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Tennessee Extends Anti-Bullying Laws to Private Workplaces – What it Means for Small Businesses

by Andrew GivensDecember 3, 2019 8:00 AM

If you think bullying only affects children, guess again. According to a 2019 Monster.com survey, a whopping 94 percent of people said they were bullied in a workplace at some point. This trend has grown to the point where now states like Tennessee are implementing new statutes to combat the issue. Find out how Tennessee plans to tackle workplace bullying and what what you can do to protect your business.

An employee being bullied at work. 

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Risk Management

How to Fire an Employee: What to Do Before, During, and After Termination

by Tim AustinNovember 7, 2019 8:00 AM

Employees play a massive part in the success of your company. Of course, this also means that a bad employee can also lead to potential inefficiencies and other issues. 

Firing an employee is a difficult reality of running a business. While the situation is unpleasant for everyone involved, there are right and wrong ways to go about the termination process. In fact, there are several steps you need to take before, during, and after you fire an employee. Here’s what you need to know to take the right route during the termination process.

An employee gathering items after being fired by a small business owner. 

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Human Resources

Florida Bans Vaping in the Workplace: What it Means for Business Owners

by Tim AustinSeptember 30, 2019 8:00 AM

Back in 2018, Florida voted to ban vaping in enclosed workplaces. The new law went into effect in July of 2019, but Florida isn’t alone in its ban on vaping in the workplace. Several other states, including California, New Jersey, and New York, all prohibit the practice in any place where smoking is not permitted, while other states have bans for specific settings, such as in enclosed workspaces or schools.

As more states take action to prevent vaping in workplaces, it’s a good time for business owners both in Florida and outside the state to figure out what they need to do to prepare their company from past and future legislation.

An employee vaping in the office before Florida’s ban on vaping in the workplace. 

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Risk Management

Dos and Don’ts for OSHA Inspections

by Tim AustinAugust 12, 2019 8:00 AM

Are you prepared for an OSHA inspector to arrive at your door? OSHA performed roughly 72,000 federal and state plan inspections in 2018 alone and all it takes to earn an unexpected visit from an inspector is a complaint from an employee or operating in a high-hazard industry.

Nobody plans to have an OSHA inspection occur at their place of business, but it’s important to act accordingly if it does. Here’s what you should and shouldn’t do before, during, and after an OSHA inspection to protect your business.

An OSHA inspector reviewing the worksite of a small business. 

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Risk Management

What Georgia Business Owners Need to Know About Employee Leave

by Drew BlesseJuly 29, 2019 9:52 AM

As a small business owner, a day off from work can be hard to come by. Nevertheless, come election day, flu season, or travel season, your employees will need a resource to turn to in order to know whether or not they have to show up for work. It’s important to include an employee leave policy in your employee handbook, so your employees understand the rules and expectations about the amount of time they’re allowed to be away from work. 

“There are so many different types of employee leave, and each bucket may require its own policies in the company handbook,” says Beth Milito, senior executive counsel at the National Federation of Independent Business’s (NFIB) Legal Center

When crafting employee leave policies, you should first check the employee leave laws in your state. Employee leave laws govern whether an employer must allow employees to take time off―either paid or unpaid―under a different number of circumstances, such as vacations, sick days, holidays, bereavement, and jury duty. Leave laws also address whether an employer must pay accrued leave to employees upon separation from employment.

 Vacation employee leave.

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Michigan Legalizes Recreational Marijuana: What it Means for Small Business Owners

by Philip GarbaczMarch 5, 2019 8:00 AM

The last election cycle may have added to the number of states with legalized marijuana, but is your business ready for it? Michigan became the 10th state to legalize recreational marijuana this past midterm election, ushering in the creation of the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (MRTMA). As more states adopt these measures, it’s a good time to consider how legal marijuana affects your business and what you can do to protect yourself.

A small business owner and an employee reviewing marijuana policies in the employee handbook. 

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Human Resources

6 Hurricane Preparation Tips for Small Business Owners

by Tony LongNovember 16, 2018 9:42 AM

As a small business owner, it’s important to try to prepare for anything—even Mother Nature. In Florida, that means doing what you can to make sure your business and your employees are as ready as possible for hurricanes, named storms, and other events that can cause serious problems. 

Hurricane season is a stressful time that requires plenty of preparation and employee management to help weather any issues. Here are some tips that you can use to help you and your employees navigate any potential problems before, during, and after a storm.

A hurricane approaching Florida, causing small business owners to prepare for the storm. 

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Risk Management

Handbook Updates You May Need to Make in 2018

by Tim AustinFebruary 14, 2018 8:00 AM

A new year brings new opportunities. Unfortunately, it also ushers in big changes that can leave businesses scrambling. Recent changes to legislature or ongoing trends can leave your company open to legal problems if you don’t take appropriate action. A good employee handbook can be a key tool to make sure that your business is  prepared for 2018. 

An outdated handbook is a serious problem for any business. It’s important to make sure that your handbook evolves as new laws go into effect. Here are five parts of your handbook that you should update in 2018.

Image of a small business owner making handbook updates in 2018.

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Risk Management

The Dangers of an Outdated Handbook

by Tim AustinMay 2, 2017 8:00 AM

Employees handbooks are more than just a stack of papers you hand to new hires. An employee handbook can be key part of informing your workers about several items, including:

  • Company philosophy
  • Conditions of employment
  • Company policies and procedures
  • Compensation and benefits

Handbooks are great at introducing a new hire to your business, but it’s not the only role it plays. A handbook also serves as an important compliance document that shares the rights and obligations for both employees and their employers. Including certain criteria about these legal obligations and having your employees sign off that they received a copy of the handbook, can help protect your business in case there’s ever a labor dispute.

Of course, things change. Your company can grow, opening you up to new legal requirements. Legislative changes can affect several of your policies. Over time, you’ll need to update your handbook to address these changes if you want to avoid any potential issues. 

Image of an update employee handbook.

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Risk Management

Are You Ready to be Unionized?

by Andrew SzczesniakMay 28, 2015 8:00 AM

Back in January, I wrote a blog post called “Are You a Union Shop? Are You Prepared to Be?” In it, I talked about how an NLRB ruling split 3-2 along party lines was making it easier for unions to unionize a place of employment.

A PEO like GMS can help your company by creating an employee handbook.

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Human Resources

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