A Little Valentine’s Humor

office-intranet-love-messages

Quick reminder of how sexual discrimination laws work in the workplace:

Person-A sends Person-B an email that they find amusing. Person B laughs for 15 minutes and then forwards the email to Person-C; if Person-C finds the email offensive, Person-C can then file a claim against Person-A.

Tips for Dealing with Valentine’s Day at the Office

Although Valentine’s Day doesn’t fall during the Monday-Friday work week this year, here are some good reminder tips for dealing with Valentine’s Day at the Office:

candy hearts

The following article is an excellent answer to the question: Can I Give Coworkers Valentine Cards and Gifts? To read the article in its original form, click here.

The Office Is Not A School Room

As school children most of us looked forward to swapping Valentines with classmates. We all did it, working diligently from lists of classmates so no one was forgotten and it was safe to give your secret crush a Valentine’s Day card without letting the secret out of the bag. But the office is not a classroom and the rules for Valentine’s Day at work are very different.

Why Giving Valentine Cards Is Not A Great Idea

Even if you plan on passing out seemingly benign, cute little cards to everyone at the office, unless you work in a year-round casual work environment, it could hurt your reputation. Your attempt to be thoughtful could be seen as being “cutesy” and unprofessional. At work, you want people to take you and your work seriously.

Even simple cards intended for school age children are not appropriate for the workplace. If you want to do something nice for co-workers bring in a big box of candy and place it in an open area for all to enjoy. But … skip those candy hearts with suggestive words and messages!

Valentine’s Day – A Prime Opportunity to Break Sexual Harassment Laws

You might think adult or sexy cards are funny, but they should never be given to anyone – male or female at the office. Any card the depicts, suggests, or alludes to a sexual or romantic act could be considered sexual harassment.

If you are particularly close friends with a co-worker and you want to share a card, do it after work hours and off premises. Even then, be careful. If your card can be considered a come on — even outside the office place — it could come back to haunt you.

too many valentinesDo Not Give Valentines Cards Or Gifts To Subordinate Employees or Your Boss

Do not give cards or gifts commemorating the day to people who work for you or above you – they could get the wrong message.

Because the very nature of the holiday is intended as a day to remind people you love them, or have “romantic” feelings towards them, it is easy for a recipient to misunderstand your intentions.

If you want to do something nice for your employees, take them out to lunch – as a group. If you single anyone out for a gift, card, or even lunch, or only take male or female workers, it could appear to others as sexual harassment or gender discrimination.

Do Not Send Valentine’s Day Emails

Your employer does not pay you to use company time and email to send personal emails. But more important, if you send an email to a coworker, they can forward it on too easily to other people. The way sexual discrimination laws work even if you person you sent it to thought it was funny, anyone else who saw it in the work place (i.e., the message was forwarded to) that is offended, could file a complaint against you.

Getting Flowers and Gifts At Work

Loved ones may send flowers or candy to your workplace. Some employers may not have a problem with this, but others might. It ties up staff who have to sign for or deliver the gifts, and it can be upsetting or distracting to employees who may have lost a loved one, or simply do not have a steady at the moment.

If you do get gifts or flowers at work, be discrete and sensitive to others around you. Do not make a big show of things and take the flowers home with you when you leave for the day.

Remember, Valentine’s Day was a holiday created by the greeting card companies as an opportunity to increase card sales, but most people see Valentine’s Day as a day set aside for lovers. And, attempting to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the office could be seen as a violation of discrimination laws.

If you have ANY other questions about Sexual Harassment or proper conduct in the workplace, call HR Strategies today! 770.339.0000

Tax Payer Bill of Rights

tax question mark

It’s tax season and as many American individuals are busy filing their Tax Returns, some may need to contact the IRS with questions, and for help. Did you know there was such thing as a Taxpayer Bill of Rights?

Every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights. You should be aware of these rights when you interact with the Internal Revenue Service.

The “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” takes the many existing rights in the tax code and groups them into 10 broad categories. That makes them easier to find and to understand.

