Often we are asked how best to support family values and protect our freedom as Christians when doing business. The same extends to churches, Christian colleges, ministries and camps. The following organizations do just that.
Find an organization that operates in your state and support them. Connect with the leadership; attend functions in person and virtually. Help them get the word out to the community about what they are doing to promote Christian values within your state.
We can all make a difference—but we must be active to do so.
In case you haven’t already heard, the Supreme Court recently ruled, on the basis of Title VII, that discrimination against LGBTQ workers is prohibited.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.”
Some states, like California and New York, already had this ruling in place. However, the Supreme Court passed this ruling for all states.
You may wonder…
How does this affect your church or nonprofit organization?
What about religious colleges and camps?
Are non-ministerial positions affected?
These are valid questions. What we know right now:
Ministers and clergy are exempt from discrimination disputes that include sexual orientation or transgender issues.
Religious employers, including colleges and camps, are also exempt. (However, this might change if the Supreme Court overturns the exemption.)
Religious organizations are exempt, which includes non-ministerial positions.
4 Steps You Can Take to Preserve Your Protections
Although religious employers and organizations are exempt, there are four steps you should take to protect yourself from liability, should they arise.
1. Document Religious Beliefs
Document your religious beliefs regarding human sexuality and marriage in your statement of faith, bylaws, employee handbook, and staff lifestyle/covenant agreements.
Make sure your employees sign these agreements. Discuss these documents with your staff yearly to ensure everyone is on the same page.
When your beliefs are listed, in writing (specifically on human sexuality and marriage), it can be used as documentation to affirm your exemption, if needed.
2. Update Job Descriptions
Create job descriptions that detail the functions of each position in a religious establishment.
Think about how this position (even if it’s non-ministerial) plays a crucial role in the religious function of your organization.
To be safe, include spiritual requirements or your statement of faith in the posting of the description.
3. Be Clear Throughout the Hiring Process
Remain consistent through the hiring process. Be clear about the requirement that candidates align with your statement of faith.
Only accept applications where applicants share the same religious beliefs.
Continue to communicate your religious beliefs throughout the process of the hiring and onboarding process.
4. Consult a Legal Professional
If you’re unsure or just want to ensure all the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed, consult a legal professional to assess any potential risks.
There are some great law firms that deal specifically with nonprofits and religious organizations. What we provide here does not constitute legal advice. Please read this disclaimer if you have any questions regarding the information here.
Two Recent Rulings That Support Religious Organizations
Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru
James School v. Biel.
In both cases, two teachers at Catholic schools were not offered contract renewals. Both teachers filed discrimination claims in federal district court against their former employers. The court ruled that both schools were protected religious organizations, exempt from anti-discrimination employment laws.
Both teachers appealed to federal circuit court, which reversed the district court’s ruling in one case and denied petition for rehearing, and for rehearing en banc, in the second case.
The Issue at Hand:
Whether the First Amendment’s religion clauses prevent civil courts from adjudicating employment-discrimination claims brought by an employee against their religious employer when the employee carries out important religious functions.
Important news for religious organizations. On July 8, 2020 (during the time of the writing of this post!), the U.S. Supreme Court consolidated both cases and, In Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru, the justices held that employment discrimination suits by the teachers fired by Catholic elementary schools are barred by the First Amendment’s “ministerial exception.”
What if the exemptions change?
Some of these exemptions might be subject to change. There are still court cases, specifically regarding religious colleges, on whether teachers should be exempt from this ruling or not.
Depending on the outcome of these cases, the exemption on religious colleges might be overturned.
If this does happen, the atmosphere of many religious colleges would change. What might we do then?
A passage in the book of Romans offers us insight:
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” (Romans 13:1–2 NIV)
This passage tells us that we should obey the law of the land, because it has been ordained by God.
But what if the law of the land goes against God’s law?
Does God’s law supersede the law of the land?
The Story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego
King Nebuchadnezzar issues a decree that “everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe, and all kinds of music, must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.” (Romans 3:5 NIV)
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were faithful Jews who followed the ways of the Lord. They refused to worship idols or other gods. Because of their disobedience to King Nebuchadnezzar, they were brought before him to undergo punishment.
