In this episode, host Thom Jennings and attorney Kathleen Jennings discuss the impact of employee morale in the workplace. They will share some anecdotes and provide things that can be done to assess and improve employee morale. They also discuss the merits and pitfalls of an employee of the month program.
Podcast Episode Transcript
You are listening to Cover Your Assets, a podcast that discusses the timely and significant legal issues faced by employers. Kathleen Jennings is an attorney who has over 30 years of experience in advising employers as to their legal responsibilities and has written extensively about employment law in her popular Cover, your Assets Blog. If your business has employees you cannot afford not to have your assets covered.
Thom Jennings (00:33):
Hello everyone. Welcome to Cover Your Assets, the Labor Employment Law podcast. I am here with, you know, last episode. She got all offended that I didn't introduce her as our resident expert, so I'm not gonna do that this week either. Just kidding. I'm here with our resident expert, Kathleen Jennings, attorney, extraordinary. And I'm saying all these things, Kathleen, because I want you to feel, I want you to feel like you are appreciated so that we can have good morale amongst our staff of two. So how are you today, sis?
Kathleen Jennings (01:07):
You know what? I can feel your appreciation. Thom Jennings my favorite brother and favorite podcast host. And I think that that is a wonderful segue into a topic that is of interest to many employers, and that would be employee morale.
Thom Jennings (01:27):
Employee morale. Now, the, the, the podcast to date, we've dealt with some, a variety of subjects, and the overarching theme, of course, is this is a podcast designed for employers, HR professionals who have to deal with complicated legal issues that may arise regarding employment and labor law. So I, I guess we'll start with this. How did you decide this as a topic and how are we going to relate this to maybe potential legal issues?
Kathleen Jennings (02:02):
Well, especially now in this tight labor market, it is very important for employers to retain the employees they have, especially the good employees. Those are the folks that you want to stay around, and you also want your employees to be productive. And so how do you do that? Not only should you be complying with the laws that we've talked about in other podcast episodes, but there's other things that an employer can do to hopefully boost employee morale or things that an employer should not do that are likely to cause employee morale to go down and is going to result in high turnover and poor productivity
Thom Jennings (02:47):
And possibly legal action. I mean, we've discussed that on many an episode to date, in terms of the employees that are most likely to sue, the ones that are most likely to be problematic and cause problems in the workplace, maybe even create a scenario where other employees will sue. So let's
Kathleen Jennings (03:06):
Start, or, or Thom, as we talked about a couple weeks ago, unhappy employees may also look to form a union in the workplace because they think that that may help them get greater pay or greater benefits. So there are legal and also just financial and organizational benefits to doing what you can to keep employee morale high.
Thom Jennings (03:34):
So let's start with let's look at low, low morale or signs maybe that the workplace has a morale problem.
Kathleen Jennings (03:45):
Some of the signs, Thom, that you would look for would be, for example, a lot of employees coming to work late. You know, who, who don't bother to come to work on time. High absenteeism rate. If you start seeing a lot of employees congregating around or talking together during business hours, but not necessarily about work, maybe they're complaining or talking about each other or talking about issues that make them unhappy. Those are some of the signs that you want to look for.
Thom Jennings (04:24):
Okay? And, and, and one of the things we'll, we'll talk about right now is, is something that most employers deal with at some point, and that is burnout. Now, we probably went through a lot of that during the C O V D era because you had, I would say, healthcare workers, lots of people that were, that were taxed in terms of, and I'm not talking monetarily, but physically taxed because there were more demandings placed on them. And then maybe at the other end of the spectrum, you know, you had people that that there were, they had much less responsibility. I think there's a maybe a, an unfair or maybe sometimes fair assumption that if one works from home all the time, that you aren't necessarily a productive member of the team. And, and where that could cause problems maybe more relates to if there's two employees that are doing similar jobs, one is allowed to work at home and the other one is not, that can create some resentment as well. So in terms of, you know, now as we have somewhat transitioned out of the pandemic, and I say that cautiously <laugh> because it feels, it sure feels like we have, but we still have.
Kathleen Jennings (05:33):
I don't know that we have yet, Thom. Well, just based upon my personal experiences with some friends who've recently tested positive for Covid, we are not out of the Covid era yet,
Thom Jennings (05:44):
But transitioning out of it, I mean, things are, things are, we, we hope things are closer to normal than they were, let's say, a year and a half ago. But man, you made me lose. That's
Kathleen Jennings (05:53):
Normal though, Thom.
