7 Ways to Show Workers You Care on Employee Appreciation Day

By Mark Wilson, Esq. on March 05, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The first Friday in March is National Employee Appreciation Day, and in honor of the occasion, we've assembled a list of things that your company's employees might appreciate.

Basically, don't violate state and federal labor laws. Your employees would really appreciate that.

1. All Their Arms and Legs.

It might seem like a good idea in the short run to cut corners on dangerous equipment, but it could come back to bite you in the form of employee civil suits along with OSHA suits. OSHA is getting more forceful these days.

2. Holiday Overtime Pay.

If you're going to make employees work on Christmas and Thanksgiving, the least you could do is pay them a little extra for the "privilege." Heck, if your company operates in California or Ohio, you might soon have to pay overtime to work on holidays anyway.

3. A Decent Noncompete Agreement.

For high-level employees, a reasonable noncompete makes sense. But for sandwich makers at Jimmy John's? Not so much. It's not like sandwich making entails so many proprietary trade secrets that an employee shouldn't switch over to Subway.

4. Salary Transparency.

Putting salary information into a black box is one way companies keep salaries down: No one knows what anyone else makes, so no one knows if they're getting a raw deal. (And we really hope you're out preventing employees from discussing their salaries.)

5. Overtime Pay.

Misclassification is one of the huge vectors of wage and hour violations. By claiming that an employee is exempt from overtime, that employee doesn't have to get paid overtime. Of course, it's the actual job functions of the employee, not the title, that determine whether an employee is exempt.

6. To Be Called 'Employees' When They Are.

Also in the vein of misclassification are issues with interns, who are supposed to be learning in exchange for not getting paid. Unfortunately, many companies around the country think "intern" means "free labor." Guess what: If they're doing substantive business things and not learning anything, they're employees. You gotta pay 'em.

As a corollary: independent contractors. Don't think you can avoid labor laws by saying those magic words; as with exempt employees, it's form, not title, that determines the employee's status.

7. Not to Be Discriminated Against.

Whether it's because they're transgender, they're wearing a headscarf, or they have irritable bowel syndrome, employees are protected from certain kinds of discrimination. The obligation to provide reasonably accommodations ends when the accommodation would substantially burden the business. Until then, you're on the hook.

Look at all the things you can do to improve worker morale on Employee Appreciation Day!

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