To be thrown into a blazing furnace!
King Nebuchadnezzar gave them one more chance to obey him and bow down to the idol.
How did Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego respond?
“King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18 NIV)
Because of their unwillingness to bow to the idol, they were tied up and thrown into the furnace.
But the story doesn’t end there.
God rescues the three men of faith and they emerge unharmed.
If the law of the land conflicts with God’s law, we are instructed to follow God’s law.
There have been many points in history where Christians have had to follow God’s law rather than the law of the land. Many martyrs of the faith have demonstrated this. Though no one in any religious organization is likely to face losing their life, we most certainly do run the risk of losing rights, funding, access to resources, and lose our reputation in the broader community.
As the courts and culture continue to shift away from a historic Christian worldview, it may become more difficult to live out our faith. When faced with difficult situations, I find it easiest to revert to loving everyone. We can’t expect those who don’t align with biblical teaching to act as if they do. Be patient. We are called to love others and we should deal with these matters with grace.
That said, I pray you are encouraged and remember to maintain kindness when dealing with controversial topics such as this. We are facing ever-changing tumultuous times in the workplace. Our beliefs are being challenged and many are waning in their strength to support the gospel of Jesus Christ. Stay strong, and always remember that the truth will always remain the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow.
No organization, no matter how well run, is immune to employee workplace complaints. Whether you employ fewer than 50 employees or manage thousands, some form of complaint will inevitably be filed against your organization or one or more of its members. In our wide experience, which spans for-profit and nonprofit organizations, including colleges, universities, churches and ministries, we have witnessed complaints filed in a variety of areas, including:
With the potential liability being so high, and the risk of negative publicity, the benefits of using an independent investigator are not to be dismissed: External independent investigators demonstrate and support an organization’s integrity and desire for objectivity, protect the confidentiality of its operations that an internal conflict of interest could otherwise jeopardize, and insulate the employer from claims of retribution toward whistleblowers.
When an organization outsources an investigation to an independent, external specialist, it demonstrates to its employees that it is intent on doing the right thing: to permit the impartial examination of the events in question, irrespective of the outcome. In contrast, when an investigation is performed internally, such as by a manager employed by the company, it’s understandable that the employee might fear their complaint could cast a shadow over their future at the company, whether consciously or unconsciously, particularly if they have any dealings with that manager. There’s no shortage these days of bad publicity when an organization appears to dismiss or bury a complaint or retaliate against the complainant, whether it’s in public or private companies or within our government.
Avoid conflicts of interest and protect confidentiality
If you’re thinking that you can safely delegate workplace complaints and violations to in-house counsel, we urge you to think again. Should the complainant feel their complaint was not handled impartially or that they’ve been subject to harassment or retribution attempts, you might well find your organization facing a lawsuit. Should it go to trial, the prosecuting attorney will look for any signs of conflict of interest and/or lack of impartiality that suggests the internal investigation was flawed. And you might find your in-house counsel on the stand, testifying to conversations and dealings you assumed would be protected by attorney-client privilege but were forced to waive. An independent investigator, on the other hand, can only testify to what their investigation of the pertinent circumstances revealed.
The experienced investigators used by In His Name HR are independent of your organization, with numerous similar investigations under their belt with findings both for and against employers, further highlighting their impartiality. For example, our investigators refrain from using words like “we” and “us,” making it obvious to both judge and jury that no relationship between them and the organization exists that would tip the investigation in the organization’s favor. Again, an outside investigator does not represent the organization, and their statements are limited only to what they learned in the investigation—nothing else.
Allay employee fears of retribution
in our experience, most human resources managers and other authority figures do not treat employees differently when concerns are aired about the organization, or even about individual managers. Still, it’s understandable that such an employee might have concerns or fears that raising an issue might negatively impact their career path or even result in retribution. For example, a complainant who has been passed over for promotion months after they filed a complaint might see things differently.
We have spoken to employees who participated in internal investigations who said that the internal investigator now “sees me as a problem, or a complainer.” Most internal investigators are trained and prepared for this. However, whether real or perceived, it is an issue. Even if the internal investigator can separate what was said in the complaint and operate objectively going forward, participants may likely never be convinced that the internal investigator can “unhear” what was said and not be influenced by it.
When you use an outside investigator, however, those concerns are allayed. A third-party investigator can conduct a full, independent investigation while the organization and employees carry on the business at hand without employees fearing future effects.
The bottom line
Is this a cause for concern? It should be. We work in difficult times, under increased scrutiny. Complaints are on the rise—sometimes daily. HR departments are overburdened. With the news escalating in the media surrounding harassment, discrimination, and hostile work environments, employee complaints have now reached record levels.
Let us allay your concerns. Reach out to us to discuss having a trusted partner to guide you and your team in the event a complaint arises.
Contact us today. You—and your employees—will be glad you did.
In His Name HR helps organizations build high-performance human resource programs. Visit them at In HIS Name HR or e-mail them here.
Mark A. Griffin is the founder and chief consultant of In His Name HR LLC. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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The mission of Taylor University, a private, interdenominational, evangelical Christian college, is to develop servant leaders to minister Christ’s redemptive love and truth to a world in need. Does this sound like your ideal work environment?
For the 12th time in 13 years, Taylor has been ranked No. 1 in the Midwest by US News & World Report’s survey of America’s Best Colleges, and ranked in the top three for the last 23 years.
Leading a team of three full-time employees and three student workers, Taylor’s HR director actively participates in the strategic thinking process regarding its human resources. The director is responsible to assess, review, recommend, develop, and implement policies, procedures, services, and systems in the appropriate legal, higher education industry, and organizational culture contexts, all of which are imperative to ensure success.
The HR director structures employee and workforce processes and policies that promote and embrace Kingdom diversity. This includes working closely with the Vice President for Intercultural Leadership and Church Relations to establish networks with potential candidates from under-represented groups, and by creating programs to increase the recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce.
Collaborates with senior leadership to understand the organization’s goals and strategy related to staffing, recruiting, and retention. Supports management by providing human resource advice, counsel, and decisions.
Plans, leads, develops, coordinates, and implements policies, processes, training, initiatives, and surveys to support the university’s human resource compliance and strategy needs.
Administration and compliance of human resource programs, including:
Compensation and benefits
Leaves of absence
Disputes and investigations
Performance and talent management
Recognition and morale
Occupational health and safety and workers’ compensation
Job descriptions; exempt and non-exempt guidelines
University staff handbook
Serving in a key Title IX role on campus
Responsible for significantly influencing the university workforce in these key areas:
Employee Relations/Individual Employee Assistance – Serves as the primary contact for university policies and works with individual employees to encourage development of their professional life. Involves guiding individuals through challenging situations and being the primary contact for university policies (such as anti-harassment).
Employee Training and Development – Develops with other university leaders the university’s training and development program. Serves as the primary person responsible to develop and maintain the programs and structures for employee development, including new-employee orientation, reviews, legal training including faculty (FMLA, ADA, etc.), and other university initiatives.
HR Systems and Practices – Leads the department in developing and implementing effective and efficient HR systems to promote quality employee support from hiring through any transitioning from the university.
HR Policy Development, Implementation, and Review – Systematically reviews HR policies and procedures to ensure a work environment that facilitates human flourishing while managing strategic resources.
HR Assessment and Strategy – Uses tested HR strategies to ensure the success of employees in their work. Reviews the mission and direction of the university, along with other university-wide strategies, and applies them to the areas managed by the human resource function in such areas as compensation and benefits, employee onboarding, retirement planning, and more.
Compliance – Ensures compliance in all areas of the HR function, e.g., the Affordable Care Act (ACA), FMLA, EEO, and ADA.
Required Skills & Abilities Include:
Excellent verbal and written communication skills
Excellent interpersonal and negotiation skills
Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail
Excellent time management skills with a proven ability to meet deadlines
Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources, Business Administration, or a related field
10-plus years of human resource management experience (in addition, 3-plus years of human resources management experience in higher education is preferred)
Proficiency with Microsoft Office products, video conference systems, and G Suite products
Proficiency with or the ability to quickly learn the organization’s HRIS and talent management systems such as Banner and Silkroad
Complete support of and willing adherence to Taylor University’s mission, vision, foundational documents, and core values. Applicant must hold these standards as their own
The Covid-19 pandemic caught many people off-guard, and has proven to be a hard time for nearly all of us in one form or another. Employers who were forced to close due to the lockdown and cannot afford to maintain staffing have laid off employees. Yet, opportunities have arisen to those with an eye to adapting. Many organizations, sensing a future that involves an expansion of telecommuting and the use of independent contractors, have begun hiring remote workers for routine tasks.
As a result, hundreds of thousands of jobs that can be performed offsite and at a distance are more readily available today.
If you are looking for places to start your job search, particularly with nonprofit and for-profit religious organizations that strive to maintain Christian ethics in the workplace, these resources should help.
Christian Remote Jobs
If you are looking for a job that is Christian influenced, these religious organizations offer Christian employment opportunities that can be fulfilled safely from home.
Concordia, a nonprofit institution established by the Lutheran church, is one of the best providers of faith-based jobs, and are currently seeking remote faculty to teach their college courses online. Find Concordia’s job opportunities here.
Grand Canyon University
Want to work in a faith-based institution that weaves a Christian perspective through their curriculum? Then Grand Canyon University is an ideal choice. In light of the current global pandemic, the university is hiring both part-time and full-time adjunct faculty to teach online courses.
Northwest Christian University
Northwest Christian University is hiring faculty for a variety of subjects. All faculty positions are remote and selected persons will teach from offsite locations via online lectures.
Companies that match employers to remote employees and independent contractors
This company was created as a work-from-home company, and hires bookkeepers, executive assistants and web specialists. The vision of Belay is to “glorify God by rendering solutions that equip clients with the confidence to climb higher.” Check out Belay’s jobs here.
Christian Job Fair
This is a Christian-owned, privately held company that helps you find work that requires a degree, but also work you can do without any specific degree or skills. Virtual positions were on the rise before the pandemic, and in the current situation, the need has grown exponentially.
Christian Job Fair allows job seekers access to thousands of Christian ministry jobs, and positions with religious nonprofit ministries. Christian organizations and churches are provided with an easy and inexpensive way to hire for their Christian jobs, ministry jobs, and church openings. Christian employers can interview through chat, Skype, Zoom, email and phone. Website
Christian and Other Job Boards
In addition to the companies listed above, Christian job boards can also be of great help. For example, ChristianJobs.com is a job board that connects believers in the workplace. Here you can find jobs that exclusively promote Christian ethics in the workplace. They now feature a Work from Home category for any qualified candidates.
This is a paid membership job board which promotes flexible and remote work, and they feature a specific section for Christian job seekers. They vet every job posting to avoid scams. Connect with FlexJobs here.
Hire My Mom
This website connects moms who are seeking work-from-home jobs with professionals. Its founder, Lesley Pyle, is a lover of Jesus and has strong faith in humanity. Visit Hire My Mom here.
Indeed pulls the results from all major job board sites, including faith-based jobs, saving you considerable time and effort when searching for your next job.
Jobs In Christian Higher Education
The Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE)
ABHE is made of approximately 200 postsecondary institutions specializing in biblical ministry formation and professional leadership education. Visit ABHE’s Job Board.
The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities
CCCU is a higher education association of more than 180 Christian institutions around the world. With campuses across the globe, including more than 150 in the U.S. and Canada and more than 30 in another 18 countries, CCCU institutions are accredited, comprehensive colleges and universities whose missions are Christ-centered and rooted in the historic Christian faith. See CCCU’s Job Board here.
Association of Business Administrators of Christian Colleges (ABACC)
The mission of ABACC is to improve the standard of business management in schools of Christian Higher Education by providing professional development, networking and mutual support to their business leadership. Find ABACC’s Job Board here.
Christian University Jobs (CUJ)
CUJ provides access to career opportunities in more than 275 Christian universities, Bible colleges, seminaries, and vocational and theological schools in the US and Canada. Source CUJ’s Job Board here.
In this Fox Business article, get tips and leads on identifying secular companies that are now seeking to hire remote workers, including Aetna, Adobe and Dell.
These are changing times for all of us. We pray that these resources will jumpstart your job search.
Presented and hosted by The Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE)
During this crisis, one of the greatest at-risk groups at every Christian higher education institution is your greatest intangible asset—your employees, the faculty and staff who so faithfully serve your students. Balancing fiduciary responsibility while caring for your employees is a serious challenge at most of our Christian higher education institutions.
Recorded April 30, 2020
Click Below to Watch
Gain key HR insights from the CEO of In His Name HR, Mark Griffin, on options for employee pay and relationships as you financially navigate these uncharted waters.
We cover the following 5 crucial points:
Reduction in force – What is the difference between furlough, layoff, and reduction in force? How do you approach changes with grace, respect, and dignity?
Communication keys – Over-communicate with employees with transparency, addressing emotional concerns, decisions, and forecasts.
Employee focus – Ensure all of your job descriptions are updated and understood, especially as duties shift. Organizational design – Update your organizational chart with current reality and future options.
Vision and value driven – Energize employees in the importance of your mission, vision, and values
These and other issues will be addressed in this important 1-hour webinar by a keen partner and consistent High-Performance Human Resources blogger with ABHE, Mark Griffin.
If you’re dealing with employee relationships during this crisis, we hope you’ll listen for his invaluable counsel. ABHE is comprised of approximately 200 postsecondary institutions specializing in biblical ministry formation and professional leadership education.
Does your organization need HR help, whether due to COVID-19 or simply concerning normal business practices? If so, don’t panic. We are here. We can help.
If you’re struggling with the current pandemic crisis, and what it means for your organization and your employees, and need someone to listen to your concerns who can help, contact us today.
Times are scary, for sure. We are now in the middle of a pandemic, and for many of you reading this, you are understandably concerned that your organization may well not make it through. Many share those feelings. You’re not alone. And we’re here to help.
A number of organizations, on the other hand, are confident that they will continue to prosper. For organizations to be successful, they must face the pandemic crisis head on and at the same time focus on high-performance human resources (HR) practices. Now, more than ever, your employees need hope and a future, and they desire and require strong leadership to get them there. Now is not the time to falter and flounder.
In HIS Name HR is approaching its 10th year. We have a national presence and the technology to help implement high-performance HR programs from a distance. Using tools such as Skype, Zoom, and FaceTime, we continue to guide organizations to success.
These are unprecedented times, with considerable uncertainty, both now and in the future. Never before has supportive Christian leadership in the workplace been more important.
Thanks to our efforts, our clients realize considerable gains in productivity, employee satisfaction, and reduction in hiring time within weeks of our partnership. We are the leading company for human resources (HR) outsourcing & HR consulting services from a Christian perspective. We offer support in all aspects of HR compliance and program development.
Does your organization need HR help, whether due to COVID-19 or simply concerning normal business practices? If so, don’t panic. We are here. We can help.
If you’re struggling with the current pandemic crisis, and what it means for your organization and your employees, and need someone to listen to your concerns who can help, contact us today.
The past weeks have been unprecedented—truly historic—regarding the global human resources implications due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing COVID-19 disease. Typically, we address our articles to leadership professionals in the workplace. However, in light of the current situation, this article is for anyone, at any level of an organization, who has found themselves thrust, without warning, into working remotely.
Many such employees have contacted us, having been told by equally unprepared leadership, “It’s not safe to come into the office. Just do what you normally do, but do it from home.”
Organizations, some of our clients among them, have abruptly shifted into panic mode. You may be reading this article having found yourself also suddenly having to work from home instead of from your customary office or workplace.
Understandably, many organizations were caught unawares, and are not equipped to handle the logistics of managing people remotely. Regardless, organizations still need to operate, to serve their customers and remain solvent.
While it has caught nearly everyone, indeed the country, off guard, it is of utmost importance that you, as an employee who draws wages from your employer, come to grips with the fact that you must remain impactful if you and the organization is to survive. When organizations succeed, they can pay their employees who, in turn, can support their families and the communities in which they live.
So, let’s review some areas that will help make you successful while working remotely. These features are proven to work, and have been used successfully by individuals who were assigned remote work, not out of crisis but more often the result of being geographically distant from coworkers.
5 Pointers to Help You Succeed as a Remote Employee
Establish workspace boundaries – Ensure a good working environment, a dedicated space to do your work. Can you shut the door against distractions when you need to work and otherwise maintain a good work–life balance?
Ensure your ability to concentrate – Will children, friends, or other personal obligations regularly interrupt you?
Stay organized – Can you make a schedule and stick to it? Will you create checklists to keep you on track?
Promote and maintain productivity – Have you been provided expectations and goals? Can you obtain help quickly if you hit an obstacle?
Maintain your focus and fitness – Can you take short, regular breaks throughout the day to stay fresh and avoid fatigue or burnout?
What single safeguard makes telecommuting most effective? Ajob description!
There’s no question that it’s preferable to have done the groundwork and crafted a solid job description for yourself before telecommuting. When employees find themselves thrust into working remotely, without the necessary preparations, trouble often lies ahead.
A job description is not only important from an employee empowerment standpoint; it’s a strategic necessity. Both your and your organization’s productivity and growth can be stymied when skills and competencies are unknown or undefined variables. Be detailed and specific about the requirements placed on you, and make sure they are part of your job description.
Finally, if you are concerned about your longevity with your employer, help create a process to make it hard for them to dismiss you. As a human resources expert, I almost always find employee terminations or separations from organizations are the result of the employee being viewed as not contributing to the organization. But that’s not always the employee’s fault. Many times this is management’s fault, because they failed to furnish key guidance or measurable metrics designed to enable employees to perform successfully.
If your organization has failed in this area, make it a point to do it yourself. Develop key measurements and a daily schedule that you can share with your leadership that validates why they need you.
In our next article, we explore the above five tips further: workspace boundaries, the ability to concentrate, self-organization, productivity, and focus and fitness, in order to better help you to succeed as a remote employee. With the right approach, it can be done.
Presenter Mark Griffin has seen it all in his more than 25 years of Human Resources experience gained by working with a wide range of organizations, from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies to Christian Colleges, Ministries and Churches.
Presenter Randall Wenger Esq. has a myriad of experiences from all his years of working on religious liberty cases in Pennsylvania including the Conestoga Wood Specialties case that resulted in a landmark victory in the US Supreme Court for religious liberty and the sanctity of life. Randy understands the pressures and dangers that are facing those who want to run their businesses and organizations in line with their Christian values.
Let Mark and Randy help you by sharing their experiences in helping a variety of organizations manage their beliefs in the reality of today’s workplace.
Leading an organization with Christ-centered values makes organizational sense.
Mark will share why he believes Christ-centered organizations experience:
Higher quality products
Fewer employee morale issues
Safer work environments
Better perceptions by customers and vendors
Mark will also share how he helps organizations develop HR practices that reflect their core values and still build a high performance organization.
Topics to be Covered
Legislative and policy dangers
Current state of religious liberty in court
Creating a high performance culture through practical HR competency development
Where most organizations go wrong engaging employees
The Mission of the Pennsylvania Family Institute is to strengthen families by restoring to public life the traditional, foundational principles and values essential for the well-being of society. It is the only full-time professionally staffed non-profit organization representing family values—your values—in the state capitol. It encourages responsible citizenship and involvement in civic affairs to promote respect for life, family, marriage and religious liberty.
About The Presenters
Randall L. Wenger, Esq. COO & Chief Counsel
Randall Wenger is Chief Counsel of the Independence Law Center in Harrisburg, a pro-bono law center affiliated with the Pennsylvania Family Institute and dedicated to maintaining those liberties that have made America great and free. He has litigated in federal courts all around the county, and his cases have included the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, bodily privacy, and pro-life issues. In addition to his role with the Independence Law Center, he is COO of the Pennsylvania Family Institute.
Randall has an economics degree from the University of Chicago and earned his J.D. at the University of Pennsylvania. He lives in Lancaster County, and he and his wife Tina have seven children.
Jeremy Samek, Esq. Senior Counsel, Independence Law Center
Jeremy Samek serves as Senior Counsel with the Independence Law Center. Since joining the ILC, Samek’s legal efforts have focused on the protection of religious liberty, protecting human life, strengthening the family, and the elimination of human trafficking. Samek believes that religious liberty is the cornerstone of all freedoms.
Jeremy received his J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 2006, where he served as an articles editor for the University of Pittsburgh Law Review. He earned his B.A. from Liberty University, magna cum laude in 2003. Jeremy and his wife have five children.
