Tag Archives: Dacri & Associates

ACA: Leveraging the Affordable Care Act

Gavel, Stethoscope and Books on the American Flag with Selective Focus.

(This article was written by Rick Dacri and published in JobsinMe.com)

Understanding and implementing the Affordable Care Act has dominated the national conversation. Yet, while this is occurring, business executives have the arduous task of making sense of the law and then making the tough decisions that can work for their company, their workforce and, in many cases, the employees’ families.

Lost in the headlines, political grandstanding and conflicting implementation scenarios delivered by the experts is a strategic issue all executives should consider: what kind of company do I want to be? And then (from a tactical standpoint): how can I leverage health insurance to help me achieve this?

Legally Mandated for Large Companies

Health insurance is simply a benefit, just like any other benefit. It’s expensive and now for the first time, it is a legally mandated, just like workers’ compensation and unemployment compensation. As an organization, you must either provide insurance or send your employees to the health insurance exchanges to buy insurance on their own. Either way, there is a cost. If you’re small, your company is exempt, for now.

Using It to Your Advantage

But for a moment, let’s step back from the details to address an opportunity before you. Employees need health insurance. Many decisions in both seeking employment and remaining with an employer often come down to whether insurance is offered and its cost. Employers should look at health insurance as a powerful tool that they can leverage to recruit, retain and engage workers.

It is much more than simply another business cost. Dropping coverage or reducing employee hours to force them to go to the exchanges may yield short-term positive bottom line results, but is more likely to yield long-term negative consequences. Employees will go to work for someone else before shopping for their own health insurance coverage.

Building a Strategy, Culture

Employers should build a strategy around both wages and benefits. Know what makes sense for the business. Address the kind of work culture you want, around the brand that reflects who you are and who you want to be. Establish a clear philosophy around compensation and around employees that best reflects your brand. And remember, what impacts an employee often impacts the family.

Employers who take care of their employees, by either providing or even expanding coverage of those eligible for insurance, send a powerful message. They are betting that their employees will become fully engaged and loyal, resulting in increased employee retention, customer service and a corporate brand that draws job candidates like a powerful magnet. And all of this will result in increased sales and profits.

Rather than focusing on short-term savings by eliminating health insurance, these executives are wagering on their employees and the long-term health of their company by adding employees to the insurance rolls. This strategy focuses on nurturing their workforce and understanding that customer satisfaction requires happy, engaged employees.

It is the big picture approach. It’s a smart move; it’s strategic; and it makes good business sense. Employees are not going to stick around at a company that neither invests in them nor provides them affordable health insurance. The increased cost of health insurance coverage will provide a greater return on your investment.

If you want to know more about how I can help you, click Dacri & Associates.

If this post was of interest to you, you may want to read these:

  1. ObamaCare Good For Business
  2. How to Communicate with Employees About the Health Insurance Exchange
  3. HR HelpLine: When You Need Expert Advice

 

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Dacri & Associates Celebrates 18 Years

imagesPosted by Rick Dacri on June 1, 2013

18 years ago today, I founded Dacri & Associates. It is really hard to believe how the time has passed since I started the firm in a small cubicle in a shared office suite.

During my 30 years in management–including the last 18 as the founder of the firm, I have seen radical changes in the workplace. The post recession business is leaner. Employers have greater expectations of their workers and demand increased accountability, while needing workers who are better trained, more versatile, and able to thrive and grow in an environment that is constantly changing.

The workforce has changed too. It is older, more diverse, tech savvy, and more demanding of flexibility, balance and freedom. Fortunately, there has been enormous growth in the sophistication of management and human resource techniques available to employers looking to get the most out of their talent.

With the emergence of a new workforce, employers must be more aware and prepared to deal with the changes they face. I will continue to provide all my clients the expert advice, ideas and tools they need to be successful.

It has been a great run and I look forward to continuing the journey with you. Finally, I want to thank each of you for the faith you have put in me and for the friendships we have formed. I am excited about the future.

Please let me know if there are things I can do to assist you. But for now, let’s enjoy the moment.

Rick Dacri

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Harassment Claim: 1st Circuit States Employee’s Failure to Notify Employer of Repeat Harassment Fatal to Claim

( Moulison North, a Dacri & Associates ,client, was successful in this case because, when faced with an employee complaint of harassment, the CEO, Ken Moulison, did all the right things to address the problem. Having in place an anti-harassment and discrimination program, developed by Dacri & Associates and following the guidelines set forth in the program, resulted in a winning verdict for the company).

 An oral reprimand was an adequate response to an initial report of racial taunting, and a complaint of continued harassment made to a nonsupervisory leadperson did not trigger a duty in an employer to take further action or render it liable for harassment, according to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals.

Employers may be held liable under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 if they are responsible for creating or tolerating a hostile work environment. To recover for employee harassment by co-workers, an employee must show the employer knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take prompt, appropriate remedial action. The answers to the questions of when knowledge is imputed to an employer and what constitutes appropriate remedial action depend on the circumstances.

Shortly after Arthur Wilson began working for the electrical utility contractor Moulison N. Corp., his co-workers began taunting him with racial epithets. The leadperson on the crew overheard and told them to stop, but the conduct continued.

Following the company policy as stated in the employee handbook,Wilson reported the conduct to the company’s owner and chief executive officer. The next day, the CEO visited the work site and berated the harassers, who did not deny making the racial slurs. The CEO warned them that repeat conduct would result in their dismissal. The CEO then apologized to Wilson for their conduct and told Wilson they would be dismissed if the conduct continued and to report any further problems to him without delay.

One of the employees continued to taunt Wilson, and his work relationships with others deteriorated. However,Wilson reported this only to the leadperson, and the leadperson took no action in response.

Wilson brought suit alleging a racially hostile work environment and retaliation. The district court granted summary judgment for the employer, and Wilson appealed only the hostile environment claim.

Wilson argued first that a verbal reprimand and warning was too mild given the nature of the conduct. The 1st Circuit held that an employer must be accorded some flexibility in selecting appropriate sanctions for particular instances of employee misconduct. The court offered that, “barring exceptional circumstances (not present here), a reasoned application of progressive discipline will ordinarily constitute an appropriate response to most instances of employee misconduct.”

In this case, the court had before it no evidence that the perpetrators were repeat offenders, that racial discrimination was a long-standing problem for the employer or that the employer had a history of inconsistent discipline. The employer’s response was consistent with its anti-harassment policy and the punishment fit the crime. The employer’s action need not be such as will satisfy the complainant. The court rejected plaintiff’s argument that the warning was inadequate because it was ineffective as “nothing more than a post-hoc rationalization.”

Wilson’s second argument—that his second complaint to the leadperson put the employer on notice and created a basis for liability—failed because the court found the leadperson was not a supervisor. The policy directed employees to report harassment to a supervisor or an owner, and neither the CEO nor the policy had designated the leadperson to receive such complaints.Wilson had many opportunities to complain to the CEO and offered no explanation for failing to do so when the CEO had specifically directed him to report any further problems to him without delay.

Wilson v. Moulison N. Corp., 1st Cir., No. 10-1387 (March 21, 2011).

Professional Pointer Adequate steps to prevent and correct harassment include addressing the possibility it may continue, despite disciplinary action. In addition to the steps described above, employers should check back periodically with employees who report harassment to ask if it has recurred, follow through on any further complaints and document these efforts.

This article was written by Susan M. Schaecher, an attorney with Stettner Miller PC, for SHRM.

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