Robin Paggi Employees are required to work safely. And we’ve got all sorts of safety laws. We have OSHA. In some states, you’ve got your own form of OSHA on top of that. And supervisors need to make sure that employees are working safely, and reporting if anything happens. Now, one of the things that happened yesterday, I started our conversation today by telling you that an employee was sent to me because he said something that he shouldn’t have said at work. And I told the employee, “When you come into our workplace, you must wear a mask. And, so once we get into a situation where we can be at least six feet apart, then we can remove our masks. But coming into the building, you must wear the mask and all of that.” And the employee said, “Well, I’ve been vaccinated.” And I said, “I have, too, but this is our safety protocol and we have to follow our safety protocol, regardless of whether we’ve been vaccinated or not.” So the employee arrived with the mask around his neck. It was not over his face or mouth, as masks are supposed to be worn. And so, I said to him, “I guess I should have been more specific in my instructions.” So sometimes you got to do that. What the employee told me was, “I don’t agree with this.” It doesn’t matter if you agree with it or not. It is our safety protocol and we have to follow our safety protocol. And so that’s one of the things that supervisors sometimes have to really watch with employees is to make sure they’re working safely, even when it’s in their best interest, and to reprimand employees when they don’t. And also, if they do not report accidents or injuries, or other safety problems, then it is important to discipline for, discipline them for that as well. And one of the reasons for that is that sometimes employees don’t want to report those things because they know they’ll be put on light duty if they do report them and they don’t want to be put on light duty. So they continue to work while they’re injured, and then they get even more injured, and then it becomes a big workers’ comp problem. And so, that’s the reason that it’s important if employees do not report accidents, or injuries, or safety problems, that they are held accountable for not doing so.
Robin Paggi So, there are a lot of legal things that go along with supervising employees. What are the ethical things that go along with it? Well, the ethical thing is to make sure when you’re in a supervisory position, that you know what the laws are that pertain to employment, you know what your responsibilities are for ensuring that employees are following policies, that you are following them as well, and that you are turning to HR or other resources when you need help. You can’t have all the answers because there’s just too much information to have all the answers about. And so, when you need help, please turn to your resources so that you make the right decisions for you and for your employer. All right, that’s all the news I’ve got for you. What questions do you have for me?
Emmet Ori Excellent, thanks, Robin. Here’s our first question. What is the interest or penalty if an employer missed paying an employee for one pay period in California? The employee was not terminated.
Robin Paggi In California for not paying the employee on time. I don’t have the specific information for that, I thought you were going for if they missed a meal period, which I do have the answer for. So that’s what I’m going to turn the question into. If an employer misses a meal period for the employee, the penalty is one hour of pay for the employee per day per missed meal period. So, missing an entire paycheck? We do know, I’ll give you the information that I think I have, but defi- nitely look it up and don’t follow this as legal advice. I think that we have the grace period, that if an employer accidentally misses a pay period, that they do have a certain grace period in which they can make it up. And I think that’s called the Safe Harbor Act. So, start there to look that up. But, yeah, definitely do make sure that you do it correctly, because, again, in California, things get very costly very quickly.
Emmet Ore Can a legally blind person apply for a job as a bus driver? A previous employer had this lawsuit.
Robin Paggi Well, I guess the person could apply for the job. One of the things that happens, when a person with a disability applies for a job, or an employee becomes disabled, what the employer has to do is try to accommodate the disability. Now, I’m assuming that a person who is legally blind could not drive a bus. However, where employers often get sued is that they just turn away the applicant without engaging in the interactive process. It’s like the example that I gave with the guy who said he applied for a job as a picker and they only had one arm. And I told him, go away, you can’t do it. That’s where employers get in trouble, is not engaging in the interactive process. And so, what that involves is just look- ing at the essential job duties, looking at the restrictions that the applicant or employee has because of the disability, and seeing if there might be an accommodation. Now, the employer doesn’t have to come up with the accommodation, the applicant or employee has to do that. And the employer does not have to accept whatever accommodation the applicant or employee comes up with. And, but there does need to be this conversation that is documented. And failure to do that is where employers make their biggest mistakes.