Nevada employers cannot refuse to hire a job applicant who fails a drug test for marijuana under a new law signed by Gov. Stephen F. Sisola in June, which takes effect in 2020.

The law exempts certain public safety and health positions, such as firefighters, emergency medical technicians, jobs that require an employee to operate a motor vehicle and for which federal or state law requires the employee to submit to screening tests, or positions that could adversely affect the safety of others.

While the state is the first in the nation to approve such a law, New York City has approved a similar measure. Nevada voters approved recreational use of marijuana in 2016.

Protecting Vulnerable Hotel Staff

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law requiring covered hotels to provide “panic devices” to employees engaged in “housekeeping or room service duties.” The law further imposes notification, reporting, and recordkeeping obligations on covered hotels.

First introduced in September 2018, the bill sought to protect hotel employees working alone in guest rooms who may be “particularly vulnerable” to assault. The bill was signed on June 11, 2019.

Hotels and similar establishments that contain 100 or more guest rooms must provide a panic device to each employee who performs housekeeping or room service duties without other employees present. This includes any subcontractor of the hotel employer.

As defined by the bill, a “panic device” is an electronic device that an employee keeps on his or her person with which the worker can communicate with or effectively summon immediate aid from security, management or other appropriate hotel staff members.

An employee may use the device if the employee “reasonably believes” there is an ongoing crime, immediate threat of assault or harassment, or other emergency in the employee’s presence. The law stipulates that an employee who activates the device may leave the “immediate area of perceived danger” and cease work to await the arrival of assistance. An employee exercising this right is also protected from any adverse employment action.

Be Risk Intelligent

We have all been there in business. A new law comes out, we translate it into a policy, establish a process, and communicate the change. At some point, it becomes clear that the impact of a regulation is untenable; it’s too expensive, it’s a burden on operations, or it requires a technology “x” that would displace higher-priority projects.

Ultimately, the rollout is mired down and its implementation forgotten. Fast-forward two years, when a process server appears with a complaint for damages.

Lawsuits and investigations are just two of the dozens of hazards to be negotiated, as staffing firms face revenue, operational, competitive, and other business risks. All too often, companies are forced to choose between revenue and compliance.

The best staffing firms are risk intelligent. They have a formal and active process for balancing risk and reward. They create value by taking risks and lose value by failing to manage them. They earn a competitive advantage through seizing opportunities and managing downside.

Here are four things you can do to strengthen your firm’s risk intelligence:

  1. Implement a formal program to assess your risks regularly.
  2. Assign executive-level ownership and document key mitigation and controls.
  3. Create a risk committee to reduce silos and bring a consensus view.
  4. Ensure that the revenue vs. compliance call is made at the right level in the organization. The greater the risk, the higher it needs to be escalated.

Threats are part of your everyday operation. They need not be feared. In fact, by facing them head-on through strong governance and process, you will protect your company, and not only survive, but thrive.