News You Can Use

Retaliation Rule and Other Changes Coming from OSHA

Mon, 10/03/2016 - 00:05
The definition of "retaliation" has been confusing for employers at times. That's why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is seeking to clarify its meaning by issuing an anti-retaliation provision that will take effect in November (instead of August, as planned). Other changes are also on the way that employers need to prepare for. This article gives an overview of what's ahead from OSHA.

Avoid Inadvertent Hiring Discrimination

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 00:14
Seemingly innocent hiring practices can lead to discrimination charges and costly settlements for the unwary. Some employers haven't changed the way they hire in many years and without realizing it, may have held onto practices that now are considered discriminatory. A recent case, involving a chemical company selling products to the U.S. Government, highlights the issues involved.

Employer Complaints Pour in as EEOC Wants More Data

Mon, 09/19/2016 - 00:17
Next year, many employers could face a substantial jump in the effort that will be required to complete the EEO-1, the half-century old annual survey of workplace demographics. But the matter isn't settled yet. Employers have flooded the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with concerns about its proposed requirement that pay data be added to the form. Here's more.

Onboarding Employees: Do It Right and Reap the Rewards

Sun, 09/11/2016 - 23:26
The first few weeks on the job with your organization could be crucial to a new employee's ultimate success or lack of it. Busy employers sometimes adopt a sink-or-swim approach, but often that's a prescription for high turnover, if not worse problems. Here's a look at the elements of a successful onboarding program.

Avoid Giving Birth to a Pregnancy Discrimination Charge

Sun, 09/04/2016 - 23:32
It's a good news/bad news story: The nation's birth rate has rebounded after a drop that followed the 2008 financial crisis. The bad news is pregnancy discrimination charges are also on the rise. This is a touchy area and one that employers need to keep a close eye on. This article describes new standards that clarify what's discriminatory, and what isn't.

Overtime Pay Rules: Avoid Making Costly Wrong Assumptions

Mon, 08/22/2016 - 00:05
Overtime pay has been in the news a lot lately because of upcoming changes in the income threshold for exempt status. Those changes take effect in December. But even as employers are gearing up for that development, many are getting tripped up by long-standing overtime pay rules. This article discusses some recent examples.

Employer Proved COBRA Notice WAS Mailed to Employee

Sun, 08/14/2016 - 23:47
Certain employers must offer continued health coverage to participants who leave their jobs in "qualifying events." This is required under COBRA. Employers are also required to notify employees about coverage. In a recent court case, an employer proved it sent required notices even though a participant said she didn't receive them. Here are the details of the case and the basics of COBRA.

EEOC Penalties Rise Effective July 2016

Sun, 08/14/2016 - 23:47
As of July 1, the maximum fine employers could face if they fail to possess and properly display required posters has jumped from $210 to $525. The posters explain employee rights under federal law regarding workplace discrimination, and they must be posted conspicuously. The significant increase of fines suggests it might be time for a refresher course on posting rules.

DOL Announces Increased Civil Penalties for Violations of Federal Laws

Sun, 08/14/2016 - 23:47
The Department of Labor recently issued final rules that will increase the civil penalties assessed to employers for violating various federal laws. The higher penalties are part of a law passed last year and are scheduled to begin with those assessed after August 1, 2016. This article explains why the penalties are increasing and some of the new amounts.

New OSHA Rules Spotlight Workplace Injuries, Illnesses

Sun, 08/07/2016 - 23:46
With the goal of improving workplace safety, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is giving employers what they call a "nudge." The nudge takes the form of requiring some companies to publish worker injury reports online. New rules ratifying that policy will kick in for affected employers generally beginning in 2017. Here are the highlights.

Summer Weather Brings Dress Code Challenges for Businesses

Mon, 08/01/2016 - 12:41
Summertime prompts some employees to dress too casually, especially in locations that aren't warm year-round. That is, they take casual dress to the point of distracting other workers, causing unsafe working conditions or conveying a lack of professionalism in the workplace. However, before an employer takes disciplinary action, it's important to establish a formal dress code policy. Here are some best practices to consider.

Non-Compete Agreements: Finding the Right Balance

Mon, 07/25/2016 - 00:09
Employees with access to sensitive information about your operations may be valuable, but they can also be damaging to your business. Suppose one of them leaves to work for your competitor, and uses that information against you. If the purpose of your non-compete agreement is to prevent that from happening, be sure to draft it carefully, or it may be unenforceable. Here are some points to consider.

Social Media: A Growing Tool for Employee Recruitment

Sun, 07/17/2016 - 23:55
Some social media sites may seem frivolous in the business world, less about commerce than a place to post selfies and endless personal opinions. But social media is also becoming a standard tool for employee recruiting. Employers just need to be aware that, while powerful, using social media sites for recruiting also has legal risks. This article looks at some pitfalls involved as well as several advantages.

Meet Your Employee Review Goals with 360 Degree Feedback

Sun, 07/10/2016 - 23:27
Can a supervisor evaluate an employee as comprehensively as the combination of that supervisor, co-workers, subordinates and sometimes even customers? If you think not, consider a "360-degree" feedback program. If it's well planned and administered, it can be a powerful tool. Then again, if handled poorly, it can be a prescription for trouble. Here's how to get the benefits and avoid the downside.

Handling Employees at the End of an FMLA Leave

Mon, 07/04/2016 - 00:06
When an employee asks for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, employers have two compliance issues to consider. The first is determining whether the employee is eligible for this type of leave. The second is deciding how to handle that employee's return to the workplace. This article provides an overview of the second task.

New Overtime Rules Issued: What it Means for You

Sun, 06/26/2016 - 23:45
Starting December 1, new overtime rules kick in that will make millions more employees qualify for overtime pay. The changes include a dramatically higher pay threshold that determines whether workers are eligible for overtime at a rate of at least one and one-half times their regular pay. With a few months of lead time, employers need to take a look at their operations and decide how to incorporate the changes. This article explains.

Transfer Business Ownership or Remain Boss?

Sun, 06/19/2016 - 23:36
For family business owners, estate planning can be a challenge. Often, most if not all of their wealth is tied up in their companies, which creates a conflict between the desire to transfer ownership to the next generation and the desire to stay in control. One potential solution is to recapitalize the business into voting and nonvoting shares. This article details this technique.

Avoid Hiring Traps that Lead to Hiring Remorse

Sun, 06/19/2016 - 23:36
Are you turning away prime job candidates, possibly before you even know they exist? It happens all the time, but it doesn't have to be that way. The key is putting yourself in the job candidate's shoes, which may be difficult if you haven't been job hunting lately. Here's a rundown of why people avoid applying with some companies, and some tips to improve your application process.

The Current State of Minimum Wage Laws, Plus the Overtime Debate

Sun, 06/12/2016 - 23:48
Raising the federal minimum wage has become a hot topic on the presidential campaign trail. Proposals are flying as candidates try to gain support for their ideas. But, in reality, what's happening at the state and local level may be more important to your business today. Here's an update on the latest changes, plus information about the proposal to change the overtime rules.

Do Your Employees Value the Benefits You Offer?

Sun, 06/05/2016 - 23:57
Employee benefits are expensive, even if the plan you offer isn't deluxe. Regardless, employees often have little realization and therefore, little appreciation of how much the company spends to make these plans available. If you're concerned that your company isn't getting enough bang for your benefit bucks, you could be right. Here's what some employers have found, and what they're doing about it.