Thom Jennings (05:54):
You made me lose my train of thought. <Laugh>,
Thom Jennings (05:58):
This is, this is one of those moments, folks, and I'm not gonna edit this one out A lot of times I would just edit this out, but, you know, this is what makes our podcast so authentic. And when you allow your employees and people to express themselves, that's, that's part of, of morale as well, people wanting to be heard. And also we're, we're gonna flip this back to, to the subject at hand is you and I just had a disagreement, but we did it respectfully. So I think that, I think that's something also that employers need to encourage in the workplace, that people are very different and they will have differences of opinion and those differences of opinion, especially in today's society, where opinions are very charged and can cause a lot of emotional distress and chaos, that it's important to create an atmosphere where people are not afraid to express themselves and their opinion. So what do you think about that?
Kathleen Jennings (06:51):
That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard of Thom <laugh>.
Kathleen Jennings (06:56):
Not really. I'm just making a point there, right? I think I, I think it's important for you to encourage your employees to express themselves in a respectful manner. And there are some issues that are probably better left not to be discussed in the workplace because they're not related to work, and they are areas where people have very strong opinions are not likely to change the opinions of people who don't agree with them. So it's not really a good idea to allow those types of de discussions to go on during work. If employees wanna have these discussions with other folks outside of work time, let 'em do it. You know, what they do outside of work is their business, not yours. When employees are at work, they're expected to work, and they're also expected to treat the other employees and managers and everyone customers, vendors, everybody they come in contact with, with respect. And hopefully those people will treat the employee with respect as well. The golden rule, treat others as you would like to be treated.
Thom Jennings (08:09):
Yeah, and, and, and it's tough, I would suppose for whether it be an HR person or a business owner, they shouldn't necessarily have to check all of their particular ideologies or views on religion or those types of things. I mean, if, if someone asks them, you know, what religion are you? I mean, you certainly should be able to express yourself in a respectful manner, but you're getting into very dangerous territory when you start using your position of authority to preach a message <laugh> or to push forth a political agenda that's not necessarily related to the industry. And I think that maybe maybe this is slightly off topic, but there are situations where a particular industry would ha would have a vested interest in a political discussion because it, it would directly impact that industry That's different from engaging in talk related to politics. That literally has nothing to do with, with the work at hand or the workplace that people are in.
Kathleen Jennings (09:08):
That's true. And, and when it comes to talking about religion, you have to keep in mind that Title VII prohibits employers from discriminating against people on the basis of their religion. So it's not really a good idea to go around asking people what religion they belong to or what religious beliefs they subscribe to, or for a manager or supervisor to try to impose their religious beliefs on the people who are subordinate to them. Because not only is that something that could upset people if they have a different religion or no religion, but it also could be considered discrimination under Title seven and lead to an E E O C charge and possibly a lawsuit.
Thom Jennings (09:53):
So let's get to some meat and potatoes here in terms of things that employers can do that can either work out really well and help boost employee morale or could backfire. I have some, some personal experiences that I'll share, because that's what we
Kathleen Jennings (10:08):
Do here. Of course you do. Yes.
Thom Jennings (10:10):
Employee recognition now, employee recognition, that could be a number of things of the thing that comes to, to my mind immediately is the employee of the month and employee the month. I, I, you know, in my personal experience, many organizations that I've worked for employee the month is, is almost a code word for the, the employee that is best friends with senior management <laugh> or related to senior
Kathleen Jennings (10:39):
Management. Why don't you just come out and say, the biggest ask Yes, sir.
Thom Jennings (10:42):
I was gonna say Brown Noser, but I didn't, you know, it's so weird. There's so many terms that you just don't know if they're politically correct or not. I mean, I don't, I don't know that Brown knows necessarily means anything. I mean, it's a derogatory term, certainly, but yes. Butt kisser. Ask kisser, the grok, you know, the one that we all hate. I, I, I don't know that I've ever been in an organization,
Kathleen Jennings (11:04):
It is a strong word,
Thom Jennings (11:05):
<Laugh>. Okay? The one that, the one that we all can't stand.
