HR Base Camp Roundup – February 7th

In this week’s edition of the HR Base Camp roundup, we have a great question about sexual harassment training requirements. We also discuss what employers need to keep in mind when conducting layoffs, and provide some advice for managers that are considering allowing one or more of their employees to start doing hybrid remote work.  Get all of the answers below!

Here are the HR Q&As from our HR Base Camp Facebook Group and HR Solution Center:



Am I required to provide sexual harassment training to all of my employees?

Good question! There’s no federal law that requires you to provide sexual harassment prevention training for your employees. However, there are a handful of states that do have training requirements, and this number is likely to increase in the coming years. The nice thing is, if it is required, the state typically provides the training for you free of cost.

Many employers provide sexual harassment training even when there’s no state requirement. If this is the boat you’re in, there’s a variety of services available that you can find online, with both in person and online training courses. You can also look for a local company or organization that offers sexual harassment training.

A good place to start in terms of utilizing internal resources is by revisiting the harassment policy in your handbook. All CEDR handbooks have an Anti-Harassment section that specifically addresses sexual harassment. It can be a good exercise to have your employees read that section of the handbook by a deadline and then set aside time to address questions that come up.

Keep in mind that if you make the training mandatory, employees must be compensated for their time spent in training!


I’m overstaffed up front so I am laying off two employees. I have a low-performing medical assistant. Should I just include her in the layoffs?

One of the biggest mistakes employers make when letting an employee go is lying about the reason, or not providing a reason for separation at all. Being honest about what’s going on is the respectful way to treat a departing employee, whereas covering up the real reason leaves you open to questions about what it is you’re trying to hide.

In this situation, let’s start with the front desk layoffs. Being overstaffed is a common reason for a layoff – you have come to the decision that you need to eliminate some positions and are not planning on refiling those positions for the foreseeable future.

If you have 3 people in a department and need to lay off 2, then you may end up letting go of your lower performers. You’re able to consider employee performance as a factor in selecting who is going to be subject to a layoff.

Next, let’s go to your medical assistant team. If you also need to eliminate overhead here, then again it’s OK to select your lowest performer for the layoff. However, this assumes you truly do need to do a layoff and you have no intention of replacing them in the next 6 months or so. 

If that’s not the case, and you would be keeping this employee if you were happier with their performance, then it is not a layoff. It’s a termination. Trying to hide behind a layoff will have 1 of 2 results.

In scenario 1, you keep up the appearance of clinical over-staffing and leave that position unfilled for 6 months or more. But since you were never actually overstaffed in that area, the rest of your team suffers from being overloaded with work.

In scenario 2, you don’t wait long to replace that medical assistant. This runs the risk of your former medical assistant now knowing for sure that the “layoff” was in fact a lie, and they start calling up attorneys or the EEOC to get help in figuring out what it was you were trying to cover up. Now a perfectly reasonable termination for performance reasons spirals into a discrimination lawsuit.

If you decide to move forward with layoffs, we strongly advise that you speak to an HR Expert before moving forward. There’s a lot of variables involved in any kind of separation, and the best way to protect your business is to have an expert conduct a full risk assessment beforehand.


One of my employees is requesting to work remotely one day a week. I am considering allowing this, but what do I need to consider before granting their request?

Unsurprisingly, employers across all industries have seen an uptick in remote work requests over the past few years as employees actively seek out a better work life balance. Luckily, allowing employees to work remotely can be a huge benefit for both employers and employees when managed correctly.

Not all positions are amenable to remote workers, but it sounds like you have the ability to grant this hybrid remote work arrangement. This makes things much easier than flat out denying a remote work request, or having to allow someone to go permanently remote, and checks off the first box on the list of things that you need to consider when contemplating remote work options.

One of the most important parts of keeping remote work compliant is making sure that the device that the employee is using is protected. Ideally, they should use a device that you provide  to ensure that company information is still within your control even when outside of your office. This is extra important for offices that need to comply with HIPAA. 

If an employee uses any personal device to access PHI, your risk is immediately heightened as you have no control over the security on that device. You won’t be able to remotely lock them out completely if something goes awry, and it’s pretty unlikely that your employee uses encryption.

You should also take into account how this employee will be paid. If they’re non-exempt, they’re required to track all of their hours. This applies even if they’re working from home. Make sure you have a timekeeping system that allows them to clock in remotely so you don’t run the risk of not paying for hours worked.

Of course, you’ll also need to have a remote work policy or remote working agreement drawn up if you don’t have one already. This lays out the logistics and expectations of remote work for employees. For more guidance, check out our remote work checklist for employers.


At CEDR, we help employers protect their businesses and build stronger teams. Because stronger teams build better workplaces, and better workplaces make better lives.

Have an HR question you need to talk through with an HR expert? Reach out to the Solution Center for expert guidance, or get your questions answered in our private, professional Facebook Group, HR Base Camp.

Feb 7, 2023

Friendly Disclaimer: This information is general in nature and is not intended to provide legal advice or replace individual guidance about a specific issue with an attorney or HR expert. The information on this page is general human resources guidance that is believed to be current as of the date of publication. Note that CEDR is not a law firm, and as the law is always changing, you should consult with a qualified attorney or HR expert who is familiar with all of the facts of your situation before making a decision about any human resources or employment law matter.
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