Most Important Developments for 1/15

The list of companies that say they are withholding political contributions after the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot continues to grow steadily. The companies fall into a few broad categories: Those going after specific Republican lawmakers who voted against the certification of the presidential election, those going after objectors in general, and those withholding all contributions for now regardless of political party or whether a lawmaker participated in the effort. More than 130 Republican representatives and eight GOP senators voted to object to at least one state’s electoral count, in support of President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results. On Wednesday, Charles Schwab Corp. took it a step further than the rest, saying it would shut down its political action committee “in light of a divided political climate and an increase in attacks on those participating in the political process.” Others include Amazon, American Express, Best Buy, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cisco, Comcast, Dow, Goldman Sachs, Mastercard, Walmart and many more. Bloomberg

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The question for business leaders becomes what action may be taken if their employees are discovered to have attended the insurrection in Washington, D.C. Some companies have taken swift action and fired staffers, but whether they can do so is not always clear. Here’s a breakdown of what labor lawyers and human-resources professionals say. Yes, it’s complicated. But the bottom line is this: Breaking the law is grounds for dismissal, experts say. Any sort of law-breaking — even that which doesn’t result in handcuffs, like damaging property or trespassing — is a fireable offense. In the case of last week’s Capitol siege, employers should consider specifics: Are the people involved at-will employees or not? What state do they work in? Are they public- or private-sector workers? And crucially, what exactly did they do? For example, California has employment laws that protect people from being fired for political affiliations, while Montana is the only state that does not recognize employment at will, which makes it hard for bosses to fire individuals without valid reasons. In addition, government employees have protected First Amendment rights in many circumstances. Fast Company

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Let it be known to the business world: Hire any of Trump’s fellow fabulists [press secretaries] and Forbes will assume that everything your company or firm talks about is a lie. We’re going to scrutinize, double-check, investigate with the same skepticism we’d approach a Trump tweet. Want to ensure the world’s biggest business media brand approaches you as a potential funnel of disinformation? Then hire away. This isn’t cancel culture, which is a societal blight. (There’s surely a nice living for each of these press secretaries on the true-believer circuit.) Nor is this politically motivated, as Forbes’ pro-entrepreneur, pro-growth worldview has generally placed it in the right-of-center camp over the past century — this standard needs to apply to liars from either party. It’s just a realization that, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said, in a thriving democracy, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. Our national reset starts there. Forbes

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Dollar General says it will support employees who want to receive the COVID-19 vaccine — by paying them to get it. In a press release on Wednesday, the company said it will provide frontline hourly team members four hours of regular pay after they receive a completed COVID-19 vaccination. Since the the next phase of vaccinations will be offered to frontline essential workers, including store employees, Dollar General wants to ensure its staff doesn’t have to choose between receiving the vaccine or coming to work. The company says it is encouraging, but not requiring, employees to receive the vaccine, as it is a personal choice. Legally speaking, companies do generally have the right to require their workforce to get vaccinated, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. CBS News

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It’s fair to say that 2020 rocked many organizations and business models, upending priorities and plans as business leaders scrambled to navigate a rapidly changing environment. For many organizations this included responding to the social justice movements, shifting to a full-time remote staff, determining how best to support employees’ well-being, managing a hybrid workforce, and now addressing legal concerns around the COVID-19 vaccine. It would be nice to believe that 2021 will be about stability and getting back to normal; however, this year is likely to be another full of major transitions. While there has been a lot of focus on the increase in the number of employees working remotely at least part of the time going forward, there are nine additional forces that I think will shape business in 2021. HBR

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Businesses had many, many headaches in 2020 — as did all their employees. From new laws to shutdowns, protests, and illness and death, every company and every employee had new challenges last year. As such, your company adopted new policies. (With changing laws, you had to adopt at least some changes in 2020 or face the wrath of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Labor, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.) Some things have already been walked back (the Families First Coronavirus Response Act’s “extension” is purely voluntary now), and some things have been forgotten. But, here are eight policies you should keep — even if the vaccine stops the pandemic in its tracks: Paid sick leave, celebrate Juneteenth, telecommuting, telehealth, family-friendly policies, greater flexibility, better D & I, and communicable disease policies. Inc.

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