Kathleen Jennings (11:10):
How's that? The one that the employees all gather around and talk about behind their back.
Thom Jennings (11:16):
But I, I, you know, the challenge in terms of Employee of the Month, and even at my current employer now, we had an employee of the month, maybe two months ago, and when this person was named, you know, everybody, you know, they start the grumbling, we all looked at each other and go, yeah, that makes sense. This is a really good employee. They do a great job. They get along with everybody. They're not an Ask History, they're just a good employee. So in that respect, it works. You go, okay, well, they're recognizing somebody who's quiet, shows up is amiable, does a good job, all those types of things. But there's been other situations and places I've worked at where the employee of the month, month is just somebody that's does, they, they show up late <laugh>, they're always tattling on their coworkers and all that other stuff, and immediately, but I think no matter where you work, when that employee of the month is, is is eventually introduced, there's going to be a reaction. Is there any way that you can think of that maybe you can mitigate that or have a process that at least outwardly seems fair. You're never gonna get everybody to agree that it's a perfect situation, but certainly the the employee of the month type of program can be effective if it's done in a way that, again, the employees aren't sitting around grumbling going, oh, this person doesn't clearly, clearly doesn't deserve it.
Kathleen Jennings (12:37):
Well, I guess my first question, Thom, would have to be, have you ever been named Employee of the Month?
Thom Jennings (12:43):
<Laugh>? See, now this is a very, you, you, you kind of said a trap for me, and I think you've, I think,
Kathleen Jennings (12:48):
I think, I think our listeners wanna know,
Thom Jennings (12:50):
I think what you've done is you've read between the lines of my resentment and there's been, there, there's been two occasions in my, in different places that I've worked that I tried really, really hard to become employee of the month. And both times I tried to fix the system and I would have people vote for me. Now, the second time I was working at a, at a place that, that I had a bunch of coworkers we, they'd been giving out the employee of the month for weeks, and they were just people that were good buddies of the, of the boss, and we were all getting irritated. So when the nomination process came up, I had I'd convinced a bunch of coworkers to say, all right, we're gonna nominate me to see if we can rig the process in our favor. And then they just literally, that month never, never gave out the award <laugh> and didn't for months <laugh>. So I never got it.
Kathleen Jennings (13:37):
Well, I, so, so
Thom Jennings (13:39):
Kathleen Jennings (13:39):
Answer to my
Thom Jennings (13:40):
Question, there's a better epilogue to this. So I left that employer and not, but I dunno, two or three months after I left that employer, someone very close to me was named Employee of the Month, my wife.
Kathleen Jennings (13:55):
Oh, <laugh>. That doesn't surprise me because your wife is a very hard worker.
Thom Jennings (14:01):
My wife is a very hard worker. Yes. But, but lemme tell you, man, I was so irritated. I, I just, because I really, really wanted that employee of the month recognition. I really did.
Kathleen Jennings (14:10):
So, so you've never gotten it, is what you're telling us?
Thom Jennings (14:13):
Kathleen Jennings (14:15):
Again. Okay. Well, I, let me, I, I'll share with you, I've never been named Employee of the Month, but I've never worked in a place where they actually named an employee of the month. So I share the same distinction with you
Thom Jennings (14:30):
Yeah. But for very different reasons.
Kathleen Jennings (14:32):
Well, you, you had to point that out. Yes. But I think, you know, employee, the month has been around for a long time. I don't know how effective that is. And just by your attitude, it makes me question how effective that kind of program is. I think what I've seen employers do, including some of my clients, is point out on social media, particularly maybe on a Facebook page or Insta Page or something have a photo of an employee who's done something exceptional that month, or someone who's just been working really hard that month. And you just wanna recognize that this is someone who's, who's working hard, doing a good job, and we want the world to know it. So social media is a good way of doing that as long as you spread it around and you are recognizing people who truly deserve it, not just because they're kissing.
Thom Jennings (15:33):
Yeah. We, we had one employer, I, I just remember this while we were discussing this. There was one employer where they would name the employee of the month, and within two months, that employee would leave. And basically what was, what was going on is that they, the, the employer did not like to give out. They were notorious for not liking to give out raises. So you'd have an employee who was, who would, was getting ready to leave, and it was always the same kind of funny scenario, they'd be like, yeah, man, I'm, I'm not getting paid enough. I gotta go. I'm gonna go ask for a raise. And, and we'd all be like, yep, they're gonna be employee of the month, cuz they're not gonna give 'em the money. They're gonna give 'em the $25 gift card for coffee. And and then eventually they're gonna leave anyway.
