lonely office worker

It’s impossible to look at your smart phone, tablet, computer or television without seeing or hearing a story of personal hopelessness, desperation or sadness. Often depression, anxiety and loneliness can be affiliated with winter months, or the stress of the holiday season, or the recent passing of a loved one. But as situations become more complex in our society and the world continues to change, it is very possible that personal feelings of nervousness, sadness or concern may carry over into the workplace. Many states and the federal government provide for leave of absence when an employee is impaired by a qualifying illness, including mental impairment.


Read more

Creating A Plan For Success

Your Success Is Our Goal

Managing employee performance can be one of the most difficult jobs as a supervisor. As an employee, not receiving timely critiques from a supervisor can become frustrating and it may seem that the supervisor is setting the employee up to fail by not clearly outlining expectations. Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs) are a type of coaching method that supervisors can use to provide a written outline to an employee highlighting areas in need of improvement. A common misconception is that a PIP is only a form of discipline, when in actuality it may accompany verbal or written discipline or it can be given to an employee as a part of goal-oriented discussions. For example, a PIP can be a useful tool during succession planning to assist satisfactory performing employees grow to their full potential or to further improve upon existing good work traits.

Providing an employee with a PIP requires a commitment from the supervisor and the employee to see the plan through; this may require the following:


Read more

Service To Our Country And To Your Business

Serviceman and Business

As the year winds down, November is always an eventful month – elections occur, the weather continues to cool down, preparation for Thanksgiving celebration and we celebrate our military veterans. United States service men and women are honored every Veteran’s Day for their contribution to the American dream – to live peacefully, free from oppression while upholding the values of our constitution against foreign and domestic enemies. However, honoring our veterans exceeds just one day. As an employer, it is essential to understand the many laws that protect the employment rights of service men and women to ensure that their time away from work (while on active duty) does not detrimentally effect their return to work. The most notable law concerning military service people and employment is the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act or USERRA. Here are a few highlights regarding the law:


Read more

It’s On the Governor’s Desk

Upcoming Legislation

Since our last update, California Governor Jerry Brown has hundreds of legislative bills to review and sign or veto. Here is information about a few of those bills as referenced on leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.

AB 1209. Gender Pay Gap. This bill would require employers with 500 or more employees in California to collect certain information on gender wage differentials and file that information with the Secretary of State.

AB 1710. Discrimination Against Military Service Members. This bill would change the existing Military and Veterans code to expand upon prohibited discrimination against members or veterans of the U.S. Military with respect to his or her terms, conditions or privileges of employment. Also, review pending SB 266.

Read more

Loss Control is Cost Control

Domino Effect - Risk Management

In the past 20 years risk management consulting has become an enterprise. Talented risk professionals will consult with companies on a variety of safety topics in an attempt to improve processes, policies and to ultimately minimize risk. There is definite value in having an experienced risk professional assessing processes and advising based on his or her education and skill; however, for smaller organizations the “do-it-yourself” method may be more cost effective at the onset of a risk evaluation. There may be free programs and materials available through local agencies that assist with loss control processes to help protect a company’s bottom line, which is to capture and keep revenue.


Read more

Power Lift Equipment – Steps to Promote Safe Operation

Forklift Training

Information from the desk of Norma White, United Staffing Associates’ Director of Health & Safety:

Light and heavy industrial business operations are plagued with the daily presence of hazards. Regular, day-to-day operations, such as use of power tools, heavy machinery, conveyors, power lift equipment and other equipment or devices can be so common, that workers forget the magnitude of risk when operating an inherently dangerous tool or equipment. Power lift equipment or PLE is mechanical equipment that can be battery operated or fueled that typically lifts heavy objects, such as pallets with product, other equipment, etc. The PLE itself can weigh several tons, depending on the model and scope of intended use. For this reason, it is critical that employers ensure that workers are properly trained to operate PLE before first use. There are local, state and federal regulations pertaining to PLE certification. It is important that employers consult with a safety professional to have proper education on the certification requirements, including the frequency of re-training or re-certifying.

Here are a few standard training and/or safety practices, in addition to any local, state or federal regulations, for certifying an operator of power lift equipment:


Read more

High Heat – Protecting Employees from Heat-Related Illness

Workers Sweating

Under the Occupational Safety Health Administration (“OSHA”) law, employers are responsible for providing workplaces free of known safety hazards. This includes protecting workers from extreme heat. An employer with workers exposed to high temperatures should establish a complete heat illness prevention program. The program should outline steps an employer will take to minimize heat illness, such as:


Read more

From the Workplace to the Prison Landscape: Criminal Penalty for Supervisors

Businessman in Prison

Under the rigorous guidelines and oversight of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) (and the state equivalent), employers have long had a roadmap for protecting workers from the many dangers of unsafe work practices and hazardous environments. All employers and employees are accustomed to slogans such as Safety First, Safety is No Accident, Safety is Everyone’s Responsibility and so on. However, the role of supervisors in ensuring a safe work environment far surpasses the gravity of any slogan or catch phrase, especially as it pertains to a supervisor’s direct exposure for personal liability when his or her supervision is found to be criminally negligent.

Read more

Team Building with Sun, Fun and Food

Company Picnic

It’s summertime! The perfect time for a company picnic, trips to the water park, a barbeque at the boss’ house and much more fun. Organized social gatherings for employees can be the perfect events to help strengthen your work team as a unit and they don’t have to break the budget. Take the time this summer to plan activity that is inclusive of your work peers and get a needed break from the office setting. Here are a few activities that are welcoming to all, safe and fun:

Read more

No Negativity Here!

