Employee Relations in 2017: It’s Complicated

Dana Wilkie By Dana Wilkie December 21, 2017

​Employees are people, and with individual personalities and needs come unique challenges. HR professionals this year faced new limits on disciplining workers, dealing with people drunk on the job, and new employees who hid body art during an interview, then revealed it the first day at work. Check out these employee relations trends we reported on in 2017.

Viewpoint: There Are New Limits on Disciplining Employees

The National Labor Relations Board has taken an exceptionally aggressive stance in terms of limiting employers' rights to discipline workers for certain infractions. Employers are well-advised to take caution before doling out corrective action or moving to termination for certain offenses.

Miserable Modern Workers:Why Are They So Unhappy?

Today's workers are disengaged. They lack motivation. They're bored. They're stressed. They're burned out. Researchers at Gallup, Randstad and Mercer have conducted survey after survey that reach these conclusions. At a time when technology has arguably made the workplace more efficient than ever, laws are protecting employees better than ever and companies are offering benefits perhaps more generous than ever, why would U.S. workers be so checked out?

Drunk at Work: What HR Can Do About Employees Drinking on the Job

Your colleague in the next cubicle seems out of sorts: Her eyes are bloodshot; when she walks to the bathroom, her gait is unsteady; her phone conversations are marred by slurred speech. Is she ill? On medication? Or could she be drunk? The Society for Human Resource Management's (SHRM's) HR Knowledge Center received an unusual number of inquiries about how to handle workers inebriated on the job.

When Two Workers Doing the Same Job Earn Different Pay

In a discussion on SHRM Connect, SHRM's online member community, several HR professionals weighed in on what to do if a longtime employee discovers that her compensation is significantly lower than that of a new hire performing essentially the same job.

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Developing and Sustaining Employee Engagement]

Is Hiding Body Art During Interviews, Then Revealing It on the Job, Deceptive?

What should a company do if, after she is hired, an employee alters her physical presentation in such a way that the employer worries clients or customers might find it offensive? Is it misleading for an applicant to hide tattoos or piercings during a job interview, then reveal them on the job? What recourse does an employer have?

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