Thom Jennings (16:15):
But that's a a, again, another thing where it was used as an attaboy and maybe some kind of attempt for an employer to say things like, oh, well, you know, maybe we aren't able to give you a raise right now, but we did make you employee of the month. And it was it was very comical as it went on because we would all joke about like, oh, you know, Kathleen got employee of the month. Well, she's outta here in two months. And the amount of times it happened was just utterly bizarre. So I, I agree with you. I think it's one of those situations where in some respects there's other ways to, to have solid employee recognition that doesn't single out an individual. It's so difficult to have a process like that not appear to be political, even if it's not, even if everything is done in an above board way. Because the other aspect of this, let's be honest, it's very subjective. It's very subjective.
Kathleen Jennings (17:13):
It is, it is. So you can think of other ways and sometimes simpler is better. Sometimes it's just a matter of saying thank you to somebody who's gone above and beyond, or just saying to somebody, you know, I noticed that you've been working really hard lately and I appreciate that. And the company appreciates that. You wanna be able to verbalize and tell people these things. And, and just hearing that is gonna help. And then for, if you have an entire workforce, and nowadays we have workforces that are shorthanded because they don't have enough fellow employees to help 'em out, will do something for the whole group, whether it is buy them all lunch, bring them in, bagels, even give them all gift cards, or, or if you, if you can swing the rays, of course money is always appreciated by employees, but do something to let them know that their efforts are being noticed. And, and that's what employees want, they want. If, if they're working hard and they're going above and beyond for the company, it feels good for an employee to hear from their supervisor or manager, Hey, I see what you're doing and I want you to know that I appreciate it.
Thom Jennings (18:32):
Yeah. And, and it, I mean, employers, if you're listening or even an HR person or something, it, you know, it goes, it, it goes such a long way to have a meeting with an employee that is positive in nature to schedule something. Say, Hey, like, I, I wanna meet with you at a certain time. And then I, I mean, I can't tell you recently I had this situation come up where my supervisor asked to meet with me after work and my immediate thought was, uhoh, what'd I do? <Laugh>. Yeah. And I think that's I think that's a,
Kathleen Jennings (19:03):
You mean you didn't think you were gonna be named employee of the
Thom Jennings (19:05):
Mic? I didn't. And I'm crawling through my brain and I'm going, what the heck? What what I do? What am I in trouble for? You know, what happened? And my boss just called me in and said, look, you know, I just wanted to let you know, I know that you've had a challenging few months with all these different things going on, and I just really appreciate your effort and I just want to check in to make sure you do it. Okay. How long did that take? Three and a half, four minutes.
Kathleen Jennings (19:26):
So how did that make you feel?
Thom Jennings (19:27):
It made me feel appreciated. And but, but
Kathleen Jennings (19:30):
I appreciate you too, bro. Well,
Thom Jennings (19:32):
Thank you. I appreciate you appreciating me. I appreciate us appreciating each other, but it, it words can go a long way. They can be very powerful. But even you said the smaller gestures, maybe gestures that are done on a private level as opposed to these grandiose, you know, announcements or whatever. I mean, I, I just re you know, we're starting to get emails through my company about all these senior level management people that are joining the company. And I had a discussion with my coworker and said, why is it when a senior level employee joins the company, we all have to get an email from the CEO saying we should welcome them. But yet we're not getting that when we hire a new janitor. And I think that almost, again, can create a, a chasm and a perception that these employees are more important than other employees. So if you're gonna do it for one, you're gonna do it for another. Same thing with birthdays. If the nurse has a birthday, and e even if it's the coworkers or other people that are doing something to recognize it, you know, the employer should, should come up with a system where maybe the everybody's birthday is recognized. And those are things that don't cost a lot of money. How much would it cost for a birthday card? Three to $5.
Kathleen Jennings (20:38):
Well, I, I would probably want cake too, but that's me.