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights includes the following:

  1. The Right to Be Informed.
    Taxpayers have the right to know what they need to do to comply with the tax laws. They are entitled to clear explanations of the laws and IRS procedures in all tax forms, instructions, publications, notices and correspondence. They have the right to be informed of IRS decisions about their tax accounts and to receive clear explanations of the outcomes.
  2. The Right to Quality Service.
    Taxpayers have the right to receive prompt, courteous, and professional assistance in their dealings with the IRS, to be spoken to in a way they can easily understand, to receive clear and easily understandable communications from the IRS and to speak to a supervisor about inadequate service.
  3. The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax.
    Taxpayers have the right to pay only the amount of tax legally due, including interest and penalties, and to have the IRS apply all tax payments properly.
  4. The Right to Challenge the IRS’s Position and Be Heard.
    Taxpayers have the right to raise objections and provide additional documentation in response to formal IRS actions or proposed actions, to expect that the IRS will consider their timely objections and documentation promptly and fairly, and to receive a response if the IRS does not agree with their position.
  5. The Right to Appeal an IRS Decision in an Independent Forum.
    Taxpayers are entitled to a fair and impartial administrative appeal of most IRS decisions, including many penalties, and have the right to receive a written response regarding the Office of Appeals’ decision. Taxpayers generally have the right to take their cases to court.
  6. The Right to Finality.
    Taxpayers have the right to know the maximum amount of time they have to challenge the IRS’s position as well as the maximum amount of time the IRS has to audit a particular tax year or collect a tax debt. Taxpayers have the right to know when the IRS has finished an audit.
  7. The Right to Privacy.
    Taxpayers have the right to expect that any IRS inquiry, examination, or enforcement action will comply with the law and be no more intrusive than necessary, and will respect all due process rights, including search and seizure protections, and will provide, where applicable, a collection due process hearing.
  8. The Right to Confidentiality.
    Taxpayers have the right to expect that any information they provide to the IRS will not be disclosed unless authorized by the taxpayer or by law. Taxpayers have the right to expect appropriate action will be taken against employees, return preparers, and others who wrongfully use or disclose taxpayer return information.
  9. The Right to Retain Representation.
    Taxpayers have the right to retain an authorized representative of their choice to represent them in their dealings with the IRS. Taxpayers have the right to seek assistance from a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic if they cannot afford representation.
  10. The Right to a Fair and Just Tax System.
    Taxpayers have the right to expect the tax system to consider facts and circumstances that might affect their underlying liabilities, ability to pay, or ability to provide information timely. Taxpayers have the right to receive assistance from the Taxpayer Advocate Service if they are experiencing financial difficulty or if the IRS has not resolved their tax issues properly and timely through its normal channels.

 

February is American Heart Month!

Here is an “HR Appropriate” way to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the workplace! Raise awareness for heart health, get it? Sponsor a heart healthy event, plan a potluck of heart healthy food, or post heart healthy tips around the office.

doctor heart appreciation

According to the CDC:

  • About 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. More than half of the deaths due to heart disease in 2009 were in men.
  • Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing more than 385,000 people annually.
  • Every year about 935,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these, 610,000 are a first heart attack. 325,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack.
  • Coronary heart disease alone costs the United States $108.9 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.

Know Your Risk Factors:

  • High blood pressure
  • High LDL cholesterol
  • Smoking

(About half of Americans (49%) have at least one of these three risk factors!)

High Risk Medical Conditions & Lifestyle Choices:

  • Diabetes
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Poor diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Excessive alcohol use

What Can We Do?

Lowering you blood pressure and cholesterol will reduce your risk of dying of heart disease. Here are some tips to protect your heart:

  • Follow your doctor’s instructions and stay on your medications.
  • Eat a healthy diet that is low in salt; low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol; and rich in fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Take a brisk 10-minute walk, 3 times a day, 5 days a week.
  • Don’t smoke. If you smoke, quit as soon as possible.

HR StrategiesEAP Consultants can help with smoking cessation and heart health! Call us today to learn more! 770.339.0000

 

Valentine’s Day Perks!

Looking for something fun to do for Valentine’s Day? When was the last time you took a look at our Perks Program page? We have all of the most exciting vendors in Atlanta! Check it out today to see all of the savings and discounts available to HR Strategies clients.

Perks Program Information!

Perks Program!

To gain access to these great discounts, contact our HR Strategies Perks Program representative by calling 770-339-0000 and asking about Perks. We will send you information on how to access the Perks Program from our website!

Groundhog Day

According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then spring will come early; if it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, and the winter weather will persist for six more weeks.

groundhog-day-2014

The most famous of groundhogs to be such a “weather forecaster” is Punxsutawney Phil; however, here in Georgia many of us look to General Beauregard Lee, the famous groundhog who resides at Yellow River Game Ranch in Lilburn, Georgia, to give the prediction of when spring will come to the South.

