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Human Resources
Human Resources

Whether you agree with Justice Scalia that the Supreme Court’s Defense of Marriage Act decision was “legalistic argle-bargle” or you agree with Justice Ginsberg that DOMA had to go, there’s one thing we can all agree on: DOMA’s demise at the hands of the Supreme Court means those of us who manage employees must work through our own legalistic argle-bargle now.

In June, when the Supreme Court struck DOMA as unconstitutional for violating the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection, it had immediate impacts on the workplace. As a business owner, manager, supervisor or human resource professional, you need to be ready to make necessary changes and to answer your employees’ questions. read more »

 
Cover Story

A California-based composites manufacturer will soon move into this building the company bought in the Port Orchard Industrial Park.The effort to draw more aerospace-related companies to Kitsap County is getting a significant boost. An established composites manufacturer has decided to relocate its operations from Southern California to the Port Orchard Industrial Park.

And who gets credit for recruiting Omohondro Co. to Kitsap?

Omohondro Co. read more »

 

Business Examiner

The Seattle-Tacoma metro area is among the list of the strongest labor markets for jobseekers, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine, a monthly data series tracking U.S. labor demand by geography and occupational category.

With 1.24 unemployed workers for each online job opening, the region fell just behind San Jose, which was the strongest market with a 1.22 labor supply-to-demand ratio.

Other market leaders were Minneapolis-St. Paul, Oklahoma City, San Francisco, Boston, and Austin, Texas, with ratios ranging from 1.25 to 1.48, respectively. read more »

 
Opinions

A significant and far-reaching economic development — “development” — occurred in Kitsap on July 15 at the North Kitsap campus of Olympic College in Poulsbo. On that day, in front of community leaders and citizens, David Mitchell, president of Olympic College, and Bruce Shepard, president of Western Washington University, announced a new partnership that will make it possible for students at the OC Poulsbo campus to earn a bachelor’s degree in business from WWU.

When it comes to higher education, access, plus affordability, plus market-affirmed accreditation equates to success. I believe this OC/WWU collaboration will lead to much success for the collaborating institutions, for the communities served, and most importantly for the students educated and the employers whose teams they join. read more »

 

An investigation by the Inspector General of the Department of Energy (DOE) found that managers at Bonneville Power Administration violated federal regulations establishing veterans’ preferences in hiring, and the BPA’s two top officials have reportedly been ousted.

A DOE report issued July 16 also said that Bonneville officials may have taken retaliatory disciplinary action against employees who participated in the IG investigation conducted earlier this year. The DOE’s deputy secretary ordered a suspension of all disciplinary proceedings pending completion of an inquiry, and reinstatement of any employees who had been placed on administrative leave after they may have raised concerns about questionable personnel practices at BPA.

The Washington Post reported that BPA administrator Bill Drummond, who was appointed in February, and chief operating officer Anita Decker were escorted out of their offices Monday. read more »

 

The City of Bainbridge Island has scheduled a public forum on July 15 to receive input related to the search for a new public works director. The city engaged the firm Strategic Government Resources (SGR) to lead in this search, and SGR will facilitate the forum to allow citizens to share their thoughts and feedback on what qualifications and attributes are desired in the next public works director.

The forum will be held in the Council Chamber from 6-8 p.m.

“As with the police chief search, I believe it is vital that SGR hear directly from island residents about the qualifications and characteristics desired in potential candidates,” said City Manager Doug Schulze. “The consultants will then use this input when developing the public works director position profile.” read more »

 
Human Resources

In May, Washington became the fifth state in the country to enact legislation restricting employers’ ability to ask employees or job seekers for their social media passwords. While you might think this is a non-issue for you and your business, this law is worth taking the time to understand. The day may well come that you, or someone else in your company, crosses this line.

Here are some examples of instances when an employer might have the desire or interest in an employee’s or applicant’s social media activities:

  • Your business is a fitness gym, and you are hiring for the front desk. It’s important to you that the person hired lives a healthy lifestyle, so you’d like to review their presence on social media to ensure that their evening and weekend activities are not filled with drinking, smoking and drugs, which would reflect poorly on your business.
  • Before hiring someone, you’d like to see what comments they’ve made about their previous employers and bosses to determine if they’d fit well in your business. You might like to know if they are respectful, and if they treated their employers’ information with appropriate confidence.
  • An employee comes to you with a complaint against a co-worker. They claim that the employee is making racially motivated comments about them on their Facebook page. You need to conduct a harassment investigation, and as part of it, you must view the employee’s social media sites.

The new law in Washington goes into effect on July 28. Under the new law, how might you handle these types of situations? read more »

 

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) offers solutions to help injured workers recover while controlling workers’ comp costs for employers:

  • Create and support light-duty jobs.
  • Encourage injured workers to file a report of accident online.

Both these return-to-work, best-practice strategies help keep an injured employee connected to the workplace as part of the recovery process. These practices not only benefit the worker, but help the business manage workers’ comp costs.

Stay at Work reimburses qualified employers for half the injured worker’s base wages when given a light-duty or transitional job during recovery. read more »

 
Human Resources

Summer will soon be upon us. Young people have already started their pursuit of a coveted summer work experience to build their resumes and their bank accounts. And we are already hearing from businesses that are thinking of handling projects and overflow work by hiring an unpaid intern. After all, the businesses are already shorthanded, work is picking up, they’ll be able to give someone much-needed work experience, and they’ll get some free labor! It’s a win/win, right? Or is it?

The practice of hiring unpaid interns has made the news regularly in the last couple years. While it’s been a standard practice in some industries, such as publishing, fashion and entertainment, recent lawsuits have shed a bright legal light on it. There are several pending lawsuits by unpaid interns, some that represent many people in class-action suits. read more »

 
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