Resolution No. 1: Training. If your harassment, discrimination/retaliation, family and medical leave, reasonable accommodation and other employee-relations training is up-to-date, then you win a gold star!

For everybody else, 2020 is a great time to become up-to-date. The ideal way is to conduct three levels of training:

(1) Very thorough, intensive training for human resources, probably conducted by employment counsel.

(2) Reasonably thorough, intensive training for non-HR management, which can be conducted by counsel, an HR consultant or in-house counsel or HR.

(3) Concise training for non management employees aimed at giving them some practical do’s and don’ts, letting them know how to register a complaint and letting them know that retaliation is against company policy and against the law.

Resolution No. 2: Make sure your exempt and nonexempt employee classifications are correct in light of the regulations that took effect Jan. 1.

The minimum salary for employees to qualify for the administrative, executive and some professional exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act has increased. To be exempt, the employees must be paid at least $684 a week on a salary basis of $35,568 a year.

Resolution No. 3: Review and adjust the way you treat pregnant employees who need accommodations, especially if you’re in the health care industry. The rule since 2015 is that you probably have to accommodate pregnant employees with restrictions if you accommodate other employees who are similarly situated in their ability or inability to work. Similarly situated employees would arguably include employees with workers’ compensation injuries.

Resolution No. 4: Review and update your substance-abuse policies as they pertain to marijuana. Be especially wary of “zero tolerance” policies on marijuana use in some states.

If you’re in a state where medical marijuana use is legal, that state may also have a medical marijuana anti-discrimination law, or disability-rights laws may require you to make reasonable accommodations for the use of medical marijuana. It’s all about your policy.

Resolution No. 5: Review and update your leave policies, especially if you have operations in states where paid leave is mandated. There is bipartisan support in Congress for a federal paid-leave law.

Resolution No. 6: Mind your LGBT P’s and Q’s. This is not as simple as it sounds. The Supreme Court is expected to decide this spring whether Title VII prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Whatever the court decides, employers should prohibit discrimination or harassment based on these characteristics as a matter of policy in their updated Professional Conduct and Prohibition Against Harassment Policy.

Also, don’t forget that Title VII requires reasonable accommodation of an employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs.

Resolution No. 7: Order the best book I have ever read on how to hire, motivate and keep your best millennials in 2020, “It’s The Manager” by Gallup Press. Based upon the largest global study of the future of work, Gallup found that the quality of managers and team leaders is the single biggest factor in an organization’s long-term success.

On Jan. 28, from 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Saugahatchee Country Club, we will weave 10 chapters from the book with clips from “Moneyball,” the Brad Pitt movie, to create an entertaining and thought-provoking “Moneyball for Employers 2020: Capturing Millennials’ Hearts and Minds.”

Register at $25 lunch cost payable in cash at the door. Seating is limited.

Tommy Eden is a partner working out of the Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP offices in Opelika office and can be contacted at or (334) 246-2901.

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