-oh. One of your senior relatives is starting to forget things: Where they put their car keys. The name of that restaurant at the beach house that they used to love. The actor in the movie they saw last month.

Or maybe it isn't a relative. Maybe it's you.

Are these "senior moments" normal manifestations of aging, or early signs of Alzheimer's?

In a survey last year, Alzheimer's disease was identified as the second most feared disease following cancer. In the fear factor department, it beat out ominous illnesses like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. As a society, it's something we think about and talk about and worry about a lot. But in reality, most people don't know the difference between Alzheimer's disease and normal aging - and according to a recent survey, even caregivers have confusion about dementia vs. normal aging (PDF).

"A new survey of relatives and friends caring for people now diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other dementia found two-thirds mistook early symptoms for normal cognitive wear and tear. In doing so, they may have delayed proper diagnosis and early treatment for their loved ones."

Alzheimer's Association offers 10 Early Signs and Symptoms to watch for, and they compare these to normal signs of aging. It's worth reading the full discussion, but here's a summary:

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life
2. Challenges in planning or solving problems
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
4. Confusion with time or place
5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
6. New problems with words in speaking or writing
7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
8. Decreased or poor judgment
9. Withdrawal from work or social activities
10. Changes in mood and personality

Alzheimer's Disease is the most common form of dementia, but there are other causes, too. It's important to consult with a doctor because some dementia-like symptoms may be treatable - such as drug interactions, thyroid problems, depression, diet, or other causes.

What's "normal" aging?

AARP talks about 6 Types of Normal Memory Lapses - lapses that are not signs of dementia. The article also offers suggestions for how to minimize or counter those pesky so-called senior moments.

Experts say that even if you or a loved one have a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer's, you can lower your risk by exercising, losing weight, eating well, and managing any medical conditions like diabetes and stress. In the article Age-Proof Your Brain, they offer 10 ways to keep your mind fit. Among the suggestions are keeping active and fit, engaging in exercise, including weight-bearing exercises, keeping your mind active, seeking out new skills and challenges, setting goals, and keeping socially active. Diet is also very important - - think "Mediterranean diet." Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and avoiding fats can be very beneficial. See Foods that lower your risk of Dementia.

esi.JPG If you or one of your employees is grappling with issues related to an aging loved one, we can help. ESI Employee Assistance Program can help caregivers find support and resources. To learn more about how ESI EAP can help, give us a call: 800-535-4841.

September 8, 2012

HR links from our files: hiring, motivating people, adapting to change & more

We're cleaning out our bookmark file. Here's a smorgasbord of Human Resources-related articles and tips that we enjoyed and we think you will too!

Why Firms Should Care About the Plight of Un-Free Agents - "For many temps and contractors, contingent work is a last resort rather than a first choice. As a result, they probably enter into work assignments with an engagement deficit."

How to Hire Backwards with Boomerang Employees - "A couple decades ago if an employee voluntarily resigned and left the company they would seldom be given an opportunity to rejoin the organization. They would be considered disloyal by many members of management. Many job counselors would often recommend against rejoining because of the possibility of being the first to be let go in times of cut backs. But today companies have realized that boomerang employees are a good bet."

Tightrope: Looking for gratitude in all the wrong places - a reader asks, "I do all kinds of wonderful things for my employees, but I don't think they appreciate my generosity. In addition to decent pay, I give holiday gift baskets, I often take them to dinner and I always buy meals when we work late. These perks cost money. Is it asking too much to expect them to show me that they appreciate my efforts?"

Put the Carrots Away - What really motivates people at work.

Let Your Employees Know It's OK to Leave - "Want to grow your business? Map out as clear-cut a strategy for employee exits as employee hires. Here's how."

Mentally Ill Often Targets of Violence - "This meta-analysis of 21 studies found an increased prevalence of violence against adults with disabilities, particularly against those with mental illness."

Onsite Health Center Survey 2012 Report - Towers Watson's 2012 survey of employers that have established or are planning to establish onsite health centers provides up-to-the-minute insights on how these centers are perceived and used.

The Worst Types of Resistance to Change That Get in the Way of HR Efforts (and What To Do About Them) - "HR leaders are often responsible for perhaps the single most important component for orchestrating organizational change: overcoming resistance to change."

Employers save big on wellness programs - "Employers betting on wellness programs seem to be making the right call. They’re seeing $1 to $3 decreases in their overall health care costs for every dollar spent, finds a report from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans."

Nurse staffing, burnout linked to hospital infections - "Nurse burnout leads to higher healthcare-associated infection rates (HAIs) and costs hospitals millions of additional dollars annually, according to a study published in the August issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC)."

More Links of Note


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ESI-Logo.jpg When complex employee issues arise, ESI EAP offers member employers direct access to Certified Senior Professionals in Human Resources (SPHR) and senior clinical counselors. If you need an Employee Assistance Program give us a call: 800-535-4841.


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