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June 18, 2002
Avoiding Summer Sluggishness
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Sacramento Bee offers tips for avoiding lags in summer productivity along with advice for complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

With the onset of summer, most companies are faced with problems of decreased motivation and productivity. Not only do employee vacations cause problems of increased workloads for those at the office, but those left to temporarily fill positions are less productive than those who actually hold the positions. Motivation is also challenged by warm summer weather - most workers would rather be outside enjoying the sunshine than stuck inside an office all day.

Productivity consultant Rebecca Morgan of San Jose-based Morgan Seminar Group suggests such solutions as holding brainstorming sessions with employees to allow them to enjoy their summer while maximizing productivity. Some suggestions she offers are increased flextime, training employees to do others' jobs, and effective replacement planning before and employee leaves on vacation.

Additionally, the Bee suggests that so-called "automatically disqualifying rules" should be avoided during hiring procedures, as they could violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Hughes Missile Group terminated an employee for drug abuse, a misconduct violation that precluded him from being rehired by the company at a later date. However, when the former employee sobered up and reapplied for a position years later, Hughes automatically disqualified him because of his previous misconduct termination.

The employee claimed that the company was discriminating against him due to his status as a recovering drug addict. While Hughes was justified in terminating him because of a substance abuse issue, they could not refuse to rehire him due to his disability status as a recovering drug addict.


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