Home Archives May 2007 HR in summer: sun, fun and workplace headaches

HR in summer: sun, fun and workplace headaches

| Print |  Email
Tuesday, May 01, 2007

FlipFlops.jpg

While our daily weather is not always an indicator, summer is just around the corner. It’s this season that can cause employers some of their greatest challenges.

People want to take time off during the next few months, but for some organizations, the summer months are busy, which makes letting employees go on vacation very difficult.

Finding the right balance between granting vacation time to employees anxious to play in the sunshine while meeting the organization’s needs is often tricky.

Work attire is another summertime headache. Employees, reveling in the warmer weather, find business-casual dress codes restrictive. Employers struggle with questions about bare legs, shorts, sleeveless T-shirts, midriff displays, and flip-flops.

How much skin showing is allowed?  Can men work without a shirt? Are sheer tops appropriate? Are cropped pants acceptable? Can employers have one standard for the office and a separate one for the plant? (The answer to this last one is “yes.”) According to Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder.com, the worst work apparel mistakes during summer months are: denim shorts, short skirts, revealing tops, flip-flops, workout attire, beach wear and concert T-shirts or shirts with offensive slogans or logos.

Then there are the temperature fluctuations and how to address them. What if someone is too cold and others are complaining of the heat? There seems to be no perfect air-conditioning setting.

That situation is far easier to resolve, however, than those in which employees are subjected to much higher heat levels because of their work. Employees in bakeries, foundries, maintenance shops or on construction sites or road crews can be in harm’s way just doing their job during the summer months.

Employers must be proactive about preventive measures to ensure that heat stroke, fainting and heat rashes are avoided. OSHA (www.osha.gov/STLC/heatstress/index.html) provides a wide variety of tips and materials that can be helpful to employers in planning how to respond to the summer heat when it arrives.

Summer activities are also an employer’s concern. Is the organization going to sponsor an employee baseball or softball team? How will injuries that occur be handled? Without a specific waiver, are they likely to fall under workers’ compensation? Will there be a company picnic? How will any injuries resulting from the water balloon toss or the extended stretch by a usually sedentary employee for that errant volleyball be handled? Will alcohol be served or allowed?

The potential for em-ployer liability for accidents or incidents, both at the picnic and on the drive home, associated with any provided or allowed alcohol can be a major concern.

Summer is supposed to be a fun time, the time when everyone’s spirits are a little lighter and more upbeat. But for employers, the season presents a whole set of issues.

Being thoughtful about what concerns exist, determining how best to protect the business, and being clear with employees about what is and isn’t acceptable in advance will go a long way to ensuring that everyone can enjoy the warmth and opportunities that come with the pleasant weather.

— Judy Clark, SPHR
CEO, HR Answers
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

Two Sides of the Coin

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
22 twosidesBY JASON NORRIS

Historically, when the leaves fall, so do the markets. This year, earnings, Europe, energy and Ebola have in common? Beyond alliteration, they are four factors that the investors are pointing to for this year’s seasonal volatility.


Read more...

The 100 Best Companies survey is open

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1How does your workplace stack up against competitors? How can you improve workplace practices to help recruit and retain employees? Find out by taking our 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon survey!


Read more...

Powerlist: Law Firms

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with leading partners at law firms in Portland and eastern Oregon, followed by October's powerlist.


Read more...

OB Poll: Wineries and groceries

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

24-winethumbA majority of respondents agreed: Local vineyards should remain Oregon-owned and quality is the most important factor when determining where to eat or buy groceries.


Read more...

Launch

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

October's Launch article features Soul Kitchen, Easy Company and Slick's Big Time BBQ.


Read more...

Fast Food Slows Down

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

The ubiquitous fast-food restaurant may be on the decline.


Read more...

What I'm Reading

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kim Ierian, President of Concorde Career Colleges, and Deborah Edward, Executive Director of Business for Culture & the Arts, share their recent reads.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS