<![CDATA[msbrownlaw.com - Alaska Better Business Blog]]>Mon, 22 Aug 2022 15:34:32 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[A Better Practices Model: A Critical Tool]]>Tue, 18 Jun 2019 17:08:46 GMThttp://msbrownlaw.com/alaska-better-business-blog/a-better-practices-model-a-critical-tool-you-can-use-todayWhen you are required to make a judgment under uncertainty, do you rely on best practices?  Whether you believe it or not, there is a serious downside to anything...
 labeled a best practice.  Some practices that are labeled as best practices lead to errors both predictable and unpredictable. The reality is that the label of best practice is no more than disparate groups of rules, policies, procedures, and standards that have been framed by industry leaders as universal truths that should always be applied.  The reality is there is no such thing as a best practice.
The reality is two companies may adopt the same practice based on external benchmarks and face very different outcomes. The idea of best practices is currently predicated on the assumption that certain practices are grounded in fact or fundamental truth.  These practices are also predicated on the assumption that the production and management of processes are uniform enough so that “best practices” can be identified and then adopted without the need for variation by a company.
So how can we do better?
Best practices should be treated as theories. In the best-case scenario, a proffered practice is backed by empirical evidence and professional experience rather than blind appeals to authority.  For example, instead of stating to a packed convention hall that the best practice is that “a nurse should be make a call to a patient within 48-72 hours after a patient is discharged...”, the better approach would be to approach the best practice as a theory and then support the theory with empirical data and professionally derived knowledge. Following the method, the expert would opine,
“The best practice theory I am offering today is that a nurse should make a call to a patient within 48-72 hours after a patient is discharged. The goals of the practice are to increase clinical outcomes and reduce costly return visits. Research shows that post-discharge phone calls can reduce adverse events and decrease costly return visits to the medical facility. I have found this to be also true in my experience studying all-cause 30-day readmissions in general medicine populations.  It is important to note that, in offering this practice, the true relationship between post-discharge phone calls and readmissions in a real-world setting is uncertain. 
The above explanation of a proffered best practice theory is helpful because it includes a discussion of the theories, assumptions, and methodologies underlying the proffered practice as well as any factual basis for the practice and any intended results. In short, the goal of industry leaders should be to provide industry professionals with the critical information they need to seriously evaluate the theory as it relates to the unique culture and structure of their organizations.
Rather than pursuing best practices as a solution for real or perceived problems within an organization, a better approach is focus on the evaluation of best practices as the beginning of a critical assessment process.  Industry proffered best standards should be viewed for what they are: a generalized methodology which may or may not be appropriate for an organization.  After critically reviewing the basis for the proffered procedure, industry should ask itself whether the proffered practice is congruent with, for example, the context, circumstances, and long-term strategic plan of the organization.
Copyright © 2019. Law Office of Mamie S. Brown. All rights reserved.
<![CDATA[the anatomy of a great job description]]>Mon, 10 Jun 2019 07:00:00 GMThttp://msbrownlaw.com/alaska-better-business-blog/june-18th-2019While federal law does not require job descriptions, the utility of carefully drafted job descriptions cannot be overstated.  From hiring to compensation to managing employee performance and beyond, a poorly drafted job description (or the absence of a job...

description) can expose employers to litigation risk by undermining the employer’s position in employment related lawsuits.  The existence of and content of written job descriptions are often in issue in lawsuits related to religious and disability accommodation disputes, disputes over whether an employee was properly classified, leave disputes, discrimination cases, and immigration cases. 
The elements of a great job description include the following:
Job Title. The document should include a clear and concise job title.      
Job Code. If the employer has an internal job code that is applicable to the position and relates to the employer’s internal operations, the job code should be listed in the job description.  Internal job codes usually relate to issues such as pay grade, internal reporting relationships, and benefits.  
Job Classification. A great job description should state specifically whether the position is (1) exempt or nonexempt from minimum wage and overtime pay requirements under the applicable federal, state, or local laws; (2) full-time or part-time; and (3) a temporary, seasonal, contract, or regular position.  This is important because, if an employer incorrectly classifies an employee as holding a status he or she does not, that employer may be liable to pay the employee back pay and overtime compensation.
Duties. A great job description describes the duties and responsibilities of the job including the essential functions of the job.  A function may be essential if the position exists to perform the function or the function is highly specialized. Where the position includes essential functions and non-essential functions, functions should be listed according to whether they are essential or non-essential.  The main benefit of listing duties and responsibilities is the help the employer identify whether an employee can preform the essential functions. A list of critical functions can also help employers defend against lawsuits where the employer’s ability to preform the functions of a position are in issue, such as a disability discrimination case.
Better practice tip: a disclaimer should be included if the job description is not intended to be a comprehensive list of the duties and responsibilities of the position and that the duties and responsibilities may change without notice.
Qualifications. A job description should also include any required qualifications of the position. The best practice is to list preferred and required qualifications separately. Job qualifications might include, for example, educational or trade requirements; professional licensure or certification requirements; prior work experience; language, math, and technology proficiency requirements; and traits, such as the ability to multitask or work in a stressful and face paced environment.  With limited exceptions, employers are prohibited from expressing a preference or requirement based on a protected class, such as religion, sex, or national origin. 
Physical Requirements and Workplace Conditions.  Job descriptions should specify the physical requirements of the position, such as bending, standing, and sitting, as well as physical workplace conditions, such as hazardous or potentially harmful conditions.
Additional Information. The job description may also include working hours, work locations, and travel obligations. This helps employers communicate to current and prospective employees.
Copyright © 2019. Law Office of Mamie S. Brown. All rights reserved.
<![CDATA[Welcome]]>Sat, 01 Jun 2019 07:00:00 GMThttp://msbrownlaw.com/alaska-better-business-blog/1381886The Law Firm of Mamie S. Brown is pleased to announce that we have launched our blog.   Thank you for your interest in our firm and the important work that we do. 
The purpose of the blog is to provide general information to the public.  It should not be construed as creating an attorney-client relationship or providing legal advice. The Law Firm of Mamie S. Brown makes no representations regarding the accuracy of the information provided on the blog.  Please read the full disclaimer at the bottom of the blog main page. Thank you for visiting our blog. 
Copyright © 2019. Law Office of Mamie S. Brown. All rights reserved.