No Negativity - Smile

Have you ever worked in an environment surrounded by pessimistic, negative and unsupportive co-workers? Hopefully not, but if you have there are ways to help make the environment better by doing your part to foster positivity. Many employees rely on self-morals and internal motivators to maneuver through the work environment in a way that gets them through each day. The more negativity that is allowed in to the psyche and environment, it can become more and more difficult to get through the work day. Sure, you can address a negative Nelly directly and ask her to change her mindset when it involves you or shared work, but often that confrontation can lead to conflict, hurt feelings or misunderstandings. So it may be best to start with improving your mindset, peer interactions and the words that come out of your mouth. Self-reflection and introspection is key. Here are a few ways that you can clear out the negativity around you in the work environment:


Read more

Tips to Avoid or Defuse Escalation of Workplace Conflict

Resolving Conflicts

Addressing workplace conflict can be difficult for employees and supervisors as addressing the situation may be uncomfortable. It is best to seek the guidance of an HR professional before engaging in a situation that may escalate further or if questions arise on how to move forward with addressing the situation. Here are some quick tips on how to avoid or defuse escalation of workplace conflict:

Read more

Keeping It Clean

Cleaning Equipment

(information from the desk of Norma White, United Staffing Associate’s Director of Health & Safety)

Sanitation is a necessary part of every food processing and industrial facility. Unfortunately, it is also a job function that is at the highest risk for injuries. Often sanitation duties take place at the end of a work shift, when an employee may be exhausted and in a rush to leave the facility. During this period of time, an employee may not be as mentally sharp as when s/he began the work shift....this is when an accident is likely to occur or an important task is forgotten. For example, while completing sanitation duties, an employee may forget to properly turn off machinery or fail to properly reconfigure machine parts after cleaning them. The latter can lead to unintended consequences for the next shift if the machine malfunctions, which may cause a disruption to production or business.


Read more

Hello | Bonjour | Hola | Hallo

World Languages

We live, work and play in a diverse society that introduces us to many new people and new languages. Familiar to the west coast of the United States are languages such as Armenian, Hindi and Spanish. The diversity of our social population carries over into the workplace and can present challenges for employers and employees when a communication barrier occurs or a misunderstanding based on a lack of complete translation of thought (based on language differences). Diversity training which focuses on inclusion and understanding and promoting cultural difference is essential to a well-functioning work team. Equally as important is understanding or acknowledging how language impacts the work environment.


Read more

Blog Service Announcement: Not everyone celebrates Valentine’s Day!

Valentines Day?

It’s obvious that not everyone celebrates Valentine’s Day - An individual may not be in a romantic relationship with a significant other. It’s also common for couples to avoid the hype of Valentine’s Day given its commercial value that sucks up time and money and doesn’t place actual value on the foundation of building a strong and successful relationship.


Read more

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Various Footwear

The California landscape allows for employees to work in a variety of industries and professions that each come with a standard of dress that usually requires footwear. Professional and administrative jobs typically require that employees wear business or business-casual attire that includes dress shoes. While more relaxed occupations, such as retail clerks, amusement park operators and others, allow for casual attire or sportswear, which includes tennis shoes or sandals. Regardless of the type of footwear, it is important that employers and employees recognize that one of the most frequent industrial injuries are slips, trips and falls. Based on that frequency a predominantly affected body part is the upper extremities (typically associated with attempting to “break the fall”). The type of shoe worn at work may have a direct correlation with increasing or minimizing instances of slips, trips and falls.


Read more

It’s Complicated!

Complicated Flowchart

Workplace dynamics can be complicated. Think about it for a moment– people come in to their place of work 5 to 6 days out of the week for 8 to 12 hours each day and are thrust amongst other people who have different religious beliefs, different personalities, different family structures, different ideas, different cultures and so on. Based on these differences, it may be a mystery how most workplaces function with minimal to no disruption based on employee to employee discord. Or is it? The reason this should not be a mystery is because most individuals, as basic human beings, understand that we are to meet each other with mutual dignity and respect. That respect should cross over, if not tolerate, individual differences at least while at work.


Read more

Another Year, Another Resolution

New Year Resolutions

A new year, a new resolution! Will you keep it?

Making a resolution has been around since the early eras of the world....starting with the Babylonians and Romans as religious commitments. In modern times, resolutions take on the form of personal commitments to go to the gym more, be kinder to one another, take the trip of a lifetime and other desires. Why not make a resolution having to do with career or a current job? It seems appropriate that such a significant facet of life, like employment, be a part of usual resolution thought. Here are a few career/work-related resolutions that may be right for you this year:


Read more

It’s All In The Name

 Hello Name Tag

Harassment and discrimination policies are standard in most business settings to ensure that employers and employees are aware of what constitutes harassment and discrimination and how to prevent such situations from occurring. It is customary for most people to equate harassment to only circumstances that are of a sexual nature; however, harassment takes on many forms, most of which have nothing to do with sex or sexually-explicit actions or language. Harassment may take on the form of other abusive conduct that may be perceived as hostile or malicious. When this type of conduct is targeted at a person who may qualify in a protected group, based on race, gender, religion, etc., it can also constitute unlawful discrimination if the conduct results in an adverse action against the protected person.

Read more