Thom Jennings (20:43):
Didn't we do a whole episode on somebody getting in trouble for
Kathleen Jennings (20:45):
Cake? I think we did get cake. Yeah. Yeah. So maybe no cake. No cake. We're
Thom Jennings (20:50):
Back into that.
Kathleen Jennings (20:51):
But it a good, you know, a good, especially frontline supervisors, they can really help boost your employee morale by that. That's the person who needs to be in touch with what their employees are doing feeling. And that includes maybe challenges at home. You know, if, if they know that, you know, maybe somebody's mother is, is very sick or in the hospital, then they can check in and say, Hey Thom, how's your mom doing today? You know, and that, that makes an employee feel like they're not just an employee. They're, they're a person. You know, I, this, this supervisor knows that I'm a person with a family and is checking in. And and that's what frontline supervisors ideally should be able to do. In addition to your HR people who need to spend time out on the floor or depending upon what kind of setup you have at your company.
Kathleen Jennings (21:53):
But they need to be out talking to people rather than sitting in an office all day. So that e employees, I, if they have wanna raise an issue with hr, they know who the HR person is, they can feel comfortable talking to that person. And that way if they have either a personal issue that they need to discuss privately or if they have a complaint about something that could be like harassment or, or something legal, they know who that HR person is that they can talk to and bring it to their attention so that the company can take action rather than have those employees go to E E O C or go to an attorney. And we've talked about that before.
Thom Jennings (22:35):
Yeah, that's a great point because once you've established a relationship with your employees and a relationship based on trust, and once they trust you, you are the people that they're gonna go to. Once there's distrust, then that could, that this is where we start to get into the point where it could be costly, where your assets are not being covered.
Kathleen Jennings (22:52):
Your assets could become unionized or, or sued or both,
Thom Jennings (22:58):
Right? I mean, a situation between two employees that could be misperceived as something that it's not, but the employer doesn't have the chance to try to mitigate it or, or have some kind of intervention with the two employees because there's no trust there that, that this could create all kinds of problems. And I'll throw another weird scenario. These, these are actual things that have happened to me. I'm
Kathleen Jennings (23:21):
Thom Jennings (23:21):
<Laugh> my employee, we had a young lady and she was there, there are employees that do this. And I, I, I still work with people like this. There's, there's, there's two types of employees our mother who very rarely called in sick to work unless something was extremely serious <laugh> and could pride in the fact that she could bank all of this sick time. And I think we've all worked with that person who just never the Cal Ripkin's of the world that just never call in sick and they have all this sick time and, you know, and, and they, they pride themselves on that. And then there's other people that are like, well, if I get one sick day every two weeks, I'm gonna call in at least once every two weeks. So I burn my sick time as soon as I get it. I, I'm not passing judgment on those people.
Thom Jennings (24:04):
It is what it is. But we had a situation where there was a young lady that we worked with. She went home from work, she found her parent dead and called our boss. Told the boss that she had discovered her father dead. And he prompted, promptly told her that she would have some bereavement time, but he gave her the number of bereavement days, but that sh those wouldn't start until the funeral days. So that she was expected to come to work in between days. So she came into work the next day after finding her father passed away. And one of my coworkers, when he found out about it, just basically said, I don't care what happens to me or anybody, you need to go home right away. Stormed into the boss's office, called him all kinds of names. One that ended was a two word name ending in whole deserved.
Thom Jennings (24:59):
And you know what? He created a lot of animosity. And we, we wound up losing a number of staff people over that situation. And it was kind of a double edged sword because this was somebody that used to call in sick a lot. And yes, they didn't technically have time available, but come on, you use a little, use a little bit of compassion in your employee because it's not, it, it really comes down to the way you handle one employee is is not just going to impact your relationship with that individual. It will impact the employee's perception on the, in other words, everybody's looking at what's going on and if they perceive that you're treating one employee unfairly, or if you're being overly nice to other employees, that's where it's gonna have that reverberation effect. And you have to be on guard to make sure that you're treating people as equitably as possible. Cuz let's face it, everybody's different. We all get treated a little bit differently, but if it's overtly crazy, not good, no bueno,
Kathleen Jennings (26:00):
No bueno, and employees are gonna talk about it and they're gonna know about it. And this is one of those things I think that distinguishes probably an experienced and really good HR person from maybe a less experienced, not so good HR person. The, the less experienced not so good may be the type of person who says, rules are rules and we have to follow them exactly as they are in writing. And the more experienced more wise HR person is going to recognize that yes, we have rules. Yes, they are written down, but yes, sometimes you have to make exceptions because our employees are people and they are not all the same and not all situations are the same. So at the end of the day, you wanna treat everybody fairly and that doesn't necessarily mean treating them exactly the same.
