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The Importance of Respect in the Workplace

The year 2020 has been unlike any other. COVID-19 concerns, coupled with current social, economic, and political climates have led to tense conversations and sometimes disrespectful workplace interactions. Political views and opinions on social justice have been especially divisive. We all deserve to be treated with kindness and respect, and could benefit from more respect and civility in the workplace. Studies have shown that rudeness and disrespect in the workplace can drastically diminish you...

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What does the OSHA ETS mean for your business?

  What does the OSHA ETS mean for your business? On November 5, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring all private employers with 100 or more employees to implement either requirement that employees be vaccinated against Covid-19 or be subject to weekly testing and wear of a face covering. The ETS does not cover employers already subject to other federal vaccine mandates such as Federal Contractors/Subcontractors...

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Unemployment Fraud Is On The Rise

Unemployment fraud is a growing issue for many employers in Texas. A form of identity theft, unemployment fraud occurs when an individual knowingly collects unemployment benefits using a social security number or other private information that does not belong to them. If you or your business become the victim of fraudulent unemployment benefits claims, there are several steps you can take to dispute the claim. In order to file an unemployment benefits claim, a social security number is needed. T...

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COVID-19 Vaccine Best Practices At Work

The COVID-19 vaccine is a hot topic in the news right now, both inside and outside of the office. As an employer, there are many factors to consider when deciding if and how to incorporate the vaccine at your business. Before making a decision, we encourage you to read our answers to some frequently asked questions we have received regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.Q: What Are Some Factors To Consider Before Mandating The COVID-19 Vaccine At My Company?A: The first thing to do is figure out the rat...

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NEWS: New Sexual Harassment Laws Now In Effect & EEO-1 Filing Deadline Extension

New Sexual Harassment Laws Went Into Effect September 1Governor Greg Abbott signed two new bills in August, SB 45 and HB 21, which broaden protections for Texas employees who file sexual harassment claims. Both laws went into effect on Wednesday, September 1. Employers should take heed of the impact these new laws will have on their businesses. The most important highlights include: The timing of the allegation. While previous language stated that “prompt” attention should be taken by an employe...

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Federal COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates and Opposing Orders for Texas Businesses

Texas Governor’s Executive OrderOn October 11, 2021,Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued Executive Order (EO) GA-40 which states that “no entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccination by any individual, including an employee or consumer, who objects to such vaccination for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19.”It is worth noting that EO GA-40 does not prohibit employer vaccine mandates. Rather, ...

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How To Address Continuing COVID-19 Employment Issues & Challenges

As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, employers continue to deal with unprecedented employment challenges. More often we are hearing a concern that many employees are requesting socially distant work accommodations based on their own concerns over underlying health conditions, fear or reaction to the experience of friends or family who contracted the virus, or loved ones lost as a result.This creates a paradox we’re not well equipped to handle. How do we qualify a request to work from home or reque...

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Texas Mask Mandate Update: What You Need To Know As An Employer

Governor Abbott recently lifted the mask mandate in Texas, which went into effect on Wednesday, March 10. Many employers have questions about how this affects their businesses and organizations.Below is a list of frequently asked questions about the cancelled mask mandate, with answers that should provide some insight to employers.Is the Texas mask mandate still in place?Governor Greg Abbott issued an Executive Order (GA-34) on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 lifting the mask mandate in Texas and increas...

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Important Reminders Regarding The American Rescue Plan Act

Last month, we sent out communication regarding initial information on the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) after it was signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11.  A couple of key items of the ARP go into effect Thursday, April 1.Families First Coronavirus Act (FFCRA) UpdatesEffective April 1st, extensions of leave under the FFCRA are optional.Has your organization made a decision to extend or discontinue pay under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and/or Emergency Family and Med...

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Important Texas Workforce Commission Updates

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) recently posted some important updates regarding work search requirements for those collecting unemployment. The June 30th announcement states that it will delay the reinstatement of the work search requirement for unemployment benefits in Texas. This requirement, which is federal law, was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From the outset, TWC has stated that bringing back work search would be conditions-based.“Due to the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in...

