by Chris Cooley / co-founder, MyHRConcierge and SMB Benefits Advisors
Employee and compliance issues are common for grocers, therefore reducing risk and avoiding problems are major priorities.
One way an employer can reduce liability risks is to ensure supervisors and workers have the knowledge and tools necessary to comply with all applicable employment-related laws. This can be achieved by providing employees with regular training on what they are expected and obligated to do in certain workplace situations.
Supervisor training programs should be tailored to each company’s specific needs and workplace culture. However, certain key compliance topics can be helpful in the grocery industry for avoiding employee disputes and government investigations or penalties.
A robust learning management system can provide training about key compliance topics such as workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, wage and hour training and, more recently, topics related to COVID-19. In this article, we will break down some of these.
Workplace discrimination and harassment
A growing number of state and local laws require employers to provide sexual harassment prevention training to all employees.
Even where no such obligation applies, employers should ensure their employees are well-versed in how to recognize and appropriately respond to any type of unlawful conduct in the workplace.
Employee leave and reasonable accommodation
As many supervisors know, employees who request time off work do not always specify that they could have a right to the time off under an applicable law, such as the federal Family and Medical Leave Act or a similar state leave policy. Nevertheless, supervisors who receive employee requests for time off must ensure they meet all obligations that apply under these laws.
Likewise, supervisors must be able to recognize and respond appropriately when a request for time off is one that must be considered as a “reasonable accommodation” for disability under either the federal Americans with Disabilities Act or a similar state law.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the latest Families First Coronavirus Response Act was born. It is important to understand the limits and new rules surrounding this. Working with a reputable HR expert on a COVID-19 specific issues is a safe way to do so because the pandemic has been a fluid and ever-changing situation.
When it comes to resolving employment-related disputes, detailed documentation can make all the difference for an employer.
For example, records showing an employee’s poor performance, attendance issues, behavioral problems, disputes with other employees or other indiscretions can serve as an employer’s proof that any adverse employment action or termination was not because of illegal discrimination, but rather due to legitimate employment issues that documentation reveals.
When communication styles clash, simple workplace messages can unnecessarily explode into full-blown legal headaches for an employer.
For this reason, employers should consider training supervisors on how to properly communicate with employees to ensure they keep employees engaged.
Learning management training should not be a “one and done” operation. Staying on top of training can help employers avoid compliance mistakes.
The more information thrown at employees, the more difficult it is for them to retain it. Therefore, employers should consider breaking up training sessions over time and using a variety of teaching methods.
A trackable system can also help ensure employees complete training. A trusted learning management system can allow various e-learning options for a broad array of topics.
Be sure the system has also been updated with current training in regard to the COVID-19 crisis and the regulations surrounding it.