Thom Jennings (27:00):
Yeah, agreed. That's, that's a great way to put it. And, and I, I think you have to balance, thanks John. You have to balance fairness with compassion. You know, fairness is, is everybody has the, you know, same rules apply to everybody. No, I i I think it really comes down to, is it, going back to what you said earlier as well, the golden rule. If this situation happened to me, how would I want my employer to handle me? And maybe I don't have a parent that's going to pass away while I'm working for a particular employer, but I will have coworkers whose parents will either become ill or pass away or any of that stuff. And I wanna work for an employer that is going to handle those situations on a case by case basis with a little bit of compassion that's not, and again, that's not to say that an employer's just like, oh my gosh, take eight months off fully paid and everybody will cover you. But I don't know, maybe if there is a situation that's really dramatic and they need eight months off and can come back later, then you do it. But you do what you can for people within reason. And I think that that sounds a very positive message that will reverberate rever. Wow. There's a word reverberate through the community. And of course it, it, it's not even necessarily about boosting morale in those cases, but really what it is, is it's about maintaining the current level of morale if it's at least fairly good
Kathleen Jennings (28:22):
Or not making morale go into the the,
Thom Jennings (28:27):
Right? Yes. You know, you're not supposed to use those types of potty words. I mean, that's literally a potty word.
Kathleen Jennings (28:35):
Okay. Then have, not have employee morale go down the sewer
Thom Jennings (28:40):
Kathleen Jennings (28:41):
Thom Jennings (28:42):
Sounds great. Well,
Kathleen Jennings (28:44):
Down the sewer
Thom Jennings (28:45):
We are at about the, the, the time that we, we have to wrap this up. We're in the 20 some odd minute mark. And I have to say, as always, this has been an enjoyable, enjoyable episode and you're, we're gonna, you know, here's for our, our listeners out there, this is some exciting times we're, we'll probably be able to record one of these in person with both of us in the same room. Maybe we'll get some video of that and put that up so people can, can see it and experience our, our, our faces that go that, that look exactly like our voices sound if they don't know what our faces look like.
Kathleen Jennings (29:16):
Thom Jennings (29:17):
Kathleen Jennings (29:18):
<Laugh>. Okay, <laugh>. I would really enjoy that, Thom. And as always, I appreciate everything you do to produce and host this podcast.
Thom Jennings (29:29):
And I love, I love doing it. It's a lot of fun. It's a great, hopefully there's people out there listening that are that would be kind enough to share it and help us grow it. Cuz the more people that listen, the better. Cuz then it'll boost our morale along with our ratings if they, I don't know if it's a, there's really a rating system. I know. What was the, what was the place that we were like number two in Morocco.
Kathleen Jennings (29:49):
Morocco, we're doing great in Morocco, God knows what other countries we're excelling in right now. And, and that's what we wanna do. We wanna make everybody aware of these issues and, and hopefully entertain you a little bit at the same time.
Thom Jennings (30:04):
Absolutely. All right, let's let's wrap this up. How about some contact information?
Kathleen Jennings (30:10):
Well, you can contact me, Kathleen Jennings at my email kj j at WIM Law w Im a w.com.
Thom Jennings (30:20):
All right, fantastic. And as always, thank everybody for listening. I am your host, along with my resident expert sister Kathleen Jennings. I'm your host Thom Jennings saying thank you very much and always remember cover your assets.
The Cover Your Assets-The Labor and Employment Law Podcast is produced by Thom Jennings of the Caronia Media Group. For more details, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information provided in this podcast is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this podcast or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between Kathleen J. Jennings. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual hosts and guests.
Kathleen J. Jennings is a former principal in the Atlanta office of Wimberly, Lawson, Steckel, Schneider, & Stine, P.C. She defends employers in employment matters, such as sexual harassment, discrimination, Wage and Hour, OSHA, restrictive covenants, and other employment litigation and provides training and counseling to employers in employment matters.