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

HR in summer: sun, fun and workplace headaches

| Print |  Email
Archives - May 2007
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

Shipping News

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY JENNIFER MARGULIS

In 2012 The Dalles, a city of some 14,400 located 75 miles east of Portland and often seen as the poor cousin to adjacent Hood River, completed a massive project to revitalize its dock.


Read more...

Constant Contact

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

To prevent burnout, companies are banning email and after-hours communications. But is the 24-hour workday here to stay?


Read more...

100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon [VIDEO]

News
Thursday, October 02, 2014

Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 11.17.21 AMMore than 5,500 employees from 180 organizations throughout the state participated in the 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon project.


Read more...

College Hacker

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY KLINT FINLEY

Treehouse CEO Ryan Carson builds a 21st-century trade school.


Read more...

Podcast: Turn Things Around with David Marquet

Contributed Blogs
Friday, October 17, 2014
davidmarquet thumbBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

How can you move from a command-and-control leadership model to one of true empowerment and accountability? David Marquet did, and he took notes along the way.


Read more...

College Conundrum

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

University and college tuition fees have been rising for more than a decade, while state funds for higher education have steadily declined.


Read more...

A Good Leap Forward

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Agriculture businesses ramp up to meet international demand as workforce and succession challenges loom.


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