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Emergency Sick Pay & Documentation: What You Need To Know

The answer to this question is both yes, and no. It’s important to note that there are six reasons you can qualify for Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL), part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA): The employee is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID–19. The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID–19. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID–19 and seeking a medica...

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How To Navigate The Coronavirus In Your Business

[caption id="attachment_5767" align="alignright" width="300"] Image courtesy of Texas Department of State Health Services website.The entire world is reacting to the spread of the COVID-19 virus (coronavirus), and as a business owner, it can be difficult to navigate through this issue. There are questions concerning the impact this virus could have on our businesses, our employees and our communities. Knowledge is power, and in this case, knowledge is the best weapon against the spread of the vi...

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There's Comfort in Having a Plan

As business owners, the relentless headlines of COVID-19 are taking up almost all of our oxygen, making it difficult for us to catch our breath. The most important thing we can do as business owners to honor our employees is to ensure that the business makes it to the other side of this crisis. So, let’s take a few minutes today to step back from the headlines and breathe. Let’s take a realistic look at the needs of your business over the next few months as we ride the wave this coronavirus is c...

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Stay at Home and Go to Work?

Essential Infrastructure Business is now being designated and has created somewhat of a paradox in our homes, businesses and community. Many employees want to or must stay at home to care for family or to self-quarantine while also being employed by a presumptive Essential Infrastructure Business.And, as business owners and leaders, we are working mightily to keep the business productive, profitable and viable so all of us have a place to work when the crisis has passed. We know the business nee...

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Achilles Tools to Help you with the Family First Coronavirus Response Act

As of Wednesday, April 1, the FFCRA is in effect and we all must comply with the provisions for both the EFMLEA and the EPSLA. If you do not know what these all involve by now, please give us a call and we can help you catch up to the details.And for those of you that have looked into these laws and understand them, but your payroll system is not set up to track these special eligibility situations and the associated costs we offer three elements of support: We designed a set of instructions, Le...

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Corrective Action: Get your Employee Back on Track

Achilles Group approaches the need for Corrective Action both as an effort to get the employee back on track and to provide an employer with a defensible position if the corrective action ultimately builds to the point of needing to terminate employment. Today’s message provides more valuable insight into Corrective Action and how Achilles Group can work with your leadership team to help get your employees back on track.Let’s start with the basics. What is Corrective Action?Corrective Action, in...

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Successful Response to Unemployment Claims in Texas

A leader needs to accept and understand the importance of implementing a corrective action and termination process. Following the Corrective Action process lends to a more successful defense with Texas Workforce Commission Unemployment claims.In Texas, if corrective action is used to address misconduct connected with the work, it must meet a very specific definition. Misconduct connected to the work is determined by the employee’s actions; basically, something that the employee does or fails to ...

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Annoucement: HR Infrastructure Is Now Risk Mitigation

Anyone familiar with Achilles Group knows that we spend a lot of time and focus in the four core areas of our Fractional HR approach: People Performance, Recruiting Effectiveness, Risk Mitigation and Strategy Alignment.Today, we want to announce an evolution in that focus, specifically regarding HR Infrastructure as the core area. We are moving away from HR Infrastructure as a core area, and replacing it with Risk Mitigation, an area that is of great importance in Human Resources.If you think ab...

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A Primer On Harassment In The Workplace

Harvey Weinstein. Brett Kavanaugh. The #MeToo movement. Harassment has been, and continues to be, a hot topic in the news, perhaps more so now than ever before. But what is harassment, as far as it pertains to the workplace, and how can it be appropriately mitigated?According to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the authority on employment law in the US, harassment is defined as “unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), ...

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Risk Mitigation: Respect In The Workplace Training

Last week, we discussed the trending topic of harassment in the workplace, and included some noteworthy EEOC statistics highlighting an uptick in harassment claims in 2017.When it comes to harassment in the workplace, we all have a responsibility to recognize and address this type of behavior before it becomes a larger issue. In the past (think Mad Men era), it was not uncommon for occurrences of harassment to go unreported. Whereas previous generations often took a “handle it yourself” approach...

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