Mark A. Griffin, MBA President and Founder In HIS Name HR LLC
Mark is a human resources professional with 25-plus years of experience in both public (Quaker Oats Company, Kodak Inc., Merck Inc.) and private companies (Woolrich, Conestoga Wood Specialties, Valco Companies Inc.), Mark is passionate about building high-performance workplaces by utilizing best practices while leading organizations with strong values.
Speaker, accomplished HR consultant, and the author of How to Build “Kingdom-Minded” Organizations and College to Career: The Student Guide to Career and Life Navigation, Mark A. Griffin encourages leaders to build values-led organizations during these increasingly complex times. Mark and his wife live in Lancaster PA and have two adult children.
In the past several weeks the coronavirus COVID-19 has experienced exponential growth, and not only in Wuhan, China, where it is thought to have originated. Cases have been identified in at least 52 countries internationally, including 59 in the United States. And, in mid-February 2020, one Harvard professor, Marc Lipsitch, of the T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told The Wall Street Journal that he predicts that in the event of a pandemic, “40–70% of people worldwide are likely to be infected in the coming year,” admitting that not all carriers may be symptomatic.
As of 28 February, the WHO reports that more than 83,647 cases have been identified, and more than 2,858 deaths have occurred. The JAMA Network is currently reporting a 2.3% death rate based on survivability of victims.
First and foremost, we need to take steps to protect not just the safety of our employees, clients, and customers but their families as well.
COVID-19 Symptoms & Disease
According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), patients with confirmed novel coronavirus infections (2019-nCoV) are reported to experience mild to severe respiratory illness, with symptoms of:
Shortness of breath
Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days after exposure, based upon the estimated incubation period of MERS viruses. However, Reuters indicates that the Chinese Provincial Government now reports that the COVID-19 incubation period could range as long as 27 days. As individuals not exhibiting symptoms can still be carrying it, precaution is certainly in order.
Prevention & Education
Promoting a clean environment and advocating for employee wellness is imperative, as prevention is key to stopping the spread. Employees need to be reminded to wash their hands—and wash them well—and to sanitize often. Provide them good guidance on healthy workplace habits.
It may sound like basic common sense, but many people are not alert to simple hygiene practices, such as covering their nose or mouth when sneezing or coughing and using a hand sanitizer afterward, to prevent the spread of germs. Help employees access the important steps necessary, such as the CDC’s guide to flu prevention. Even discouraging the practice of shaking hands can help. (It has been reported that Japan’s risk of spreading the disease is lower because of their cultural practice of bowing instead of hand-shaking.)
Data shows that people who are healthy and active have a much greater chance of survival, if infected. This is a call to people to start or continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle as it relates to nutrition and cardiovascular exercise.
Brush up on your current absenteeism policies concerning both exempt and non-exempt employees. What do your policies require you, as an employer, to do regarding time off? Go further and investigate your local, state and federal compliance regulations as well. Are you large enough to have to comply with FMLA?
Be prepared to answer questions from people who could be quarantined or prevented medically from returning to work. This is where it gets problematic. Will they be paid? Unpaid? Eligible for PTO or sick time compensation? Naturally, this depends on your organization, its policies, and the rules that govern your local, state and federal employment. Now is the time to prepare, to get ahead of these questions, instead of waiting to react when under the pressure of a potential pandemic.
Employees Returning from Highly Infected Areas
What should you do if you suspect an employee or a member of their family has traveled to where the coronavirus is prevalent? We recommend that you have the employee check in with a physician prior to returning to work and provide you with a return-to-work statement, clearing them to return to full duty. The last thing you want is someone to enter the workplace who has been exposed and could potentially spread the virus to your other employees. This will mitigate concerns expressed by other employees and help stave off any rumors or innuendo.
The sudden speed and geographic spread of this virus has caught the world off-guard. As HR professionals, these are the times when gaps in our policies and procedures become evident. The idea is to prepare as much as possible rather than reacting under pressure.
We opened this posting by reminding you to not panic, and we would like to close with that reminder. If you feel you or your leadership team is not equipped to face this current crisis, don’t wait—contact us today. We are here to support you.