An Attitude for Gratitude

By Marci Frazier, Sacramento LPA

Recently, Bryan Hawkins, President of the Sacramento County Bar Association and a partner in the Labor and Employment Group at Stoel Rives LLP, spoke to the members of Sacramento LPA on “Cultivating Gratitude and Teamwork in the Workplace.”

There are a variety of actions that employers can take to ensure they are cultivating a culture of teamwork within the workplace. This begins with communicating expectations at the very beginning of employment, from the application phase, the interview phase, and the orientation and onboarding phases.

An often-missed component in cultivating the right culture is in the use of an appropriate job description. An effective job description helps ensure compliance with nondiscrimination principles by focusing on appropriate, objective criteria to determine which applications are best qualified for a specific position. Job descriptions are also beneficial tools in identifying the essential functions of a position, which can be vital in assessing the need for disability accommodations pursuant to the ADA and FEHA. Job descriptions should also be updated regularly.

Employers can also foster an environment of teamwork by ensuring that all employees receive industry-specific training, including sexual harassment and anti-bullying training. This type of training helps avoid disputes and can provide good evidence in litigation that might arise.

Employment handbooks and written policies are other vital tools that foster a culture of teamwork. Company handbooks should include such topics such as anti-harassment and discrimination prohibitions, outlining prohibited conduct and the complaint and investigation process. When outlining misconduct/employee discipline, the handbook should be sure to include a list of prohibited behavior along with a disclaimer that the list is non-exhaustive and that disciplinary discretion remains with the employer.

By emphasizing best practices within the workplace, including effective communication, maintaining good documentation, and providing reasonable accommodations for all employees, an “attitude of gratitude” is much easier to cultivate and achieve.


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