Groundhog Day is a tradition that inspired a motion picture, named after the holiday and starring Bill Murray, in 1993. The movies main character Phil, continues to live the same day (February 2nd) over and over, until he gets the events of the day right. Often times, work can feel like “Groundhog Day”, if you are continuously repetitive in your actions, motions, and interactions. Maybe you are finding yourself going through the motions, rather than forging ahead and getting things right to be able to end the repetitiveness.

Whether or not the Groundhog saw his shadow today, why not be reminded today to forge ahead, do the best you can/what is right, and maybe even to shake things up?

As a business owner, do you need help forging ahead when it comes to HR policies and payroll? Maybe it’s time to shake things up in your company, and free up your time by using our services.

Call us today at 770-339-0000

It’s Not Too Late: New Year’s Resolutions for Your Business

Yes, so January 1st has already passed, but it’s never too late to make a resolution for positive change.

resolutions new revamp post it

So often we begin the New Year making a list of personal resolutions to better ourselves or our circumstances. What about our businesses? Why not resolve to better them and their circumstances? After all they are our livelihood; the very entity that allows us the opportunity to then better ourselves. It’s easy to look at the obvious personal resolutions: exercise, diet, etc. Resolutions for a business may be a bit harder to think of; how about resolving to one or more of the following? After all, even one positive resolution is sure to bring on further positive change.

  1. Review 2015

Look at the past year. What worked? What didn’t? Where did you gain the most profit? Where did you lose the most? Resolve to look at what does and doesn’t work in your line of business, and to learn from it.

  1. Set Goals & Strategize

Resolve to set aside time daily, or at least weekly, to review where your business is at and where you want it to be. Then make a plan to get it there! Reviewing throughout the year will allow you to change course as needed, and by utilizing weekly business planning sessions you can continually keep on track with your goals.

  1. Make Sure Your House is in Order

Resolve to be organized from the start with your books and taxes. Keeping your finances in order from the start, including your taxes, bills, and payroll, will help you to avoid the stress of facing an audit unprepared. In addition, go ahead and replace any equipment or necessary supplies that are in disrepair and making productivity harder.

  1. Invest In & Reward Your Employees

You hire the best, most talented employees in order to grow your business. Now resolve to keep them motivated and morale high by investing in and rewarding them. Offer training to continue their growth within your company. Remember to reward good work and to identify them for going above and beyond. Use positive constructive motivation and your results will be ten-fold.

  1. Forge New Partnerships / Networks

Resolve to join a networking or business organization to forge new partnerships and networks. These can be of immeasurable value to your company. Through new contacts you may spark new business ideas, or gain referrals.

  1. Market

Resolve to promote your business regularly and consistently in a variety of ways. Not sure about social media? 2016 is the time to really give it a shot, as it is becoming more and more important in both marketing and research. Also, don’t forget about reaching out to the customers you already have, they can be of great service in referrals and testimonials to use. And lastly don’t forget to keep your website up to date and appealing!

  1. Consult & Serve Your Customers Well

Take the time to listen to your customers. Their insight can really help you identify what you are doing right, and what you need to improve on. Resolve to really take into account their comments and recommendations and to implement change from them.

  1. Delegate

Handing over tasks and relinquishing control can be one of the hardest things to do. However, it can also be just the thing to help spur growth in your company. If you are always consumed with the administrative tasks of payroll, benefits, etc., you are not focusing on bringing in revenue. Why not resolve to hand over some of the burdensome administrative tasks to HR Strategies and focus on why you really went into business?

  1. Schedule YOU Time

Business can be consuming. As the “boss” you must make sure that you find time to schedule in your own down time. After all, who else is going to do it? Not leaving time for you away from the office and running the business is asking for burn-out, and disaster. Resolve to give yourself that pat on the back and some time away for the great job you’re doing. In doing so, you will be more motivated and inspired.

  1. Give Back

Make a difference in your community. Remember that those who give also receive. Take the time to find an organization to help, someone to mentor, serve on a committee, or volunteer. By growing goodwill you will also be growing a name for your business. So make a resolution to find a cause in your community that matters to you, and start making a difference.

HR Strategies enables businesses to reclaim time, stabilize and reduce labor costs, increase employee productivity, and improve morale while increasing employee retention. HR Strategies is dedicated to the success of our clients by providing the latest and best industry resources available as well as constant access to customer support. Want to learn more on how you can obtain the freedom to pursue your passions and focus on your core business? Call us today at 770-339-0000, or visit us at http://www.hr-strategies.com .

%d bloggers like this: